Tusla launches progressive national charters for children and young people
- Participation of children and young people a key focus for the agency –
Wednesday, 28 June 2017: Tusla – Child and Family Agency today launched National Children and Young people’s Charters. Tusla worked with Dr Carmel Corrigan, and a group of children and young people to develop charters that reflect the views and preferences of children and young people. These groups were consulted on content, design and layout of the charters.
The Children and Young People’s Charters aim to:
- Give children/ young people and their families’ greater clarity about the quality of services they can expect from all Tusla staff members, how Tusla staff will interact with them to find solutions, and the principles that underpin this work.
- Provide all staff with a clear guide and reminder of what is important to children and young people with whom we work.
The charters follow the development of Tusla’s ‘Toward the Development of a Participation Strategy for Children and Young People: National Guidance and Local Implementation’ which identified the development of a Children’s Charter as a priority action.
The charters were officially launched by Jim Gibson, Chief Operations Officer, Tusla. He said: “We want to ensure that we share power, control and responsibility with children, families and communities and that they are involved in the decisions that affect their lives. The development of these important charters is another step on that journey. It was really insightful to hear the opinions of children and young people and to hear what’s important to them. These views are important to us as we continue to develop our services into the future.”
Dr Fergal Lynch, Secretary General, Department of Children and Youth Affairs said: "I warmly welcome Tusla's publication today of the National Children's Charter and the National Young People's Charter. Tusla has been to the forefront in implementing the the Department'sNational Strategy on Children and Young People's Participation in Decision Making, 2015-2020, and today's launch is a very strong example of this".
There is significant evidence to suggest that when children and young people are meaningfully engaged in child protection interventions, it can lead to better outcomes. The participation of children and young people is fundamental to a child-centred, rights-based approach to working with children and young people. It is a requirement of the National Strategy on Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision Making and Better Outcomes Brighter Futures. In addition, it is a key point of note in HIQA’s National Standards for the Protection and Welfare of Children.
Independent researcher, Dr Carmel Corrigan, who met with the children and young people to write the charters, said “The fact that Tusla came to this project from the young people’s view is, I think, a very positive indication of how far we have come and of Tusla’s commitment to children and young people’s participation. It recognises that hearing and properly considering children’s views is not just an important right that we are obliged to uphold, but is the right thing to do. It recognises the intrinsic value to all of us, young people, service providers and society, of listening and paying attention to what children and young people have to say.”
Tusla is further developing participation throughout the Agency through its Prevention, partnership and Family Support programme. The aim of this programme is to prevent risks to children and young people arising or escalating by building sustainable intellectual capacity and manpower within Tusla and partner organisations to perform early intervention work.
To view the charters or find out more click here.
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Notes to the Editor:
In 1992 Ireland ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention contains 54 social, economic and cultural rights that the State had committed to strive to uphold. In addition to the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 2012 Ireland voted to strengthen the rights of the child within its own Constitution. In summary, these new Constitutional rights provide that the State will:
- Recognise children in their own right;
- Treat all children equally;
- Protect children from abuse and neglect;
- Ensure that young people’s views are heard and their best interests considered in Court proceedings;
- Support families.
In 2015, Tusla’s ‘Toward the Development of a Participation Strategy for Children and Young People: National Guidance and Local Implementation’ identified the development of a national Children’s Charter as a priority action.
Tusla is strongly committed to the principle and practice of children’s participation. Reflecting this, the Children’s Charter was developed in consultation with children and young people.
Following a review of children’s charters from Ireland and elsewhere, consultations were held with four Tusla sponsored groups, one from each Tusla region. Approximately 50 children and young people aged between 9 and 17 years took part in these consultations.
The charters were developed using the ‘Lundy Model of Participation’ with children and young people.