In April this year we ran a Mind of my own proof of concept trial across two community (‘care and protection’) teams in Auckland, at the request of the new ministry, Oranga Tamariki. Following the success of the initial pilot, we have been invited to run an extended trial across a wider geography and in diverse young people’s settings, due to start 1 November. So the trip to New Zealand was part of our user centred design process. Co-producing our apps with young people and workers to ensure that we use culturally appropriate language and are appealing to children and young people in New Zealand.
Mind of my own in New Zealand
In Auckland we got to co-design with over 60 care experienced children and young people at a theme park event, 8 young people in a care and protection residence and 8 young people in a youth justice residence. Additionally we met with workers from both teams in the initial pilot, hearing their experiences, suggestions and ideas.
Then over to Wellington, where at Oranga Tamiriki main offices we met with senior people involved in the strategic design and planning of services under the new ministry, including those with responsibility for fresh approaches in youth advocacy, youth justice and children’s rights.
Interest and enthusiasm in Australia
A quick hop (or 4 hour flight) to Sydney and we met up with old colleagues now working in community engagement and child protection in New South Wales, followed by conversations with the e-safety commissioner’s office and Clickability, the disability services online directory and review site. In Brisbane we talked with with two government workers with expertise in the health and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. From there a two and a half hour drive took us to Southern Cross University for a meeting with researcher Sal Robinson and colleagues.
Everyone we met in Australia was intrigued and excited about the potential for Mind of my own.
During our mini tour we had some informative and profound conversations with a great bunch of diversely experienced people. The topics we discussed include the contribution of Mind of my own in the following areas
- children and young people’s participation
- hearing the child’s voice
- changing professional practice
- inclusion for otherwise excluded groups
- support for the voice of those with intellectual disability
- historic abuse and its impact on current practice
- e-safety and privacy
- measuring impact and outcomes
- cultural awareness and sensitivity.
Good conversations are a great starting point. We will continue our dialogue with the range of new friends and interested colleagues overseas. We hope that children and workers in New Zealand and Australia will soon be using Mind of my own apps routinely in care, health and education services. In the meantime our own thinking has been enriched by the experience and we think that can only be good for our product and its positive impact on children’s and young people’s lives – wherever they may live.