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Investing in Children Ireland Membership Award Scheme

On 23rd September 2014 YAP Ireland CLG in partnership with VOYPIC launched the Investing in Children membership award scheme. The membership scheme recognises and celebrates examples of imaginative and inclusive practice and gives organisations the opportunity to award services that can demonstrate a commitment to dialogue with young people that leads to change.

Siobhán O’Dwyer, CEO, YAP Ireland CLG, In 2013, YAP Ireland CLG became involved with UK based Investing in Children. We felt that this was a good opportunity for YAP to put our commitment to involving young people in all aspects of our work to the test by achieving Investing in Children Membership. The IiC assessor came to Ireland to meet with young people involved in our programmes around the country. In December 2013, YAP Ireland CLG received our membership for centres across the country and became a certified Investing in Children Partner. Investing in Children, the organisation, asked YAP to become assessors in Ireland for other Irish organisations that would like to be approved as Investing in Children members."

Tanya Ward, CEO, Children’s Rights Alliance, For Ireland to truly value children, we all must recognise and respect children as individuals with their own rights. We must leave behind the dark days when children were neither seen nor heard. We must listen to children and young people and allow them to be part of decision-making. The ‘Investing in Children membership scheme’ is an innovative project that will celebrate and acknowledge the work of organisations who listen to children and young people and make real their rights.”

Liam Cairns, Director, Investing in Children, “I am delighted that we have partnered up with YAP and VOYPIC. We believe that the IiC membership scheme makes an important contribution to the continuing struggle to translate children’s rights from rhetoric to reality and we look forward to learning from children, young people and colleagues about the new and imaginative ways that the scheme will be used in Ireland. We are also excited by the collaboration between our three agencies which we anticipate will be mutually stimulating and inspiring”

Investing in Children

Investing in Children (IiC) was created in 1995 by a partnership between Durham County Council and the NHS and promotes the human rights of children and young people. IiC tries to create spaces for children and young people to come together and come up with good ideas, and by working with adults who want to listen and do something about it.  Investing in Children work alongside children and young people, and adults who provide services to them, to create a range of effective ways in which they can exercise their right to have a say, often resulting in improvements in the services themselves.  An Investing in Children membership gives organisations national recognition for the good practice and active inclusion of children and young people in dialogue and change.

One of the young people involved in evaluating the membership process stated:We as children and young people are reassured when we visit somewhere and see an Investing in Children certificate that there will be someone there who actually listens to you and you will be able to put forward ideas”.

Organisations that have achieved Investing in Children Membership have used their award to demonstrate that they recognise the rights of children and young people; provide evidence that their service is used and respected by young people themselves and support applications for funding by providing externally validated quality assurance.

“I am not interested in your grand plans and strategies; I want to change my life where I live it!”
Young Person at the launch of the County Durham Children’s Services Plan 1998

How does it work?

Applying for membership

There are no complicated forms to complete or a complicated set of standards to meet. Organisations can register their interest by phone call, email or completing a simple expression of interest form and have an initial discussion about the strength of their evidence.

Arranging a visit

Following from this a support worker from YAP or VOYPIC will meet with you and the children and young people who use the service to get evidence from them of dialogue and change. A report is drafted based on their evidence. If the evidence is positive membership is awarded.

Why does it work?

  • It responds to the challenge ‘where I live my life’
  • By including change as a criterion as well as dialogue it focuses on outcomes as well as processes
  • It provides an opportunity for children and young people to experience being active citizens influencing the world around them
  • By seeking evidence form children and young people themselves it shifts power to them and avoids tokenism
  • There is lots of persuasive evidence to show that process helps produce efficient, cost effective services

In a NUTSHELL - The Investing in Children Membership Scheme recognises and celebrates examples of imaginative and inclusive practice. Investing in Children members are those services that can demonstrate a commitment to dialogue with young people that leads to change.

Evidence of dialogue

Dialogue is an interactive, ongoing process, not a one off event.  A distinction needs to be made between ‘consultation’ where powerful people consult the powerless, and ‘dialogue’ where young people are seen as partners with a valid contribution to make to the design and delivery of services.  To achieve the Investing in Children Membership Award, services will also have to demonstrate that this is an inclusive process and that some young people are not prevented from making a contribution.


Evidence of change

Dialogue should not be seen as an end in itself, dialogue must lead to change. Having invited young people to comment on how a service is provided we need to make sure young people are then able to influence it’s development. Investing in Children services are those that have demonstrated that out of dialogue have come improvements.


Children and Young People agree

All Investing in Children Membership Reports are read and endorsed by the children and young people involved in the process.

For more information contact:

Southern Ireland
Yap Ireland CLG
Andrew Chapple on +353 (0)1 868 9180
Email: info@yapireland.ie
Website: www.yapireland.ie

Northen Ireland
Alicia Toal on +44 (0)28 90244888
Email: info@voypic.org
Website: www.voypic.org

YAP Ireland - Investing in Children Expression of Interest Form

Investing In Children: www.investinginchildren.net