Supporting families in Scotland: how Circle embeds a child rights approach

circle-logo-high-res-smallCircle is a Scottish charity working at the heart of deprived communities across central Scotland.  Their aim is to support the most disadvantaged and difficult-to-engage children and families to improve their lives and promote their healthy development and potential. 
This blog was written by Claire Martin, Mentor Co-ordinator ISSEP and Communications Officer.

Circle is a Scottish charity which works to improve the lives of children by strengthening families. We work alongside children and families to ensure children’s rights are upheld and maintained.

Our family support workers place value on building relationships with the whole family, both as individuals and as a collective.  From the outset, children and young people are made aware of the reasons for our involvement, their rights in the process and their views taken into account.  Our support and involvement is shaped for the individual, taking into account their unique circumstances.

We build relationships with children and young people by acting as a positive role model, supporting and working with them to achieve their potential.  We do this through meeting in their home, advocating for them and accompanying them to meetings.  A safe environment is created, allowing the children and young people to share their ambitions, achievements and worries.

Circle’s Inter-School Social Education Project (ISSEP) is a mentoring project which builds positive relationships between children and young people.  The project pairs primary aged children with volunteer ‘buddies’ aged 16-18.  The buddies give the children one-to-one support with homework and the opportunity to play, build friendships and share any worries in a safe and secure space.  The buddies themselves grow in confidence and understanding of the world around them, building resilience and recognising the world from another person’s point of view.  You can find more information on Circle’s website.

Circle’s Young Persons Service supports 12-18 year olds who are at risk of using drugs and/or alcohol.  The support is tailored to the individual’s needs, drawing on their strengths and empowering them to express their views to the adults in their lives.

We strive to engage with the young people in creative ways, helping them to feel safe whilst having their views heard.  The young people Circle engages with are currently undertaking a photography project in order to document their feelings and tell their story.  This is a powerful piece of work which we are sure will be positively received when the images are revealed in an exhibition later in the year.  Keep an eye on our social media sites for details of the exhibition.  This project was funded by Lloyds PDI ‘Everyone has a Story’ report.

We ensure children and young people’s views are taken into account in decisions that affect them.  Family Support Workers are trained to use tools to gather the views of children and young people they work with.  These can be used to present the views of children and young people through structural processes such as Child Planning Meetings and Children’s Hearings.

Circle’s wider family support services include projects working with families affected by imprisonment and parental substance use.  We help children and young people have their needs identified, met and views heard in family and child planning processes, as well as working closely with schools and community services.  We offer whole family support, whilst always keeping the child or young person at the centre to ensure their views are heard and their rights are upheld.

It is our hope that all children and young people supported across our projects are safe, happy, healthy and nurtured within a stable family environment, which supports them to achieve their potential.

More information on Circle’s service can be found on our website and you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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