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How have neoliberal shifts from the 1980s to present day in social welfare delivery changed the services provided to street youth in Vancouver?

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In this paper, I analyse the history of services for street youth in Vancouver and the policy context in which street youth services in Vancouver operate. The history and development of street youth services in Vancouver over longer periods of time is not well researched and hence my research came from an exploratory perspective. I have pursued my research primarily through semi-structured interviews with key informants. I investigated the development of street youth services through three dimensions. The first dimension of my research project focused on issue recognition and looked at how street youth are configured as a social problem. The second dimension traced the history of the sector serving street-involved youth and is framed through an analysis of policy context. The final dimension of my research is a stakeholder analysis. A stakeholder analysis is commonly done in policy analysis to understand to what extent important stakeholders have influenced policy making in the sector. Of particular interest is how the policy and service-delivery context for street youth services has been shaped by policies which have been implemented and pursued by British Columbia’s provincial government since the 1980s. Implied in the trajectory of my research is a bigger question; how have neoliberal policies translated into a policy environment which is fragmented, hides its politics and is less interactive, responsive and co operative than one would hope for?
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