Yorkshire Children’s Centre and Families Forward have been working in partnership to further develop how we ensure that the child and young people’s voices are heard during contact proceedings. The main aim is to enable our teams to increase their support of families by encouraging children and young people to explore and express their feelings.
We have researched and taken on board information from the work of the Family Justice Young People’s Board to develop our “buzz my feeling” boxes. The boxes encourage children to express their feelings interactively as they are bright, attractive, sensory boxes that spark the interest of children. These boxes support children who may lack the confidence to verbalise their emotions and feelings. For example, if children are not happy with something then we hope this tool allows staff and parents to recognise and hear the ‘child’s voice’ sooner, so the matter can be addressed and appropriate encouragement, reassurance or other relevant follow-up can take place.
Feedback from the tool has been that given the opportunity children have been more open and talkative about their feelings which has in turn allowed staff to provide additional support and allowed the child’s voice to be heard more within the contact centre process. Yorkshire Children’s Centre and Families Forward are extremely happy with how these are supporting children and look forward to continuing to work in partnership do develop further ideas.