Organisations in Wales are improving their services for children and young people by involving them in their work, taking their ideas on board, and upholding and promoting their rights under the UNCRC.
Here’s a flavour of some of the excellent work happening across the country.
If you need help or advice on your organisation’s work with children and young people, please get in touch.
In April 2019, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board became the first health board to sign up to the Children and Young People’s National Participation Standards Charter, and recently obtained the National Children’s Participation Kitemark, awarded by the First Minister.
They are exploring opportunities to work with the existing local youth forums across the Health Board area, including the youth group based in the Serennu centre in Newport, and Regional youth forum.
Aneurin Bevan has established a Children’s Rights and Participation Forum, and have organised for staff to receive children’s rights training.
Aneurin Bevan has also been working to provide a more universal advocacy offer for children and young people in health settings.
Swansea Bay Health Board – BAYouth
BAYouth is Swansea Bay’s youth advisory panel. Previously ABMYouth, the Panel consists of around 20 young people, and was established in 2017.
The Panel meets monthly, and has lots of success stories to share, including their work on the ’15 steps challenge’, visiting different health settings around the health board area to see what the impression is for young people taking their first 15 steps into that setting.
Members of the Panel also sit on interview panels to recruit health professionals.
Children’s Rights Charter
Swansea Bay University Health Board (Formerly Abertawe Bro Morgannwg) were the first Health Board to develop a Children’s Rights Charter, in 2017. They are now developing a pictorial version of the charter for children and young people with additional needs, working with primary and special schools in the health board area.
Some of Bay Youth’s work includes:
- A report on paediatric services at Morriston Hospital
- Sitting on the interview panel, and having an equal say in the appointments of new members of staff
- Calling for and leading to the setup of a helpline for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.
- Work on a paediatrics care poster
- A review of the Children’s Rights Charter
Cardiff and Vale Health Board
The health board published a Children’s Rights Charter on Universal Children’s Day 2018.
It lists the promises the health board makes to all children and young people who use its services, all linked to their rights under the UNCRC.
They also have an active Youth Board, with 30 young people with a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences.
Some of the work they’ve been involved in includes influencing patient consultation methods, interviewing staff, and improvements to Child and Adolescent Mental Health services.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board have shared one of the ways they support their children and young people to have a say (Article 12) in Glan Clwyd Hospital.
This video shows how they use ‘High 5 Low 5’, an opportunity for children to have their voices heard while in hospital. It is a feedback tool used by the Health Board to ensure that all children and young people have a chance to say what they think in an easy and engaging way. By using the ‘High 5 Low 5’ method, the staff know what things they can improve on the ward.
Public Health Wales
The national public health agency has produced Young People’s Annual Quality Statements, held its first ever Public Health Youth Summit, and created a new Young Ambassadors programme.
Welsh Ambulance Services
The Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust have been looking at their policies around emergency calls, and when paramedics attend to patients.
The Trust undertook a big engagement exercise in different settings across Wales, which identified ways that young people felt the Trust could improve its interaction with young people.
One of the issues raised was that the scripts used for answering emergency calls or attending a patient may use words that children and young people might find it hard to understand.
They held a consultation to come up with alternative words when interacting with children and young people.
They have committed to a series of promises (co-produced with children), which are aimed at being more responsive to their needs. They’re also working on easy read versions of documents, and the use of pictorial characters in these documents to make them easier to understand for those children and young people with specific learning needs.
Here is a poster that shows a series of those promises:
Powys Teaching Health Board
In the summer of 2018, Powys Teaching Health Board held joint workshops with the local authority, which included the Regional Partnership Board’s children and young people’s sub-group, Start Well, and the Powys Youth Forum.
These workshops resulted in a draft ‘Children and Young People’s Pledge’. The young people themselves decided that they preferred the word pledge, rather than charter.
It is hoped that the Pledge will be published soon.
Developed in 2021 the Children’s Charter was a collaboration between Dyfed-Powys Police, Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner, Hywel Dda University Health Board and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service involving over 200 children and young people.