Involving children and young people in developing social care


A shared and consistent definition of 'participation' is difficult to achieve. For the purposes of this guide, it is defined as:

Children and young people's involvement in individual decisions about their own lives, as well as collective involvement in matters that affect them. This guide encompasses both individual and collective participation because the organisational principles that underpin both types of participation are the same.

A culture of listening that enables children and young people to influence decisions about the services they receive as individuals on a day-to-day basis, as well as how those services are developed and delivered for all children and young people who access them.

Not an isolated activity, but a process by which children and young people are enabled to influence change within an organisation. By viewing participation as a process, this guide acknowledges that different organisations can be at different stages of developing participation.

Not a hierarchy where the 'aim' is to reach the top of the ladder (Hart, 1992). This guide accepts that different levels of participation are valid for different groups of children and young people and at different stages of an organisation's development, as illustrated in Treseder's circular (rather then graduated) model of participation (Cutler, 2003).