A Children’s Rights Approach in Wales

The Right Way:

A Children’s Rights Approach in Wales is a framework for working with children, grounded in the UNCRC to help public bodies integrate children’s rights into every aspect of decision-making, policy and practice.

Created with expert advice from the Wales Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Young People, it encourages public services across the country to commit to the UNCRC and to improve how they plan and deliver their services.

A Children’s Rights Approach means that:

  • Organisations will prioritise children’s rights in their work with children and families to improve children’s lives
  • All children are given the opportunities to make the most of their talents and potential
  • All children are given access to information and resources to enable them to take full advantage of their rights
  • Children are provided meaningful opportunities to influence decisions about their lives
  • Authorities and individuals are accountable to children for decisions, and for outcomes that affect children’s lives

If you would like to read more about our Children’s Right Approach you can download our Right Way guide:

Download Our Right Way Guide

We also have Simple Self Assessment and CRIA Tools, you’ll be able to see these tools in our Resources tab below.

The principles of a Children’s Rights Approach are:

1.Embedding children’s rights – putting children’s rights at the core of planning and service delivery

2. Equality and non-discrimination – ensuring that every child has an equal opportunity to be the best they can be

3. Empowering children – enhancing children’s capabilities as individuals so they’re better able to take advantage of rights, and engage with and hold accountable the institutions and individuals that affect their lives

4. Participation – listening to children and taking their views meaningfully into account

5. Accountability – authorities should be accountable to children for decisions and actions that affect their lives

Investing in children’s rights has real benefits for organisations:

  • It will help public bodies to meet their statutory duties
  •  It contributes to enabling more children and young people to be better involved in public services; leading to better decision making
  • It ensure there’s a real focus on the particular needs of children whose voices can be lost or silenced
  • It helps to create an environment where public services are accountable to all of its service users


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.

Aneurin Bevan

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.

Read about BaYouth’s Case Study here

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.

Read the Cardiff and Vale Health Board Case Study here

Betsi Cadwaladr

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.

Read the Public Health Wales Case Study here

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:

WAST – Children’s Promises

WAST – Case Study

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.

Children’s Charter

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.

Children’s Rights Charter

Children’s Rights Charter – Arabic

Children’s Rights Charter – Polish

Parc Prison

All young people and staff at Parc Prison are aware of children’s rights under the UNCRC.

Young people learn about their rights and are encouraged to have their say on matters that affect them. Staff are expected to refer to children’s rights at relevant opportunities.

Staff at Parc feel that a rights-based approach has benefited both the young people and themselves.

Read the Parc Prison Case Study here


Hillside is a Secure Children’s Home located in the town of Neath Port Talbot, in Wales. Read this case study to learn how young people have a say within this secure setting:

Hillside Case Study 

South Wales Police

We’ve delivered a training session with South Wales Police’s Gold command: its senior police leaders.

They have committed to embedding a Children’s Rights Approach in their work, and have developed a children’s rights charter, with the support of young people from Pentrehafod school and Hillside Secure Unit. The charter shows how they’ll uphold and promote their human rights.

We’re also working with them to develop their participation strategy.

Here is a poster of the children’s rights charter –

Children’s Rights Poster

SWP have also created a video that shows the 7 rights young people have when they come in contact with the police, including when they have been a victim of a crime or accused of breaking the law.

Officers, staff and volunteers are all expected to abide by the charter’s promises whenever they come into contact with young people.

Here is a link to the Children’s Charter Launch video –

Children’s Charter Launch Video

Gwynedd and Anglesey Youth Justice Service

Gwynedd and Anglesey Youth Justice Service have been embedding children and young people’s rights into all aspects of their work. Click on the link below to know how they’ve embedded the principles:

Gwynedd and Anglesey Youth Service Case Study

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.

Wrexham Local Authority

Whilst working on their Children’s Social Care Engagement Strategy, the Authority recognised that they didn’t have a child-friendly version of the complaints procedure for children and young people.

They involved the Young People’s Care Council and Senedd Yr Ifanc in drafting and designing a new form, which has now been published and promoted across the county’s schools.

Read the Wrexham Case Study here

National Museums Wales

National Museum Wales are continuing to embed children’s and young people’s rights into all aspects of their work.

In order to continue to deliver events and activities that are not just ‘for’ but ‘with’ and ‘by’ young people, they have established a network of young creatives; their ‘Young Heritage Leaders’ who help them develop and deliver activities and events.

They also consult on curatorial questions and events planning and are helping to shake things up at the museum.

This work is made possible by the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s ‘Kick the Dust’ project. 

To get involved with youth projects at National Museum Wales, get in touch with youth.forum@museumwales.ac.uk

NRW Children’s Rights Approach

Natural Resources Wales worked with the Children’s Commissioner for Wales Office and children across Wales, to develop a Children’s Rights Approach that will help to make sure that the environment and natural resources of Wales are sustainably maintained, sustainably enhanced and sustainably used, now and in the future.  It also captures the commitments the children made to help look after nature and the world around them.

The Children’s Rights Charter shows how NRW will uphold and promote children’s rights in our work and deliver better services for children and young people in Wales.

Children’s Rights Charter  – A4 Poster Bilingual

Sport Wales

Sports Wales have been embedding children and young people’s rights into all aspects of their work. To know how they have embedded the 5 principles in their work, click on the link below:

Read Sports Wales Case Study here

Monmouthshire Children’s Services Participation Strategy for Children and Young People

This Participation Strategy from Monmouthshire’s Children’s Services is an excellent example of how services are embedding the principle of participation into their ways of working. We have chosen to share this best case example as it;

  1. Has a bold commitment to rights;
  2. Plans to strategically embed children’s views into all elements of children’s services – planning, policies, commissioning, reviewing;
  3. Aims to be collaborative, for children to be valued, respected and in control;
  4. It reflects on the different degrees of participation and the many ways in which children can be included and asked for views – no ‘one size fits all approach’
  5. Focuses on the importance of children being informed;
  6. Sets out a strong message that all children should know how their views can affect decisions about their life and services.

We plan to stay in touch with Monmouthshire, to learn about how this strategy has been put into practice. We’ll be keen to find out what difference this has made to children and young people’s experiences of services.

Monmouthshire Children’s Services Participation Strategy for Children and Young People

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.

You can download and view resources here to help you embed a children’s rights approach;

Children’s Rights Impact Assessment (CRIA)

Welsh Government use Children Right’s Impact Assessments (CRIA) to evidence how they have had regard to children’s rights in their decision making.  Although not all public bodies are required to use CRIA, they can be a useful tool to prompt decision makers to stop and think about the implications of their plans and how to ensure they have the most positive impact possible on children and young people.  In fact, some local authority staff asked us for a template CRIA document that they could use, so we have responded by producing this document that is free to use for anyone working in any type of organisation.

The document is designed to prompt your thinking on each of the five key principles of our Children’s Rights Approach and we’ve left space for you to note down your thinking but it does not have to be completed in full.

Download our CRIA tool

Simple Self-Assessment Tool

This self-assessment tool helps professionals and organisations to improve how they work with young people, including:

  • linking your strategic plan to children’s rights
  • providing information to children in accessible language
  • giving children opportunities to make changes and influence your organisation’s work
  • being accountable to children and young people

Use our simple self-assessment tool (PDF)

Use our simple-assessment tool (Word Document)

Upholding the Principles

We have a wide range of resources developed with children and professionals to support you to uphold the principles of a children’s rights approach:

Equality and Anti-Racism Resources