Children’s participation in court decisions

March 9, 2020

Guest blog

I am a social worker in a safeguarding team in the north west of England and would like to share my recent experiences of how Mind Of My Own apps have supported my practice and made for much stronger participation of children in safeguarding, child protection and ultimately in court decisions

Confidence, importance and independence

Mind Of My Own is so easy to use and is really simple to explain when I first introduce it. The children and young people I have used this with have been thrilled by the apps and it has really given them a sense of confidence, importance and independence. I have used the apps on my phone with children as young as four and as old as sixteen and they have all enjoyed it. Most importantly the information they have shared has really helped me in my work with children and young people.

Please do read these examples to see what I mean:

One page profile

Savannah is a little girl of only four years old. I supported her to share her views with me through Express. She was able to talk through her worries, speaking about her daily lived experiences when she lived at home with mother and some of the difficulties she experienced.

The one page profile she created was used to update the final court hearing to make sure her views were heard clearly. We also used Savannah’s statement to look for a long term fostering placement that would fully meet her needs. This helped a great deal with matching.

The Judge and Children’s Guardian advised that the profile brought the child to life and helped them really understand Savannah’s needs and make plans for her.

Serious risk of a forced marriage

I had another situation where a very vulnerable young person was able to use the One app to ensure her voice was heard in court processes and that the correct decisions were made for her. This was a young woman who was 16 years old and at serious risk of a forced marriage. She used ‘Prepare for a meeting’ to share her views and feelings with the court and this led to a good outcome for her. Using the app really helped her feel that she had a voice. She felt she was really being listened to and had some control over her life and plans.

Court can often feel very daunting for children and young people but it is so important that we make sure the judges really understand the views of every single child involved and I use Mind Of My Own apps to do just that.

Charlotte – Social worker in a local authority in the North West of England