Co-creating participation tools with children within child protection services: What lessons we can learn from the children

Ganna G. van Bijleveld, Marjonneke de Vetten, Christine W.M. Dedding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Nowadays, the question no longer is whether children should participate in the decision-making process of issues that affect their lives; the focus lies, instead, on how to ensure that children can participate in a meaningful way. Participation in child protection proceedings has proved difficult to achieve. Where children indicate that the attitude and relationship with the case manager is an important barrier, case managers refer to their responsibility to protect vulnerable children. They feel they miss tools to facilitate child participation within such a complicated process. Instead of developing participation tools with case managers, we decided to start by asking children what they believed would be helpful to make themselves heard. Children, with the help of an industrial designer, developed several tools that they believe can facilitate participation in family meetings. Interestingly, the tools the children designed were all directed at who is talking when, to whom and how, and not at what they want to say. This shows that the conditions children say they need for effective participation comprise different aspects than the conditions mentioned in literature and by professionals, underpinning the value of involving children in creating solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-709
JournalAction Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Child protection services
  • child participation
  • child welfare
  • children’s perspectives
  • co-creating tools

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