Children and Young People’s Engagement

RCPCH &Us tools to support trainees, paediatricians and healthcare professionals working with children and young people to drive service improvement.

Produced as part of the National Health Service’s 70th year anniversary celebrations, children and young people told RCPCH &Us what they value most from their healthcare professionals and the NHS:

RCPCH &Us is for children, young people, parents and carers; created to actively seek and share their views to influence and shape policy and practice. Their work includes projects, events, activities and sharing news to educate, collaborate, engage and change services for the better.

RCPCH &Us also delivers information, advice and guidance for trainees, paediatricians and healthcare professionals about working with children and young people and involving them in strategic decision making.

Here are some engagement resources developed by RCPCH &Us with their network of children and young people and their families:

This how-to guide has been created to support your thinking around engagement and capturing the voice of children, young people and families to help shape health policy and practice.

The questions set out in the guide support you to shape your thinking around an engagement offer for your organisation or service, and to develop a process that is meaningful and beneficial for all. It includes understanding the why (strategic plan), getting to the detail (operational plan) and finding out the voice (engagement plan).

Once you have your basic plan in place, you can use project planning tools within your organisations to create your engagement project. This can be referred to as ‘strategic voice’, creating an evidence base for change to inform decision makers through a collective voice of service users.

RCPCH &Us created a diary for children and young people where they can write or draw their feelings and experiences between clinic appointments, and a place to record their questions for healthcare professionals. There’s also space for children and young people to share some of the fun things they’ve been doing at school and home!

There’s a print version that families can print at home and a digital version they can fill in on a computer or smartphone, which can be emailed to the clinical team before the next clinic appointment.

Based on the classic children’s game, this game provides ‘Facts vs Myths’ surrounding the subject of mental health, which can enable a teacher or healthcare professional to facilitate a discussion regarding this issue.
It was designed by RCPCH 2016 summer intern Papia aged 17 years, who wanted to make it as easy as possible for you to find out what children and young people know about mental health. Just print and fold the downloadable sheet to kick start a conversation about mental health and well being with children and young people.


Parents from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital worked with RCPCH &Us to look at three elements of being “hidden”: children and young people with a hidden condition or illness; hidden family carers providing support; hidden support services such as forums. Their toolkit helps raise awareness of conditions, support services and what makes them or their child a warrior.

Developed to highlight pieces of statutory guidance and legislation from the four nations, this resource will link you to policy aimed to actively support stakeholder engagement in health settings. Starting with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) it then links to NHS guidance and devolved nations policy.

It is important that professionals are knowledgable on these areas of legislation, in order to effectively advocate for improved consultation processes in relation to service design, to support challenging conversations where there may be barriers to children and young people’s involvement, and to promote and protect children and young people’s rights.

Developed by the RCPCH Infants, Children and Young People’s Engagement (ICYP) Committee, with help from Central Bedfordshire Youth Voice, this resource has 21 different ideas on how you can develop children and young people’s engagement in your setting.

The ideas range from starting the conversation locally, to running a Takeover Challenge with children and young people – there is something for everyone! All ideas can be adapted to suit your needs, and will help kick start other ones.

The ‘Understand’ model is designed for healthcare professionals to think about the why, how and what every time they work with children and young people.

It is designed to be used for discussion with children, young people, parents, carers and healthcare professionals to identify areas that are working well and to spot the gaps where there might be need for improvement.

The model was written and developed by children and young people working with RCPCH &Us.

This game enables a young person to pick the cards that best represent how they are feeling, prompting them to discuss a topic and find out more information.

It was designed by RCPCH 2017 summer intern, Amina aged 16 years. She wanted to devise a product to help children and young people express their feelings.

Amina collated research from consultations with young people, which revealed that many would like to use games to keep them calm and focused when having what can sometimes seem like daunting conversations with school nurses, doctors, or other professionals.

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