Child and Youth Participation
Children and young people are the citizens of today and not just the adults of tomorrow
It is Government policy that children will have a voice in matters which affect them and their views will be given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity.
The work of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs is guided by Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in ensuring that children and young people under the age of 18 have a voice in the design, delivery and monitoring of services and policies that affect their lives, at national and local level.
The Department is continuously learning from working in partnership with children and young people and our practice has changed and improved through this interaction. Our understanding of the needs, concerns and interests of young people have resulted in policies and practices that are more relevant and more likely to be effective. All our work is based on the belief that children and young people are not the adults of tomorrow but the citizens of today.
The Department is committed to ensuring best practice, robust and evidenced-based outcomes and the inclusion of seldom-heard children and young people in participation structures and initiatives.
The Department's work is undertaken through the development of effective structures for children’s participation in decision-making, conducting consultations and dialogues with children and young people, development of evidence-based policy in keeping with national and international best practice and partnering with statutory and non-government organisations.
In the last nine years, the Department has worked to ensure the establishment or consolidation of the following key structures:
Dáil na nÓg (national youth parliament)
Comhairle na nÓg (local youth councils)
The DCYA Children and Young People’s Forum
Children and Young People's Participation Partnership Committee (bringing all key stakeholders together, has guided policy and practice)
In 2005, the National Children’s Office (now the Department of Children and Youth Affairs), the Children’s Rights Alliance and the National Youth Council of Ireland developed participation guidelines called Young Voices – How to involve children and young people in your work.The Young Voices guidelines encourage agencies and organisations in the statutory and non-statutory sectors to develop a culture of participation by children and young people.