Children and Young People's Participation Support Team
In March 2009, the DCYA enhanced its capacity by creating the Children and Young People’s Participation Support Team. The Team is made up of the staff in the DCYA Citizen Participation Unit and three regional Children and Young People’s Participation Officers, from two national youth organisations (Foróige and Youth Work Ireland). The regional Participation Officers:
- Provide support for the development of effective Comhairle na nÓg under all 34 City and County Development Boards(CDBs);
- Support the operation and development of the Dáil na nÓg process;
- Support other DCYA children and young people’s participation initiatives.
The reports of the independent evaluation of the Comhairle na nÓg Development Fund (2008-2009) and (2009-2010) highlight the value of the support, information and training provided by the three regional Participation Officers. They note the marked improvement in the operation of many child and youth councils resulting from the involvement of the Participation Officers. They also note the important role played by these officers in creating a strong link between child and youth councils at local level and the DCYA at national level, including the provision of excellent information on expenditure under the Development Fund.
In addition to working directly with organisers of the 34 child and youth councils, the DCYA Participation Officers were involved in the planning and management of a wide range of children’s participation initiatives as part of the DCYA Children and Young People’s Participation Support Team during 2011 and 2012, including:
- The annual national information, training and networking conference for key local authority personnel and organisers of Comhairle na nÓg;
- The annual regional networking events for young members of Comhairle na nÓg;
- Development of the application form and criteria for funding for the Comhairle na nÓg Development Fund;
- Evaluation of applications under the Comhairle na nÓg Development Fund;
- Preparation of six-monthly progress reports on their work and on the operation of Comhairle na nÓg;
- Consultations with children and young people on Reform of the Junior Cycle; the National Children and Young
- People’s Strategy (2012-2017); and for the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in Primary Schools;
- Collaboration with the DCYA in the development of policy and guidance on best-practice in children and young people’s participation.