Review: Cadarn – Emotional & Mental Health Services

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This is a review by the Young Inspectors: a team of young people who rate Cardiff’s youth services. Their reports are being hosted on theSprout so that all young people can read and have their say on them.

Learn more about the Young Inspectors here.


What do they do?

Cadarn is an emotional and mental health package for children, young people and families across Cardiff.

It is made up of a number of services including:

  • Child and Family Bereavement Service  helping children, young people and families learn how to cope when family life is shattered.
  • Bounceback – helping those at risk of dropping out of school/college with one-to-one and group support both at school and in the community. Young people will be offered emotional support to help them develop their resilience and self-confidence in order to move on with their lives.
  • Free 2 Bee – life story work with asylum seeker and refugee children aged between 7-16 years, as well as informal parenting support groups with asylum seeker and refugee parents/carers.

It is led and coordinated by Barnardo’s Cymru, working in partnership with other providers. The project will support children, young people and families to look after themselves but also help others around them and recognise that being sad, or anxious or a little lonely happens to everyone.

Cadarn works with those who are most likely to be at risk of disengagement, anxiety and stress, eating disorders, bullying, self-harm, and unhappiness.

What did we look at?

Because there are so many services offered within Cadarn, a team of 10 Young Inspectors was dispatched. They chose 5 services to focus on:-

  • Transitions 16-25  – Barnardo’s  – A ‘one stop shop’ for young people and families in managing the transition from Child and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to Adult Mental Health services. Helps young people with a mental health diagnosis to develop their awareness, social skills and emotional resilience in order to access education, training and social opportunities.
  • School Exclusion Family Support Project – SNAP Cymru – Support families’ emotional wellbeing and promote engagement with the local authority, schools and relevant agencies.
  • Next Steps – Cardiff Council Education Service – Family-led intervention to enhance the resilience of families leaving the Integrated Family Support Team.
  • Learning Together – Cardiff Council Education – Enhances families’ achievement and engagement with education and learning through a family course and support into the social and emotional aspects of learning.
  • Ely and Caerau Integrated Children’s Centre – Emotional and mental health and wellbeing support for children and their families.


How did they do?

NX_man_magnifyingglass_side1. Information
The package has show multiple ways in which they share information. Some of the information is developed just for the young people, whilst others are directed at the parents. Not only do they promote the service to C&YP (children and young people), they also try to find out about the individual before they enter the service.
Verdict: Achieving


2. It’s Your Choice
All services could show that C&YP had been involved in every level, from development to individual sessions.
Verdict: Achieving


3. No Discrimination
All of the services have policies, procedures, and regular training to help them work well across cultures and communities. Interpreters are used when needed.
Verdict: Achieving


4. Respect
All C&YP are able to have their say through feedback session, comments boxes and evaluations. They felt valued and their ideas were acted upon where appropriate, all services feed back to young people after they were involved in consultation sessions and events.
Verdict: Achieving


National Participation Standards

The services are judged by how well they meet the 7 Participation Standards.

5. You Get Something Out Of It
C& YP get various things out of being involved in theses services, from having someone to talk to about the issues they are facing, to helping them in setting themselves personal goals and targets. Someone told us that when he first joined the service he was shy and feels the service has helped him overcome this shyness and progress onto further things. He has since moved on to working with the Prince’s Trust and Cardiff Youth Council.
Verdict: Achieving


6. Feedback
C&YP are asked throughout for their feedback and what could be improved for other services users. Regular evaluations take place. At the end of each year C&YP walk around the service and take photos of what they would like to change or improve and why. Staff will then over the summer months try to make all the changes possible. Looking over the evidence and seeing the ideas was very inspirational.
Verdict: Achieving


7. Improving How We Work
This has been demonstrated by the package in various ways, from the way in which the services interact with young people at first contact and choosing suitable/neutral place to meet, to young people designing their own individual action plans. Session evaluations are completed at various points of the interaction with C&YP. All services had been able to demonstrate ways in which their service has changed and developed to better suit the needs of C&YP
Verdict: Achieving


What did we think?

The Cadarn package has show us some great examples of how to involve C&YP in decision making and development of the services from across the package. We met with and heard evidence from services users themselves; support workers on the ground delivering face-to-face work; and the package lead. We got to meet many different people during the course of the inspection, and got to visit various services in their settings. Looking around all the services and receiving a tour of their facilities was fantastic. It is quite clear that all the services in the package have strived to adhere to the National Participation Standards and that it has been clearly embedded on a package basis.

When meeting all the various workers and staff across the package it was clear that the services take children and young people’s opinions seriously and have ways that these can be acted on.  They do not change things for the sake of change but will try things out.

We recommend that Cadarn be awarded the National Participation Standards Kite Mark as they clearly come up to the standard and are listening to and acting on what C&YP tell them across their services.

Such a great service to inspect. Well done to all those involved.


Overall Recommendation:  Achieving

Read the full report by clicking on the link below:


Cadarn Young Inspectors Report

Eagle-eyed readers will spot that this report is actually from 2014: the kite mark lasts for 3 years, but it won’t be long before it’s time for a follow-up visit. Maybe you could help.

Interested in reviewing the service? Learn how to become a Young Inspector.

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