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Participation

Queensland’s Charter of rights for a child in care states the child has (among other rights) the right:

  • to be consulted about and to take part in making decisions affecting their life (having regard to their age or ability to understand), particularly decisions about where they are living, contact with their family and their health and schooling
  • to be given information about decisions and plans concerning their future and personal history, having regard to their age or ability to understand

In addition, under Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, all children ‘have the right to say what they think should happen when adults are making decisions that affect them and to have their opinions taken into account’.

Child Safety will also act and make decisions in a way that is compatible with human rights and obligations under the Human Rights Act 2019.

Children are ‘experts in their own lives’ (Mason and Danby, cited in McDowall, 2013) and this is reflected in the principles in our Framework for Practice. We know, based on research that successful outcomes for children are more likely to be delivered when decisions about planning and managing transitions involve the children and people significant to them (parents, siblings, carers, extended family and friends).

Child Safety policies provide the foundation for this meaningful participation by children, their families and carers, acknowledging the partnerships and unique contributions each can bring.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, there may be family or community members other than their parents who should be closely involved in this work. An independent person may help facilitate the family's participation in decision making, and support can be provided by workers from family wellbeing services.

Participation of children is enhanced by ensuring they have age appropriate help to:

  • make sense of events in their lives
  • understand what is happening
  • make informed decisions around what may happen in the future
  • meaningfully participate in the decision-making process
  • maintain written documents about  important events in their lives (Cashmore and O'Brien, 2001).

Further reading

For further information on participation, see CREATE’s Participation page.

Tip

To further understand the importance of participation for children and young people in contributing to decisions about them, watch this short video from CREATE.  

CREATE NT Participation Project

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