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Welcome and Introduction
Hello and welcome to our first Involved by Right newsletter!
First, let me give you a brief introduction to the
project. Involved by Right is an EU Daphne
programme grant-funded project which seeks
to improve participation and advocacy in child
protection to achieve better outcomes for children
at risk. The project is unique in that it will ensure the
active participation of children with experience of the
child protection system and those in public care.
The project started in March 2011 and will end
in February 2013. A strong partnership of five
organisations has been brought together to bring
expertise of children’s rights to frontline practitioners:
Barnardo’s and National Children’s Bureau (NCB)
which are two UK non-government organisations,
the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (UK)
Helsingborg local authority (Sweden) and the local
Social Health Unit in Bassano del Grappa ( Italy).
The project has been designed to deliver a specific
Daphne programme priority:
“ Field work at grass-roots level with involvement of
children and young people to empower them to
protect themselves and their peers against violence.”
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It is envisaged that children and young people will
be at the forefront of project activities through the
emphasis on:
• Participation – young people who have
experience of the child protection system will
be recruited to Youth Advisory Boards (YABs) in
the three countries to help steer the project. YAB
representatives will take part in transnational
project steering meetings, and a residential event
in the UK. They will also be supported to develop
resources for young people to have their voice
heard in the child protection processes.
• Advocacy - an advocacy model will be piloted
to effectively enable children to influence
decision- making in individual child protection
planning processes.
The project set -up stage is now almost complete and
the pilot field work study and YABs pilot field work
study...is now up and running. I think we all recognise
that the progress would not have been possible
without the transnational meetings which have taken
place in England and Sweden. These meetings
have provided a forum to think about advocacy and
participation in a broader, international context and to
share knowledge and experiences of best practice by
bringing together practitioners and experts in the field.
From my own perspective, It has been particularly
enjoyable to see how partnerships have come
together to form a strong alliance around Article 12
UNCRC principles, which for this project is about
empowering children to be active participants in child
protection decision-making processes. Children in
the child protection system are too often ignored
because of the challenges involved in balancing
rights that are about protection and rights that are
about participation. The aspiration is to make a real
difference by providing effective advocacy support
for children to have a say in decisions that affect
their lives. At the end of the project, we will bring
findings together in an international EU protocol to
set standards for children’s active participation in
the child protection system. A best practice toolkit
and young people’s resources will be produced by
involving the YABs in all stages of the developments.
In addition to bringing you up to speed with the project
group’s aspirations and work to date, this edition will
also introduce you to Amanda Rodgers who is our
international YAB coordinator. Amanda will help make
arrangements for young people to participate in
transnational project steering group meetings, and host
the young people’s residential event in the UK in 2012.
I hope you will all join me in welcoming her to the project.
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I am really grateful to everyone in the project team
for the commitment to develop project delivery plans
which sets out the details of the project description.
I hope this newsletter has helped you get to know
the project better, and watch this space for updates
of Involved by Right activities. If you want to find out
more, the contact page provides contact details to
the project leads in each organisation.
Enjoy the rest of the summer, and all the best!
Camilla Webster
Involved by Right Project Manager
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The Project
The key, specific aim of the project is:
“ To improve participation and advocacy in child
protection to achieve better outcomes for
children at risk.”
The project has four overlapping work strands with
their own objectives:
1) Participation – a Young People’s Shadow Board
has participated in project design and has set
up activities. A Youth Advisory Board will be
set up in each country to help steer the project
and develop resources for young people and
professionals. In the UK, young people will have
had experience of child protection processes,
some will also have care experiences and a care
leaver will chair the YAB. In Sweden, the YAB will
be made up by young people in a residential care
unit. In Italy, young people will be recruited from
a regional area and will participate in hosting the
transnational meeting in Italy in the autumn.
2) Advocacy – in the UK an advocacy model will
be developed for children in child protection as
a partnership between the Royal Borough of
Kensington and Chelsea and Barnardo’s. The
pilot will also include developing a Strengthening
Families approach to improve the engagement of
families in child protection conferences. In Italy
and Sweden, advocacy approaches will be piloted
in foster care and residential care settings.
3) Research and development – the National
Children’s Bureau research team bring much
valued expertise and will undertake a literature
review, evaluate the UK field work study of
advocacy in child protection, and help coordinate
the evaluation of advocacy approaches in foster
care and residential care in Italy and Sweden.
4) Knowledge transfer – round table discussions
and workshops will be held at transnational
meetings on the topics of advocacy and
participation. At the end of the project a
dissemination conference will take place in
London, UK to bring together partners and
professionals and YAB representatives. The
evaluation report, best practice toolkit and
young people’s resources will be published and
disseminated at this event.
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News
New child protection advocacy project
In June, an article was published in Children and
Young People Now with the heading ‘Safeguarding:
Advocacy programme gives children chance to be
heard’. The article stated that:
“ Barnardo’s will be running a new child protection
advocacy project in Kensington and Chelsea
after the authority secured EU funding as part of
its wider Involved By Right scheme.
“ The project will be evaluated by the National
Children’s Bureau and involve young people from
start to finish.”
A link to the full article is provided here.
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Transnational project meetings
London meeting
The first Steering Committee (SC) meeting was held
in London on 4 and 5 April 2011. The purpose of
this meeting was to introduce partners from the UK,
Sweden and Italy to each other and to find out about
EU project and budget management rules.
NCB gave a presentation on how Involved by Right
would build on and share expertise from programmes
such as ‘Participation Works’, ‘Young Inspectors’ and
‘Youth Advisory Boards’.
A ‘How to’ guide on Youth Advisory Boards has been
published, and a broad range of participation resources
can be found on the NCB website click here.
A proposed research strategy was circulated and
discussed by the NCB research lead. It was agreed
that further work was needed to determine the local
research approach in both Sweden and Italy. This
was to be finalised at the June meeting.
A young person from the Shadow Board, supported
by NCB, gave a brief presentation on principles of
participation. The Shadow Board was tasked with
putting together a job description and application form
to recruit Youth Advisory Board members. YABS are
due to be up and running in September 2011 in the
UK and Sweden. The Italian partner is taking a regional
approach and the timescale will therefore be different.
The full presentations from the first Steering
Committee meeting are available on the Participation
Works membership area to be shared more widely
within the partnership. The website provides access
to useful participation information and resources, and
as project partners, NCB will share other resources for
free on request. To access the website click here:
the project manager in each country has been
provided with password details.
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Sweden meeting
The second SC, a workshop and a round table
discussion was held in Helsingborg, Sweden from
20 to 22 June 2011. The SC programme covered
progress on Youth Advisory Boards and the pilot
fieldwork study. The Research Strategy was also
agreed at this meeting.
The focus for the round table discussion was
‘Advocacy’, with Barnardo’s delivering a presentation
on advocacy approaches in the UK. It provided
important insights into the direct work with children
involved in child protection processes.
The workshop focused on ‘Common Assessments’
in early intervention in the UK. In Italy, the Common
Assessment Framework is used in statutory childcare
processes. It was noted that the ‘Assessment Triangle’
- which underpins the framework by providing
dimensions of children’s needs, parenting capacity
and family environment, is used in all three countries.
Helsingborg presented PART - a service delivery
model to pool local authority resources together to
deliver prevention projects (in English, ‘Preventative
Work Together’). Current projects are ‘SkolFam’ –
children in foster care; ‘Utsikter’ – children in families
of long-term income benefit claimants and newly
arrived in Sweden’; and HUB – long-term children
supported long-term by multiple agencies.
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PART has now been expanded to include
international collaboration by taking part in the
Involved by Right project to improve participation
of vulnerable children and young people in care
planning and organisational development work.
The host country gave a presentation on ‘Achieving
Educational Outcomes for Children in Care’, which
focused on the use of educational assessments and
attainment measures to monitor educational progress.
The emphasis was on building strong and effective
partnerships with schools, social workers, foster
carers, birth parents and the child. The findings are
very encouraging and show that effective educational
support to children in care has a significant impact
on outcomes. An article has been published in the
international journal ‘Adoption & Fostering’ (volume
35, No. 1, 2011), and can be accessed by contacting
the project manager in Sweden (see contact details).
Save the Children in Sweden gave a presentation on
Domestic Programmes, which include child poverty
and child protection. More detailed information was
also provided on the advocacy support provided by
Save the Children (they undertake both individual and
group work with children and young people). These
advocacy experiences will be utilised in the project
by young people being interviewed as part of the
pilot field work study in Helsingborg.
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Calendar
Key milestones:
August: Commission YABs up and running
September: Submission of revised budget to EU.
Field work studies up and running.
Project delivery plans submitted.
October: Transnational meeting in Italy.
November: Progress report submitted to EU.
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Contacts
UK
Lead Agency Project manager: Camilla Webster
Email: Camilla.Webster@rbkc.gov.uk
Royal Borough Kensington and Chelsea Operational
Project manager: Jonathan Williams
Email: jonathan.williams@rbkc.gov.uk
Barnardo’s Project manager: Alison Levy
Email: alison.levy@barnardos.org.uk
National Children’s Bureau Project manager:
Nicola Murdoch
Email: nmurdoch@ncb.org.uk
Sweden
Project co-ordinator: Maria Rosendahl
Email: Maria.Rosendahl@helsingborg.se
Italy
Project manager: Claudia Bontorin
Email: Claudia.Bontorin@gmail.com
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Spotlight on ...
Name: Amanda Rodgers
Job title: I’m not sure at the moment! I’m currently
the Looked After Children (LAC) Advocacy and
Participation Officer, but this will change shortly.
From September I’ll be doing three days as a child
protection conference advocate for Barnardos, and
two days on the IBR project
Likes: Sunny days and coffee
Dislikes: Rainy days and tea
How did you get into
participation work?
As a young person, I got into youth leadership and it
developed from there. Most of my career has been
spent working with children and young people in
some form.
What were you doing
before this role?
I have been the LAC Advocacy and Consultation
Officer for the last few years. This has involved
supporting individuals with complaints, or challenges
to decisions being made about their care, and
ensuring their rights are being met.
I have also been involved with projects such
as Teenagers to Work, Stepping Up and the
development of our Children In Care Council.
How did you become involved
in the IBR project?
I would have been involved anyway with the setting
up and work with the Youth Advisory Board.
However, I was also really interested in the advocacy
role, but it was only part-time. So it all worked out
quite nicely!
Could you tell us a bit about
your experience of the child
protection system?
This is a relatively new role for me. I have supported
a couple of children with child protection plans, and
it is undoubtedly a very unfriendly environment for
children and young people.
I am hoping that the combination of the advocacy
offer and the new Strengthening Families model for
conferences will enable children and young people to
be at the heart of the process. This will mean having
their views taken into account and their wishes
translated into actions for the plans.
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Tell us a bit more about
running a residential with
children. Sounds like a tricky job!
Nothing to it – you just need lots of energy and lots of
caffeine! It’s the part of the job I most enjoy, as it’s much
less formal and you have a real opportunity to get to
know the children and young people you work with.
My favourite part is seeing them making friends
with each other. Obviously the residential event will
be slightly different, as we will have young people
present from both Sweden and Italy. This will
naturally bring its own set of challenges, but as long
as long as we can all communicate with each other
we should be alright!
What are your hopes
for the IBR project?
I hope that it will change the way children and young
people are worked with in child protection situations.
I believe that it is the right of every child and young
person to be heard by adults who make decisions
about them and, while child protection is a particularly
sensitive area, ways can always be found to make it
appropriate for the children and young people.
At the end of the project we hope to be able to share
our learning with others, and have a lot of proven
suggestions of ways in which children and young
people can be involved.

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