Youth Engagement and Participation at EPIC

Everyone at EPIC is committed to empowering children and young people to have a say, to have their views heard and considered, and to influence change locally and nationally.  

Through a programme of youth engagement and participation activities, we aim to create safe, inclusive spaces for the active involvement of care-experienced children and young people in projects and campaigns that are important to them, and in decision-making processes that affect their lives and their care experiences. 

The EPIC Care Community 

In the EPIC Care Community, children and young people learn about their rights, what those rights mean and look like in practical terms, and how their voices can create change. There is lots of opportunities to develop new skills, build confidence, and to be young change makers by advising EPIC and other services on how to improve the experiences of children in care and young care leavers. 

As EPIC works with children and young people up to the age of 26, there will be activities for both under 18s and 18+, and both will have opportunities to contribute to EPIC’s work, events, and campaigns. There will also be time for social meetups, to explore and talk about care experiences, and to have some fun and make new friends along the way.  

What Guides EPIC’s Youth Engagement and Participation work? 

In EPIC, our work is guided by Professor Laura Lundy’s Model of Participation. The Lundy Model, as it is known, is a way for us to make sure that Article 12 of the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is upheld, promoted, and put into practise. 

UNCRC is a very important international treaty that details the rights that every child and young person has. Article 12 states that children have the right to express their views freely in all matters affecting them, and for their views to be given consideration. Article 12 also states that a child should be heard in any legal and administrative proceeding that affects them. 

In simpler terms, children have the right to give their opinions freely on issues that affect them, and adults should listen and take children seriously! 

The Lundy Model has four parts, and it is important to consider them collectively, as together they promote the active participation of children and young people. 

Space: Create safe and inclusive spaces for children to express their views. 

Voice: Provide appropriate information and facilitate the expression of children’s views. 

Audience: Ensure that children’s views are communicated to someone with the responsibility to listen. 

Influence: Ensure that children’s views are taken seriously and acted upon, where appropriate. 

Source: Lundy’s Voice Model Checklist for Participation as included in Ireland’s National Strategy on Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision-Making 2015-2020 

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