Foreword by Sylda Langford, Director General OMCYA This toolkit has been prepared to assist new sites in setting up a Children’s Services Committee within their county area. Also included in this Toolkit are some of the reflective questions used in the The Agenda for Children’s Services: A Policy Handbook which is a policy document which builds on existing policies and places them in a framework to assist policy makers, service managers and front-line staff in meeting the needs of children and their families.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the great work done by Co-operation and Working Together in their publication, The Framework for Integrated Planning for Outcomes for Children and Families which is a comprehensive guide as to how to do integrated and planning that focuses on outcomes for children and families. We have used some of their excellent material in this Toolkit. Both of these publications are practical tools to assist Children’s Services Committees in doing their work.
All the feedback received from members of the National Children’s Strategy Implementation Group, initial four Children’s Services Committees, Children’s Acts Advisory Board and Centre for Effective Services was gratefully received and helped shape this June 2009 version of this Toolkit. Throughout this Toolkit please note that when children are mentioned this includes children, young people and their families as the Children’s Services Committees are not just for children but also for young people and their families.
This Toolkit is an ongoing work in progress and will continue to be revised as the learning accumulates from successive roll-out of new committees. Any suggested amendments, additions or deletions should be sent to Marie Dullea, Office of the Minister for Children & Youth Affairs, Department of Health & Children, Hawkins House, Dublin 2.
The initial four multi-agency Children’s Services Committees (CSC) have been established in South Dublin County Council, Limerick City Council, Donegal County Council and in Dublin City Council. The learning from the set-up and early operation of these four CSCs has helped inform the most effective way to set up Children’s Services Committees. This toolkit has been prepared to assist new sites in setting up a Children’s Services Committee within their area.
This Toolkit is an ongoing work in progress and additional findings will be added as new Committees are established and developed.
Who is it for?
This Toolkit is designed to support those interested in developing a Children’s Services Committee within their area.
Using this Toolkit
A background to the broader policy environment regarding children in Ireland and the Children’s Services Committees framework is outlined. This is followed by a flowchart illustrating different stages in the development of a CSC. This commences with a Pre-implementation Planning Stage (page 14) and should take place in advance of the first formal meeting of the CSC. This pre-implementation planning stage was not prescribed for the initial four sites but they felt that it would have been very useful. This is followed by the StagesOne (page 16) to Six (page 37). The different stages feedback into and inform one another in an iterative process. The final section of this Toolkit is the Appendices and Useful Resources (page 40).
What is the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs?
The Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs is part of the Department of Health and Children. The role of the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs is to improve the lives of children under The National Children’s Strategy (2000)1 and to bring greater coherence to policy-making for children.
What is the National Children’s Strategy Implementation Group?
The national partnership agreement, Towards 2016, Ten-Year Framework Social Partnership Agreement 2006-20152 outlines a framework on the needs of children and young people and the establishment of the National Children’s Strategy Implementation Group. The National Children’s Strategy Implementation Group is a high-level group chaired by the Director General, Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.
What is the vision of the National Children’s Strategy Implementation Group?
The vision of the National Children’s Strategy Implementation Group is that children, young people and their families will receive the support and services they need to create better futures for children, through all local agencies and organisations working together.
How will the National Children’s Strategy Implementation Group achieve its vision?
Towards 2016 states that the National Children’s Strategy Implementation Group will establish a Children’s Services Committee under each City and/or County Development Board in the country. The Children’s Services Committees will be chaired by the Health Service Executive in each City and County Development Board area.
How will the Children’s Services Committees make a difference for children and young people?
All major organisations and agencies working on behalf of children and young people will be represented on the Children’s Services Committees. The Children’s Services Committees will be responsible for improving the lives of children and families at local and community level through integrated planning, working and service delivery. Children’s Services Committees will also ensure that professionals and agencies work together so that children and families receive better and more accessible services.
8 Step Framework
In order to formalise the approach of setting up a Children’s Services Committee, an 8 Step Framework was approved by the National Children’s Strategy Implementation Group for the initial four sites. The 8 Step Framework did not represent a sequential process to the establishment of a CSC. It did however provide a checklist for the completion of key deliverables in the establishment and consolidation phases of a CSC.
From feedback received from the initial four sites and other organisations, this Toolkit includes an amended framework. Some of the steps from the original 8 Step Framework have been omitted, others amalgamated and some additional material has been included. The purpose of the 8 Step Framework and Toolkit is to assist each CSC with the ultimate development of a work programme. A work programme should outline key actions for completion by a CSC within agreed timescales.