Second part of study on the participation of children in youth care published
Dr. Stephanie Rap, Denise Verkroost, LL.M. and prof. Mariëlle Bruning conducted a research on the participation of children in youth care in the Netherlands. In 2016 the first part, a legal desk-research on the possibilities for children to participate in youth care procedures and decision-making in the Netherlands, was completed. It resulted in a (Dutch) research report and an article in the Dutch journal on Family and Child Law.
In the first report it was concluded that the possibilities for children to participate in accessing youth care are unclear and that the differences between the various local municipalities can be substantial.
The second part of this study considers the practical implementation of the right to be heard in the youth care system. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were held with twenty professionals from organisations involved in the implementation of youth care services and child protection orders in the Netherlands. Participants consider child participation as important and meaningful. The age of the child is an important determining factor when it comes to whether he or she is given the opportunity to participate. Generally, a minimum age limit of twelve years is applied. The possibilities of children to participate are better guaranteed in the compulsory youth care (in case of a child protection order) compared to voluntary youth care. In the – unregulated – coercive framework, the possibilities to participate are strongly dependent on the local municipality and the involved professionals. The report concludes with extensive recommendations for improving the opportunities for child participation in practice and suggestions for further research.