Children and Youth Friendly Church Award Scheme

If you’re looking for a church for your children or family to attend, or if you are a young person looking for a new church to call home, it can be difficult to know which ones will be welcoming and ready to greet you. If you spot this new plaque (or its predecessor, the Child Friendly Church Award) outside a United Reformed Church, you can be confident that this is a church which strives to consider children and young people in all they do and always to be ready, even if they don’t currently have children or young people regularly involved in the church. 

If you are a church congregation wanting to continuously develop your welcome and open your doors to all ages and stages, the Children and Youth  Friendly Church Scheme is there to help!

The Children and Youth Friendly Church Scheme is an exciting opportunity to look afresh at your church’s life with children, young people and families.Guided by a trained accompanier, a local congregation can begin to explore your strengths, your values, your opportunities, your hopes and dreams.

This scheme will enable you to identify all that you currently do and how to develop your welcome to children, young people and families in a process which will encourage, reflect and celebrate with you in preference to giving you a series of hurdles to jump and boxes to tick.

The Children and Youth Friendly Church is a programme of the United Reformed Church which recognises and encourages excellence in churches welcoming children, young people and families. Churches are supported by an accompanier and receive a certificate and plaque upon successful completion.

For more information please contact your synod children’s and youth development officer (CYDO) or lead worker, or the Assembly children’s and youth work office.

 A leaflet for churches advertising the Children and Youth Friendly Church scheme is available via the link or from your CYDO+ or equivalent.

The Children and Youth Friendly Church replaces the former Child Friendly Church Award as of July 2020.

A Children and Youth Friendly Church award means that a local congregation:

  • has a comprehensive and shared vision for Children’s and Youth Work
  • provides good opportunities for the voices of children and young people to be heard
  • takes seriously and responds to feedback from children and young people
  • provides opportunities for children and young people to be involved in planning, organising and delivering child friendly church services
  • makes suitable provision for under 5s in church
  • provides groups and organisations to help nurture children and young people
  • takes Safeguarding, Health & Safety and First Aid seriously


Following Assembly Executive 2022, the Children and Youth Friendly Church scheme has been extended to establish a Children and Youth Friendly Synod scheme, recognising the work that many synods already do to involve children and young people as equal partners in their planning and decision making. Please contact [email protected] to find out more.