Written Communication with Children and Young People
AMENDMENTThis chapter was added to this manual in October 2012.
Communications regarding appointments being made with young people should be made to both parents and the young person.
Whilst a central principle is to share information and communication with young people in their own right exceptions need to be defined. Clearly it would be inappropriate to share all information with all children / young people.
2. Issues to Consider
The following points should be considered when sending any correspondence regarding a young person:
- The principle that young people should individually receive correspondence addressed to them should be followed unless there are good reasons for not doing so;
- Anyone with responsibility for corresponding with a young person should discuss with him/her the means by which this should be received, whether paper or electronic;
- Even when the parent/carers live at the same address individual correspondence should be sent to the young person. This might mean putting 2 envelopes with identical contents in the same outer envelope, or sending two letters to the same address;
- The young person may wish to keep copies of key documents, such as, the minutes of Child Protection Conferences, Pathway Plans and refer back to them where necessary;
- Consider the communication abilities and needs of the child/young person, what can they read and understand? Is verbal communication or even emailing or texting appropriate? Use the method that the child understands, which values them best and does not compromise their safety;
- Care needs to be taken not to exclude parent/carers in any information they need to be aware of in their role;
- No third party information should be shared with the young person without the permission of the person it concerns. The confidentiality of others and data protection responsibilities should be taken into account. The same applies to legally restricted information.