Scotland made a promise to care experienced children and young people:
You will grow up loved, safe and respected.
And by 2030, that promise must be kept.
Our commitment is based upon the five foundations which underpin The Promise - voice, family, care, people and scaffolding. These fundamentals are essential to ensure that the transformative change recommended by The Promise is implemented and sustainable across our organisation and its services and in wider society.
We recognise that a commitment is essentially a statement of intent, and not static nor fixed. Our commitment will be subject to annual review and amendment, led by our Promise Working Group which includes Senior Managers and members of the Leadership Team. Appropriate feedback loops and mechanisms for full transparency will be developed and utilised to ensure we can track our progress and be held accountable to our people, most importantly, the children and young people who use Cyrenians’ services.
- We will employ a dedicated Youth Participation Worker, part of our Policy and Participation team, to lead our engagement and participation work with the young people who use our services.
- We will actively seek the views of children and young people through a variety of means, including where necessary, the provision of additional support, interpreters and advocacy.
- We will work with our Marketing and Communications team to ensure, where it is safe to do so, how the organisation can support young people to amplify their voices and views.
- We will create, disseminate and review our Youth Participation principles and good practice guidelines to support our staff in recognising and developing the importance of Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which says that every child has the right to express their views, feelings and wishes in all matters affecting them, and to have their views considered and taken seriously.
- We will work with our People team to ensure that, as standard practice, young people are involved, and suitably recompensed for their involvement, in the recruitment of staff to our young people’s services.
For the children and young people who use our services, these actions will put in place the support and structures to ensure voices are listened to and acted upon, resulting in more meaningful involvement in the decision-making processes which affect their lives.
- Our new strategic aims will include adopting a ‘whole family approach’. We recognise that the family is essential for the growth and wellbeing of children, where this is not detrimental to their safety.
- We will use our skills to work collaboratively with other third sector and statutory organisations (e.g. Child advocacy, Education, Housing providers, Department of Work and Pensions, Social Work, NHS) to provide timely and rights-based support to the whole family.
- We will promote and build upon our strong track record in delivering conflict resolution and mediation services which focus on (re)building family relationships and improving positive communication.
- We will create and disseminate multi-media resources and accessible training to enable young people, families and the practitioners who work with them to better manage conflict at home, in schools and in local communities.
These actions will help ensure that children and young people are supported to safely stay with their family and that families are given support together to nurture loving relationships and, where necessary, overcome the difficulties which can sometimes get in the way.
- In our Residential Communities, we will work collaboratively with those in our care to involve them as fully as possible when their care is being assessed and planned.
- Through our Keeping Families Together service, we will support young people living in secure care settings to rebuild relationships with their siblings and wider family where it is safe to do so.
- In our premises, we will create spaces which are trauma-informed and promote positive wellbeing.
- We will ensure that staff and volunteers who work directly with children and young people are trained in child protection, safeguarding, and work within the principles of SHANARRI and GIRFEC and the articles of UNCRC.
These actions will ensure that young people in our communities grow up feeling safe, nurtured and able to flourish. For those young people who are separated from their families, we will support them to rebuild family relationships and promote meaningful and sustainable future engagement.
- We will continue to develop staff knowledge, understanding and practice regarding children’s rights by embedding the use of Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessments (CRWIA) across the organisation and related training opportunities.
- We will prioritise supporting our workforce to ensure there is an adequate balance and emphasis on contact time, reflection and learning.
- Cyrenians’ Way of Working will emphasise and prioritise the importance of trusted relationships and values-led approaches.
- We have signed the national trauma leadership pledge and will model strong leadership, internally and externally, in this area, including ensuring that our staff and volunteers are trauma-informed, in line with NHS Education for Scotland’s Transforming Psychological Trauma Framework.
- We will prioritise embedding trauma-informed practice across our organisation (e.g. recruitment, service delivery, workforce wellbeing and the provision of reflective practice).
These actions will support our people to be compassionate and respectful in their decision-making and care. They will further ensure that our people feel safe and well-equipped to look after their personal and professional wellbeing. For those young people who have experienced trauma, our people will support their recovery and transition towards the life they wish to lead.
- We will publish our organisational Child Rights Wellbeing Impact Assessment on our website and review on an annual basis.
- We will share our learning and expertise in adopting a child-rights approach with partner organisations
- We will provide early intervention support for young people who have disengaged from school to enable them to overcome barriers and maximise the opportunities to achieve a positive destination and improved life chances.
- We will use our experience, informed by the lived experience of those who use our services, to develop our policy and influencing work in public and political spheres.
- We will use creative and innovative ways, involving food and the arts, to promote and maintain positive wellbeing amongst the young people we work with.
These actions will help create a wider support structure, a scaffolding of care, which is informed, respectful, resilient. They will further contribute to the systems change which is required to enable all children and young people to thrive and achieve their full potential.