The following list of identified good practice in Member States is listed as Annex 2. of the document "Evaluation of legislation, policy and practice on child participation in the European Union (EU)" starting on page 267.
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
Welt der Kinder / A Child’s World608 is an NGO set up in the province of Vorarlberg which aims at promoting children’s rights and children’s participation in local and regional government and services. It receives strong support from, and works in close collaboration with, the province’s Department of Families (Familienreferat der Vorarlberger Landesregierung). The work of A Child’s World is a mix of project development, training and training on-the-job as well as coaching for people working in communities. The NGO also works on deepening training in methods of child participation; networking with NGO’s; collaborating with schools, think-tanks and fora of shared learning. An annual conference “Childhood and Society”, from 2014 and a biennial conference, Childhood, Youth and Society is planned, with a strong focus on participatory approaches. Examples of participation have included: children taking part in developing questionnaires that are aimed at exploring children’s environment; children’s conferences; theatre workshops; children’s café; and Plantfor-the-Planet (environmental training for children, organised by children). A Child’s World has trained facilitators in 12 communities, from very small ones with only 3000 habitants, to cities of 40.000 habitants. The results were displayed to decision-makers, which improved political
support. The NGO finds that inviting children for cooperation and participation creates a positive dynamic amongst the children, with their parents and in neighbourhoods and communities. This contributes to a cultural change. www.weltderkinder.at Children’s counsellors in custody roceedings / Kinderbeistand provides advocacy and support for children in difficult family situations at court609. Children from age ten onwards must be heard by the judge in civil justice proceedings (parental divorce). Younger children also might be heard, which is usually done by other professionals (e.g. psychologists, social workers, youth authorities). Children who have reached the age of 14 have a proper legal status, rights to request information and rights of appeal. One of the most important legislative changes was the establishment of a children's counsellor in custody proceedings (Kinderbeistand), enshrined in the Children’s Counsellors Act (Kinderbeistand-Gesetz). This is a specifically important measure with regard to children’s participation in the framework of custody proceedings after parental divorce. It provides children from five up to 14 years of age in proceedings regarding parental custody and right to personal contact, with a children’s counsellor. If circumstances so require and under the premise of their approval, children’s counsellors are also provided for 14 to 16 year olds. The children’s counsellor gives the child a voice, helps the child to articulate their thoughts, and supports children emotionally and legally. The children’s counsellor is considered to have “mouthpiece function” for the child.
Children (or their parents) do not have the right to involve a children’s counsellor by themselves; this measure has to be ordered by the judge (either because the parents express their wish to do so, or because the judge estimates this measure as helpful for the child), but there is no obligation through legislation to provide a children’s counsellor. There are so far large differences in provision between the nine Austrian provinces.
The Flemish Association of Schoolchildren610 (Vlaamse Scholierenkoepel ‘VSK’) unites
student councils (12-18 years) from all Flemish provinces and Brussels, all “types” of education
and all the different school-nets in Flanders. It is fully run by the pupils themselves, involving
direct participation by children and recognised by the minister. Since 2000 it has been
subsidised by the Ministry of Education. The association participates, among others, in the
Flemish Education Council.
The Flemish Youth Council (FYC)611 is the official advisory body of the Flemish Government
on all matters concerning children and young people. This means that all Flemish Ministers
have to ask the Flemish Youth Council for advice whenever they want to make a decision that
will have consequences for children and young people. It also means that the Flemish Youth
Council may give advice of its own accord, if policy makers forget to ask for advice or when the
FYC deems it necessary. The council is composed of 24 youngsters. Since 2013 it has been
supported and integrated under ‘Ambrassade’ which is an organisation of 35 civil servants that
work to support youth, youth information and youth policy.
Stamp Media612 (BE) is a press agency run by young people (16-26) that expresses the view
of young people on the latest news in the world. It has run news bulletins every month since
May 2008. Reporting is done by young people themselves. It aims to reflect the point of view
of young people, particularly on issues where their opinion is important and does not penetrate
Vertical poverty consultation613 with children from poor backgrounds and education
authorities is enshrined via a legal framework in Belgium. In contrast to indirect forms of
participation, ‘vertical poverty consultation’ involves children from poor backgrounds
participating twice a year with the minister of a policy domain, through the structure of the
Network against Poverty. Vertical poverty consultations are rooted in the decree on the fight
against poverty (FL, 2003) which is explicit about the participation of the poor in anti-poverty
policy development. It is based on a realisation that though parents are consulted, they may
have very different concerns.
‘What do you think’614 is a UNICEF project whose aim is to promote children’s right to
freedom of speech and right to participation with vulnerable children. It is a long-term project
where the process is considered to be as important as the outcome. Children are questioned
on their opinions on issues that are relevant to their vulnerable situation and asked to indicate
what is relevant and important to them. This project involves the genuine participation of
children; through collaboration and shared realisation with adults. The project has been in
existence since 2002. The groups involved include: (unaccompanied) migrating
minors/refugees, (2004); children in hospital, including psychiatric care (2006); children with
disabilities (2007); children in poverty (2010); children giving opinion on all sectors (2009)
with the aim of providing input for the 2010 report on the rights of the child for the UN.; and
children talking on the theme of equal chances in school (which was planned for 2013).
JOKER is a child impact assessment instrument that can be applied to all proposed
legislation that has an impact on children. The aim is to identify and mitigate any negative
impacts of legislation on children across all domains. While it provides an instrument for
ensuring participation it is not implemented consistently or rigorously as is seen as an extra
The Bulgarian Children’s Council consists of child members who have developed a
mechanism for child participation. The Children’s Council has been set up with the State
Agency for Child Protection since 2003. It consists of 35 representatives of children from the
country’s all 28 administrative regions and non-governmental organizations for disadvantaged
children. The Children’s Council is a consulting body to the SACP Chair and its main function
is to represent the child viewpoint on policies and questions in the context of Art. 12 of the
UNCRC.” The council is formed by selecting a representative for an administrative area who is
up to age 18. He speaks on behalf of the children of that area. The Children’s Council includes
students, as well as children from specialized institutions, from minority ethnic groups and
children with disabilities. The Council meets several times a year with the help of an SACP
expert team that creates the link between the children and institutions as well as helps set up
and conduct meetings.
User involvement of children with disabilities in alternative care - An NGO called the
Cedar Foundation616 runs a project focused on the involvement of children with disabilities in
alternative care as a step towards complete social integration. Due to difficulties in
communication, and negative views of the rights and abilities of children with disabilities,
adults customarily make decisions for children with disabilities or learning difficulties therefore
excluding children from participating in decisions about matters that affect them. The aim of
the project is to train professionals working with children and young people with disabilities in
new ways of including their clients in all processes and encompassing decisions about their life.
The good practice they employ is based on methods for planning with emphasis on alternative
methods of communication, as one of the ways to protect the rights of the child. Children
benefit through realisation of their abilities, self-knowledge, improved communication and
greater opporutnity for self-expression, newly gained confidence, freedom, self-esteem,
changed status in hierarchical links and improved relationships.
Listen to the Child coordinated by Social Activities and Practices Institute (SAPI), an NGO
active on the national level, has created a model for child-friendly interviewing of underage
participants in legal procedures (children as victims of crime). The model has special emphasis
on raising the competence of professionals who interact with them. They also provide specialist
support and child friendly interview spaces.
Bientraitance resilience network618 is a project run by the NGO SAPI that works in four
schools in Sofia, Shumen and Pazardjik to support children (7-12 years) to decide how to
improve their school environment, in a way that promotes their development.
Children’s councils of Opatija aim to establish mutual respect, listening and communication
beetwen children and the City of Opatija. They aim to: develop and foster the idea of the City
as a community of all citizens; to recognise and respect rights of all groups of citizens; to
educate children to be able to exercise their rights, express their views and to make decision
for themselves and others; and to develop the responsibility of children for decisions they
make. The project is aimed at improving the quality of life of children in the community. It is
financed by the City of Opatija and recognised at local and national levels.
Network of Young Counsellors of Child Ombudsperson. Young counsellors (12-18 years),
elected democratically by their peers have regular meetings both on national and regional
level. They work with the Child Ombudsman. There is an emphasis on training of youth
counsellors by strengthening their skills for participation.
The Cyprus Children’s Parliament Children are elected by their peers in schools to work on
issues identified by children, seek to deepen understanding and come up with meaningful and
applicable suggestions which are communicated to decision makers.
Pupil councils represent pupils in major decisions affecting them. They involve monthly
meetings with the school’s administration and teacher representatives where current issues
affecting school life are discussed and decisions taken.
Commissioner’s Youth Advisory Committee aims to get a closer understanding of
children's views on issues that concern them. The Committee consists of 30 boys and girls,
aged 13 to 17 years. The Committee members meet every two months and discuss issues
related to children's rights. Twice a year the group meets with the Commissioner, to share
their views, experiences and opinions on key issues.
The National Children and Youth Parliament is an autonomous and democratic group of
children and young people that aims to support the interests of children and young people at
the national level. It collaborates with various national institutions and carries out activities to
develop and educate young people on issues that are of direct concern. It organises round
tables, discussions with experts on various topics and educates children and youth about their
rights and obligations. It contributes to public debate and has some influence over events on
the national scale on behalf of children and young people.
Have your say620 (“Kecejme do toho”) is a structured dialogue initiative supported by the
National Children and Youth Parliament and Czech Council of Children and Youth. Financed
through Youth in Action Programme, the aim of the project is to create a nationwide inclusive
platform for youth participation at national level with connections also to the European level. It
helps young people to express their opinion on public issues connected to their lives. The
project helps to shape discussions about hot topics and helps to communicate the outcomes of
discussions to the public sphere e.g. to politicians, civil servants, civil society and media. It
seeks to empower young people in society and promote the principles of democracy, social
dialogue and youth participation.
We Play for Our Region (Hrajeme o náš kraj) is an initiative from Liberec region that aims to increase the awareness and participation of young people in decision-making processes in the region and regional policy discussions through direct contact with politicians in various discussions and volunteer activities.
The National Council of children’s affairs. The council advocates for children’s rights, and
acts as consultant for the government. The council undertakes ´panel studies’, ‘theme studies’
surveys and interviews in order to give the children a voice and make sure children’s
perspectives are being put forward.
The 'Children Welfare' organization, assessor scheme is a private organisation working
for children who have a social case and thereby the right to an assessor. The assessor is an
educated adult who assists the child at meetings, explaining the rules and practices, and
supporting the child's point of view. The assessor makes sure that the child understands the
situation, informs the child of their rights, supports the child in putting their perspective
forward and strengthens the child’s participation.
Youth organisations and National Youth Council (www.enl.ee/en); municipal youth
councils; county level youth councils; pupils councils at schools and Estonian School
Councils Union (ww.escu.ee), youth groups in youth centres and in hobby schools
and other forms of collective participation are the most frequent forms of participation in
Estonia. These structures offer children and young people real opportunities to get engaged in
decision making processes at different levels (organisational, local, county, national and
international levels) on a permanent basis.
In addition, there are non-permanent, project based ways to engage children and young
people in decision-making.
Young Developers is a Helsinki-based group of young people (aged16-20 years) with
experience of child protection services working with experts/social workers in the child
protection field. They aim to communicate their views and experiences of child protection
services and lobby politicians and decision makers. Young Developers received one of three
Ministry of Justice Democracy Awards in 2012. Other similar groups have been set up in the
meantime for the age group of 13-18.
Survivors is an NGO funded project working with children in alternative care (especially foster
care) to train social workers on how to work and communicate with young people. There is a
national Survivors group made up of 18 members aged 17-27 (including 2 mentors). Survivors
also has a local group in Helsinki and one in the North of Finland. The Survivors group started
out providing peer activities, but now work with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and
the Children’s Ombudsman in an advisory capacity. Survivors works at a European level with
Power4Youth (the youth led organisation of the International foster care organisation). They
meet regularly and have contributed to recommendations to the European Commission. The
Survivors group has adopted 54 recommendations, mainly relating to peer activities and to
youth participation many of which have been or will be implemented at government level by
legislative and policy changes e.g. the extension of the after-care-system from 21 years to 25
years. And for the first time the Finnish government have agreed to fund activities such as the
Survivors group in 2014.
We believe in you tour is a Children’s Ombudsman led initiative (from 2011) run in
partnership with the Central Union for Child Welfare and Pesäpury, a national association for
the promotion of child welfare. It involved a national tour with meetings in six locations across
Finland. In total 120 children who had experiences with welfare services and alternative care
Safety Net is a Finnish Refugee Council project (2012-2014) funded by the EU. The project
involves a group of 20 peer-to-peer counsellors who provide information and social support to
the asylum seeking children (12-18 years) in two reception centres in Finland.
Dialogue days626 are special days designed to evaluate services at local level. During the
days, young people discuss services and give opinions to decision-makers. For example in the
municipality of Pietarsaari, a municipal discussion day was organised for both decision-makers
and young people. The event was organised in cooperation with the student/school councils.
Children’s town councils627. The first children’s town council was created by the City of
Schiltigheim, near Strasbourg, in 1979, on the occasion of the International Year of the Child.
The children’s council of Schiltigheim still exists and, to date, 2,500 children’s town councils
now exist across France and involve young people aged 7 to 25.
Young immigrants free legal advice was set up by GISTI to enable young immigrants to
ask for judicial help, seek advice on their rights and obligations and be kept informed about
their participation in decisions concerning their requests for asylum or residence on French
‘Ateliers de démocratie familiale’ (workshops of family democracy) - The first two
workshops of family democracy were created in Nantesby by the parents of the Angel Guépin
Malakoff school. In this school, children can express their views and participate in decisionmaking
along with adults. Collective projects are implemented according to the democratic
organisation of the structure, which comprise learning activities and a variety of community
activities for children.
City of Chappelle sur Erdre Project - The main objective of the Local Educational Project
of the City of La Chapelle sur Erdre is to promote, encourage and support the participation of
children and young people. The main tools are workshops and debates that allow young people
to propose concrete ideas of youth participation in the democratic life of the city.
The Democracy Campaign of Schleswig-Holstein was launched in the early 1990s by the
Ministry for Social Affairs, Health, Family and Gender Equality, as a foundation for child and
youth participation. It consisted of a coordinated set of measures to support the communities,
youth welfare facilities and schools. 20 years of democracy campaigning by Schleswig-Holstein
have now left a lasting impact. The law obliges cities, towns and villages in Germany to let
children participate in construction decisions. The Democracy Campaign is based on the
assumption that public authority decision making needs to be balanced by direct participation
in communities. The building blocks of the democracy campaign in Schleswig-Holstein include:
developing policies and providing materials for participation; legal anchoring of participation;
financial support; training and preparation for participation.
Struktwieter Dialog is an initiative supported by the Ministry of Youth to inform and exchange information on children rights and child participation and to inform on European issues on child participation.
Children’s participation in playground design/planning - The participation of children when building a new playground or similar projects is already the norm in Germany. While there is no legal obligation, it is very common across the country. Implementation processes differ. The more local the decision making process, the more participation for children exists.
For example in Stuttgart the “Kinderforum” together with the “Stadtplanungsamt” promote the participation of children in decisions on how the city should look, how to renovate and to build.
Participation occurs on a specific day per year where children are invited to present their ideas.
Children are supported by pedagogues in their schools to develop their ideas and to present
them during this day. About 80% of the proposals of children are successful. Small things are
changed quickly; bigger projects need about 1-3 years. Participating children are aged between 5 and 13 years.
Struktwieter Dialog (Ger) supported by the Ministry of youth aims to inform and exchange on children rights and child participation and to inform on European issues on child participation.
The Nationaler Aktionsplan broadened the debate and gave greater awareness to the importance of children rights. Kinder und Jugendreport (child and youth report) was undertaken with the contribution of children. It is a reflection of the situation in Germany and helps to tackle future issues
The Schooligans is an NGO led initiative to support the expression of children’s views on their own terms through publications such as magazines, dvds, tours and conferences (for example the “Open your eyes. Learn about your rights” conference in 2012). It aimed to explore democracy in schools, exchange ideas and formulate suggestions. The children gave their personal experiences, discussed with experts ways to defend their rights and proposed solutions for a more harmonic, democratic and creative daily co-living in their school environment. At the end of the conference, a set of proposals was voted upon. Children collaborate with teachers in the planning and organisation of activities and are highly positive about the initiative.
The Quality4Children Workshop was developed by SOS Children’s Village to prepare the implementation of the Quality4Children Standards for out-of-home child care (for ages 5-18 years) in Europe. This initiative was supported by FICE, IFCO and SOS Children's Villages across 32 countries. Three of the 18 standards relate specifically to participation during the
admission process, during the care-taking process and during the leaving-care process.
Television Channel M2 operated by the Media Support and Asset Management Fund
(MTVA) uses public broadcasting media to address topics and issues relevant to children (e.g.
equal opportunities for children, life of vulnerable children). From age 13 children are both
audience and producers (child editors, cameramen, hosts of programs self-produced, creating
ideas, writing stories, etc.).
UNICEF Hungary conducted a consultation with children for the Report on the
Implementation of the UNCRC in Hungary 2006–2012.
Comhairle na nÓg (Local youth councils) and Dáil na nÓg634 (National youth parliament) are the statutory structures for participation by children and young people in the development of policies and services supported by the Children and Young People's Participation Support Team within the Department of Child and Youth Affairs and regional participation officers. There is a Comhairle na nÓg in every Irish city and county to give children and young people a voice in the development of local services and policies (and the focus is especially on local environmental and recreational planning, health and safety and citizenship). Comhairlí na Óg are overseen and part-funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. Delegates from Comhairle na nÓg are elected to represent their local area at the annual Dáil na nÓg (national youth parliament). Dáil na nÓg is the annual national parliament for young people aged 12-18 years (www.dailnanog.ie) and is fed by the 34 Comhairle na nÓg.
The Children and Young People’s Forum was established by the Department for Child and Youth Affairs (DCYA) to advise the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and the DCYA on issues of concern to children and young people; and to undertake projects or activity at the request of the Minister or the DCYA in pursuing issues or initiatives that require an input from young people. The forum is made of 35 young people (12-18 years) nominated locally with 30% from disadvantaged, vulnerable or seldom heard groups.
SpunOut is an NGO working with young people (aged 16-25) across Ireland. It provides
information on a variety of youth issues and conducts youth work sector working. It is a youthled
organisation, with 17 young people from all around Ireland forming the SpunOut Action
Panel (SAP) which gives leadership to the organisation and which give the staff the direction
and leadership to stay in touch with the views and needs of the young people of Ireland.
Specific projects include use of blogs, creating short films, giving advice on participation,
seeking young people’s views, while the organisation advocates publicly for young people’s
views to be heard and taken into account.
Children’s ombudsman consultations Office of the Ombudsman for Children undertake
numerous consultations with children generally through Youth Advisory Panels and initiatives
such as the Big Ballot (2007) and the Big Debate relating to the Children’s Referendum (2012)
as well as targeted initiatives for example, with separated children, children detained in adult
prisons, and on bullying. The organisation is successful in promoting the rights of children and
highlighting the situation of vulnerable children e.g. in adult prisons and separated children
and enabling the participation of children in effecting change in the interests of children’s rights
and welfare. The Ombudsman also undertakes a Visits Programme, where the Office has an
opportunity to hear directly from children and young people on an ongoing basis about issues
that concern them. The Ombudsman has a unique statutory obligation to consult with children. Children were included in all stages of the recruitment of the Ombudsman.
National Forum of Boys and Girls (Forum nazionale dei ragazzi e delle ragazze) Save the Children Italy (an NGO) carries out actions in schools aimed at promoting the active participation of children and young people. The Forum of Boys and Girls enables students to address a significant problem related to child rights and adolescence in the current historical context. After having gathered documents, boys and girls develop proposals and solutions that are submitted to a “duty bearer” on the final day of the Forum, conducted in plenary. Five national editions of the Forum have been implemented since 2002-3. Two EU level editions of the Forum have been organised on the Millennium Development Goals. This has triggered a virtuous circle from participation to holding responsible those who have to implement decisions. Methods for establishing the relationship between the two were very important.
Involvement was not limited to specific themes but was extended to the design of whole curricula.
Project Ricostruire (Rebuilding), involved children in planning the reconstruction of earthquake-torn province of L’ Áquila. Children could clearly express their wish for socialisation spaces – something that really matters to them.
SCF projects Various other good practice examples have been collected by Save the Children concerning children’s media education639, involvement in local planning and research projects concerning child employment and migrant children.
Activation of peer-groups in connection with outreach activities in Rome - This project
involved seven boys and one girl, aged 15-17 years, from Romania (including Roma), Guinea
Republic, India and Italy (of Roma Bosnian origin) working as peer researchers. Some of the
group were unaccompanied migrant children. They have a disadvantaged background with
economic poverty and lack of school and work regular opportunities. All of them were involved
in informal economy or irregular working activities. Some of them were involved in illegal
activities. The research itinerary lasted 4 months, 150 hours, and was facilitated by adults with
experience in peer research. Various support tools were provided as well as scholarships.
Young people were involved in all stages of the research: team building, scoping of the
research also with help of an expert, and development of tools (interview questionnaires). The
peer researchers met alone or with facilitators. The peer research developed peer-to-peer
materials on the rights of child labourers. Adults drafted the research report in cooperation
with peer researchers. The report was presented publicly at the Rome municipal observatory
on employment and working conditions.
Riga Pupils’ Council involves the active participation of children in decision making on
youth issues concerning healthy life style, school life, cultural and sport activities for children
in Riga. The Riga Pupils’ Council has five main committees (headed by young people) with
regular activities and regular participation at a local level.
Network of child friendly schools this project initiated by the Ministry of Welfare and coordinated by the State Inspectorate on Protection of Children’ Rights (financed by VBTAI) aims to support the active participation of students in school decision making to make schools child friendly, including issues such as friendly environment, safety, accessibility for children with disability and special needs, healthy life style, on the basis of regular monitoring of children’s opinions.
The Movement of child friendly homes643 is coordinated by the State Inspectorate on Protection of Children’s Rights. Although adults are main players this is the first time this group of children (in care) have been listened to.
Pupils Union and Pupils Parliament are two structures for pupils to participate in decision making at national and regional levels. Legislation provides for all children to establish associations in order to represent their interests.644 Funding is provided by the Ministry of Social Security and Labour and training is provided for Pupil union members. Pupil unions are in regular contact with decision makers about issues concerning school as well as city wide issues such as transport. The participation takes place at various decision making stages.
Often pupils are consulted regarding the legislative proposals but also take part in the ministerial working groups and therefore contribute to the development of proposals themselves. They also aim to influence change through meetings, lobbying, dissemination of information through press, public campaigns, participation in working groups, and through written papers. Consultation with wide range of stakeholders takes place with young people across the country and also other stakeholders such as teachers, head teachers and others to identify policy gaps. Communication among pupils in developing positions takes place through social medial channels especially Facebook.
Individual development plans SOS Children’s Village. Children take part in developing their individual social care plans to cover all life situations. They include things that children and young people find important, what they want to do and what they want to achieve. It covers such issues as what school the child wants to attend, what hobbies they want to develop etc. The child is involved in all phases of preparation, monitoring and evaluation of their individual development plans. The child takes decisions together with their carer and therefore participation is collaborative. This is a common approach in all the activities of SOS Children’s Village including those when working with under 18 year olds, 18-24 year olds and families.
The Youth Action Plan Esch-sur-Alzette was developed in 2006. The action plan has included the setting up of an information point to advise teenagers about leisure, employment, accommodation and education programmes and to gain feedback (Meckerkeschten) from young people. The framework for the youth action plan and quality criteria are defined by the Family and Integration Ministry and the bidder for youth action plans is the respective municipality. Background research is undertaken to ascertain the local situation for young people and a steering group for the local youth action plan is constructed involving young people. The existence of local youth action plans has become a mandatory requirement for obtaining public co-funding for public local youth fora. The participative character of the youth action plans (through participation in research ‘on the ground’ of CESIJE researchers, participation and giving voice to teenagers) is a noteworthy element of children participation.
Child friendly cities - Luxembourg City has prepared a plan to become a child-friendly city and is an active member in the EU initiative ‘Cities for Children’.
Participation in the international concept Mini-city (Mini-Lenster) - this is a temporary exhibition organised as a local community (“Kinderspielstadt”) in which children can participate and actively take up social and statutory roles of a municipality, e.g. the major, the city planners etc. Similar Mini-cities649 have been organised in various EU cities, e.g. Munich, Salzburg, Bolzano.
“Chef de bar” project and the “Co-pilote” project. Both these projects enable teenagers to determine their competencies and roles within a youth institution (Jugendhaus). The teenagers dedicate themselves to take over an active role in the youth house and assist the pedagogic leader of such an institution.
Bridel elementary school class council and pupils’ parliament is the only model of child participation of its kind in Luxembourg involving children form 6-12 years and with two representatives per class. Originally it emerged out of more pedagogical and curricular interests. It now involves specific projects of interest to children such as improving the facade of the school, reducing vandalism in the schoolyard and ‘keep our school yard clean.’
The Council for Children enables children to actively participate in decision making, for
example by lowering the voting age for local councils to age 16.
Rights for You is an annual children’s rights course, organised and run annually by the Office of the Commissioner for Children. In 2012, the large amount of applications meant that it was possible to run three residential courses, with additional financial support from the HSBC Malta Foundation and the Ministry for Gozo. Around 107 young people aged 13 to 15 years participated in activities to learn about their fundamental rights, and undertook intergenerational activities with older people to celebrate the European Year for Active Ageing.
Nationaal Jeugddebat – National Youth Debate650 involves young people aged 12-18 years and is organised by the National Youth Council. Any young person with an interest in entering into a debate with real politicians can enter into a provincial debate competition.
When they participate, they receive training in debate and presentation skills. The winners of each provincial debate go through to a next round to compete at national level. The national debate takes place with real politicians. The debate contains subjects important to the youth and is widely disseminated in the media. This popular event has taken place since 1996 although no evaluation has been conducted for over ten years. The municipalities considered the debate an integral part of their participation policy, but were not able to attribute the debate to wider participation results. This was partly due to the fact that most municipalities had only just started to develop participation policies. Based on non-evaluation documents and interviews, the debate is considered one of the most successful methods to generate interest in participation of youth
Inspectieteam Jeugdzorg Q4C – Institutional care youth inspection developed by the Stichting Alexander non-profit research and advice bureau651, the Inspecionteam Youthcare Q4C, involves young people in institutional care settings in the inspection of their own institution. Teams of 8 young people conduct research in their institution and particularly on the quality of care and the ability to improve the quality, from the perspective of the client.
The results are presented by the youth to the board of the institution. They then advise the staff and professionals about the improving of the policy. The teams are trained and supervised by staff from Stichting Alexander. The teams learn in a structured and effective way to look at the care with their own quality norms.
Dutch Youth Council is the most visible form of youth participation in the Netherlands. Their activities include; the Annual award for the municipality with the best youth participation activities; Annual Youth Debate; and the annual selection for a youth representative in the UN.
The NJR is consulted on all policies concerning children and young people and participates in the development of new policies. The NJR is sufficiently funded to be able to be sustainable and ensure a high involvement and well-rounded role in these processes, however it only involves young people aged 12 and up. The Youth Council and its role in policy is just as important as the municipal participation plans. Whereas the Council may influence policy with a large impact, the local plans allow individual children to think along with the developments in their neighbourhood. Several research projects have been undertaken to identify good practices at local level. The Youth Institute has gathered (some of) these good practices and distributes them amongst practitioners via an online database.
Local Youth Councils largely exist in small communities, for example, Płóżnica and Olsztynek. Young people are involved in sharing ideas for cultural events and working collaboratively with the mayor to determine local priorities for development.
Atoms in the Network in Warmia and Mazury - This is a federation of youth organisations that work with local politicians to develop a strategy for youth involving a process of inquiry, dialogue and cooperation as well as young people and politicians learning experientially how to talk to each other. Young people are seen as a resource not just the subject of an action or source of problems.
Nobody’s Children Foundation has provided training for professionals (judge, prosecutor and forensic psychologist) in hearing from / interviewing a child. During the training, professionals not only learn how to treat a child but also get to know each other and can then cooperate after the training. There is also a certification system of child friendly interviewing rooms by Nobody’s Children Foundation and Ministry of Justice.
The Transparent and Participative School655 has the objective to implement and promote cooperation between students, teachers and Head Teachers in Polish secondary schools. It aims to create and implement a model of the school as an open and flexible institution where students participate in community life through democratic processes such as bottom-up projects, consultations about the Head Teacher’s decisions, debating new ideas and promoting knowledge about students’ rights. The project is specifically focused on the school environment, including head teachers, teachers and students. Other activities in this field include conducting training for teachers to strengthen their competency as coaches for school council members.
Center for Citizenship Education - students prepare and realise projects mainly about local school issues. Students worked in teams, diagnosed a problem and then planned how to solve it. Those projects were realised by teachers but after school, not during the classes. In 2010 this program was introduced as part of compulsory education in upper secondary schools. Since then students have to participate in such a project – they have to work together on some problem and then present the outcomes to local community. Through this every student participates in school or local community life. The projects give students the sense of self-agency.
Escola da Ponte is a unique educational model developing over two decades, which includes the participation of children (6-16 years) as a basic principle. The impact of their work led to the Ministry of Education to recognise a special status, with different operating conditions of regular schools in order to enforce its model of teaching and learning. It is organised according to a very unique logic of pedagogic and institutional organization, involving projects and team work. There are no regular classes with one teacher for each class or a distribution of students by years of schooling, instead students work in heterogeneous groups, within which students participate in “mutual learning”. Learning is in "open areas" according to principles based on rights, citizenship and active participation. Each student is author and actor of their own educational pathway - enabling active participation in the process of knowledge construction.
Children who enter school for the first time are immediately involved in the processes of decision making, so at the beginning of the school year all students together, organize the school: organisation of working groups, choice of "teacher-tutor", introduction of self-planning, etc.
It is also the time of election to the Board of Assembly, the highest decision-making body for students, in which participates all students, staff, parents, trainees and other researchers and visitors. For this election, students are organized into lists, composed of ten elements of all the
years of schooling (even younger) and gender equality. Then there is an election campaign,
with debates, presentations, etc. It ends with voting and election of the different elements. In
weekly assemblies, matters proposed by students are discussed and voted. The school agenda
is therefore shaped by children. There is a bi-weekly plan, which contains individual tasks and
also tasks across the whole school. It is designed by children with the tutor-teacher (chosen by
them) and is the baseline document from which each student chooses him/her daily activities,
Puerpolis – social intervention project “The Puerpolis fashion show” was developed in a rural context characterised by a population with low levels of education, lack of mobility, lack of access to goods and services and with little access to culture. The project aimed to engage young people in different activities, promoting motivation and academic success, the development of technical skills (writing, computing, communication, dance, music) and the development of personal and social skills, not only through the implementation of specific programs for the development of these skills, but also through socialising and preparing fun activities and visits out of area. Participation is a key principle in the development and undertaking of all activities. Young people engage in planning and joint decision making with adults. Emphasis is on developing self-determination amongst young people.
The PHARE project entitled “Education Campaign on Child Rights”, carried out by the National Authority for Protection of Child’s Rights (2005-2007) was focused on raising awareness on the legislative package on children’s rights and on what children’s rights mean in our everyday lives. The project had two objectives: i) to empower families and parents in Romania through the provision of information on their responsibilities in relation to their children which arise from this law and other international conventions and ii) to train professional groups whose activities are related to children, or may have an impact on their lives, such as: social workers, doctors, teachers, priests, policemen, lawyers, judges etc. to develop their capacity to implement effectively the new legislation.
One of the major achievements of the project was the development of six targeted learning manuals. The manuals have a special chapter regarding children’s participation. The manuals are not generic to all professional groups nor are they theoretical but bring best practice examples and set out concrete actions professionals can take to implement child friendly practices in their specific profession. The project also used the training of trainers approach creating a network of over 200 trainers across the country, with impacts on Child Protection training and improving local inter-institutional partnerships for children rights promotion. An impact for children was the creation of SPUNE! (Say it) Children’s Council which produced the first-ever comprehensive report by the children of Romania on the observance of child right and was included as an official, unedited annex of the official Report to the UN Committee for the Rights of the Child in October 2007. Locally, the local SPUNE teams stimulated the involvement of over 30,000 children through the carrying out of 150 child-initiated actions nationwide (e.g. organisation of debates, production and distribution of information materials, drawing contest, charitable / humanitarian actions, etc.) to increase understanding among children of what child rights mean for them.
Empowering children to lead projects is a programme for youth civic engagement and dialogue. Supported through YCED659, this programme brings together Roma and Romanian students from Romania and Moldova with the aim of initiating and implementing community development projects. Through this program, young people become active citizens of the future, able to mobilize colleagues to remove interethnic barriers their communities. Using "school communities", the program supports youth in managing ethnic tensions in their schools by developing intercultural understanding in schools. Young people acquire valuable skills of civic engagement and tolerance, thus becoming agents of positive change for the rest of their lives. Activities include a summer camp for Roma and non Roma (14-17 year olds) to develop leadership qualities to initiate community development projects that will achieve the support of other students.
20 adult mentors (teachers and community leaders work with the young people and form project teams to take projects forward. Including undertaking community needs analysis to inform project ideas developed in proposal which were then funded. (Examples of projects included: "Together for Education and Recreation", “Cinema for my age”, "Together through awareness and involvement in volunteering”, “Radio station HIGH SCHOOL RADIO FM", and “Interculturalism for young people in Medgidia"). Outcomes have been to increase participation of Roma children in the educational system, empowering children, and creating possibilities for children to participate in community development.
The inclusion of intercultural elements is an NGO led pilot project created and implemented by The Roma Center Amare Rromentza. including programmes such as Bilingual kindergartens in order to increase Roma participation in pre-school education. The project, financed by UNICEF was intended to serve as a model for the Ministry of Education.
Other Amare Rromentza projects include the Mobile school for Roma children, aimed to increase the self-esteem and the school achievement of the beneficiary children, and contribute to the drafting of a school curriculum including elements of multiculturalism as part of the development of inclusive education in Romania.”
A generation of Roma specialists in the medical field661 is a project (2010-2014) funded by the Roma Education Fund Romania, The Resident Doctors Association Open Society Institute and The Roma Center for Health Policies – SASTIPEN. It aims to support young Roma people’s access to academic education in the medical field and to combat stereotypes of Roma disinterest in education and the practice of professions that require a high degree of qualification. It involves an integrated counselling, tutoring and mentoring system in the medical field for 500 Roma students; registration of over 400 young Roma in a personal development process that will enable them to openly assume their ethnicity; participation in motivation and advocacy camps; designing and implementing 40 voluntary projects in Roma communities; and implementing 40 health intervention projects in Roma communities to increase their confidence in the health system.
The Ruhama inclusion model is an alternative educational model for Roma children developed by the Ruhama Foundation662. It is designed to increase access and success in kindergarten using a community development approach. Over 500 Roma children have now graduated kindergartens since 2007, and those children who were enrolled in first grade in September 2007, had managed to integrate with colleagues who have received preschool training for at least one year in public kindergartens. Personal benefits for those taking part included for example a young teacher assistant who completed high-school and is now a school mediator. The approach has now been validated by the Ruhama Foundation, causing the Ministry of Education and Research in 2008 to recommend this methodology nationwide, all educational stakeholders aiming to organise summer kindergartens for Roma children.
The Youth-led organisation, Plusko works at local level and involves 15-30 year olds, including medically disadvantaged young people. It provides adventurous activities for young people and training volunteer instructors. “We are a bunch of young people who like to bring their experiences to life. We do grow, develop, and create something out there in the wild. We do not assert any ideology or politics and are not afraid of inclusion. We organise a variety of adventure activities for young people, from high school, college students and those who remain young in spirit after school. Our programs train volunteer-instructors.” Its vision is active young people, open to new ideas, and a desire to explore.
Náruc Crisis centre for children victims of domestic violence, abuse and neglect -- Children are in the crisis centre for a maximum of 3 to 6 months due to a court order or after an agreement with the parents or guardian. Children can be placed in the centre from 3-18 years old, but most of them are 8-12 years old. Throughout the process of being in the crisis centre children are in dialogue with their care takers and all the staff in the crisis centre. In the beginning staff (care takers, social workers) are building up trust with the children. Existing children in the centre have active roles explaining what the daily routine in the centre is, where they will go to school etc. Children can have a say on the room they live in and how they would like to decorate it. When children leave the centre the staff consult them about their wishes on where they want to go. Due to their daily contact with the children, they know what the children like, their emotions, experiences, etc. They do discuss their future lives and try where possible to cooperate with the parents or family (if non-abusive). Staff try to make it possible for the children to go back to their families and therefore work closely with the families and parents. All workers receive specialist training and training is organised every year for all staff of the centre (including cooks, etc) on how to communicate with children who have experienced abuse. Children can affect the decisions affecting them about where to go to out of the centre; they are listened to and taken seriously. If their wishes cannot be granted this is explained to them.
ZPMPvSK: self-advocacy for mentally disabled people was a project undertaken with four partner organisations working with mentally disabled people in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and the Slovak Republic (ZPMPvSK) in 2012. The project aimed to support the development of self advocacy by developing the competences of professionals and self advocates, raising public awareness and supporting the development of self advocacy. It sought to empower children with mental health problems.
Navrát: children in foster families - this is an NGO focussing on children moving from institutional care into foster families. Uses the peer-to-peer principle, teenagers from one region support teenagers from another region through a kind of mentoring support, where young adults support teenagers in foster care. Weekend sessions were organised for the young adults in order to become junior counsellors on issues such as social and legal protection of children. 17 young people wrote a book for children in foster families (‘The book of life’), which included information on what it is important to take into account and to empower children to become more self-confident and more able to speak about painful experiences and suggested solutions. In 2013, Navrát organised a weekend session to consult children and young people (14-21 years) who experienced the child protection system as experts to suggest solutions which could change the system for social workers, psychologists, therapists, but also for teachers who teach children from difficult family circumstances.
The young people involved were very satisfied with the opportunity to participate and have their voices heard; for many of them it was the first time they were asked about some topics. Navrát also organised a public hearing for 11 young people from foster families who talked to 50 professionals from different Slovak institutions. They formulated 13 suggestions for professionals, which were presented to the public and the ombudsman and disseminated to appropriate institutions. The hearing resulted in a big reaction from the ombudsman and organistaions raising awareness about problems of this target group and undertook appropriate research (including IUVENTA).
UNICEF’s Child-friendly schools project involves Junior ambassadors, who go to schools to talk about children’s rights.
The National Action Plan on children’s rights is currently being written with the active
involvement of children. A committee on children and youth was created within the Ministry of
Social Affairs, working on a policy document on children’s rights, which also involved the Youth
Council. This committee created another committee of children of 6-8 years old who
contributed to these policies and in this way children were integrated in public policies.
Children’s parliaments668 - a specialist version of children’s parliaments has been formed
composed of representatives of children in children’s homes. Four of these regional
parliaments currently exist.
Children’s parliaments669 are an executive body of association of school pupils. School parliaments consist of pupils elected by association of school pupils. The children's parliament is based on Article 12 UNCRC". As early as 1990, children in Slovenia proposed to establish a forum to discuss their problems with adults. Adults responded positively and thus children’s parliaments became a part of the Slovenian educational and social practice. In October 1990, children from primary schools around Slovenia (105 children from 44 local communities), after discussions at all levels (schools, local government), entered the Slovenian Parliament and as a group of the youngest citizens offered the highest representatives of the state and its authorities their opinions, suggestions and criticisms.
The organisation of primary school pupils (from 6 to 15 years old) in a school parliament is provided by Slovenian Association of Friends of Youth, whose activities are carried out in schools. All primary schools organise school Children’s' Parliament which consists of class representatives. Discussions are on the level of the schools, local communities and the state.
Children’s' Parliaments are also organised on regional and national level. Children’s Parliaments are seen as the highest level of participation with children’s suggestions influencing decision making at the national level. Representatives from the state government come to the state parliament and listen to the children, where children once a year discuss the topic that they choose to discuss at this year. Pupils/students present the chosen topic at the national meeting which takes place in the Big Hall of the National Assembly, and in the presence of representatives of Ombudsman, Ministry of Education and Sport, National Education Institute and others.
Children's parliaments have to consider the conclusions of previous children's parliaments; and
representatives of the government have to report on the progress of implementation of the decisions. Some of the recommendations of the children's parliaments realised fully or in part include: school for parents, TOM telephone free 24 hours a day for children in need, organising safe points (places, institutions) in the cities for children which they need information or protection, information leaflets and brochures for child victims of abuse and certain other communications from the field of leisure and ecology. This was one of the first such experience in Europe, pioneering the search for forms of children's participation in society, without any previous role models in the world and without the recommendations of international organizations, such as we have today (UN, Council of Europe, EU).
General upper secondary school councils (GIMNAZIJA) and technical and vocational schools: General upper secondary schools also have school councils which include student representatives, who decide upon, among other, complaints concerning obtaining or losing a student status. There are also associations of students which have the same function in technical and vocational schools. In accordance with the rules on the code of conduct in secondary schools, schools must ensure the basic conditions for the work of association of students (facilities and the necessary information). Student representatives also participate in Quality Assurance Commissions, which monitor and establish the quality of educational work.
There is also a Commission for the Protection of Students’ Rights, whose its members are
appointed by a school council. The association of students works in accordance with its own
rules and normally meets outside school hours. Upon agreement of the association of students,
head teachers may nominate a mentor for the association. The teachers council, parents
council and school council consider proposals, opinions and initiatives communicated by the
association of students and inform it about their own positions at least once a year. Students
can also organise an association of students. The association is led by a committee which
consists of all home-classes representatives. The association organises out-of-school life and
activities and considers issues related to educational work and management, and communicates its proposals to school bodies.
Student organisation of Slovenia
High school students can also join student associations. Associations of students at an individual high school appoint students who become members of the parliament of the School Student Organisation of Slovenia (SSOS). The SSOS aims to: improve the material position of students, enforce and protect the rights of students, ensure the cooperation of students in extra-curricular activities, strengthen and spread the influence of students on the curriculum, learning process and the ways of assessment of knowledge in high schools, improve the quality of relationships in high schools, improve the provision of information and the impact of students on the civil society, ensure school democracy, sovereignty and equality in high schools, and defend equal opportunities for all, defend and strengthen the impact of students on issues related to their material and spiritual growth. In addition to the Presidency, the SSOS also consists of the Council, etc, and liaises with the Student Organisation of Slovenia.
Structured dialogue as a method of consultation with young people: Youth Council of Slovenia (MSS) is an association of national youth organisations that are committed to achieving the autonomy of young people. MSS is (through the Office for Youth) in charge of the implementation of the structured dialogue in Slovenia. Structured dialogue as a method of work which the Youth Council of Slovenia has used for more than five years in the field of young people (form 15- 27), actively seeking the views of young people on subjects that are important for them and at the same time seeking to improve the situation of young people in Slovenia.
The aim of the structured dialogue is to identify the needs of young people in local communities due to lack of communication between young people and decision-makers, and the desire for greater involvement of young people in the decision-making process. Structured dialogue in the field of youth is an instrument by which young people, youth organisations and youth councils and researchers in the field of youth are actively involved in the political dialogue, with those responsible for youth policy. Its purpose is to enable young people to express their opinions and to formulate measures to support policy decisions, which are then easier for young people to identify with them and take them for legitimate.
After those structured dialogues, young people follow the progress of the implementation of their comments, and they have contact with decision making bodies.
BBIC (Barns behov i centrum) Children in care The National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) is the governmental agency in charge of giving the municipalities their licenses for starting to work with the BBIC system.
Thereafter the municipalities (and their social services) are the responsible for the process. The National Board also conducts voluntary spot-checks with the purpose of controlling the quality of the implementation of the system in the municipalities. BBIC is one of the most important mechanisms for making the voice of vulnerable children heard in Sweden. It is not obligatory; however 285 out of 290 municipalities are adhered to this system. It is a quality-system that contains methods for research, planning and evaluation of children in social care. The main aims are:
- To strengthen the status of the child (based mainly on the UNCRC)
- To enhance and improve the collaboration around the child, between parents, networks,
- care givers and social services
- To contribute to a better legal security for children and parents
- To systemise the work of the social services with the objective to improve monitoring and
- evaluation of handling and treatment
In all phases the best interest of the child as well as the child´s right to express his/her opinion should prevail, at any stage within the social care system. The child is asked if she/he wishes to state their opinion at all meetings or contact points. There are also templates and protocols for interviewing the child. One of the most important outcomes is that the child´s perspective is seriously and is systematically documented and taken into account. In the district of Rinkeby-Tensta in Stockholm, the BBIC approach is well developed and is highly mainstreamed throughout the work of the social services. The child rights perspective among the social workers has enhanced and improved the possibility for the children to have their say.
“It gets important when it´s for real” (Det blir viktigt när det är på riktigt!) – this project was developed between 2010 and 2012. Two national governmental agencies Trafikverket and Boverket developed processes of child participation to be included in the daily urban planning of the municipalities and share best practices with other municipalities. It concerned issues such as traffic, housing, play, and the environment. Children from 2 to 17 years old living in six municipalities took part. All work was done in relation to preschools or schools and the children participated from the planning stage to the final evaluation. The project has worked especially well in the municipality of Borlänge (www.borlange.se). Children from two different schools participated (aged between 6-15 years old) over a period of 2-3 years.
The children and their teachers worked closely with the department of urban planning at the city council, with the architects, as well as with Trafikverket and Boverket. Outcomes from the project informed the urban development plan. Feedback was arranged whereby the children were able to comment on the result of the joint planning. Since this pilot study the methods have been refined into a democratic model urban planning.
Barnombudsmannen i Uppsala - The Local Ombudsman for children in Uppsala (BOIU671).
This aassociation was created in 1988 in the city of Uppsala and has expanded to cover the
entire region. BOIU’s activities include:
- The Ombudsman oversees consultative activities regarding children´s participation. One of the main achievements is a regional road map for fulfilling the UNCRC in the region (in force 2013-2017).
- Local hearings have been organised on numerous occasions with children aged 13-17 share their opinions with stakeholders, politicians and other organisations. This forums called Mötesplatsen (Meeting point). Mötesplatsen is a two hour workshop organized six times a year involving children and the local politicians meeting and discuss issues relevant for the children. (www.boiu.se/motesplatsen)
- Din röst (Your voice) was developed and run in 2013 in schools with children aged 10 to 12. The theme of the workshop has been the UNCRC and the possibility for children to state their opinion and make a difference in society. (www.boiu.se/dinrost)
- Local planning with small children was achieved in the remodelling of an area in Uppsala (Östra Sala Backe). When the park Källparken was planned the city council, BOIU, and children (and teachers) from a preschool near the park, worked together on the redesign process. Three meetings took place with 11 children aged 5 to 6. Firstly the children looked at models of how the area was planned to be, they also talked about what they liked to do in a park (and outside in general). In the last session the children painted images of how they would like the park to look like and these painting will be exposed in relation with the whole remodelling project.
- The Magazine Word is led by an editor at BOIU but the editorial staff are mostly young people 16-19 years old studying at some of Uppsala´s high schools, they participate in the production of the magazine and also in the planning of future projects. School classes are also invited to participate in the production. (www.tidningenword.se) Children´s participation in health care planning (and hospital planning) as well as caring situations - Sahlgrenska Public Hospital in Gothenburg (and Queen Silvia´s Children´s Hospital) is where the Centre for the Childs Right to Health is stationed; they conduct training for personnel at the hospital and do also promote the participation of children and the UNCRC in other issues regarding health. Participation includes children’s involvement in planning new facilities as well as participation in decisions about individual care.
Kan själv! A participative cultural project for children 0-2 years old - Kan själv means “can do it by myself” and is a pedagogic project driven by the region of Västra Götaland and in particular by Västarvet (the regional agency for culture, history and nature) (http://kansjalvida.blogspot.com). The different expositions have been created with the participation of small children, through observation (and a lot of filming). The pedagogues have been able to visualise what toddlers like to do, see, feel, explore etc, and thereafter they created the different expositions that tour around the region´s culture houses, libraries and galleries in order to make it known to all toddlers.
Short term care centres” in Motala. The national project “Participating children and youth” led by the Swedish Disability Federation (HSO in Swedish) aims to better include the opinion of the children with disabilities in relation to their contacts with society; to enhance the knowledge among children about their disability, improve information on activities; and encourage parents to support their child’s participation.
The children at the short time care centre have traditionally not been able to influence much
about their lives at the centre, didn´t know why they were there, or what they could do at the
centre. A method called Talking Mats (‘samtalsmatta’ in Swedish) was used and the children
were asked to tell about what they liked and didn´t like at the centre, if they knew why they
were there and what they would like to tell other children that entered for the first time. This
all led to information to be distributed to children entering this kind of short time care centres.
This method enhances the possibility for children without a verbal language to express their
opinions. New electronic devices are also under development.
Kungsbacka Municipality673 works with child and youth participation within their programme
of Democracy Development, there are three key activities to highlight.
- Barbro Betalar674 (Barbro Pays) The City Council gives the project a sum of money every year (currently 100.000 SEK) to spend on initiatives started by young people living in the municipality. The responsible group (all between 14 and 20) meet up several times a year to decide which project could be eligible for funding.
- Kommunutvecklare (Municipality Developers) - 15 to 19 year olds are given the possibility to work for the City Council during three weeks in summer with the objective to develop Kungsbacka to be a better place for children and young people. They learn about the UNCRC and then they work on promoting their ideas, through annual road-maps. This initiative started in 2011 and this year the third group just ended their work. The final reports include everything from critique towards the local government since they think they´ve been listened to, and ideas on new projects and methods of participation. The project arranges two referendums each year where children and young people living in Kungsbacka can vote on the propositions presented by other children and young people. The most voted projects are presented to the responsible politicians and discussed at a common counsel.
- UNCRC Films produced by children (14-20 years old) about different articles of the UNCRC. During 2012 fifteen children aged 10 to 12 years produced three films called Lyssna på barn! (Listen to children!) on the articles 6, 12 and 22 of the UNCRC, first they illustrate an example and then they states several questions to discuss. The films are used in training with children and adults.
Checklist developed by Maskrosbarn (i.e. Dandelion children) - Maskrosbarn is an association created in 2005 by two young girls who met in high school. The association has grown to support activities for children growing up in families with drugs and/or psychiatric problems. They organise conferences and training and work closely with social services all around Sweden. They also have workshops where children of all ages can come and meet with others with the same experiences. Maskrosbarn wrote a report in 2011 on what kind of support children want from society (especially regarding school, social services, drug care and psychiatric care), the report was produced in collaboration with 50 children and young people aged 13-19 living in families with complex needs. One outcome was the development of two checklists to be distributed to all of Sweden´s 290 social service administrations, and to be published. The first checklist is about the response and reception of the child at the social services, and it builds upon Article 12 UNCRC. The other checklist is about the environment where the meetings take place. Many social services offices in Sweden have been at Maskrosbarn´s training and they published the both checklists at their offices.
Unga Direkt (Young Speakers) at a HVB-hem (Home for Children and Youth methods and material developed by the National Ombudsman for Children in Sweden -This project supports children in care (aged 13-18 years old) in finding the solutions to their problems. The method used is the one developed by the National Ombudsman for Children6.
It involves children and young people in Lund developing a job advert based on identifying positive qualities of carers to constructively work for change. Staff discussed the job advert and how they had to change their attitude and working methods in order to achieve a better environment and to meet their obligations under UNCRC. The children were invited to participate in the development of the Care Home and to improve the climate as well as their situation. The children felt listened to and the dialogue between children and adults became more fluent.
The Youth Inspection Team ‘Check It Out’ in South Tyneside consists of 12 children and young people. Inspections are undertaken of youth service projects, in a joint initiative with neighbouring authorities. Children and young people decide which inspections they are going to carry out and give the projects a weeks’ notice. Young people provide a grading according to five levels of award (bronze to platinum) and write a report based on their inspection. The report goes to the centre manager who has two weeks to respond. The inspection team then go back two months later to review progress. As soon as the report is completed a meeting is arranged with the youth service management. Young people present their findings and the youth service manager has two weeks to reply. Any strategic issues can be taken up by the youth service manager and if necessary can be taken further to the level of the Children’s Trust.
There are many examples of good practice on the What’s Changed? Site which includes examples of projects with children with disabilities, children in care and gypsy/ traveller children: http://www.practicalparticipation.co.uk/whatschanged/
Funky Dragon is the children and young people’s parliament in Wales (UK) and aims to “enable children and young people in Wales to get their voices heard by Government and others who make decisions about policies and services that affect their lives.” The Grand Council is made up of 100 children and young people from across Wales, including representatives from school councils and NGOs within each local authority.
Travelling Ahead project6 was set up by Save the Children Cymru to support children from the travelling community to have their say. The website has a forum for children and young people as well as information for parents and tools for professionals.
‘Eat carrots, be safe from elephants'681 is the children’s shadow local safeguarding board for Powys. This board exists to facilitate children and young people’s participation in strategic planning for child protection and to challenge and monitor safeguarding practices.
The Young Inspector teams (these also run in England) conduct inspections of different
public bodies against the National Participation Standards and award kitemarks for participation.
Primary school ambassadors Children’s Commissioner for Wales’ Ambassadors scheme was set up in 2007 to help raise awareness of the children’s Commissioner and his role amongst primary school children. There are two pupils aged 10 in a primary school that acts as ambassadors. Each term the ambassadors have a special mission which involves feeding back children in their schools views on a specific issue.
Primary schools in Swansea are taking forwards a “Rights Respecting” approach684 which goes beyond simply a school council and installs a restorative approach to resolving conflicts and problems with the school.
Voices from Care Wales focuses on involving young people living in care in the decision
making process. Voices from Care also provide training to organisations, agencies and
universities concerning young people’s experiences of the care system.
The Youth Panel, which is supported by NICCY, is instrumental in identifying good practice examples of children’s participation. The panel look at different entries from government
departments and assess how young people have been engaged. The Youth Panel also have
annual awards for good examples of participation. The last Awards even was organised and
hosted by children and young people and attended by ministers.
http://www.niccy.org/NICCYYouthPanel [OFMDFM consultation].
Strand Road Neighbourhood Policing Team set up a Street Talk project with 48 young offenders or at risk of offending from Derry/Londonderry, Strabane, Limavady and Magherafelt. The young people engaged using arts training and activities and the project offered accredited courses via the Open College Network to support the young people to return to formal education686. The Street Talk project received an award in ‘putting young people at the front’ at the NICCY Participation Awards 2012-13.
‘Have Your Say’ was an online survey for pupils in the final year of primary school concerning
internet safety, commissioned by the UK Safer Internet Centre to mark the 10th Anniversary
of Safer Internet Day. As a result of the research a junior minister visited participating schools
to discuss the findings687. OFMDFM considered the survey to be a virtual census of children and
young people. However OFMDFM recognise there is a limit to what the survey asked and to
what degree children and young people’s views directly informed policy.
A number of potential good practices can be identified as follows:
- The Climate Change Project was supported by a group of 20 children from The Children’s Parliament to provide feedback on the draft Climate Change Bill”. Their views were collated and informed the final version: http://www.childrensparliament.org.uk/new-assets/climate-change/cp-clima...
- Voices Against Violence (VAV) is supported by the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, COSLA. “The VAV group, comprising young people with direct experience of domestic violence, influenced the three-year national domestic abuse delivery plan for children and young people published in 2008 and its members are actively involved in the discussions on the next three-year delivery plan.”
- The Building the Boat project was developed by Young Scot with the aim of introducing to young people the concept co-producing policy and to show practical ways of getting involved in policy development.
- Young Scot also developed The National Youth Commission on Alcohol which “allowed for the voices of young people to be heard by the Scottish Government and to influence their thinking”. http://www.youngscot.net/media/12177/syca_recommendations.pdf
- Article 12 has a Gypsy Travellers' Lives project – the steering group have looked into discrimination and online media concerning travellers. http://www.article12.org/gypsytraveller.html
Young Scot worked in partnership with Scottish Natural Heritage to “encourage young people
to enjoy and explore Scotland’s outdoors”. The work involved the ‘Simple Pleasures’ campaign
for young people which ran in 2012 and collected young people’s views on what they enjoy
about the outdoors. Following the campaign Young Scot has launched a Facebook ‘app’ called
‘Scotland’s Outdoor Challenge’ which includes outdoor experiences that are ranked the top 50
in Scotland. A second Facebook app was launched in 2013 as part of the Year of Natural
Scotland which focussed on ‘Natural Scotland Photo Challenge’ to encourage young people to
take photographs that express what outdoors in Scotland means to them. The plan was that
the photos would make up an interactive map of Scotland at the end of 2013.