Tusla launches new Child and Youth Participation Strategy
Tusla – Child and Family Agency yesterday launched its new Child and Youth Participation Strategy for 2019-2023. The Strategy is a central part of Tusla’s on-going commitment to the participation of children, young people and parents in the decisions that affect their lives.
In the creation of the Child and Youth Participation Strategy 2019-2023, Tusla engaged and consulted with a wide range of stakeholders, in order to better understand the challenges and requirements involved in further embedding participatory practices within the agency. A consultation process involving over 300 Tusla staff, funded agencies and young people took place nationally. The key themes that emerged through this process helped to shape the development of the Child and Youth Participation Strategy.
Speaking about the launch, Pat Smyth, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Tusla, said “The term ‘participation’ refers to the involvement of children and young people in decision-making on issues that affect their lives. True participation can only be achieved through engagement in dialogue, in an interactive, on-going and inclusive process. This strategy aims to support, nurture and celebrate the overall commitment to participation seen across the agency.”
In 2018, the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre found strong evidence of children and young people’s participation being embedded across Tusla. Tusla acknowledges the need to further develop and implement these participation processes and structures throughout the organisation at every level of engagement. The new Child and Youth Participation Strategy for 2019-2023 aims to further embed the voice of children and young people throughout the agency.
Speaking about the official launch of the Child and Youth Participation Strategy for 2019-2023, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD, said ''Children and young people have a right to be heard. This is particularly true in terms of proceedings, policies and laws which directly impact on their lives. As Minister I am determined that the voice of the child is central to everything we do. I welcome this commitment by Tusla. It is now vital that it is reflected with actions on the ground so that our young people get a say, and that their views are taken into account.”
Tusla’s Child and Youth Participation Strategy is relevant to all Tusla staff, as well as
organisations and practitioners that are funded by Tusla to provide services to children, young people and their families. It is also relevant to other partners, both statutory and non-statutory, who are not directly funded by Tusla but have a central role in assisting the organisation to achieve positive outcomes for children, young people and their families. Most importantly, this strategy is relevant to children and young people who are engaged in Tusla services and their parents/carers.