Parents Connect Wales- ‘Empowering the voices of parents and carers to promote children’s rights’
NB When we refer to ‘parents’ we mean this as an inclusive term which encompasses parents, grandparents, foster parents, adoptive parents or anyone with parental responsibility.
Who is the project aimed at?
Fatiha Ali is the lead ‘Parents Connect Wales’ Development Officer at Children in Wales and is responsible for co-ordinating this project. If you would like to find out more or get involved, please contact Fatiha at email@example.com
‘Parents Connect Wales’ is an exciting new project that Children in Wales are leading on with funding secured from Welsh Government. This project will engage parents nationally with the overall objective of creating:-
‘A Wales wide system/platform offering a two-way approach for parent’s voices to be heard and to feed into policy development leading to meaningful participation in the form of co-production’
The project promotes Articles 3, 5 and Article 18 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which recognises and supports parents and families and their crucial role in protecting and caring for children
The ‘Parents Connect Wales’ project comes in response to a national need for a clear and accessible avenue to access parent’s views on all areas of policy that impact their children.
In Phase 1 of the project, carried out in November 2021 - January 2022, a scoping exercise, survey and report highlighted the need for meaningful parent participation.
Through engagement with parents, they clearly expressed,
‘We want to have a voice and be heard’
‘We need to voice our views and this is not being advertised enough (on national level)”
“I know laws impact us, but I’m not sure how to get involved”
The findings from Phase 1 highlighted that parents felt that it was extremely important that they were given the opportunity to share their views, ideas and opinions.
However, the majority of parents had never, or didn’t think they had ever, shared their views with Welsh Government and didn’t have the confidence to share their views on a Wales wide level. These findings from Phase 1 provided the evidence for Phase 2 of the project.
The key aims of Phase 2 of the project are to:
We will work with the National Parenting and Family Support Strategic Leads Network and the organisations engaged with in PHASE 1 of the project to deliver this.
Parents, local authority workers and organisations involved in local level participatory structures will also be engaged with to create a Wales—wide forum that will provide real opportunities for parents to feed into wider policy development.
The UNCRC provides a family focus with the child at the heart. It mentions the words ‘parents’ and ‘families’ more than ‘children’ and recognises that children’s rights are protected first within families.
Article 5 states that ‘the Government should respect the right of my family to help me know about my rights’. It recognises that parents/carers play a vital role in ensuring that their children rights are fulfilled. Children are being trained in rights and beginning to exercise them, so we must supportparents/carers to understand children’s rights and work together to ensure their rights are upheld.
The avenues for children’s participation are well established through the Youth Parliament, Young Wales and the Children’s Commissioners office but do parents/carers have their voices heard on behalf of their children? This project aims to create the same opportunities for parent participation.
Parents/carers want to feel valued for their lived experiences and to be involved at the beginning of decision-making processes rather than being consulted with as a tick-box exercise. They also want to be provided with effective feedback. Listening to the voices of parents/carers will create high quality services that will empower and strengthen parents/families and help ensure that the rights of children are fulfilled.