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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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 interventionmodel 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.
Justifying children and young people’s involvement in social research: Assessing Harm and Benefit.
At a time when children and young people’s involvement in research is increasingly the norm, this article reflects on the importance of a well-reasoned and transparent justification for their inclusion or exclusion. It explores the dilemma of a researcher’s ethical obligation to protect children and young people from harm and at the same time respect their autonomy as social actors and independent rights holders to participate in research of relevance to their lives. A researcher’s ethical obligation to conduct a rigorous but balanced assessment of harm and benefit is reiterated. The article takes the debate beyond a call for assessing harm and benefit to providing a strategy for conducting such an assessment at the point of research design. Reflecting on two research projects the authors were involved in, three critical considerations are identified. These are: the purpose and the theoretical context of the research; the preferences of the children and young people and their parents; and the available time and resources. The article draws on the research examples to illustrate the assessment process in practice.
Development and testing of an assessment of youth/young adult voice in agency-level advising and decision making
There is a range of stakeholder benefits when youth- and young adult-serving agencies include service recipient “voice” in advising and decision making regarding agency policies and programming. Yet many agency stakeholders lack awareness of strategic best practices to ensure the consistent and meaningful participation of young people in decision-making processes, and few tools exist to evaluate agency efforts. This paper describes the development and validation of the Youth/Young Adult Voice at the Agency Level (Y-VAL), an assessment of the extent to which agencies have implemented best practices for supporting meaningful participation. The Y-VAL is intended for research purposes, as well as to provide agencies with direct guidance about strengths and challenges regarding their efforts to promote youth/young adult voice
Voice of the child – raising the volume of the voices of children and young people in care
We are pleased to present a special edition of Child Care in Practice on "Raising the Voice of Children and Young People in Care". This special edition is being guest edited by Mr. Jason Caldwell, Principal Social Work Practitioner, South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, Northern Ireland; Ms. Vivian McConvey, Chief Executive, Voice of Young People in Care (VOYPIC), Northern Ireland and Dr. Mary Collins, Professor in Social Welfare Policy, Boston University School of Social Work, USA. Almost 30 years have now passed since the world’s first declaration on children’s rights was introduced; this special edition has set out with the aim of seeking to not only showcase practice and research that demonstrates how the voice of children and young people is heard; we also wanted to share some of the innovative practice that is empowering children and young people to take ownership of the decisions affecting their lives in the true spirit of the UNCRC and similar rights-based standards
Supporting Children’s Participation in Decision Making: A Systematic Literature Review Exploring the Effectiveness of Participatory Processes
In this article, the term ‘participation’ refers to the right of the child to express their views in matters affecting them and for their views to be acted upon as appropriate. While there is a growing emphasis in social work practice on a child’s right to participate, less attention has been given to how best to support children’s participation. A systematic review and narrative synthesis of twenty studies with varying methods explores how effective processes, commonly used in social work practice, are in supporting children’s participation in decisions concerning their personal welfare, protection and care. The review explores the effectiveness of the following processes: the use of advocates; a child’s attendance at an assessment, planning or review meeting; Family Welfare Conferences; and recording a child’s views in writing. There is indicative evidence that the use of advocates is an effective means of supporting children’s participation. Findings in relation to the other processes reviewed are mixed. A key factor influencing how effective these processes are in supporting children’s participation is the quality of the relationship with the child and his or her caseworker.
The participation of children and young people in care: insights from an analysis of national inspection reports in the Republic of Ireland
The term “participation” is widely used to refer to the involvement of children and young people in decision-making on issues that affect their lives. The Health and Information Quality Authority (HIQA) is the national inspectorate for social care in Ireland. HIQA monitors Tusla, Ireland’s child and family agency, for compliance with national children’s standards, including standards on children and young people’s participation rights. This paper outlines findings of a secondary analysis of data in relation to participation standards in HIQA foster care, residential care and special care inspection reports over a two-year period from 2013 to 2015 (n = 40). The thematic analysis explores the degree to which the reports found that children in care are provided with the opportunity to influence decisions in relation to their everyday lives, to participate in child in care reviews, receive information, avail of advocacy services and have access to a complaints mechanism. While there is much evidence of good practice across all sectors, some notable differences between the realisation of participation standards in residential care and foster care were found. This baseline analysis was undertaken prior to the implementation of a comprehensive participation strategy by Tusla across the organisation and highlights areas in which practice can be improved or mainstreamed in this work programme.
Report on the National Consultation with Young Children
The purpose of the consultation process is to inform the development of a whole-of Government strategy for babies, young children and their families. This Strategy, which is one of three constituent strategies under Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures 1 , will focus on five outcomes for children.
A Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families 2019-2028 (Summary)
Summary of the First 5 whole-of-Government strategy to improve the lives of babies, young children and their families. This strategy It is a ten-year plan to help make sure all children have positive early experiences and get a great start in life. The First 5 Strategy uses evidence to identify goals, objectives and the specific actions required from across Government to support children (and their families) in the early years of life. First 5 commits to major initiatives on family leave, children’s health services, parenting supports, child-friendly communities and Early Learning and Care services among a broad range of actions. The Strategy will significantly enhance early childhood and make a huge contribution to the lives of young children, society and the economy over the short, medium and long term.
A Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families 2019-2028
First 5 is a whole-of-Government strategy to improve the lives of babies, young children and their families. It is a ten-year plan to help make sure all children have positive early experiences and get a great start in life. The First 5 Strategy uses evidence to identify goals, objectives and the specific actions required from across Government to support children (and their families) in the early years of life. First 5 commits to major initiatives on family leave, children’s health services, parenting supports, child-friendly communities and Early Learning and Care services among a broad range of actions. The Strategy will significantly enhance early childhood and make a huge contribution to the lives of young children, society and the economy over the short, medium and long term.
“Take My Hand” Young People’s Experiences of Mental Health Services
The report, “Take My Hand”, highlights young people’s experiences of, and perspectives on mental health services, based on their own journeys from community-based primary healthcare services through to inpatient treatment. The report gives a rare insight into the experiences of 25 young people aged 14-17 in five of Ireland’s six inpatient units for children and young people. The young people spoke about what has helped them in this journey, what they found challenging and what changes they feel are needed to improve mental health supports and services.