Involving children and young people in developing social care
A review of literature, policy and research relating to participation was undertaken, drawing on data from:
- previous publications developed by Barnardo's Policy and Research Unit
- thorough search of relevant databases:
Medline, Barnardo's Library, Social Sciences
Citation Index, British Nursing Index, PsycINFO,
Sociological Abstracts, ChildData, Zetoc, Cinahl,
Social Services Abstracts, Copac/BL, CareData,
DH-Data, EMBASE. Searches were undertaken using
the following sets of search terms:
- Set 1: children/young people/teenage/juvenile/youth
- Set 2: participation/involvement/inclusion/consult
- Set 3: decision-making/service provision/service delivery/governance
- Set 4: guide/framework/toolkit/charter/standard/standards
- web search of organisations working in the areas of research and/or practice with children and young people
- internet search using search engines (including Google, Yahoo!, Lycos, Alta Vista and Ask Jeeves) and key search terms as identified above.
Consultations with young people and practitioners/managers involved in participation initiatives were undertaken to inform:
- the structure of the guide
- the content of the guide
- the criteria for the inclusion of case studies.
Consultation with young people
- Consultation activities were undertaken with young people from Barnardo's UK Reference Group.
- This group was selected as it represents:
- young people who have had experience of being involved in decision-making processes within both voluntary and statutory social care organisations
- young people from across the UK: Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England
- young people with experience of accessing a range of social care agencies including: disability support services, 'looked after' system, mental health services, young carers services and children's rights services
- an inclusive group of young people that included disabled young people and those from minority ethnic groups.
- Fifteen young people were consulted, using a storyboard exercise to prompt discussion about how organisations can develop effective participation.
- All the young people received a flyer informing them about the consultation exercise, a certificate to thank them for their involvement and a feedback document summarising the main findings from the exercise.
Consultation with participation managers/practitioners
- Practitioners and managers responsible for developing participation within voluntary and statutory organisations were identified through the Carnegie Young People Initiative Participation Network.
- Seven practitioners and managers attended a semi-structured focus group. An additional four individuals were interviewed over the telephone.
- The practitioners and managers represented:
- both voluntary and statutory social care organisations
- organisations providing a range of social care services
- organisations from across the UK, including Scotland, England and Northern Ireland.
Phase 1: Identification of mapping exercises
- As a number of mapping exercises
had recently been undertaken to inform the development
of participation practice, contact was made with
the following projects to gather details of case
studies that might be relevant:
- National Children's Bureau: had undertaken a large scale mapping exercise to inform the development of the publication Building a Culture of Participation (2003)
- Barnardo's 'Investing in Children' Award Scheme: initiative to identify best practice examples of participation within Barnardo's
- The 'Taking part' toolkit : Barnardo's undertook a mapping exercise of participation in the North West to inform the development of The 'Taking part' toolkit: Promoting the real participation of children and young people (2002)
- National Youth Agency: had undertaken an audit of participation initiatives across England, sending out questionnaires to a range of agencies to inform the development of Mapping children and young people's participation in England (2004).
Phase 2: Identification of preliminary list of case studies
- Case studies from the above studies
were selected to represent:
- all regions and nations within the UK, both rural and inner-city areas
- practice within social care
- development of participatory practice within one or more of the following areas: culture, structure, practice and review
- a range of different groups of children and young people including: disabled, gay and lesbian, black and minority ethnic groups, younger children.
- Any 'gaps' in the selection of case studies were then identified (i.e. groups/areas that were under-represented). Specific agencies were targeted to ensure these gaps were addressed where possible.
Phase 3: Identification of final list of case studies
- A pro forma (based on criteria identified by the consultation process and literature/research/policy review) was developed for the collation of information from each case study.
- Each case study was contacted and
further information gathered by:
- conducting telephone interviews with the practitioner responsible for developing participation within the organisation
- consulting a child/young person who had participated within the organisation (either by telephone or with the support of a practitioner from the organisation)
- requesting evidence of the development of participatory practice within the organisation and the associated outcomes - e.g. evaluation reports.
- Following the final consultation process, all case studies that could evidence changes/improvements in their organisation as a result of involving children and young people were selected for inclusion in the guide.