Research and Policy
Development of a policy on children and young people’s participation in decision-making
A Thematic Group on the development of a national policy on children and young people’s participation in decision-making was established in February 2011, comprising representatives of government departments, state agencies, the research community and other key stakeholders.
This Group is chaired by the DCYA Director General and overseen by the DCYA Citizen Participation Unit. A national policy on children and young people’s participation in decision-making and an accompanying literature review are currently being developed for inclusion in the National Children and Young People’s Policy Framework.
Overseeing implementation of the policy is the responsibility of the DCYA, supported by an interdepartmental committee on children’s participation.
Audit of Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision-making
In January 2010, the DCYA commissioned a nationwide audit to document activity in statutory and non-statutory organisations that enables participation by children and young people (under the age of 18) in decision-making that affects their lives.
Four separate online surveys were developed for Comhairle na nÓg and youth/ children’s organisations, the Health Service Executive (HSE) and HSE-funded organisations, Student Councils and Student Council Liaison Teachers.
Approximately 570 respondents completed the audit tool. The full audit was published in an online version and a short summary in a print version during 2011. It will inform the development of the new National Children and Young People’s Policy Framework
Research on Children and Young People’s Participation
In December 2010, the DCYA Participation Unit commissioned two pieces of research under Strand 9 of the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) Research Development Initiative:
- An examination of children and young people’s perspectives on the impact of participation in decision-making in DCYA initiatives, such as Comhairle na nÓg, the Dáil na nÓg Council, the former OMCYA Children and Young People's Forum and other initiatives drawing on existing documentation and networks.
- Identification and review of literature around participation, experiences/initiatives in the field of seldom heard children and young people. This project will review national and international literature on the participation experiences of seldom heard young people and identify good practice in the field of participation of seldom heard children and young people relevant to the Irish context (including participation of key groups such as Travellers, children and young people with disabilities and children and young people from disadvantaged/vulnerable backgrounds/communities).
In 2012, the DCYA Participation Unit commissioned two further pieces of research in co-operation with the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) Research Development Initiative:
- Seen and not heard? The lived realities of children and young people’s participation in Ireland in their homes, schools and communities.
- Children and Estate Regeneration: Unheard Voices? The theme of this research is children’s participation in housing estate regeneration.
These studies will feed into the development of more effective and evidenced-based policy and practice on children and young people’s participation in decision-making.