CBSS member states provide children with space, voice, audience, and influence in policy making

Child participation implementation is ongoing

CBSS member states routinely feature – notably when required by law – child participation in policy and legislation. They also routinely give support to children and youth councils, children forums, national councils of children and the ombudsperson’s office. In addition, some countries have instituted a Children’s Parliament.

Countries are continually working to ensure meaningful child participation activities for both children and adults. Some countries are developing new methodologies for consulting younger children. Others are translating the principles of child participation into the practice of child protection, as well as the monitoring and evaluation of to what extent children participate in decisions that affect them.

Estonia’s advisory committee members are selected from children’s and youth organisations

Children are part of the ombudsperson’s advisory committee in Estonia. The children of the committee assist in discussions on important issues related to children. This institutional setting enables children to express their opinions and raise issues. The members of the Advisory Committee to the Ombudsman for children are under 18 years old. They are selected from various children’s and youth organisations, including: the Assembly of Student Representations, Association of Estonian Scouts, Estonia 4H, Estonian Guide Association, Estonian National Youth Council, Estonian Union for Child Welfare, For a Joint Cause, Girls’ corps of the Estonian Defence League, Union of Estonian School Students’ Councils, Young Eagles (Boys’ corps of the Estonian Defence League).

Iceland consults children nationally, locally, and as part of the ombudsperson’s mandate

A 2018 revision of the legislation describing the role of ombudsperson for children enables child and family participation in the work. An advisory group of children aged 12-17 meets regularly and advise the Ombudsman.

Municipalities also consult with children and their families, often with pupils’ councils in schools, on any matter of concern for children.

At the national level, a Children´s Forum is held every other year to discuss developments in the area of children´s rights. The conclusions of this Forum are presented to the Government as a contribution to policymaking in all matters concerning children.

Lithuania’s children’s council operates under the state child rights service

The Children’s Council in Lithuania was launched in 2021 and operates under the State Child Rights Protection and Adoption Service. The council is made up of 15 children aged 7-16. The council’s purpose is to strengthen children’s participation in decision-making and to listen to children. The council discusses child right’s protection policy, culture, education, health, environmental protection and other relevant issues for children.

Research and guidance to strengthen the voices of children in Finland

To support the preparation and implementation of the National Children’s strategy, a study was conducted on the realisation and monitoring of children’s rights in child welfare. This study focused on the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s decisions concerning children’s complaints in 2018–2020. The study examines how children understand their rights in the context of child welfare work and how they exercise their right to file a complaint about the shortcomings experienced in child welfare work. The study provides information on the recurring themes of the complaints filed by children and the related decisions. It also provides information on how many of the complaints filed by children lead the Parliamentary Ombudsman to act and what the admonitions issued by the Parliamentary Ombudsman concerned.

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare has developed a child welfare handbook for children and adolescents to better access information on their rights and the child welfare system. The handbook was created in partnership with adolescents and young adults who have had personal experiences as clients in the child welfare system. They had input into the design, content and language of the handbook. A website and online service intended for children and adolescents in conjunction with the Handbook and online service was created and launched in the Autumn of 2022.