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Youth Care, Artevelde University College Ghent

Exploration of children’s participation in Flemish youth care: focus on six to twelve years old children. The right of every person to participate in decisions about their own life has become widely accepted. As well in research as in the field of youth care the focus is often on adolescents and parents. The voice of younger children is rarely heard. The need to do research on younger children’s voice emerged from the fieldworkers and policy officers themselves.
In this project the perspective of six to twelve years old children in Flemish youth care is investigated. We have focused on participation in the process of the care they get: what is important to children themselves? What are necessary conditions for children to participate and how can professionals facilitate their participation?
From an interpretative paradigm, we performed twenty in-depth interviews with children in youth care, using a creative and interactive approach, tailored to the child’s abilities and preferences. The data were qualitatively analyzed (phenomenological approach).
The research itself as well as the attitude of the researchers were consequent to its paradigm, a participative approach of the children: from the moment of informing and asking permission to cooperate, over the interviews, till the output.
The results suggest that meaningful participation of young children requires careful consideration of methods and attitude. Participation shows to be a learning process for both professionals and children.


Artevelde University College Ghent
ODC Gezinskracht
Supporting children's participation in Integrated Youth Care
Campus Sint-Annaplein, Sint-Annaplein 31, 9000 Gent

+ 32 (0)09 234 94 45

wendy.eerdekens@arteveldehs.be


The children shown in these pictures are models.



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