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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Comhairle na nÓg Case Study
This case study explores the operation of Comhairle na nÓg as a governmental citizen engagement initiative. It begins by outlining what is meant by citizen engagement and why this is particularly important in the area of children and young people’s participation. The study examines the origins and evolution of Comhairle na nÓg. Having outlined the administration and organisation of the organisation, the study examines the particular strengths of Comhairle na nÓg as well as considering the key challenges facing Comhairle na nÓg engagement efficacy. Readers of this case study can expect to understand the operation and implementation of Comhairle na nÓg as a citizen engagement activity in its own right; but also in terms of the integration of children and young people’s voices into the broader governance and engagement agenda at a local level.
Giving young people in care a voice in decision making
Social workers at Southern Eastern Health and Social Care Trust found a new way to gather the views of young people who are in care, to support decision making at their looked-after-child review meetings. They started using the Mind Of My Own app, as featured in our ‘Bottoms up’ film. Here we look at how the project came about and what was involved.
Youth Participation in the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study
HBSC aims to drive youth participation as standard in adolescent research and to provide data that are meaningful to young people, are reflective of current lifestyles, and are of value to policy and program development. Further to significant benefits within the research process, the active and meaningful involvement of young people results in important and positive impacts on youth themselves. Underscoring our commitment to young people across all participating member countries, we work within the HBSC network to collaborate in theorizing on relevant issues in youth participation, cocreating participative research methodologies, supporting one another in the application of theory, and method and promoting opportunities for dissemination and debate.
Youth engagement in HBSC forms a unique combination of integrated knowledge translation and Public and Patient Involvement in health-related research, drawing on elements of both of these approaches. Evidence of impact on policy and practice has been clearly demonstrated, but challenges remain in convincing research funding bodies, journal editors, and some researchers that engaging youth is of sufficient value and interest.
Local Participation Practice Guidelines – Sligo Leitrim CYPSC
In 2016, the Sligo Leitrim CYPSC 'Education/School Age Childcare' Working Group and the 'Early Years' Working Group came together to develop a "Youth Participation Lab" and successfully sourced funding under the Tusla Seed Funding for Participatory Practice Initiatives. The role is now the responsibility of the CYPSC 'Connected, Respected and Contributing to their World' Working Group. The thrust of this project was to enable consultation with children and young people in Sligo and Leitrim to ensure their voices are heard in relation to the quality of services they receive; their involvement in the planning of services; and decision-making in relation to the development of services. The project aimed to develop common tools and practice under the four ‘Quadrants’ of the Lundy Model to support engagement with children and young people in Sligo and Leitrim, by the organisations, agencies and groups they are part of. The resultant project, 'Local Participation Practice Guidelines' was developed and launched in 2018. The guideline as a resource, is broken down into age categories: Pre-school Aged Children 3 - 5 years; Primary School Aged Children 5 - 12 years; and Post Primary School Aged Children and Young People 12 - 18 years.
No Place Like Home; Children’s views and experiences of living in Family Hubs
No Place Like Home is a report by the Ombudsman for Children’s Office outlining children’s views and experiences of living in Family Hubs. The views of 80 children living in eight Family Hubs in Dublin, Cork and Limerick are represented in No Place Like Home. The OCO consulted with children between the ages of 5 and 17, as well as with parents of children under 5. Children were asked what they liked, what they found challenging and what they would change about Family Hubs.
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.