Purpose of the engagement cards
The cards should be viewed as a prompt to talk about different rights with tamariki and rangatahi. The cards don’t go into detail about how to talk about these rights. The purpose of the cards is to:
- let tamariki and rangatahi know they have rights
- initiate a discussion about their rights.
It is up to the social worker to decide how to have the discussion based on the developmental and emotional needs of te tamaiti or rangatahi.
When we talk about rights with tamariki or rangatahi, they might want to discuss a range of experiences. These experiences can be useful for understanding the needs and aspirations of te tamaiti or rangatahi and for populating the Tamariki All About Me plan.
Be aware that during conversations with tamariki and rangatahi about their rights, they may disclose incidents of historical or current abuse or neglect or other matters that are sensitive to them. We need to be prepared to respond appropriately at the time. Consider whether a report of concern is required and provide support.
What the cards look like
The engagement cards:
- are divided into topic areas, for example, orange cards are about caregivers, and purple cards are about rights about family/whānau and culture
- consist of approximately 30 cards
- include an A3 spreadsheet that identifies the different topic areas of the cards.
The content, images and language were developed by speech language therapists and tested with tamariki as young as 5 years and with tamariki with learning and developmental needs.
The cards contain all the rights outlined in Schedule 2 of the National Care Standards. However, the structure and language in the cards is more child friendly. If te tamaiti or rangatahi wants to read the detailed schedule, print it out or provide the link.
The zigzag background image is based on the Māori concept of takitoru — two-way communication.
The Tamariki All About Me plan uses similar imagery to the cards. This is because the Tamariki All About All Me plan was developed by speech language therapists and tested with tamariki alongside the cards. There is a direct correlation between the Tamariki All About Me plan and the cards because they both serve to support tamariki and rangatahi to understand information and share their views.
How tamariki and rangatahi describe rights
- I have a right to give letters to my dad, and ask for help.
- I have a right to be in care and to be safe.
- I have a right to speak out.
- Rights is something legal or moral that everyone inherits by law that allows or prevents the health and safety of people.
How to explain rights to tamariki
Before we discuss rights with tamariki and rangatahi, we should ask them what they think rights are. If it is clear from their response that they do not understand rights, a good way to explain rights is to start by saying that “rights are things you should have to live a good life”. It’s also helpful to give an example of a right, for example “you have a right to be safe”, and then ask them to give some examples.
How to use the cards
Once we feel confident te tamaiti or rangatahi understands what it means to have rights we can move on to talking about their rights as stipulated in the cards. To do this, start with the A3 spread sheet. Ask te tamaiti or rangatahi to indicate from the spread sheet, which rights they want to talk about or we can talk about a specific group. Then pull those cards out and start talking with te tamaiti or rangatahi about that set of rights.
For tamariki or rangatahi who can read, it works well to let them hold the card. We can ask them to read out the card and then explain what they think the words mean. Then we can initiate a conversation about how the rights on the card relate to them.
Because the cards are conversational there is no expectation that we will talk with te tamaiti or rangatahi about all of their rights in one session. There is a checklist on the last card that we can tick off once we’ve talked about a set of rights with te tamaiti or rangatahi and feel confident they understand. We can also tick off the checklist at the back of the My Rights My Voice booklet for te tamaiti or rangatahi.
Other things you should know
We want the cards to support conversations but at the same time, we want them to be user-friendly for practitioners.
We welcome any feedback you have on the cards so we can further improve them.