The What, Why and How of Child Participation—A Review of the Conceptualization of “Child Participation” in Child Welfare
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionSocial Sciences. 2021, 10 (2), . 10.3390/socsci10020054
This review explores the conceptualization of “child participation” in a child welfare context. The analyses are based on the theories, models and concepts researchers apply when framing their studies. Central to the authors’ conceptualizing is the understanding of why children should participate. Children’s rights are a common starting point for many authors, but they differ on whether children should participate out of consideration for children’s intrinsic value (e.g., concern for their well-being) or for the instrumental value of the participation itself (e.g., service outcome). The analysis also focuses on how authors measure participation level. The analysis showed that most authors presented a limited rights-focused goal for the collaboration with children, while a minority group problematized the concept. Although several researchers emphasize that participation requires a process, few authors see the meaning-making process as the main purpose of child participation.