Child & Youth Participation

Child and Youth Participation Working Group

Listening to and including the voice of children and young people is challenging, however, it is a core value of Kerry CYPSC and its members. Kerry CYPSC has established this working group to create and strengthen opportunities for young people to be involved in the work of Kerry CYPSC.

What is Youth Participation?

The National Strategy on Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision Making 2015-2020 (DCYA, 2015), defines children and young people’s participation as, ‘the process by which children and young people have active involvement and real influence in decision-making on matters affecting their lives, both directly and indirectly’ (p. 20)

Participation:

  • Is about creating opportunities for young people to be involved in influencing, shaping, designing, and contributing to policy and the development of services and programmes
  • Is based on the principles of young people being informed, having an effect on outcomes, organising themselves, making decisions or being involved in decision making, and being involved in follow up

The working group is based on the principals of young people being informed, influencing decisions, and supporting the development and implementation of initiatives which have an impact on children and young people, across all areas of work being undertaken by Kerry CYPSC and its partners.

Who are we?

Membership of the Child & Youth Participation Working Group includes representatives from statutory and community & voluntary services in County Kerry including: Kerry Diocesan Youth Service; Kerry Education and Training Board; Kerry County Council; An Garda Síochána; Kerry Guidance Counsellors; Child and Youth Mental Health Working Group; The GAA; Kerry Life Skills; The Drugs and Alcohol Working Group; Jigsaw Kerry; Comhairle na nÓg and young people and Kerry CYPSC.

The Purpose of the Child & Youth Participation Working Group

The main objectives of the Child & Youth Participation Working Group are:

  • To ensure children and young people are actively involved in the planning of initiatives which are aimed at supporting them
  • To facilitate the participation of children and young people in the development of initiatives across Kerry CYPSC
  • To increase the participation of ‘Hard to Hear’ young people in the planning of services and supports which affect them
  • To remain engaged with Kerry Comhairle na nÓg to ensure their continued participation in Kerry CYPSC

Working Group Youth Participation Officers

In order to achieve these aims, Kerry CYPSC has appointed Youth Participation Officers in each of its working groups. This is to ensure that all child/youth projects and initiatives in Kerry CYPSC include the voice of the children and young people. In this way, we promote and ensure the engagement of young people in the development of all booklets, conferences, education programmes etc. undertaken as part of the work of Kerry CYPSC.

#Connected & Protected

Following advice and support from the Comhairle na nÓg members, the youth participation working group launched the #Connected & Respected Social Media Campaign which endeavoured to hear the voice of the young people in Kerry via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The Comhairle members told us that if we want to know what young people think then we need to engage them in a way that works for them – via social media.

Through this campaign we asked young people to tell us ‘What makes young people feel connected to and respected by family, friends, and your community in Kerry?’ Our objective was to learn what is important to young people in Kerry and highlight in a positive way some of the challenges they are experiencing.

The #Connected & Respected campaign was implemented in two stages. (1) Young people were asked to design a poster to help promote the #Connected & Respected campaign and (2) the #Connected & Respected Social Media Campaign.

Listening to Children Through Play

Including the voice of younger children 0-12 in the work of Kerry CYPSC is a real challenge!

However, through this project we endeavoured to listen to children through play so that we could include the voice of younger children in the development of our third work plan.

Pre-School Children 0-4 Children 5-8 Children 9-12
Tralee

Killarney

Castleisland

Lixnaw

Dingle

Glenbeigh

Tralee

Tralee

Bonane, Kenmare

Filemore, Cahersiveen

 

 

126 children participated in 10 workshops facilitated by play therapists. The workshops were organised with 0-4 year olds, 5-8 year olds, and 9-12 year olds in pre-schools and schools across the county in both urban and rural areas. Throughout the workshops, children were asked: How do children see what they need for their well-being? What do children wish for in their lives? What makes them feel valued?

The findings from the project have helped inform the development of this work plan, as they told us:

  • They need family and home.
  • They wish for outdoor spaces, friends, pets/animals, movies and community safety.
  • They feel valued when they are listened to, asked questions and really seen.
  • They feel valued when they spend quality time with family and have good friends.

Youth as Peer Researchers Project

64 young people were trained by NUIG in research methodology, so they could undertake peer research on topics which are important to them. Group projects included topics such as: the safety of the HIV vaccine, sports & mental health, the impact of not being chosen to participate on sports teams, youth & gambling, and the pressure to perform in exams. Their findings were shared with Kerry CYPSC via the Youth as Peer Researcher’s seminar in March 2017.

Kerry Comhairle na nÓg