The Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB) is a group of over 40 children and young people aged between 8 and 25 years old, who live across England.
Who we are
The Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB) is a group of over 40 children and young people aged between 8 and 25 years old who live across England. All members have either had direct experience of the family justice system or have an interest in children’s rights and the family courts.
Members aged over 18 are known as ‘Associate’ Board members and take a greater lead in developing the direction of the Board. The Board’s purpose is to ensure that the family justice system and particularly the Family Justice Board (FJB) remain child-centred and child inclusive.
The FJYPB is a permanent sub-group of the national Family Justice Board (FJB) and is responsible to this board. Two members of the FJYPB regularly attend FJB meetings.
Are you a young person 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 (FJYPB), please visit the Cafcass website.
The FJYPB are now recruiting Welsh members. For information in Welsh about how to become a member.
How we work
The FJYPB sets its own annual priorities, however various agencies within the family justice system ask it to undertake work on their behalf. Recently this has included work on:
- transparency in the family courts
- child-inclusive mediation
- the vulnerable witnesses working group
- Ministry of Justice (MoJ) ‘Voice of the Child’ policy
All of the FJYPB’s work relates to the current work plan, agreed by the FJB, and future priorities as detailed below. The FJYPB works to promote its own voice and the voice of thousands more children and young people that experience family breakdown, including those children and young people who do not access court proceedings. The FJYPB does this by actively taking part in various meetings, projects and events, working together with various agencies and organisations, to ensure that Board members get the chance to express a view, influence decision-making and effect change.
The main types of work include:
- reviewing services within the family justice system, for example Cafcass offices, courts and NACCC contact centres
- recruitment of staff working within the family justice system
- reviewing feedback and complaints
- giving presentations, running workshops and providing training
- taking part in consultations and research studies
- regularly attending board meetings with various agencies and stakeholders, such as local FJBs and Cafcass Board meetings
- developing tools and resources to encourage effective and meaningful engagement with children, young people and families
- developing child-friendly information about the family justice system
- planning and delivering the FJYPB annual Voice of the Child conference
Members don’t have to take part in all or any particular commission. It is up to each individual member to put themselves forward.
Annual Voice of the Child conference
Since 2013, the FJYPB has run two ‘Voice of the Child’ conferences. The day is a chance to showcase the Board’s work and to promote the voice of the child to a whole range of delegates.
At the 2014 conference Simon Hughes MP, Minister for Justice and Civil Liberties, announced that children and young people would be able to communicate their views to the judge by appropriate means. The Minister also said the Government would work with the mediation sector to give children a clearer voice in mediation.
The 2015 conference will take place on 23 July in London. The theme of the conference is, ‘Effective Participation: Make it Happen – Make it Better’. For more information about the conference please email FJYPB.
From 2014 to 2015 the FJYPB’s priorities will be:
- To promote and develop child inclusive practice across agencies through training and development work
- To review policies and processes and review and produce further information leaflets and other supporting material
- To advocate and support pilots within family justice services which promote the voice of the child both pre-proceedings and during proceedings
- To hold the Voice of the Child conference 2015
- To develop a link to local Children in Care Councils to help them promote the voice of the child within local authorities
The work plan of the FJYPB
- National Charter for Child-Inclusive Family Justice.
- The work of the Children and Vulnerable Witnesses Working Group.
- Reviewing family justice services (Cafcass, the courts and contact centres), and look at how it can broaden this to examine the family justice system as a whole.
- Ensuring the recruitment and training of individuals in the family justice system is child friendly and child focussed.
Further details of our work plan can be found in the FJB work plan.
Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB) Secretariat: Cafcass, 3rd Floor, 21 Bloomsbury Street, London, WC1B 3HF