Welcome to Together’s blog showcasing promising practice across Scotland! We are delighted to share with you examples from the Care Inspectorate, A Place in Childhood and Starcatchers on their approach to raising awareness of children’s rights for children and adults.
We hope you take inspiration from these examples, to better identify and implement a child-rights based approach to your work.
Care Inspectorate – Young Inspection Volunteers raising awareness of relationships between Care Experienced sibling
Care Inspectorate worked with the Young Inspection Volunteers (aged 18-26) to promote awareness of the experiences of siblings who are Care Experienced.
The Young Inspection Volunteers made a film about promoting and supporting sibling relationships for children and young people who are Care Experienced. They know how important it is to raise awareness of this issue based on their own Care Experience and the experiences of children and young people they meet with on inspections. Their experience of care services means that they are the experts in knowing what works. They use this information to strengthen and scrutinise quality improvements.
The film explores the complexities, challenges and special magic of sibling relationships that can get you through the tough times and joyous times too. For children and young people who are Care Experienced this is particularly important.
This work contributed to greater recognition of the importance of supportive relationships for brothers and sisters who are Care Experienced. The Care Inspectorate are members of the partnership Stand Up for Siblings which has successfully campaigned for changes in legislation. New legislation recognises the rights of brothers and sisters to live together and to spend quality time with each other. The Young Inspection Volunteers have been influential in taking this agenda forward. Scottish Government guidance Staying Together and Connected: Getting It Right for Brothers and Sisters was published in July 2021. Young Inspection Volunteers made a significant contribution to this and continue to be involved in the implementation of these changes. They know how important this issue is and are passionate about making a difference.
- Watch the Stand Up for Siblings project here.
A Place in Childhood – Working with children to raise awareness through research
A Place in Childhood (‘APiC’) has been working with Sustrans on a research project. The project aims to better understand what would make children and young people aged 12 plus, to walk and cycle more independently in their communities.
The project was designed to be in-person with elements that involved face-to-face engagements, walks, cycling, taking photos, and creating maps. This was adapted to operate offline as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions.
APiC worked with 31 young consultants aged between 11 and 16 using Mural (a digital space with a digital canvas and creative tools that enables teamwork) to visualise and map their neighbourhoods, discuss their experiences and ideas. The young consultants were encouraged to take pictures of their neighbourhoods and add these to the digital maps. These helped young consultants describe their journeys to help develop priorities for local improvements.
The young consultants had independence to direct the research which encouraged them to become active participants in talking about their communities and shaping the research. Using Mural helped children talk about their experiences and make contributions anonymously, which also encouraged more participation.
Directing and shaping the project meant the young consultants had ownership and stayed engaged throughout the project. APiC also paid the consultants for their time and equipment using their young consultants payment model (around £15-20 pounds per workshop).
A project report will be released by Sustrans in due course.
Starcatchers – Learn what children are saying through play
Starcatchers advocates for children’s agency, strengthening parent/carer-child bonds and nurturing curiosity and self-expression through arts and creativity. Their advocacy work explores how to consult with the youngest pre- and non-verbal children and learning from what children are saying through play.
Starcatchers’ Making My Mark campaign celebrated the role arts and creative experiences to help children learn about their rights during their earliest years. The project was centred around the response to UNCRC incorporation and how art can be used as a medium for children to access all their rights (not just Article 31). The campaign was online and targeted parents, practitioners and policy makers.
Through the campaign, Starcatchers created resources to embed arts and creativity into early years practice to ensure arts are seen as foundational to the implementation of the UNCRC and not an extra. It organised creative skills training programme for professionals working with children via blogs, films and participation in the “Firestarter event” that took place in early 2020.
Making My Mark raised awareness of the voices of very young children and the need to acknowledge what the youngest children are saying. The campaign increased interest in Starcatchers’ role in Scottish Government’s consultation work to seek the views of younger children. It explored the possibility of involving very young children authentically and meaningfully in decision making processes. Starcatchers is currently in the early stages of developing an arts based methodology for consulting with the youngest children.
Starcatchers uses an internal self-assessment process to evaluate their projects and to direct their advocacy. Monthly evaluation meetings, called “What are the babies telling us?” help to analyse what the babies are saying and what their needs are through their responses to artistic provocations. Starcatchers uses this understanding to shape their campaigns and activities.
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!