Involving children and young people in developing social care

SCIE Guide 11

Published February 2006

About this guide


The last decade has seen an increasing recognition and acceptance of the right of children and young people to participate in developing social care. Social care organisations have begun to acknowledge that, when listened to, children and young people can play a vital role in the planning and delivery of services.

As a result of this growing acknowledgement, participation has become a key 'target' in many service-level agreements for social care organisations - both voluntary and statutory. At times, this can lead to the participation 'box' being ticked by organisations because they can demonstrate that they have involved children and young people in a specific activity, rather than because they can provide evidence of change or improvement as a result of their participation. This is echoed in SCIE's review of service-user participation (Carr, 2004), which found relatively little in the way of outcome-focused evaluation and a preponderance of process-based evaluation.


This guide offers social care organisations a framework for systematically developing the effective and meaningful participation of children and young people in the design, delivery and review of their services.

It will assist managers and practitioners in the social care sector to initiate and sustain the participation of children and young people in developing their services.

The guide explores a number of areas and you will see these listed on the left hand menu. Focusing on a whole-systems approach to participation, the guide includes:


The guide is designed primarily for managers and practitioners in social care and draws heavily on the views of young people about how to develop effective participation. The guide will also be useful to everyone involved in promoting children and young people's participation in services that affect their lives.

Using this guide

The SCIE website is divided into three columns: the left, middle and right columns. The topics that are covered in this guide are listed in the left hand column. Click on these to access the topics.

Within each topic there are several pages of information, which you can skip to using the navigation in the middle column. All of the links are in blue. The right hand column also has links in the lozenges, either to a PDF of the guide so that you can print it out or to other relevant information. The links may also repeat those listed in the middle column just so you don't miss anything!

Your feedback

SCIE welcomes comments on any aspect of the guide, which will inform future updates. We are also very interested in collecting examples of good practice. Please send us your feedback.


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