Before you start

Before you begin exploring, it’s important that you consider a range of issues when working with the toolkit.

All statutory agencies and bona fide youth organisations will have policies and procedures in place as part of their mandatory practice. However, it’s also a duty for staff to be fully versed in these and keep up to date with any changes.

Aye Mind does not offer direct support for mental health issues and is not continuously monitored for messages. If you need an ambulance, call 999. If you or someone around you is in distress or need immediate help, click here to find a list of services you can talk to.

In this section, you’ll find:

1. Getting it Right for Every Child

Underpinning the work of Aye Mind are the ‘Getting it Right for Every Child’ (GIRFEC) principles where the young person is at the centre of everything we do. The principles call for working towards supporting children and young people grow, develop and reach their full potential.

GIRFEC means you:

  • put the child or young person at the centre of your work, understanding what their unique needs are and how you can help;
  • use common tools, language and processes to consider a child’s or young person’s wellbeing, working closely with them, their family and other professionals supporting them where appropriate;
  • feel confident that you have the right information to provide the best support you can to a child or young person and their family.

 

GIRFEC doesn’t change or overrule current child protection procedures. Child protection services should be contacted immediately if a child is believed to be at risk of significant harm.

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2. Children’s Rights

This toolkit adopts a perspective firmly grounded in child rights and child protection. Every child and young person has rights, no matter who they are or where they live. Nearly every government in the world has promised to protect, respect and fulfil these rights. Children’s rights are enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), an international statement on the rights of children.

3. Disclosures

The duty of confidentiality owed to a person under 16 in any setting is the same as that owed to any other person. Young people have a similar right to confidentiality as adults, however, this duty is not absolute.

Where there is a serious child protection risk to the health, safety or welfare of a young person or others this outweighs the young person’s right to privacy. In these circumstances, professionals should act in accordance with the guidance with the organisations’ Child Protection procedures. Sharing information is essential if children are to be protected. Research and experience have shown repeatedly that keeping children safe from harm requires professionals and others to share information. Such information sharing must be in accordance with legal requirements and professional guidance.

Young people should be made aware that confidentiality may be breached if they, or another young person, is at risk. In these circumstances staff should consult the young person and endeavour to gain their co-operation to share this disclosure but if that’s not possible, they should be advised that their confidentiality will be breached. Staff should always advise the young person that there are situations where confidentiality may not be possible – e.g. young people need to know that information may have to be shared for their own safety and protection.

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4. Before Using the Toolkit…

Having a supportive environment often provides opportunities for feelings and experiences to be shared. Often, a youth worker setting is seen as a safe place for this to happen. Care must be taken to make sure:

  • safe boundaries exist;
  • children and young people don’t feel exposed;
  • views and opinions can be explored without becoming personal.

 

It’s not always possible to assess if an activity may spark a ‘trigger’ or memory of a difficult experience. There should always be an adult who can talk with the child or young person to find more support if needed.

Young people’s workers must always consider the response if personal experiences are shared. Clear safety protocols must be in place about how that information is used – taking account of and following organisational and statutory child protection guidelines.

It’s with this in mind that when using the toolkit, staff are appropriately trained and can provide accurate and up to date information and guidance on the issues affecting young people’s lives.

5. Checklist

  • Are staff PVG checked?
  • Are staff appropriately trained to support young people in the area of mental health? For example, Scottish Mental Health First Aid: Young People, or similar.
  • Is there an appropriate keep safe message for young people in place before, during and after the sessions?
  • Are staff aware of and appraised of the organisations child protection policies and procedures?
  • Do staff have knowledge or have access to information about appropriate support services if required?
  • Are staff suitably supported when difficult situations arise?

 

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