A Cherry Orchard-based youth project, which helps change the lives of young people and families, has been recognised for its imaginative and inclusive practice.

The Janus project, operated by Extern, has received the Investing in Children (IiC) Membership Award. IiC is a UK-based children’s human rights organisation which works in partnership with children and young people to exercise their rights and participate in decisions that affect them. Extern has received the Award in recognition of the Janus project’s good practice and active inclusion of children and young people in dialogue that results in change.

Each year Extern’s Cherry Orchard Janus programme works intensively with up to 60 young people, aged 8-17 years, whose behaviour is challenging and posing a risk to either themselves or to others.

Supported by Tusla, Extern’s work supports them to remain at home or at the lowest level within the care system, and improves their social functioning, community inclusion and family relationships. The project team work at the young person’s pace, so they can build upon their personal attributes and undeveloped potential, and also involves local school and community supports.

Importantly, the Extern team also provide support to the young person’s family in order to help empower parents to become confident and competent in their parental role.

Speaking about the achievement, Sarah Healy, Service Manager, Young People and Families, at Extern: “We are so proud of our services and are delighted that our team’s fantastic work in supporting children, young people, and their families, has been recognised in this way. I would also like to thank all the amazing young people we work with who contributed to us receiving this significant award”.

CEO of Extern, Charlie Mack, said: “In Extern we know another chance can change a life, enabling people to not only changes their lives, but to also allow them to be able to contribute to the community in which they live. The fact that we achieved this award due to endorsements from the young people we support, means so much to us. We are privileged to work with such inspiring children, young people and families, and we are proud that they know that they can come to Extern and talk to us and that they will be listened to. The Investing in Children Award acknowledges the importance we place on listening to young people and involving them in decision-making in relation to aspects of their care.”

The Cherry Orchard Janus Project is the third of Extern’s projects to have received the award. Each year Extern supports over 20,000 individuals, young people and families, to change their lives across the island of Ireland.

 Further information on Extern and the Janus project is available at https://www.extern.org/janus-programme