Explore how Scottish organisations have adapted their practice when responding to COVID-19

Date: 25th June 2020
Category: Basic Health and Welfare

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Barnardo’s Scotland has detailed how it has continued to promote, monitor, report and protect the rights of children and young people amid COVID-19. This work was prompted by concerns that children and young people’s participation rights have not been upheld.

Barnardo’s Scotland is concerned that children and young people are unable to make their own choices because:

  • Meetings are taking place without their involvement or views being represented.
  • Advocates are not being routinely informed about meetings or on occasions not been given the opportunity to connect to meetings that take place.
  • Children and young people do not have required technology or WI-FI or data connections.
  • Children and young people may not have access to confidential spaces to meaningfully engage with remotely held meetings.
  • Decisions are being made without the most recent views of children and young people being considered.
  • The process to engage children and young people in remote meetings may not be age-appropriate or consider additional support needs.

From this, Barnardo’s Scotland has adapted its methods of engagement with children and young people by using its Hear 4 U service. This is an advocacy service for children and young people who are looked after, accommodated, on the child protection register, experience mental ill health and those with physical/learning disabilities. The Hear 4 U service has been adapted to:

  • Support the development of guidance for children and young people engaging with remotely held children’s hearings.
  • Purchase equipment for children and young people to use when engaging with hearings and advocacy sessions.
  • Maintain regular contact with partner agency staff who schedule meetings for children.
  • Submit reports of the views, experiences and emotions of children and young people.
  • Represent the views of children and young people in a range of remotely held meetings using video conferences and other platforms.
  • Ensure that the voice of children and young people remain at the centre of meetings involving advocacy workers.

Barnardo’s Scotland has also supported children and young people to their own snapshot survey to assess the impact of the work of their advocacy teams and provisions. They also organise a range of opportunities such as fortnightly children’s rights ‘live chats’ on Zoom for their staff to highlight and discuss any emerging issues from their work. These practices promoting advocacy efforts for children and young people have successfully led to the amendment of the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 which permitted 16-17-year-olds to be issued with fixed penalty notices for breaches to lockdown restrictions.

  • Read more about how Barnardo’s Scotland has been responding to the needs of children, young people and families here.

Discover how other organisations in Scotland have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic by visiting Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland website here.