Emoji card pilot to help children have their say

Category: Respect for the views of the child

14th April 2017

A new way for children and young people to engage during Children's Hearings is being trialled in two areas of central Scotland from April. Emoji cards will be available as an aid to help children and young people express themselves more fully during Children's Hearing's in Falkirk and Livingston.

The idea of using emojis in Hearings came from a local development session for looked after children led by a West Lothian Council Children's Rights Officer. The children and young people suggested that a range of emotions should be available to use during Hearings, and they identified eight emotions they believed would be most helpful which are:

- Angry
- Happy
- Sad
- Worried
- Stop
- Help
- Listen
- Don't understand

Large, eye-catching posters promoting the pilot will be on display in reception areas and waiting rooms. The emoji cards are being made visible in the Hearing room, somewhere that is easy for children and young people to see and access them.

The idea is that at any point throughout the Hearing, a child or young person can hold up an emoji card to show how they are feeling at that particular moment. The Panel Members will respond to this by acknowledging an emoji is being displayed, clarify the feeling being shown and explore the feeling with the child or young person.

Feedback on how the emoji cards have helped and supported children and young people will be gathered from those children and young people who used the cards, and also from Panel Members who experienced them being used by children and young people.

The pilot will run for around three months and if it is considered a success, it will be rolled out across the whole of SCRA's Central Locality on a permanent basis, the learning from it will be shared across the country, and other Hearing centres will be offered the opportunity to trial it for themselves.

SCRA Locality Reporter Manager, Maureen Manns, who is leading on the pilot, said: "We are committed to help improve the participation of children and young people in their Hearings. We are hopeful that the emoji cards will be another way of helping them have their say and let the Panel Members know how they are feeling."

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