Participation in Prevention through Partnership
Listening to the voices of young people is vital to ensure that support services for the whole family are effective in preventing inappropriate caring. Over the past 15 years we have consulted with young carers affected by parental mental ill health and parental substance misuse to find out what can be done to support them.
Over the course of the Prevention through Partnership programme we consulted with young carers about joining up services, how whole family working is supporting them and what still needs to change. We also supported them to develop leadership and presentation skills to take their messages forward on national and local levels, by becoming Roving Reporters. They had the opportunity to interview professionals at the Capacity Building Days to find out how they identify young carers and their families affected by substance misuse and mental ill health, how they engage with and support these families, whether they are working in partnership with other agencies and whether they encourage staff training to support the development of a whole family approach.
In this Participation Pack you will find examples of practice standards, activities, approaches and techniques that encourage consultation and the participation of children, young people and their families in all levels of your work, from planning to implementation to monitoring and evaluation.
If children, young people and families are at the heart of what you do it makes sense to put structures in place to ensure that they are able to actively participate in any decisions that may affect them. These tools are suitable for all practitioners to use. Some require a level of facilitation experience; others can adapted to suit the needs of the participants.
Standards for participation
Hear by Right - The premier standards framework used across many statutory and voluntary sector organisations, based on the tried and tested 7 S Framework for organisational change. All resources relating to Hear by Right are available free. You can also contact Bill Badham for more information.
Practice Standards in Children’s Participation - This 2005 publication presents a set of practice standards developed by Save the Children on the basis of its experience in children's participation in countries across the world.
Children’s participation in decision-making - A 2010 summary report providing insight on into the levels and ways in which children are involved in decision making in various settings and highlights the nature and extent of existing barriers to promoting a culture of inclusive decision-making.
Approaches to participation
Putting Children at the Centre: A practical guide to children's participation - This two part guide offers guidance to practitioners working with children. It is designed to help staff develop their own best practice and pilot new ways of involving children.
How to build a culture of participation - This 2010 guide provides information and practical ideas about how to embed participation throughout your organisation in a way that brings about change.
Involving children and young people: an introduction - (2009) This short introduction, used over ten years and recently updated, offers some key underpinning values and explores the strengths and limitations of a range of participative approaches.
Disability Toolkit - The Children’s Society has created the Disability Toolkit so that you can share your experiences of working with young people and your knowledge of resources with others working in the same field. Also the Disability Advocacy Project brings you a practical, professional guide to participation.
So You Want to Consult with Children? A toolkit of good practice - Useful ideas for involving children in discussions about decisions and issues that affect them.
Spice it up - Practical tools for engaging children and young people in planning and consultations. This fun and lively manual provides more than 40 tried-and-tested activities and games to get children and young people involved in the decision-making process.
Participation and campaigning
Act by Right is a resource to support action and change. Written by Bill Badham in 2004 and updated in 2009, it arose out of a strong belief in children and young people’s right to activism and concern at the lack of robust but accessible resources to support this. It is based on a five stage journey and uses activities to build knowledge and skills to better equip activists to build and sustain campaigns to make things better where they live or on the things that are important to them.
Participation and change
What’s Changed is a simple story board tool asking what had been said, what had happened and what had changed as a result. There are over 80 stories to encourage and challengel; each story of change needs evidence from the intended beneficiaries. This model of reporting fits with well with Friedman’s Results Based Accountability.
The Askability website was inspired by The Children's Society Solihull branch, after watching children at their project misunderstand the news about the war in Iraq. They decided that there was a need for a website which was presented entirely in symbol to enable children with learning disabilities to become informed about ongoing current affairs and also create a central forum for children to express their views and opinions.
RightSpace asks big questions of you about what’s changed over the last 13 years through the increase in children and young people’s participation. What’s your experience? What’s changed? What are the challenges ahead? This site brings together conversations and content to help explore, reflect and motivate, leading to a series of events. These were grouped round 5 main themes:
- Children’s human rights
- Accountability and leadership
- Rights and research
- Holding on and moving forward
- Participation and change
Research and evaluation
The YRN toolkit is written for young researchers, but can be used by anyone involved in youth-led research projects. Youth workers or project leaders could use the toolkit to support additional group learning and discussion.