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1.2.2 Partnership with Children and Young People


Policy Statement:

Children’s Services policy is to work proactively with children and young people.

Policy Status:

The Children Act 1989 - Guidance and Regulations
The Children Act - New Messages from Research 2001
The Adoption and Children Act 2002
The Human Rights Act 1999

Key Points

  1. The requirement to work in partnership with children and young people cannot be viewed in isolation, but must be considered alongside the other responsibilities that legislation lays upon local authorities;
  2. Workers need to be aware of the age and understanding of the child or young person and take account of their views appropriate to their age and understanding;
  3. It may be appropriate for people who know the child best to determine age and understanding and communicate directly with the child or young person. This will be particularly true for disabled children;
  4. Partnership can be described as:
    1. A shared commitment to negotiation and actions and how best to promote and safeguard a child’s welfare;
    2. Mutual respect for the others point of view;
    3. Recognising the unequal nature of power between children, young people and professionals;
    4. Good communication skills by professionals;
    5. The establishment of trust between all parties;
    6. Where appropriate, given age and understanding, shared decision-making;
    7. Joint recognition of constraints on services offered;
    8. Recognition that partnership is not an end in itself but is often necessary to affect the changes that are required. (Adapted from ‘The Children Act Now, Messages from Research’ 2001).
  5. Social workers may need to see assistance in special situations e.g. when working with ethnic minority families where workers may need to seek outside consultation, use of interpreter’s etc, to ensure effective communication with children and young people;
  6. The view of young people and their parents may often conflict in some families. Workers need to find ways of working with parents, and recognising their knowledge and expertise without losing sight of the young person’s views and feelings;
  7. Written plans should be agreed with parents and young people for the provision of any services. Plans should be reviewed regularly;
  8. Workers should not limit the notion of partnership to parents, nor should they only consider parents as family. “Family” should include extended family, friends of family, friends of the young person and significant others;
  9. Where possible family group meetings, crisis intervention or ‘Option 2’ should be considered prior to any statutory intervention.