Involving children and young people in developing social care
Case study 6: Wider Horizons, Scottish Throughcare & After Care Forum
Service provided by organisation
The Scottish Throughcare & After Care Forum represents the interests of young people leaving care. From 2002- 2005, the Forum's work to promote young people's participation came under the name Wider Horizons Young Person's Group. The Debate Project enables young people to raise leaving care issues with decision-makers. It is a young person-led project that was started as part of Wider Horizons.
Characteristics of children/young people involved
10-15 core members, aged 16-25. The majority of young people have experience of the care system. There is an even gender mix and the majority of users are white.
How participation has been developed
Until September 2005, the organisation had a full-time young person's development worker with responsibility for developing participation and supporting the Debate Project. The project's main aim is to raise awareness about issues affecting young people in and leaving care. Participation is emphasised within the organisation's mission statement and aims, as well as in staff inductions, training and job descriptions. There is a dedicated budget for involving young people both in the organisation and in the Debate Project. This budget includes staffing costs, travel expenses, food and other resources.
The core group of young people involved in the project meet eight to twelve times a year and are involved in:
- managing the Debate project
- consultations about care
- organising conferences
- developing of the organisation's website.
Young people receive training on a variety of topics including participation.
Changes or improvements as a result of children and young people's participation
- As a result of feedback from young people, the organisation's annual conference had increased opportunities for discussions and debates, leading to an increase of young people attending the conference from 10 to 50.
- Awareness of the needs of care-experienced young people has been raised within the local authorities, the Scottish Executive and the Scottish Parliament. Awareness of the needs of care-experienced young people has been raised within the local authorities, the Scottish Executive and the Scottish Parliament.
- There are increased opportunities for looked-after young people and care leavers to raise issues and present their views to local authority services.
Evidence of outcomes from participation
The project has produced the following documentation to evidence the development of participation:
- a job description for the development worker that includes references to the importance of participation
- newsletter outlining young people's activities
- a business plan.
Contact person and role: Alison Caulfield-Dow (national coordinator)
Address: 2nd floor, 37 Otago Street, Glasgow G12 8JJ.
Telephone: 0141 357 4124