Skills and Knowledge Framework

a paper with a wrench and two connected dots

The underpinning values

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Before we consider our approach to realising children’s rights, it is important to acknowledge the importance of adhering to underpinning values. When our values are activated, our emotions are engaged with our practice. Being consciously aware of our values helps us to become aware of what is important to us and what drives the decisions we make. The nature of our professional relationships, with peers as well as with children, young people and families, impacts what we set out to achieve in our work. 

Everyone should have opportunities through support and supervision, coaching and mentoring, learning and development, to build a set of values suitable for their role. 

The values of human dignity, kindness, empathy, trust, and love ground the UNCRC Skills and Knowledge Framework. They are the foundations we build our knowledge and understanding on, and develop our practice to become fully rights based from. The multidisciplinary team has explored, devised and committed to these values with children, families and workers. They should weave through our professional relationships and practices. 

Human dignity is at the heart of the UNCRC. Every human being is important and special and has value by virtue of being born. The powerful concept of human dignity sits at the heart of our understanding of human rights, including children’s rights. A commitment to the human dignity of children and young people means recognising the intrinsic value of all children and young people, protecting and promoting their rights, and providing services that ensure children and young people are healthy, happy and safe. 

Kindness means engaging with what’s happening with children and young people, noticing when they need help, and responding accordingly. The Carnegie Trust talk about kindness as symbolic of “the power of everyday relationships (12), they recognise that kindness is essential to wellbeing and to tackling isolation and loneliness, both of which impact on children and young people as well as older people. 

Empathy is often described as being able to walk a mile in someone’s shoes, in other words to be able to imagine how another person might feel. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming, but empathy has the power to open the individual to the world, to help make sense of it. Adults need to model empathic relationships, feel with the heart of a child, even when it feels challenged by the way a child or young person is presenting themselves in the moment. 

Trust means children and young people believe that they will be treated with love, kindness and understanding. It is important to understand the trust that children and young people place in adults. Children and young people must be able to trust adults to promote and protect their rights. When a child or young person needs or wants help from an adult, they need to know they can trust the adult to listen, be kind and help them with their concern. 

Love gives people a greater sense of belonging, meaning and value. Children and young people need to know they are loved. The concept of love in professional relationships is viewed differently across different professional disciplines; it can be called caring, nurturing, and supporting children and young people. It requires supportive relationships with adults that are characterised by warmth, affection and connection with the child or young person. 

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