Children's participation in child protection—How do practitioners understand children's participation in practice?

Journal article


Woodman, Elise, Roche, Steven and McArthur, Morag. (2023). Children's participation in child protection—How do practitioners understand children's participation in practice? Child and Family Social Work. 28(1), pp. 125-135. https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12947
AuthorsWoodman, Elise, Roche, Steven and McArthur, Morag
Abstract

Children's participation is essential to achieve good outcomes for children involved in child protection systems. Despite this, research has consistently found children report low levels of participation, are poorly consulted and feel inadequately involved in decisions about their lives. To explore how practitioners understand children's participation, 18 in-depth interviews were conducted with statutory child protection practitioners in Australia. The interviews explored the ways child protection practitioners understand children's participation. Our findings show practitioners conceptualize children as rights holders and believe it is essential to hear directly from children about their needs and wishes to keep them safe. Practitioners identified the importance of transparent processes and decisions. Different understanding of participation emerged, with some participants talking about children as their central focus but not discussing meaningful participation of the child. It appeared that children's participation relied largely on the views and skills of individual workers, as well as their ability to incorporate meaningful participation in limited time and in complex practice environments where children's safety is a primary concern. Systemic changes to address time barriers, training practitioners to understand and implement participatory practice, and seeking children's input into service design, will support consistent and meaningful participation.

Keywordschild and family welfare; child protection; children; children's participation
Year2023
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Journal citation28 (1), pp. 125-135
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN1356-7500
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12947
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85133251592
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Page range125-135
FunderAustralian Catholic University (ACU)
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online03 Jul 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted26 May 2022
Deposited18 Aug 2023
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