Is there a place for children in the making of public policy? Insights from the research evidence

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Children’s participation, Policy-making, Public policy


Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child stipulates that children have a right to express their views with this article being one of the most frequently cited principles in the convention. This scoping review summarises the existing research evidence on how children participate in the making of public policy. This paper concludes that a plethora of practical guidelines and gray literature are available addressing children as policy-making partners, but the empirical research around the subject is very rare. Children’s participation should be planned prior to any planned public policy reforms – and to be supported by appropriate academic research integrated into the different stages of the policymaking processes. If policymakers are willing to develop mechanisms for children’s participation in the policy cycle, children’s role and agency will be clarified. It seems that there is a need for new sensemaking in terms of how adults treat the value of children´s participation and how to include children in the policymaking process around the subjects that matter to them. Participatory practices should be co-created with children, not for them.


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How to Cite

Stenvall, E., Kurki, M., & Virtanen, P. (2023). Is there a place for children in the making of public policy? Insights from the research evidence . Journal of Childhood, Education & Society, 4(1), 16–28.