Posted: 04 May 2019

Talking change: vulnerable teenagers are falling through the cracks between childhood and adulthood

In this month’s episode of Talking Change, we’re talking about that awkward age between childhood and adulthood. For vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds this can be especially awkward, as support they receive from services will often drop away once they turn 18.

The Children’s Society has been highlighting the unique challenges faced by older teenagers for some years now, through its Seriously Awkward campaign. We hear from professionals and young people to find out why vulnerable teenagers are falling through the cracks between childhood and adulthood.  


  • Scott Compton - Host, The Children's Society 
  • Jazmin Glen - Campaigns Officer, The Children's Society
  • Zoe & Evie - Young Rights Advocates, Our Minds Our Future campaign
  • Grace Ogunyemi - Team Leader, Centrepoint Helpline
  • Lizzie Flew -  Senior Communications and Campaigns Officer, Child Poverty Action Group 

16 and 17 year olds face complex issues as they move into adulthood

Moving from childhood to adulthood can be challenging for anyone. But for young people facing complex problems without support, this can be a seriously awkward age.

The issues that 16 and 17 year olds face – such as mental ill health, poverty and homelessness – are rarely experienced in isolation. And across all aspects of their lives, older teenagers miss out on support from both children’s and adult’s services because of their age.

This lack of support puts young people’s health, safety, wellbeing and long-term outcomes at risk, making the move into independent adulthood more difficult.

Holistic support for young people is key

We know a profound difference can be made when services come together to offer support in the areas of life where young people need it.

The connected nature of different issues means that effective support must consider young people’s overall situations. This is a challenge that no single Government department or agency can take on alone.

We’re calling on Government departments to work together to improve older teenagers’ transitions to adulthood. Only together can we ensure young people are supported to thrive as they move into adulthood.

Our transitions into adulthood report outlines steps that Government departments and other agencies should take to improve transitions for young people.

By Scott Compton

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