Involving children and young people in organisational decision making makes sense.
It makes sense because children and young people want to be recognised as persons in their own right and to have their views respected.
It makes sense because, like all people, they have a right to express their views when decisions are being made that directly affect their lives. It makes sense because children and young people are experts in their own lives; they have a body of experience and knowledge that is unique to their situation. As a result, they can tell adults things that they don’t know. They can get adults to look at things differently.
And it makes sense because we know that initiatives designed for children and young people are more likely to be effective if children and young people themselves participate in their development and implementation.
This resource has been developed to help government and non-government organisations meaningfully and effectively involve children and young people in their decision making. It highlights the importance of seeing children and young people as partners with adults in the decision making process.
In this document, ‘participation’ refers to children and young people’s involvement in collective decision making, that is, children and young people having a say in the decisions that government and organisations make that affect them. It does not refer to children and young people’s participation in personal and family decision making.
Children and young people can participate in organisational decision making in many ways, including one-off consultations, sitting on boards and committees, recruiting staff, youth councils and advisory groups and participating in and undertaking research.
We have prepared this resource for a wide audience—from people with no prior practice of involving children and young people in organisational decision making to those with extensive experience. It has been written for members of all levels of government, policy makers, non-government and community organisations, youth workers, teachers, school executives, and private organisations.