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Child and youth participation in Finland: A Council of Europe Policy Review

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Council of Europe

The report “Child and youth participation in Finland – A Council of Europe policy review” provides a comprehensive analysis of the implementation in Finland of the right of children to participate in decisions affecting them. Taking as a starting point a the child’s right to be heard, as set out in Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the report undertakes a legal and policy analysis of child and youth participation in Finland and assesses how child participation functions in different settings and situationws, including the family; alternative care; health care; education and school; play, recreation, sports and cultural activities; situations of violence; judicial and administrative proceedings; public life and civil society. As the review highlights, legal obligations for child and youth participation are well in place in Finland and significant achievements have been made in promoting the child’s right to be heard. However, improvements can be made by encouraging more bottom-up participatory initiatives, strengthening the involvement of young children and of children from disadvantaged backgrounds, investing in the training of professionals working with children and making sure that wherever possible children are consulted at the beginning of decision-making processes.
Children and young people themselves played an important role in the drafting of this report – the survey was carried out with more than 700 children (7-17 years old) from across Finland. The report reflects the outcomes of the discussions of children’s focus groups and the input from a children’s reflection group, which was involved in the whole process leading to this report.

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