Children, Young People and Participation Dr Kay Tisdall Programme Director, MSc in Childhood Studies University of Edinburgh email@example.com www.childhoodstudies.ed.ac.uk
You are the manager of a day nursery. The Care Commission is coming to inspect. Your staff ask you – what does this standard mean? Children and young people will have opportunities to express their views, exercise choice and, where possible, influence the programme. (Standard 5.4)
The good news story • The participation of children and young people in ‘public’ decision-making has gained unprecedented policy prominence. • Children’s rights to participate are increasingly recognised in the UK, in official government policy and legislation. This has been greatly assisted by the UNCRC. • Services are increasingly expected to involve children and young people. • Participation activities have proliferated.
What challenges do you face? • Is it clear what the purpose of the participation is? Is it purposeful or just a ‘tick box’? • Which children are included? • How do we (adults) interpret what children are saying? • How do children’s views fit amongst other stakeholders? • Is the participation meaningful to those involved? • Is the participation having any impact on decisions? • Is the participation ethical? (Sinclair 2004)
Discourses of Participation • To uphold children’s rights • To fulfil legal responsibilities • To improve services • To improve decision-making • To enhance democratic processes • To promote children’s protection • To enhance children’s skills • To empower and enhance self-esteem Sinclair and Franklin 2000
What is not there? • Performance • Political mobilisation and emancipation • Age discrimination
You are the manager of a day nursery. The Care Commission is coming to inspect. Your staff ask you – what does this standard mean? Children and young people will have opportunities to express their views, exercise choice and, where possible, influence the programme. (Standard 5.4) Back to the vignette … • The involvement of young children • A fixation on ‘voice’? • The role of adults
References Sinclair, R. and Franklin, A., “Young People’s Participation” Quality Protects Research Briefing (2000) accessed at http://www.rip.org.uk/publications/documents/QPB/QPB3.PDF (2.11.07) Sinclair, R. (2004) ‘Participation in practice: making it meaningful, effective and sustainable’, Children & Society, 18(2): 106-118. Related papers Tisdall, E.K.M. (2009) ‘Governance, Civil Society and Participation’, in Percy-Smith, B. and Thomas, N. (eds) A Handbook of Children’s Participation, London: Routledge. (forthcoming) Tisdall, E.K.M. (2008) “The rise of a new profession? Children’s participation workers”, in Allan, J., Ozga, J. and Smyth, G. (Eds) Social Capital, Professionalism and Diversity, Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. (forthcoming) Tisdall, E.K.M. (2008) ‘Is the honeymoon over? Children and Young People’s Participation in Public Decision-Making’ International Journal of Children’s Rights, Special Issue 16(3): 419-429. Tisdall, E.K.M., Davis, J.M. and Gallagher, M. (2008) ‘Reflecting upon children and young people’s participation in the UK‘, International Journal of Children’s Rights, Special Issue 16(3): 343-354. Tisdall, E.K.M. and Bell, R. (2006) ‘Included in Governance? Children’s participation in ‘public’ decision-making’ in Tisdall, E.K.M., Davis, J., Hill, M. and Prout, A. (Eds) Children, young people and social inclusion: participation for what? Bristol: Policy Press, pp. 105-120. Tisdall, K. and Davis, J. (2004) ‘Making a Difference? Bringing children’s and young people’s views into policy-making’ Children & Society 18(2): 131-142. Hill, M., Davis, J., Prout, A. and Tisdall, K. (2004) ‘Moving the participation agenda forward’ Children & Society 18(2): 77-96.