The pending Child and Family Agency Strategy for the Participation of Children & Young People aims to ensure that every time a decision is taken, which directly affects a child or young person or children and young people collectively, their views are taken into consideration in the decision making process. The Strategy states that:
'A modern public service places the service user at the heart of decision-making, service planning and provision. The Child and Family Agency is committed to engaging with children, families and communities regarding the design and quality of services. The participation of children and young people is fundamental to a child centred, rights-based approach to working with children and young people. It is a requirement of the forthcoming Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) National Participation Policy for Children and Young People and the pending National Children's Charter. It is also a key recommendation in the recent reports documenting Ireland’s failure to protect children experiencing abuse and neglect and is one of the Health and Information Quality Authority (HIQA) National Standards for the Protection and Welfare of Children. As well as it being a right and in keeping with national policy, there is evidence to suggest that when children and young people are meaningfully engaged in child protection interventions it can lead to better outcomes, including better targeted services for children and their families and the empowerment of children and young people (Bell, 2002; La Valle et al., 2012)'.
The following is an outline of resources for staff to support the participation of children and young people in decision-making:
- Participation of Children and Young People - Our Approach
- Working with Children and Young People
- Young Voices: Guidelines on HOW to involve children and young people in your work
- Hear by right: Self assessment tool to plan and map the participation of children and young people in your organisation
- How to Involve Children and Young People in Governance
- Learning to Listen: Core principles for the involvement of children and young people
- Student Council Resource Pack and Diary
- Giving Children a Voice
- Second-level Student Councils in Ireland
- How to Guides: Downloadable booklets that provide practical information, useful tips and case studies of good particpation practice.
- Involving Young People in Conference Planning: A model for Action (HSE 2006)
- Consulting with children with disabilities as service users (2007)
Resources and Toolkits for Children and Young People's Involvement
Outlined below are useful sites which provide guidance from Ireland and internationally in the area of children and young people’s involvement.
|Hear by Right||Produced by the National youth Agency in England, Hear by Right is a tried and tested standards framework for organisations across the statutory and voluntary sectors to assess and improve practice and policy on the active involvement of children and young people. The website provides a wide range of useful toolkits and briefings.|
|Taking Participation Seriously kit||The Taking Participation Seriously kit is a resource produced by the New South Wales Commission for Children and Young People. It provides practical advice about how to involve children and young people in activities, events and decision-making about issues that affect their lives.
|Supporting Interculturalism in Youth Work, Practical Guidelines for doing Intercultural Youth Work||The National Youth Council of Ireland, website provides useful information on training and resource materials and highlights issues of concern in the sector. Of particular interest is: Supporting Interculturalism in Youth Work, Practical Guidelines for doing Intercultural Youth Work.National Youth Council of Ireland Updated May 2009|
|The Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (OMCYA) has the lead role under the National Children’s Strategy in ensuring that children and young people have a voice in the design, delivery and monitoring of services and policies that affect their lives, at national and local level. Young Voices – How to involve children and young people in your work are guidelines for agencies and organisations in the statutory and non-statutory sectors to develop a culture of participation by children and young people. The site also provides details on key areas of the work of the OMCYA on child and youth participation, including:
|Participation Works||Participation Works provides a hub for information, resources, news and networking on the involvement of young people in dialogue, decision making and influence across a wide range of settings. Registration with the site will provide you with access to a wide range of information on participation training and events, case studies, toolkits and resources including accessible “how-to” guides|
|Youth Partnership||This website provides details on training, youth seminars and meetings and youth policy. It also hosts the European Knowledge Centre on Youth Policy (EKCYP)|
|UNICEF website||This guide on the UNICEF website is aimed at practitioners and managers involved in promoting child and youth participation in government, community-based organizations, child-led organizations, NGOs and UN and donor agencies. It contains a list of key websites on children’s participation provides a summary key portals, networks, listservs, and organizations for child and youth participation.|