The Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice (CYCJ) has been granted funding by Healthcare Improvement Scotland to provide opportunities for children with experience of the justice systems to shape Scotland’s Bairns’ Hoose.
Bairns’ Hoose – based on an Icelandic model “Barnahus” – will bring together children’s services in a ‘four rooms’ approach, with child protection, health, justice and recovery services all made available in one setting.
A key aim of the model is to reduce the number of times children have to recount their experiences to different professionals. The Vulnerable Witnesses (Criminal Evidence) (Scotland) Act 2019 is also a milestone piece of legislation in the journey towards the Bairns’ Hoose model.
Health Improvement Scotland, who are working with the Care Inspectorate to develop a set of standards for the Bairn’s Hoose project, reached out to organisations who work with children and young people, to encourage them to apply to help with the drafting and review of the standards.
Drawing on its strong and trusted relationships in local authority, third sector and education, CYCJ will recruit a small group of children and young people who have experience of child welfare issues. Initial one-to-one sessions will help develop meaningful and respectful relationships with the children, creating an atmosphere of trust and confidence.
Using creative approaches, CYCJ will then facilitate discussions of the existing draft standards, before exploring the children’s views. This approach will be open ended and seek to provide as blank a canvas as possible, in order that all views are captured. Feedback will be shared following each development group, and approaches and content adapted as necessary. Adopting an iterative approach, the process will be repeated until project completion.
The results will be shared as a report and accompanying graphics.
Ross Gibson, who leads on participation and engagement at CYCJ, says:
“CYCJ has a strong track record of participation and co-production working with children and young people, including the design and delivery of an accessible website, informing Government policy and producing a guide to children’s rights within the youth justice systems. We are pleased to receive this funding to allow us to shape the future direction of this important development for children’s justice in Scotland. This project is a meaningful opportunity for children and young people, and we are excited about working together with them to make Scotland’s Bairns’ Hoose a reality.”