Bairns' Hoose: Progress Report and Pathfinder Delivery Plan (2023 - 25): Easy Read Version
Bairns' Hoose aims to help children and young people in Scotland who are victims or witnesses of harm. We want to protect their rights better, make sure they are safe and give them access to the support they need.
A Bairns' Hoose will be a child-friendly, safe and welcoming place for children to go to when a concern about them has been raised. This would be for:
- Children who have been victims or witnesses of abuse or violence.
- Young children whose behaviour may have caused serious harm or abuse.
After working with other organisations, we have changed our ideas about how Bairns' Hoose should be developed in Scotland.
This report sets out what we have done so far and what our plans are for the future.
Our plans for children and young people
Bringing Bairns' Hoose to Scotland has been our goal for a long time and we now want to put it into action. The Bairns' Hoose is based on these principles:
The best interests of the child are the top priority in all system design, actions and decisions. The child's right to be informed and heard is met and their experience in the system does not cause them further trauma.
The Bairns' Hoose system is supportive and well organised. It is designed around the needs, views and pace of the child. Children and families experience as few delays as possible.
Places are designed by children for children. Children can have interviews, examinations, recovery support and remote access to legal activities under one roof.
The Bairns' Hoose is well run and helps other agencies to work well together. Everyone involved will work towards the best interests of the child.
What we did in 2022-2023
We appointed an independent chair and set up a National Bairns' Hoose Governance Group (NBHGG).
The Group's first meeting was held in October 2022 alongside four workshops. These workshops were aimed at helping the Group to be a team that will work well together to bring in the Bairns' Hoose model across Scotland.
We worked with other organisations across all key sectors.
We worked with partners from across children's services, health, justice, and voluntary organisations. This included Chief Officers' Public Protection Groups (COGs), who will play a key role in the delivery of Bairns' Hoose.
Setting up and running Bairns' Hoose will be done by organisations at a local level. We expect that COGs will work together to decide how many Bairns' Hooses are needed in their areas.
Healthcare Improvement Scotland and the Care Inspectorate published Scotland's Bairns' Hoose Standards.
The Standards set out what Bairns' Hoose will mean for children and young people and their families, as well as for the professionals who will work to support them, throughout their journey to justice and recovery.
The Standards were written with the involvement of children with experience of child protection and justice systems, along with other partner organisations. The Bairns' Hoose Standards, published 31 May 2023, will show what Bairns' Hooses should be like across Scotland.
We have come up with a way for children and young people to be involved in planning and running the Bairns' Hoose.
Link workers will act as a bridge between children and young people and the National Bairns' Hoose Governance Group. This will let children and young people shape and influence the work in ways that work best for them.
Their views and experiences were heard and can be seen throughout the development of the Standards.
The link workers were able to build trust and strong relationships with the children and young people while sharing information and experiences between them and the Standards Development Group.
Since it can be a difficult subject, it was important that link workers could be responsive to the experiences and emotions that the children and young people shared, and could support them properly.
The link worker model needs the right support and resources for it to work properly. We have found that it works well and we plan to continue using it.
We published a participation and engagement plan for children and young people with lived experience.
We published our Bairns' Hoose Children and Young People Participation and Engagement Plan on 1 June 2023. This sets out how we will reach out to children and young people with lived experience and get them involved. This will make sure that children who use Bairns' Hoose will get a service that best meets their needs.
We funded the National Joint Investigative Interviewing Team to progress the introduction of the Scottish Child Interview Model (SCIM) in all areas by 2024.
We have continued to fund the National Joint Investigative Interviewing Team over a three-year period. This is giving a new type of special training to Police and social workers who interview children and young people about their traumatic experiences.
We did an online survey and interviewed lots of organisations to find out about existing and planned services.
The survey helped us find out about the challenges and opportunities that are involved in setting up Bairns' Hoose. Some of the things we learned included the kind of building a Bairns' Hoose would need to be and the kind of services that would need to happen there.
The follow-up interviews helped us to think about how organisations would work together and how the Scottish Government might support it going forward. The report will be shared with the Scottish Government and other involved organisations to help us to set up the Bairns' Hoose.
We did a review on the information we have about children and young people who have been victims and/or witnesses of abuse across Scotland.
This review looked at how we get information about the number of children and young people currently known to be affected by abuse, or known to cause harm. The report will be shared with the National Bairns' Hoose Governance Group to help us find better ways to gather information.
We joined the European PROMISE Barnahus network.
We joined this network to learn from other countries about what they have done so we can come up with the best plan for Scotland.
The network is made up of over 20 countries and works to make sure that all children in Europe have the same rights to protection from violence, to support, and to be heard.
We have worked with existing organisations in Scotland and other countries that deliver Bairns' Hoose style services, called Barnahus.
This included a visit to sites in Sweden and Iceland. We saw how services were designed for children and with input from children. As well as being a supportive environment for the staff. This showed us how good the Barnahus is for supporting child victims and witnesses' recovery.
In Scotland we visited sites in Edinburgh, Dundee, Larbert and North Strathclyde. This helped us see how different sites can work together to improve experiences for children in different ways.
We have launched a Bairns' Hoose website – bairnshoosescotland.com
The website will include information about what Bairns' Hoose is, news and updates, links and information on the work we are doing for children and young people. We will keep updating this and we will work with children and young people to develop it.
Bairns' Hoose Next Steps
We keep reviewing our Bairns' Hoose Project Plan as we learn more about how the Bairns' Hoose should work in Scotland. Based on what we have learned, we have a new list of actions to do over the years 2023 – 2025.
- Hold a health event to raise awareness, get people involved and encourage organisations to work together to fully involve everyone in testing and setting up the Bairns' Hoose.
- Develop and publish a partnership participation and engagement plan.
- Do a full range of impact assessments. This is when we look at all the good and bad things that might happen because of the Bairn's Hoose plan.
- Work with children and young people with lived experience of child protection and justice processes to make a Charter. This will set out the principles of how they want to be involved in developing the Bairns' Hoose.
- Put the participation and engagement plan for children and young people with lived experience into action.
- Hold a children and young people event to celebrate the work they have done to develop Bairns' Hoose.
- Keep talking with justice organisations on how the justice system will work with the Bairns' Hoose.
- Produce a report on therapies that help children and young people to recover from trauma and abuse, and the support that is available for them.
Delivery Plan and Timeline
We will develop Bairns' Hoose in 3 phases. This will begin in 2023 and will help organisations and people to be involved in the process as we start putting our plans in action.
Phase 1: Pathfinder - 2023-2025
Pathfinder organisations will be part of a design process to find out how the Bairns' Hoose Standards should work. This will be done in different parts of Scotland including the countryside or islands areas.
Phase 2: Pilot - From 2025
The pilots will test how the Bairns' Hoose model works. They will be properly checked to see if there are any issues and measure how well they are helping children and young people. This will help us make any changes needed before launching the Bairns' Hoose model across Scotland.
Phase 3: National Rollout – From 2027
By Spring 2025, we will have a clear idea for how the Bairns' Hoose model should work in Scotland and will develop a Delivery Plan for Pilot Programme.
At this point we will launch the Bairns' Hoose model across Scotland.
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