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Contract awarded to youth organisations to give children and young people a stronger voice in decision-making

Tuesday, 24th January 2017

Dr Katherine Zappone TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, today announced that Foróige, in partnership with Youth Work Ireland, has been awarded a three-year contract to provide children and young people’s participation support services to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

Announcing the awarding of the contract Minister Zappone said: “Foróige and Youth Work Ireland will support the Citizen Participation Unit in my Department in ensuring that children and young people have a voice in decision-making that affects their lives, in line with government policy. This includes conducting consultations with children and young people on key policy issues being developed by Government, providing support to Comhairle na nÓg in every Local Authority in the country, hosting the biennial Dáil na nÓg and Comhairle na nÓg National Showcase events, and planning and supporting other participation initiatives.

A new National Children and Young People’s Participation Hub will be set up under the contract as a national centre for excellence. The Hub will support Government departments and other organisations in implementing the National Strategy on Children and Young People's Participation in Decision-making, 2015-2020 through training, documenting best practice and developing education on children’s right to a voice in decision-making for professionals. Among the activities the Hub will undertake:
•    Create practice standards, toolkits, and training materials to mainstream good practice across the civil and public service and non-government sector
•    Conduct training of facilitators in creative and age-appropriate consultation and participative methodologies
•    Conduct training in children’s rights and children’s participation in decision-making
•    Build and maintain a strong network of key stakeholders from government departments and agencies and from the non-government sector
•    Establish a network of experts, who will engage with the Hub in promoting children and young people’s participation
•    Form partnerships with third-level and adult education institutions to oversee development of third level education and professional development on children’s participation in decision-making
•    Develop a repository of information on participation initiatives, projects and research
•    Develop a public presence through a website to inform and educate the public, particularly children and young people themselves, about their participation rights
•    Maintain and enhance the existing children’s participation online database
•    Showcase, promote and share good practice through seminars, conferences and other events, and forge links and networks with international partners
•    Ensure that all Hub initiatives and actions are underpinned by a strong evidence base