Exploring participation as a children's right in a child and youth care centre
Johannisen, Jessica Clarissa
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In the last two decades, increasingly more research has been conducted on the process of participation as a children’s right both nationally and internationally. This includes research on children’s participation within the family environment as well as with children who are placed into alternative care. Children’s participation within the field of child protection continues to demonstrate challenges for both children and those adults working with children in this environment. A child and youth care centre forms part of the broader field of child protection and represents a bounded system of dynamics especially with regard to the process of children’s participation. There continues to be various barriers with regard to children’s participation in general but especially for children who have been found in need of care and protection. This is largely linked to the emphasis being put on the vulnerabilities and needs of children who have been placed into alternative care. The general aim of the study was to qualitatively, through a case study design, explore and describe the nature of participation as a children’s right in the context of a child and youth care centre in the Western Cape. The case study was utilised in order to gain more insight into the nature of participation as a children’s right, based on the perceptions of the children, child care workers, social workers and professionals within the system. Thirteen semi structured individual interviews were held with the child participations. Prior to the interviews, a session was held with the children to discuss the purpose of the research and to allow them to become more aware of the concept of children’s participation. The children were asked to create a collage of their perception of children’s participation as a right. Two separate focus groups were held for the adult participants; one for the child care workers and the other for the social workers and professionals. Based on the findings of this qualitative study about the nature of children’s participation as perceived by both children and adults in a child and youth care centre, the article in Section B aims at highlighting those critical elements needed for the realisation of children’s participation within a context of child protection.
- Humanities