This library is a comprehensive collection of national and international good practice, policy, legal and academic publications, reports and resources on children and young people’s participation in decision-making.
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First Annual Report on the implementation of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex (LGBTI+) National Youth Strategy 2018–2020
This review shows the progress that has been made across all Government Departments and Agencies to meet this aim. The actions initiated in the first year of implementation have focused on the lives of LGBTI+ young people across a range of sectors, particularly in education, health, and safe and inclusive spaces, with a particular focus on the issues faced by trans young people.
Children’s participation in national policymaking: “You’re so adorable, adorable, adorable! I’m speechless; so much fun!”
Policymaking is one of the most challenging arenas in which children's participation rights are implemented. The goal of this study is to portray patterns of children's participation in public policymaking and characterize various adults' reactions to children's participation. The study draws on protocols of committees operating in the Israeli parliament and interviews with an advisory group of children and young people who had participated on the committees. The findings show the potential of children's participation in national policymaking to mobilize policy change and to contextualize policy discussions. They also demonstrate that children's comments in policy discussions may evoke extreme responses, expressed as either fawning or dismissing. The conclusions offer practices that may assist in preparing both the participating children and the policymakers and in diversifying the children's voices.
“I want my experiences to make a difference” promoting participation in policy-making and service development by young people who have experienced violence
This paper explores participation, by young people who have experienced violence, in policy and practice developments. Consideration is given to the promoters and inhibitors to high level participation identified by young people who contributed to a qualitative study completed in four European countries. These young people had, between them, experience of various types of violence within the home and community. They believed that the organizational and policy context in which participation occurs, the knowledge, skills, values and experience of the facilitator, the past experiences of the young people themselves and the mix of young people involved in a participatory activity combine to inform the level of participation that can be achieved. Drawing on these findings the authors argue that current models of participation do not pay sufficient attention to the complex, multifaceted and fluid process that is participation. They put forward a model that emphasizes that participation is a dynamic process with the degree of participation constantly fluctuating depending on the inter-action between the organization, the facilitator and the young people. The ways in which senior managers and policy-makers, facilitators and young people interpret participation, perceive the role of young people in decision-making, trust and have confidence in each other and are influenced by past experiences, all impact on the inter-action.
Listen to them! The challenge of capturing the true voice of young people within early intervention and prevention models; a youth work perspective
This paper aims to explore the challenges to youth work in capturing the voices of young people in a meaningful way within Meitheal and the Child and Family Support Networks model (Meitheal). This is a prevention and early intervention model for statutory and non-statutory agencies working with children, young people and families. This paper, within the context of Meitheal, will explore how best to achieve positive outcomes for young people, and identify what are the barriers which inhibit their full participation in this model. A total of 16 youth workers completed semi-structured interviews that were transcribed and analysed using inductive thematic analysis. The analysis identified three themes: ‘Role of youth work in Meitheal’, ‘Barriers and facilitators of adolescent voices in Meitheal’ and ‘The young person’. The study found that youth workers recognise advocacy and support of young people as a key role for their profession within models of prevention and early intervention. Barriers to adolescents' active engagement in Meitheal were the formal structure and agenda, but also the need to achieve outcomes in exchange of professional validation. Youth workers are also concerned about the nature of young people's participation as being fully participatory and voluntary in the process, whilst questioning if their voices are truly being included in a meaningful way.
Youth Participation Good Practices in Different Forms of Regional and Local Democracy
Youth in Europe are politically engaged and having their say at the local level in many fields of democracy. Nevertheless, often political activeness is only considered to be the act of voting in mainstream elections. Moreover, it can be observed that local decision-making rarely has the ability to utilize the messages generated by such youth activity. This publication comprehensively highlights the political engagement of youth. Using practical examples, it presents in addition to representative democracy, the forms of direct, participatory, deliberative democracy and progressive activism as well as counter-democratic activity. The significance of social media is also emphasized. Additionally, the publication considers whether the versatility of youth participation and its scope of impact are sufficiently supported by European policy documents concerning youth participation, the guidelines based on such documentation, internationally ratified codes of practice and national legislations. The recommendations given in the publication support the many different forms of youth participation and the increase in impact of such participation in the future.
Youth participation in Finland and in Germany: Status analysis and data based recommendations
This report is a comparative overview of youth participation in Germany and Finland. The project was launched in November 2007 as a bilateral cooperation initiative by the Finnish Ministry of Education and the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ). Following its conclusion the research team, which was part of a wider cooperation project between German and Finnish youth actors, decided to produce a final report. The team consisted of researchers from various institutions in Finland and Germany.
Estonian experience of implementing the new forms of youth participation in youth policy
The main objectives of the paper are to explore opinions of stakeholders about how young people are involved in the decision-making process of youth policy; to investigate whether youth have opportunities to participate in youth policy at various levels and whether youth opinions are taken into consideration in the implementation of policies affecting their lives. The study involves a mixture of desk research (analysis of documents, previous reviews of youth policy, youth research and statistics), semi-structured interviews and focus group with experts in the youth field. The study reveals that during the last decade several new options were implemented for better inclusion of Estonian youth in the decision-making process. The study presents the Estonian experience of several forms of youth participation such as youth participation councils, youth participation through youth umbrella organizations, youth work and youth research. The study identifies the main challenges for involving young people in decision-making in youth policy.
The impact of children and young people’s participation on policy making
A report commissioned by the Scottish Government to explore the impact children and young people’s participation has had on policy-making in Scotland.
Embedding a children’s rights perspective in policy and decision-making
This policy memo provides an overview of the extent to which children’s rights are promoted and taken into account in policies and practice. The memo considers policy frameworks at national level as well as those at EU level. It also discusses ways in which policies and wider initiatives facilitate children’s participation in decisions about their future.
Children’s Participation in Decision-making
Children have the right to express their views and to have those views considered, according to their age and understanding. Public bodies and organisations that work with children have a responsibility to respect that right. However, for organisations that have never engaged with children in their decision-making processes, this can seem like a daunting task. The OCO has an obligation under the Ombudsman for Children Act 2002 to hear children’s views and highlight issues that are of concern to them. Since 2004 the OCO has promoted children’s right to be heard and provided children with opportunities to express their views to us and to the government, departments, agencies and organisations that make decisions about laws, policies, services and practices that affect them. We do this in a number of ways, including through dedicated projects that bring children affected by issues together to share their views and concerns, surveys and listening to children in our complaints process. Drawing on our experience in children’s participation, these guidelines outline some of the key things to consider when seeking to hear the views of children. The guidelines also provide signposts to additional resources where more details can be found. We hope that this guide provides you with useful advice and helps you get started on the very worthwhile journey towards including children and young people in the decision-making process in your organisation.