How can we Get It Right for our children & young people?

How can we Get It Right for our children & young people?

November’s blog post comes from Tanya Anderson, GIRFEC Development Officer with CrossReach. Tanya shares some of her thoughts about how we can contribute to the wellbeing of children and why it’s important to be part of making Scotland the #bestplacetogrowup

We all want our children and young people to be fully supported as they grow up from birth, through to childhood and adolescence.

Some may experience temporary difficulties, some may live with challenges, and some may experience more complex issues; and sometimes a child and their families are going to need help and support.

So what is Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) and how will it help the church to continue to support and nurture the children, young people and
families in our communities?

GIRFEC is a national approach to supporting and working with all children and young people in Scotland, to make Scotland the #bestplacetogrowup. To achieve this we require a positive culture towards children, and fundamental to achieving this is respecting the rights set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the Children’s Rights.

GIRFEC is underpinned by statute within the Children & Young Peoples (Scotland) Act 2014, but has been a national policy in Scotland since 2010. GIRFEC is important for everyone who works with children and young people, as well as many people who work with adults who look after children.

Descriptions of GIRFEC can be found in various different locations, but principally from the Scottish Government website and Local Authority websites: ( &

How does GIRFEC help us?

To help church communities see how GIRFEC fits in with their work, four key principles can be followed:

1. A commitment to keep the child at the centre

By following a child-focused approach, we will ensure that the child or young person and their family is at the centre of decision-making and building solutions to support them.

2. Focusing on the child’s whole wellbeing

If we are all concerned with every aspect of a child’s life and wellbeing then we can collectively get it right working across organisational boundaries and putting children and their families at the heart of decision making and ensure appropriate and effective support is offered at the right time.

3. Making sure we all know who to contact

If we feel we have identified a child or young person’s specific need, working with the family, we can access a principle point of contact (the Named Person), who is a person the child and the parent already know and can go to at any time they need help or advice. *It is important that all information shared follows the Data Protection principles and existing legislation, good practice and CrossReach policy & protocols.

4. Understanding and planning how our work contributes to children and young people’s wellbeing

Every practitioner who is involved with a child will be using the same language, clearly recording a child’s development using 8 wellbeing indicators: Safe; Healthy; Achieving; Nurtured; Active; Respected; Responsible; and Included, also defined as SHANNARI in the Children & Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.

Being part of a child’s wellbeing

Community groups, clubs, societies and other organisations across Scotland provide a range of activities and support for children and young people. Anyone who works with children, young people
and families in their community are already making an important contribution to their wellbeing and have become part of the Child’s Wellbeing Wheel.

Any person who is working and/or playing an active role in the life of a child, young person and their family, can use the GIRFEC Wellbeing Wheel to plan activities and support for a child or young person that will help them to realise their full potential. When everyone, including the child themselves, has a common understanding of what wellbeing means, it is easier to build a complete picture that will help them to realise their full potential.

How does your work help children and young people?

Using the 8 SHANARRI Indicators, here are some examples of how you can record how your work helps children and young people:

Developing trust; sorting out a problem; playing safely; looking after themselves; know where and who to go to for help.

Looking after their health; coping with change; being more confident; talking about their feelings; knowing about substance issues.

Enjoy learning; be involved in out of school activities; meet their full potential; develop independence and a feeling of self-worth

Get the support they need; have someone they can trust and talk to; feel important and that they matter.

Take part in activities; enjoy time with family and friends and meet new people; develop new interests and improve social skills.

Can make decisions; speak up for themselves; get involved in the community; provide their peers with support; feel listened to.

Understand different cultures and faiths; respect others; have responsibility; make a contribution; try out new ideas.

Overcome barriers; develop friendships; feel accepted.

We all want to do the best we can to help children and families across Scotland. We want to Get It Right.

If you have any questions about GIRFEC, you can contact Tanya directly: or post on our message boards:

More information about Calamari SHANARRI and activities can be found here.

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