The child's perspective and service delivery

Moules, Tina and O'Brien, Niamh (2007) The child's perspective and service delivery. In: Public Health Practice and the School-Age Population. CRC Press, London, UK, pp. 259-278. ISBN 9780429166242

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Since the beginning of the 1990s there has been a drive towards involving children and young people in the development and delivery of public services in the UK. At no other time in our history has there been so much focus on enabling children and young people to participate in the lives of their communities. UK Government policies rhetorically stress that every opportunity must be taken to listen to the voices of the young and for their perspectives to be heard. At the same time, children and young people are starting to take advantage of this change in thinking and are beginning to want to be part of the decision-making processes that govern their lives (Kirby and Bryson, 2002; Stafford et al., 2003; Hill et al., 2004). The children who took part in the Children’s Summit on Corporal Punishment in Sweden in 20011 reflect what many others have said: Politicians often refer to us children as being the future of Europe. But we are living right now . . . Our childhood is happening now and not in the future. We do not think it is enough for decision-makers (for example politicians and public officials) to speak a lot about children and how important they are . . . We want them to listen to us. We want to see action! (Children’s Summit, Sweden 2001) However, though there is a growing trend in developed economies towards listening to children’s perspectives, a culture of non-participation in public life Introduction and in decision making about services is still the norm. What constitutes ‘participation’ by children is interpreted in many different ways. Often the degree to which they are encouraged or enabled to participate depends largely on the attitude of adults around them and the interpretation those adults place on the term ‘participation’. As a result, the current focus in the UK on children’s participation runs the risk of being implemented in a meaningless way or not implemented at all. If children’s ‘participation’ is to have substance, it will require those who work with children to seek to ensure children’s perspectives are taken into account when developing health and social care services. As the importance of promoting health in childhood is foregrounded, we may become more interested in finding out what children have to say about their own health. This chapter examines the case for children’s participation in service delivery and the policy drivers that underpin the current situation in the UK. Some of the barriers to participation are examined before moving on to a review of examples of children’s views about services.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: First edition of this book
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Repository Admin
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2010 14:14
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 16:18

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