Kate Moffett, Practice Manager at Include Youth

Kate Moffett, Practice Manager at Include Youth

United Kingdom
Kate Moffett, responsable de prácticas en Include Youth

Kate Moffett, Practice Manager at Include Youth organisation in Northern Ireland. She joined Include Youth in 2013 and is highly experienced in the area of youth participation, particularly with young people who face significant barriers to engaging. She has 12 years’ experience of working with young people in the justice system facing the most challenging barriers to participation and to having ‘a voice’ within society.

Currently, Ms Moffet manages the development and evaluation of practices, including the setting of practice standards. She is the Designated Safeguarding Officer at Include Youth, and is therefore responsible for safeguarding policies and procedures. She ensures that participation of young people is embedded throughout Include Youth and that young people have a say in decision-making and at management level. As well as this, Ms Moffet is an internal verifier for all OCN NI (Open College Network, Northern Ireland) qualifications at Include Youth, and co-delivers rights training to young people and 3rd sector organisations.

Include Youth has been working with young people in Northern Ireland since 1979. Could you tell us about the development of your organisation, as well as the current projects you are working on?

Include Youth is a charity that supports children and young people who are in or leaving care, from disadvantaged communities or whose rights are not being met, in order to improve their employability and personal development.

The organisation was established in May 1979 as the Northern Ireland Intermediate Treatment Association (NIITA), and has evolved to work with and for those from socially disadvantaged areas; who have had poor educational experiences; who are from a care background; who have committed or are at risk of committing crime; who are misusing drugs or alcohol; or who are at risk of harm.

We have six main offices throughout Northern Ireland and many of our projects are delivered in partnership with the health trusts, community-based youth organisations and responsible business charities.  Our ‘Give and Take’ scheme supports participants to develop and improve their employability skills, build confidence and self-esteem preparing them for a successful move into mainstream education training and/or employment.

Our ‘Give & Take’ scheme supports more than 400 young people each year through the following strands:

Core – A 12 month programme specifically for young people who have grown up in care and have been referred to us by their social worker. It consists of work experience, mentoring support, personal development programmes, qualifications and vocational training.

Start – A 14 week programme for young people in the North Down, Ards and Greater Belfast areas, delivered in partnership with Northern Ireland Alternatives, consisting of personal development programmes, team building activities, mentoring support, employability skills, vocational qualifications, volunteering opportunities and work place tours.

Outreach – A 12-week once-a-week programme that provides employability support for youth groups throughout Northern Ireland, whether LGBT, asylum seeking, ethnic minority groups, or young people with learning needs.

One-to-One – A tailored employability programme for young people at risk of sexual exploitation.

Transitional support – A 3 month programme that supports young people, who have gained employment or are starting a training course, to maintain their situation and overcome any challenges they may face.

Include Youth is a participative organisation that includes the voice of young people in all aspects of the work we do.  This allows us to harness the learning from our direct practice with young people to inform the policy work we undertake to influence those who make decisions about the lives of young people, particularly in the areas of youth justice and employability.  Our policy work engages directly with key stakeholders to inform, influence, challenge and advocate with and on behalf of young people in need or at risk.  All Include Youth’s policy work is grounded on international and domestic standards in human rights and children’s rights.

You work closely with the Juvenile Justice Centre in Northern Ireland. Please, tell us about your work in this centre.

Include Youth engages with young people in the Juvenile Justice Centre in Northern Ireland in a number of ways.  We believe that young people need to be listened to and their views need to be taken seriously. We engage regularly with children/young people in the Juvenile Justice System on issues that directly affect them such as confidence in policing, mental health, education provision etc. We deliver participation and rights training to children/young people in the Juvenile Justice Centre, exploring why it is important to be listened to, and ways to improve communication.

Include Youth has recently delivered a pilot programme in the Juvenile Justice Centre, engaging one-to-one with young people who are preparing to return to their communities, helping them to access education, training or employment when they are released.  As part of the programme, they do personal development work around confidence and self-esteem, as well as gain a qualification in employability and practical skills, such as CV writing and practicing job interviews. This programme engages with the young people both prior to release and post-release, linking them back into the community and offering both practical and emotional support.

You are a partner of the IJJO led project “Improving Juvenile Justice Systems in Europe: Training for Professionals”, for which you created a series of videos featuring young people talking about their relationship with the justice system. Could you tell us about those videos and their purpose?

Include Youth, as a partner on this project, has produced a 3 part video on the voice of children and young people who are justice experienced.

For the formal justice part of the video we engaged in a series of focus groups within the Juvenile Justice Centre. We had discussions with groups of children and young people about their experiences with professionals that they came into contact with in the justice system; for example the police, judges, staff in the Juvenile Justice Centre and social workers.  Three young people agreed to be filmed, they had to be anonymised but their voices and the centre was captured on film.  They talked about their experience of the justice system and the tips that they would give to professionals on engaging with children/young people in the justice system.

The second part of the video was about a restorative justice programme in Northern Ireland. A young person from an organisation called Northern Ireland Alternatives was interviewed and asked about his experience of being involved in this programme and his tips for professionals.

The final part of the video featured a young person who had been with Include Youth, was care experienced and had previously received a police caution. She talked about how that had impacted on her, giving also tips for professionals engaging with justice experienced young people.

The purpose of the video is to highlight the importance of the roles that the various professionals play in the lives of justice experienced children/young people, as well as to hear directly the views of children and young people who have been through the experience of being involved in the justice system.  It is being used as part of a ‘Train the Trainer’ package in various European countries to train professionals such as police, judges, social workers, Juvenile Justice staff, etc.