Children's and young people's participation within child welfare and child protection services: a state-of-the-art review

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Abstract

This state-of-the-art literature review, based on a literature search of multiple scientific bibliographic databases, aims to shed light on what is known about barriers and factors facilitating child participation within the child protection and child welfare services from both children's and social workers' perspectives. The personal relationship between the child and the social worker is mentioned as one of the most important facilitators for participation, although multiple barriers in creating this relationship are demonstrated by both children and case managers and social workers. In studies, children say they should always participate while social workers and case managers identify many situations where, according to them, participation is inappropriate. Professionals' objections to participation mainly stem from the socio-cultural image of children as vulnerable and in need of adult protection, and a lack of understanding of what participation actually entails. Interventions to strengthen participation should be directed at making social workers and case managers aware that children are knowledgeable social actors.

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