chapter  25
Activated social empathy in child welfare and youth development
A case for consideration
ByPat Dolan, James Kenny, Danielle Kennan
Pages 11

This chapter explores how activated social empathy, which is reciprocal between young people, and their social ecology can lead them to be actors for their own benefit and ways in which their agency can be enhanced. In this chapter, the broader case for understanding empathy generally is made, and in the context of the ecological model more specifically outlined. The chapter presents 'youth as researcher' case example and illustrates the peer-to-peer empathy education practice tool for teachers and schools. The case for an adaptation of a 'Social Empathy Framework' conceptualized by E. A. Segal within child welfare policy networks may seem uninteresting on initial examination, yet progressive in its subtleties and, on further exploration, has major potential for the purpose here. The youth researchers, aged 15–18, were attending youth services in an urban regenerated area run by Foroige – Ireland's national youth development organization. These young people had opted to undertake a Foundation Certificate in Youth Leadership and Community Action.