chapter  1
15 Pages

Participation, policy and the changing conditions of childhood

ByAlan Prout

During the last two decades many societies have seen an accelerating movement towards ideas about children’s participation and voice. Enshrined in Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, these notions have gathered both general support and efforts at practical implementation. Indeed they have become part of the rhetorical orthodoxy, even among those such as the current English government who have not otherwise been notably enthusiastic proponents of children’s rights. For example, the Children and Young People’s Unit, recently established to develop a ‘joined up policy’ in this area, states that:

We want to hear the voices of young people, influencing and shaping local services; contributing to their local communities; feeling heard; feeling valued; being treated as responsible citizens.