Two Sides of the Same Coin: The Perspective of Being Both Parent and Professional

Two Sides of the Same Coin: The Perspective of Being Both Parent and Professional

In the UNCRC Framework project, we have a Children and Families Panel, run by Children’s Parliament, and a Professionals Panel, run by Together Scotland. Both panels are contributing to the Framework in different ways, but all voices on the panels are equally important. Below, one of the parents in the Children and Families Panel writes about the juxtaposition of working as a professional whilst also being a parent on the Children and Families Panel.

“I am in the position of being a parent of a Member of Children’s Parliament (MCP) on the Children and Families Panel, as well as being a professional who happens to work with children every day in my employment.

Being aware that there also exists a Professionals Panel that have been working hard on this project too, I am on the Children and Families Panel solely as a parent and have therefore been careful that my family and I have made our written contributions entirely from that viewpoint.

Naturally, however, hearing the stories and input from other children and families (particularly about their school experiences), has given me real food for thought. It has encouraged opportunities to reflect more closely on my professional practice outwith this project in terms of considering to what extent children’s human rights are upheld in my particular setting, as well as giving thought to more effectively ensuring that children in my (and all) settings are actually aware of their rights. It has been rather insightful hearing children and families speak freely about their experiences and hearing their suggestions in an open and honest forum, which isn’t always possible, or perhaps isn’t always delivered in the same way, in my professional role.

Whilst no stranger to children’s human rights before joining the team, for me, being part of this project has been a chance to really delve deeper into what children feel children’s human rights should look like here in Scotland. The stark contrast between taking part in this project and what I see coming from professional bodies involved with children’s services is that what will eventually become the Framework, has largely come from the children themselves. Whilst children’s voices are certainly becoming more a part of standard practice across various agencies, it is sometimes still the case that what children want and need to feel safe, happy, and healthy is not necessarily determined by children themselves – their input and suggestions are not always sought in this way.

I feel fortunate that I have been able to see first-hand the gradual development of the Framework, and fortunate that my family have been able to play a small part in such an important project that will have a lasting legacy. The most pivotal part of that legacy being that the Framework has truly come about by fully involving those that it concerns rather than being another piece of legislative documentation being handed down from ‘the powers that be’. My own children now feel well versed in their children’s human rights and having been a panel member, it is my hope that all the children that my wider colleagues across Scotland and I work alongside will have the same knowledge, awareness, and confidence to ensure that their rights are upheld.”

Paper plate with a child drawing saying: School. Article 12. A child saying "I am House Captain. I represent my classmates". A headteacher saying "I want to hear your ideas".

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