Family Justice Young People’s Board
Who are we?
We are the Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB). We are a group of over 50 children and young people aged between seven and 25 years old who live across England and Wales. All of our members have either had direct experience of the family justice system or have an interest in children’s rights and the family courts.
Our overall aim is to support the work of the Family Justice Board which is to deliver improvements to the family justice system so that it provides the best result for children who come into contact with it.
We work hard to help ensure that the work of the Family Justice Board is child-centred and child-inclusive. We do this by participating in all its meetings to enable young people to have a direct say in its work. In doing this we work closely with other young people’s groups and stakeholders within family justice.
“I really enjoy being a member of the FJYPB. It is really fun and amazing. It has so many rewards and we have the privilege of working with some really awesome people. I stand tall and proud as a member of the FJYPB and I feel united with fellow members at getting our voices heard. It’s amazing to see our voices and the voices of other children having an impact on key services for children and young people. We are helping to change our futures and how children are both seen and heard.”
– Matthew, FJYPB member, aged 15
We work to promote the voice of children and young people that experience family breakdown including those children and young people who are involved in family court proceedings. We do this by actively taking part in various meetings, projects and events, and working together with various agencies and organisations. Below are a few examples of what we do.
Sharing personal experiences of proceedings
Members bravely share their experiences to professionals to highlight the areas where improvement is needed.
Deliver presentations and targeted and interactive workshops.
The FJYPB regularly participate on interview panels to recruit new members of staff for Cafcass, including Family Court Advisers (FCAs) and senior managers.
Consultations and research
The FJYPB take part in funded research projects. Members will share views and opinions for targeted consultations.
The FJYPB are involved with policy development for various organisations and agencies.
- Cafcass offices
- Court reviews
- National Association of Child Contact Centres
- Mediation centres.
Who we work with
The FJYPB work with a range of family justice organisations and agencies. These include, but are not limited to:
- Ministry of Justice
- Family Justice Board
- Mediation services (including National Family Mediation, NFM)
- National Association of Child Contact Centres (NACCC)
- Local authorities.
The FJYPB National Charter aims to strengthen professional practice. It sets out the aspirations that children and young people want from family justice services such as the Ministry of Justice, the Department for Education, the judiciary (judges and magistrates) and many more. We’re working with all family justice organisations to implement the charter and make these aspirations a reality. It is our aim that our charter will help improve children and young people’s experience of the family courts and dispute resolution services.
We have put together a very useful glossary explaining some of the words and phrases which children and young people may hear during a family court case and may have difficulty understanding. We are currently working to update our glossary.
Our Annual Review 2017
Our Annual Review 2017 gives us an opportunity to reflect on the work which we have carried out over the past year and the impact the FJYPB have had across the family justice system.
The annual review also provides a chance to look ahead to the future and sets out our priorities for 2018/19.
Poster for schools
Our members have produced a poster to help schools to signpost children and young people involved in the family courts, or experiencing family separation, to information that may be useful to them. We would like to encourage schools to display this poster, and to add a named member of staff, so that children and young people know how to access support if they need it and know who to talk to if they are finding things difficult.
Sorting out separation
Some of our board members worked with the Department of Work and Pensions to help develop this video to encourage parents to focus on their child when they are separating.
Our top tips for professionals
We have developed a range of top tips aimed at professionals working with children and young people. Check out our top tips posters and short films below:
Watch this space! We are currently developing more top tips focusing on:
- Best practice for professionals working with migrant and refugee children and young people
- Best practice tips for social workers (in local authorities) working with children and young people
FJYPB’s top tips for respecting children and young people’s diversity
The FJYPB has devised top tips for respecting diversity and effectively including children and young people within family justice. The top tips were shared at this year’s Voice of the Child 2017 conference.
Aleesha’s top tips for working with children and young people with a disability
Aleesha has cerebral palsy and has such a positive outlook on her abilities. She wanted to ensure that professionals understood the delicate and complex needs that children and young people with physical disabilities may have.
Matthew’s top tips for working with children and young people with autism
Matthew has based his tips on his own experiences of working with professionals throughout his court proceedings and education. Matthew shared his top tips at last year’s Voice of the Child Conference 2017 and they were really well received.
Sasha’s top tips for Cafcass practitioners working with children and young people
Sasha has worked closely with the rest of the Board to develop key top tips for Cafcass practitioners working with children and young people to encourage best practice.
Top tips for Cafcass practitioners for keeping children and young people informed and at the centre of their case
Keeping children and young people engaged and informed is a way of ensuring their voice is heard. The FJYPB and Cafcass have produced best practice tips for ensuring children and young people are kept informed and at the centre of their case.
Top tips for working with transgender children and young people
The FJYPB and Allsorts Youth Project have worked together to create these top tips for professionals who work with transgender children and young people.
Top tips for working with LGB children and young people
The FJYPB and Allsorts Youth Project have worked together to create these top tips for professionals who work with lesbian, gay or bisexual children and young people.
Top tips for separating parents
The FJYPB have devised these top tips for parents to help them think about matters from their child’s perspective.
Top tips for working with children and young people affected by domestic abuse
The FJYPB have devised some top tips for professionals working with children and young who have experience of and been affected domestic abuse.
Top tips for working with brothers and sisters
A sibling or ‘brother and/or sister’ relationship is likely to last longer than any other relationship in our lives. When this relationship is disrupted, or not maintained, the impact on brother and/or sister groups can be considerable. The FJYPB have developed some top tips for professionals when working with brothers and/or sister groups.
Our annual Voice of the Child conference
The annual FJYPB Voice of the Child conference is completely led, organised and run by members of the FJYPB, with an audience of about 200 delegates including senior figures and family justice professionals.
Our goal is to bring together the key professionals in the family justice world to deliver speeches, participate in a panel discussion and lead workshops that are ideas-focused and on a wide range of key family justice topics. The conference also provides the opportunity to interact with and learn from board members and fellow attendees to discuss how to implement best practice when working with children and young people.
Are you a young person (aged 7-24) with experience of the family courts?
If you are, and you would like to find out more about joining the Family Justice Young People’s Board, please contact us at [email protected]. We can then provide you with an application pack to complete and return.
If you have any questions about the role, please do not hesitate to get in touch!