Walking Tall is a three-year project from The Fostering Network in Wales that began in 2020. It works with primary school children in foster care and was commissioned by the Welsh Government as part of the Fostering Communities programme. Using interactive activities, Stage One encouraged facilitators to think through how they can adopt a more participative approach when working with children and highlighted the importance of co-production – working side by side with children, to empower them to share their views.
Stage Two drew on the recommendations from the Stage One evaluation (Boffey et al 2021). It returned to children in foster care and their foster carers who had taken part in Stage One to refine the menu of activities. This children’s advisory group suggested new creative activities and tried out toys and related reflective tasks. Feedback from foster carers and children let the project team know what activities ‘were a hit’ and working with these experts by experience moved beyond forms of tokenistic consultation and reflected best practice examples of participatory engagement and co-production.
The project team then sent the revised menu of activities to children in foster care and their foster carers. In online conversations with the project team, children and foster carers discussed each activity and evaluated them in terms of enjoyment, skills needed in the making process, what they did with the items they made, whether they thought that other children their age would like the activities, and what other activities could be introduced going forward with the Walking Tall Project. Children’s comments on the activities included ‘happy and calm… I felt warm’ but also ‘I kind of got a bit frustrated’. This open evaluative process was important to ensure that children’s views could inform and guide the future work of the Walking Tall Project.
You can find out more in the project report: Walking Tall: Stage Two Evaluation.
The Fostering Network in Wales @tfn_Wales firstname.lastname@example.org
Boffey, M., Mannay, D, Vaughan, R. and Wooders, C. 2021. The Fostering Communities Programme – Walking Tall: Stage One Evaluation. Cardiff: The Fostering Network in Wales.
Boffey, M., Mannay, D, Vaughan, R. and Wooders, C. 2021. The Fostering Communities Programme – Walking Tall: Stage Two Evaluation. Cardiff: The Fostering Network in Wales.