“In accordance with age and maturity”: Children’s perspectives, conceptions and insights regarding their capacities and meaningful participation

Emmie A. Henderson-dekort*, Hedwig J.A. Van Bakel, Veronica Smits, M.R.F. Van Regenmortel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
81 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Embedded within family law proceedings and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC, 1989) there is ambiguity surrounding the terms rights, participation, best interests, and capacity. Research furthering the rights of children is necessitated across academic literature and practice. Across research, literature and practice there is an evident reliance upon age in relation to the participation of children in family law settings. There is considerably limited research regarding strong characterisations of such concepts, and significantly less literature involving the voices of children and their perspectives regarding the topic. This qualitative action research aimed to gather the perspectives of children aged 6–12 regarding concepts relating to their capacity to participate using child-friendly methods of assessment, specifically the use of play, art, and narrative activities. This research aim to explore the research questions, how do children aged 6–12 demonstrate, understand and describe participation capacities, what does capacity, rights and participation mean to them? How can children demonstrate and increase their understanding of complex concepts through the use of child-friendly methods such as narrative, play, and drawing? This research allowed children to meaningfully share their unique perspectives, educated the participants, and provided one further step in actualizing the rights of children. Further, this research has offered recommended various methodologies for future endeavours involving children’s participation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-61
JournalAction Research
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • CONSENT
  • PRINCIPLE
  • Participatory action research
  • RIGHTS
  • UN-CONVENTION
  • VOICE
  • YOUTH
  • best interests
  • capacity
  • children's rights
  • family law
  • qualitative research

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