Waltham Forest Children's Rights Service

In their words

The young people that attend the different groups and activities run by the service are very clear that part of their reason for coming is to make a real contribution to improving services, not just for themselves but for other young people who are currently in or about to come into care.

It’s about helping you keep on track, you feel a part of something and you can help improve the system because you’ve had first hand experience.

In terms of the young people’s involvement in recruitment, and in order to ensure that this involvement is real and meaningful, we have continued to monitor and adapt it as necessary. Their involvement now varies to meet the needs of the post being recruited to and the young people’s experience in recruitment. They are involved in department panels, have their own young people’s panels and carry out interactive group interviews.

Feedback from social services colleagues in recruitment

It’s been a positive learning experience for me – some of the things they have discussed during the process are very relevant and insightful and I’ve learnt from that experience.

The young people’s involvement in the Step 2 Step strategy development has been widely accepted as adding ideas, motivation and depth. But with humour and informality they have also brought about practical steps to increase the participation of all children and young people in care and leaving care.

Feedback from social services colleagues on the Step 2 Step initiatives

The involvement of young people on the Step 2 Step project has been invaluable, and the key reason why I feel committed to this project. I read a lot in national publications about young people being given the opportunity to participate in adult led activities or initiatives. What makes Step 2 Step unique is that at its heart it is partnership working with young people and adults. When we worked on the project together I never got a sense that ultimately the final decision on a matter would rest with an adult as opposed to a young person. It's this aspect of the work that I feel sets Step 2 Step apart from participation based projects, and makes it all the more exciting and challenging particularly for the adults involved who have to learn to work with and perceive young people in a wholly different way, as their equal. Sade Alade – Policy and Projects Manager – WF Children and Families