Journal article

'Why wait?': Engaging with children and young people in child protection research to inform practice

Child welfare Children's rights Family services

Practice guidance for child protection services emphasises the need to engage children and support them to understand what is happening and why, to provide their perspective on events and to have input into decision-making (Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, 2011; Cossar, Brandon, & Jordan, 2011). The impetus for recognising children as active, competent experts who have much to contribute in their lives is evidenced by a range of international, national and state-based initiatives that emphasise the importance of privileging their unique voices, perspectives and experiences. Most notable and significant is the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) which asserts the rights of children (separately from adults) to articulate their views and opinions and participate in decisions that impact on their lives, especially with regards to their safety and wellbeing (Article 12). According to the Convention (1989, p.3), participation is ongoing and includes "information-sharing and dialogue between children and adults based on mutual respect, and in which children can learn how their views and those of adults are taken into account and shape the outcome of such processes".

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