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Decision-Making and Judgment in Child Welfare and ProtectionTheory, Research, and Practice$
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John D. Fluke, Mónica López López, Rami Benbenishty, Erik J. Knorth, and Donald J. Baumann

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190059538

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190059538.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 December 2021

The Voice of the Child in Child Protection Decision-Making

The Voice of the Child in Child Protection Decision-Making

A Cross-Country Comparison of Policy and Practice in England, Germany, and the Netherlands

(p.263) 12 The Voice of the Child in Child Protection Decision-Making
Decision-Making and Judgment in Child Welfare and Protection

Susanne Witte

Mónica López López

Helen Baldwin

Oxford University Press

Children’s participation in all matters that concern them, particularly child protection decision-making, have many positive effects on children. It is also their right granted by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, in child protection practice there are many obstacles to including children in decision-making processes. First, the article reviews the policy and public discourse in England, Germany, and the Netherlands regarding children’s participation in investigations into suspected child maltreatment. Second, an analysis of 1,207 case files of investigations into suspected child maltreatment unfolds the extent of children’s participation and factors associated with participation within the three countries. Although all three countries grant the right to participate in decision-making to children, documented participation in child protection decision-making is very low even when older children are considered. Children’s participation in decision-making is closely linked to caretakers’ participation in decision-making. Thus, children are almost never included in decision-making when their caretaker is not. Children’s participation is associated with a higher likelihood for individual support for children in the Netherlands and Germany. The results point to the need for research on barriers of children’s participation as well as the need to provide more resources for case workers to be able to facilitate children’s participation.

Keywords:   children’s participation, child protection, decision-making, policy, case file analysis, comparison

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