Welcome to Together’s blog highlighting promising practice of how organisations across Scotland have been furthering children’s participation! We are excited to share with you examples from CELCIS, See Me, Play Scotland and a Place in Childhood, and the Care Inspectorate.
We hope these inspiring examples can can help you to identify and implement a child-rights based approach to your work.
CELCIS – Supporting Care Experienced Young Consultants
CELCIS supported a group of young consultants aged 18 years old and above with lived experience of care in developing, writing and reviewing the guidance on changes to legislation around the rights of brothers and sisters with care experience in Scotland.
The Consultants had different levels of skills and knowledge when it came to writing guidance. These differences strengthened the work but also meant CELCIS needed to establish support through the process to ensure that all Consultants could take part and contribute to the process on an equal footing.
Adequate time and resources were directed towards planning, scoping and discussing the project to ensure good communication in supporting the Consultants to lead the project. This support included a session at the start of the process about exploring the legislation and the context including the different views and needs of the sector as well as the differences between guidance creation and implementation. Breaking down the complexities of the legislation into manageable sections for the consultants to work on was a key aspect of the work.
The Consultants met with the Minister for Children and Young People at the culmination of this work. This meant that they could share learning about how to support people with lived experience of care to directly inform the development of practice guidance, and the value of this input in shaping the guidance. This has also enabled CELCIS to incorporate the experience and input of those with lived experience of care into other aspects of work, including Scottish Government policy consultation responses.
- The work was profiled at the UN Day of General Discussion 2021 and can be viewed here (minute 25). Saffron Rohan, one of the consultants, also wrote a blog on the process.
See Me – What’s On Your Mind Pack
See Me worked with young people to co-produce their What’s On Your Mind Pack (WYOM) which is designed to be used as a resource for educational settings. Its aim is to help both teachers and pupils to learn more about mental health, and to develop the skills and confidence they need to tackle stigma and discrimination in schools and across their communities.
The WYOM pack includes many different sections and activities that were designed and developed with young people. This was achieved through setting up working groups and focus groups with See Me Youth volunteers, See Me Staff and key partners. These groups would remain relatively small, with around 5-10 people involved. Groups would reflect and feedback on existing resources, identify gaps and where the resource should be trialled. This presented the opportunity for See Me Youth Volunteers to research existing resources and bring suggestions to the groups of things that could be adapted or developed for the WOYM resource. There were also opportunities in these meetings to set individual actions for some of the group members to lead on. Providing opportunities for some young people to lead on these working groups and consultations also enhanced the element of co-production.
The pack is designed for use with young people aged between 12 and 17 and is split into three modules: Building Confidence; Challenging Stigma, Discrimination and Dual Stigma; and Taking Action. They also developed, with young people’s support, a What’s On Your Mind Card (a card that has information on where, how and who to get support from with mental health) to help young people talk about mental health and get the help and support they need. See Me Scotland has also produced a Passport to Health and Wellbeing, which can be used by young people to describe and share their experiences of mental health support in schools.
The young volunteers involved in this work wanted to ensure that young people growing up in Scotland, no matter where they live, will have consistency of support and information, building a common language, guidance, signposting and training to ensure that no child or young person is left behind.
Play Scotland and A Place in Childhood– Children’s Contribution to Planning
The Place Standard tool is a way of assessing places – whether they are well-established, undergoing change or still being planned. It allows communities, including children and young people to think about the physical elements of a place (for example its buildings, spaces and transport links) as well as the social aspects (for example whether people feel they have a say in decision making).
In 2018-19, Scottish Government commissioned Play Scotland and A Place in Childhood develop two new draft tools – one for children (broadly age 5-12) and one for young people (broadly age 13-18). The aim was to aid the inclusion of children and young people’s views in planning, for instance, not only what a play space should look like but also how they may get there, whether they can access the services they need, and how designs might include children with different needs such as disability.
The children and young people’s Place Standard tools have been developed to provide prompts for discussions, allowing children and young people to consider all the elements of a place through the consideration of the 14 themes. This is done through a walkaround their community, facilitated discussion and scoring. The output of using the tool is a graph that charts what the children and young people think about their community, that can be read alongside other responses to provide a holistic view.
- The website where these tools are to be released is currently being made accessible and interactive.
Care Inspectorate – Young Inspection Volunteers
The Care Inspectorate is a Corporate Parent which has benefitted from the input of Young Inspection Volunteers in the development of its Corporate Parenting Plan. The Young Inspection Volunteers are a group of 15 young people aged between 18-26 years old.
Young Inspection Volunteers presented a new plan to the Care Inspectorate board. They also supported the Care Inspectorate to publish child-friendly versions of the plan and an accompanying report. At the start of the project, the Care Inspectorate asked the Young Inspection Volunteers how they would like to be involved in the corporate parenting group, their ideas for the delivery of the plan and what projects they would like to be involved in as the project progressed.
The continuous engagement with the Young Inspection Volunteers on how to continually further their involvement enabled the Care Inspectorate to understand that Young Inspection Volunteers preferred working in smaller focus groups and some preferred working on specific projects at a time. The Young Inspection Volunteers were provided with mobile phones and laptops to support their participation in the project. They also led in the use of other social media platforms to increase engagement on platforms such as Tik Tok, Instagram and Snapchat.
The Young Inspection Volunteers talked with children and young people who use Care Inspectorate services and listened to their views. They met managers to find out how well they involve children and young people in developing and improving services, and how successful these partnerships are at fulfilling their responsibilities and duties as corporate parents.
As a result of their engagement, the Care Inspectorate’s understanding of corporate parenting greatly increased. Ensuring the voices of children and young people are meaningfully heard continues to shape and influence the Care Inspectorate’s work. The Care Inspectorate recognises children and young people’s expertise and the difference they can make. As the Care Inspectorate moves forward in keeping The Promise, this is vitally important.
This blog is part of Together’s 2022 State of Children’s Rights report blog series. You can find out more about our 2022 report here