Mersey Care NHS Trust realised that it was difficult for children to visit their relatives in secure mental health settings in Liverpool. A group of children working with Barnado’s to address some of the difficulties they faced as young carers explained that they were finding the ward environment unwelcoming, chaotic and frightening. Without a safe space for children to visit their relatives, families were finding it difficult to maintain their relationships, and this was affecting their right to family life, protected by Article 8 of the Human Rights Act.

In addition to their collaboration with Barnado’s, Mersey Care had also been working with BIHR to develop a human rights-based approach to service design and delivery. So when concerns were raised about children’s negative experiences staff were able to recognise this as a human rights issue, and they began to think creatively about steps that they could take to improve their facilities.

The Trust looked at providing family visiting rooms, and developed the ‘Jelly Baby’ kite mark; a specialised visiting area for families designed in consultation with children. Children told them that it was important that the rooms were away from the ward environment, comfortable and ‘home like’, and contained toys and things to play with. Young people were involved in the design and decor of these rooms and invited to ‘inspect’ the quality of the family rooms provided by the Trust, before awarding the Jelly Baby’ kite mark to ensure they were meeting the standards set out by young people.