New website for children and young people living in institutions

By agency reporter
June 6, 2018

A new website for children and young people living in institutions has been launched. Called rights4children, the site gives access to information about children’s rights, on topics important to them. It has been created by the charity Article 39 working with forty-eight children and young people, aged between 10 and 20 years, who gave expert advice on the content and design.

Children and young people living in Lincolnshire secure unit and William Henry Smith residential school were closely involved in the development of the site for several months. A young person detained in Cookham Wood young offenders institution came up with the site’s name.

Erson said: “It would have been useful to have a website like this when I first arrived at my secure children’s home” and Tyler added “I think the information in this website would allow me to make better choices if I felt I was being unfairly treated”.

Content is organised into four sections – ‘Your life, your feelings’, ‘Where you live’, ‘When things are difficult’ and ‘Moving and leaving’ – and covers a wide variety of children and young people’s concerns, from pets, to privacy, to food and special diets, to restraint and use of force and making a complaint.

The site launches with stories of six adults who spent time in institutions as children. They reflect on what helped them get through tough times. This part of the site was added after many children and young people communicated they want to have hope that life can get better for them.

David Hunt from Wholegrain Digital said: “The visual design aims for a warm and caring environment whilst keeping the mood positive, fun and engaging for all age groups. We are so pleased to have worked with Article 39 to bring a simple-to-use website to the children who need it the most.”

Carolyne Willow, Article 39’s Director, said: “Children who live in group settings have the right to a great childhood, where they feel loved, respected and proud of who they are and their achievements. But life can be really tough for many children living away from home, and rights4children aims to be there for them – telling them about their rights and where they can get help. We’re hoping adults will use the site too, because there can never be too many people standing up for the rights of children.”

* rights4children

* Article 39 works to uphold the rights of children living in state and privately-run institutions - around 80,000 in England. It takes its name from the part of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which entitles children and young people who have been abused or neglected to recover in environments where their health, self-respect and dignity are nurtured.


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