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ICCRP Forthcoming/In Press Publications

Collins, T.M., Mayhew, A., & Rizzini, I. (TBD). Are the Conceptualizations and Practices of the Child Rights to Participate and Protection in Limbo? For submission in near future.

This paper relies upon a systematic Literature Review and key informant interviews to explore the implications of current conceptualizations of the rights to participation and protection for practice. Laura L. H. V., Collins, T. & Yue, C. (TBD). Children’s Participation in Child Protection: Creaking the Door Open through Education in China.

Jamieson, L, Feinstein, C., Kapell, A, and Dulieu, N. (TBD) A Resource Pack: Children’s participation in research on violence against children. Edinburgh: End violence.

Partnership Grant Research 

(2021-2028) Intergenerational Relationships & Children's Rights


Collins, T.,  Wright, L. (2022). The challenges for children’s rights in international child protection: Opportunities for transformation. World Development, Volume 159, (external link) .

Abstract: Children’s rights highlight the priority of child protection internationally and require us to think about how protection is defined and conceptualised, whether protection efforts are working, and how we are carrying them out. Many scholars have noted the apparent conflict between the idea of children’s rights as universal and the particular realities of local contexts, understandings, and experiences. Some argue that the failures of child protection are due to the structure of the children's rights framework itself. However, we contend that the issues lie in traditional child protection systems and frameworks, and how children's rights are (or are not) understood and operationalised by child protection actors. Relying on a narrative literature review, this conceptual paper presents several examples in support of this view, and argues that more work needs to be done to contextualize and secure the rights of children in need of protection. We explore the complex interplay between local and global interpretations of rights and recommend that dialogue among actors with different perspectives and socio-cultural experiences of children’s rights will produce richer understandings and practices of them. This dialogue can support the transformation of the current international child protection system to support the ability of children, their families and caregivers to realise children’s rights and support their thriving.

Cuevas-Parra, P. and Tisdall, E.K.M. (2022) ‘Investing in Activism: Learning from children’s actions to stop child marriage’, Childhood (external link) 

Abstract: This article draws on child activists’ experiences in Bangladesh and Ghana, who mobilised to stop potential child marriages from their respective Child Forums and Children’s Parliaments. Case studies were undertaken with 75 child activists, 10 girls whose child marriages had been stopped, and 22 adult stakeholders. The children’s activism disrupted intergenerational relations – unsettling adults’ attitudes towards children – and depended on such relations – children were successful in stopping child marriages because they drew on critical social capital and mobilised key stakeholders. Children’s activism thus has lessons for children’s participation literature more generally, in the synergies between children’s mobilisation and intergenerational relations.

Tisdall, E.K.M. (2021) ‘Meaningful, Effective and Sustainable? Challenges for children and young people’s participation’, in Bruselius-Jensen, M., Pitti, I., and Tisdall, E.K.M. (eds) Young People's Participation: Revisiting Youth and Inequalities in Europe, Bristol: Bristol Press.

Abstract: Young people’s participation is an urgent policy and practice concern across countries and context. This book showcases original research evidence and analysis to consider how, under what conditions and for what purposes young people participate in different parts of Europe. Focusing on the interplay between the concepts of youth, inequality and participation, this book explores how structural changes, including economic austerity, neoliberal policies and new patterns of migration, affect the conditions of young people’s participation and its aims. With contributions from a range of subject experts, including young people themselves, the book challenges current policies and practices on young people’s participation. It asks how young people can be better supported to take part in social change and decision-making and what can be learnt from young people’s own initiative.

Tisdall, E.K.M. and Cuevas-Parra, P. (2021) ‘Beyond the familiar challenges for children and young people’s participation rights: the potential of activism’, The International Journal of Human Rights, DOI: 10.1080/13642987.2021.1968377 (external link) 

Abstract: Over the last 30 years, remarkable efforts have been made to understand and support children and young people's participation rights outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Despite these efforts, challenges remain consistently the same, such as tokenism, lack of sustainability, and accountability. This article reviews the progress and challenges for children and young people's participation. It then considers the potential of activism as a relatively novel concept for the children's rights field. Drawing on activism literature more generally, and considering examples of child activism, the article explores the potential of identity politics and social movements to challenge adult power, growing on-line activism and tensions between best interests, protection and participation. The article concludes that activism recognises children as political actors and problem solvers. The article develops the idea of an ‘ecology of participation', which values respectful intergenerational relationships that develop ‘critical social capital' for child activism and multiple participation forms - ranging from the more conventional, to protest, to transformation. This more extended conceptualisation of children and young people’s participation builds on all the participation rights within the UNCRC, recognising them as minimum standards rather than final destinations, to create more expansive understandings and practices.

Wright, L.H.V., Tisdall, E.K.M. and Moore, N. (2021) ‘Taking emotions seriously: fun and pride in participatory research’, Emotion, Space and Society 41, (external link) .

Abstract: The article focuses on emotions in participatory research with children and young people. We approach emotions as a generative site for exposing assumptions about participation, as well as participation rights more widely. Our reflections emerged out of revisiting two participatory research projects involving young people (aged 14 to 25) and identifying the significant, but under-articulated importance of emotions in this work. Research is often planned and described in emotionally ‘neutral’ terms, although participatory research necessarily relies on building relationships and engaging emotionally in a research process with others. In our own projects we retrospectively identify and trace the circulation of two salient emotions of fun and pride. We identified fun as an explicit emotion often invoked in the research process, but often under-theorised, and treated almost instrumentally, as something necessary to make the research process flow. The project with young queer women drew our attention to questions of pride, and the role of pride as a transformative emotion which draws our attention to what matters in young people's lives, particularly when it is not anticipated. We argue for the analytical value of emotions, not only as a key component of participatory research design, but also as a site for analysis and knowledge production, if we are to explore seriously research that is intended to respect and support children and young people's participation rights.

Partnership Development Grant Research 

(2016-2020) Monitoring Child Participation in Child Protection

Almeida, L., Collins, T., Heynes, D-J., Jamieson, L., Rizzini, I., Walsh, S. (2023). Affecting Change in Different Contexts: Children’s Participation in Social and Public Policy Dialogues in Brazil, Canada, and South Africa, In B. Percy-Smith, N.P. Thomas, C. O’Kane, & A. Twum-Danso Imoh (Eds.). A Handbook of Children and Young People’s Participation, 179-185, Routledge. See further here (external link) 

Abstract: Children’s rights have greatly advanced child and youth participation in public dialogues and policymaking around the world. While there is great attention to child and youth-focused activities and efforts, the opportunities for young people and adults to work together and learn from each other in social and public policy forums and other dedicated spaces created by adults for young people are less explored. Inspired by the International and Canadian Child Rights Partnership (ICCRP) research in Brazil, Canada, and South Africa, this co-written chapter by both young and older team members focuses on how children, youth, and adults can engage and learn from their intergenerational collaborations with each other in social and public policy dialogues. Adults and young people should have spaces together to contribute to dialogues and policies to share learning, experiences, knowledge and inform efforts. Further, adult support is important to advance children’s rights in public spaces, and adults need to share power, time, and commitment with children and youth. These three countries show valuable lessons and the potential of such intergenerational spaces for public dialogue and policymaking for other countries.

Collins, T., & Rizzini, I. (June, 2022). Podcast on fostering global dialogues around children's rights with Tara Collins and Irene Rizzini. Children & Society Podcasts (external link) .

Abstract: Podcast on fostering global dialogues around children's rights with Tara Collins and Irene Rizzini. In this podcast, they talk to Associate Professor Tara Collins (Toronto Metropolitan University) and Professor Irene Rizzini (Founding Director of the International Centre for Research and Policy on Children, and Professor at the Pontificia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro) about their paper ‘Fostering global dialogue: Conceptualisations of children's rights to participation and protection (external link) ’, which was published in Children & Society in 2021. In this podcast, they discuss how their children’s rights partnership came about, and they explore some of the theoretical and practical challenges of realizing international dialogues within childhood studies.  

Jamieson, L., Rizzini, I., Collins, T.M., & Wright, L.H.V. (2022) International perspectives on the participation of children and young people in the Global South, (external link)  Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal, DOI: 10.1080/23802014.2022.2050940

Abstract: This paper presents findings from a study exploring children’s participation and protection rights. The research was conducted by the International and Canadian Child Rights Partnership (ICCRP) – a multi-sectoral partnership, involving academic institutions, non-government organisations, and young people in five countries. Although funding came from a Canadian federal agency, partners adopted a decolonial approach to break down inequitable power dynamics. This approach ensured the usage of contextually relevant methods and that children’s voices were heard. This paper reports on findings in Brazil, China, and South Africa, where participatory methodologies were used, to explore how young people and adults conceptualise the experience of ‘participating together.’ Our findings show that there is no single conceptualisation of participation that fits the different contexts where the ICCRP worked. In China, the emphasis is on education and respect for parents’ decisions about their lives; in South Africa, it is on respect and duty to elders and community; while in Brazil, participation relates to ‘protagonism’ where there is a rhetoric of young people’s autonomy in public policy. However, in all cases, intergenerational relations are dynamic and evolve over time. Additionally, individuals who experience meaningful participation in public spaces, change their attitude to participation in the private sphere.

CIESPI: International Center for Research and Policy on Childhood (n.d.). Child and youth participation in the Latin American academic literature. CIESPI. (external link) 

Abstract: This database was created in order to organize and make familiar ideas, definitions, and methodologies related to the theme. It includes 149 articles in Portuguese and Spanish as well as a brief summary of the debates that are contained in these articles. This database in Portuguese is available here (external link) 

Collins, T., Rizzini, I. & Mayhew, A. (2021), Fostering global dialogue: Conceptualisations of children's rights to participation and protection (external link) , Children & Society, 00:1-16;

Abstract: The children’s rights and child protection sectors are at a critical juncture: will they evolve to reflect and respond to changing conceptualizations in the 21st century or will they continue to reproduce 19th- and 20th-century preoccupations with saving child victims? Informed by systematic reviews of the English- and Latin American academic literature in Spanish and Portuguese and key informant interviews with international stakeholders, this paper fosters global dialogue with some Global South and Global North perspectives about the interconnections of children’s rights. It explores current conceptualizations of child participation and protection, and concludes that children’s rights will only progress after recognition of limitations inherent to current conceptualizations. 

Cerqueira, C., & Rizzini, I. (2020)  (PDF file) Spaces for listening and participation in the context of institutional care for adolescents. Janeiro (external link) : FAPERJ-CIESPI/PUC-Rio.

Abstract: This publication comes out of the project: Between home, the streets and institutions: children and adolescents on the streets and in institutional care in the state of Rio de Janeiro. The project is coordinated by professor Irene Rizzini with the support of Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro Research Foundation). 

Collins, T.M., Sinclair, L., Zufelt, V. (2020). Children’s Rights to Participation and Protection: Examining Child and Youth Care College Curricula in Ontario (external link) , Child & Youth Services, doi: 10.1080/0145935X.2020.1790352.

Abstract: Within child and youth care (CYC) education, supporting and implementing the rights of children and youth requires more than simple identification of these rights. It is also vital to explore issues such as how young people’s rights to participation and protection influence CYC education, and how to constructively move forward with child and youth participation in CYC college curricula. In 2018, a small study was conducted in the Canadian province of Ontario, guided by child and youth advisory committees, with data collection involving young people, CYC educators and practitioners. The findings verified that young people can play valuable roles in supporting the understandings and learnings of emerging CYC practitioners. Child and youth participation is an important but generally unappreciated element of CYC education and its role in advancing children’s rights to protection.

Collins, T. M., Jamieson, L., Wright L. H. V., Rizzini I., Mayhew, A., Tisdall, E. K. M., Ruiz-Casares, M. (2020). Involving child and youth advisors in academic research about child participation: The child and youth advisory committees of the international and Canadian child rights partnership. Children and Youth Services Review, 109, 104569. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.104569.

Abstract: Nearly thirty years ago, the world recognised the participation rights of children with the adoption by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Since then, childhood researchers in the Global South and Global North have been at the forefront of promoting these rights. The increased involvement of children and youth in research has challenged ‘traditional’ adult research practices in numerous ways. This article explores the role and contributions of Child and Youth Advisory Committees (CYACs) in the research process. It discusses the establishment of CYACs and how they supported the International and Canadian Child Rights Partnership (ICCRP). The ICCRP began as a three-year multi-country research project addressing children’s rights to participation and protection and monitoring this connection internationally within several Global South and North countries: Brazil, Canada, China and South Africa. This article describes the creation and functioning of the ICCRP CYACs and the strengths, challenges, and creative processes in implementation. Findings presented relate to ethics regulation, differing expectations and assumptions about CYAC involvement, and virtual communication. These are discussed with the inclusion of adult researchers’ and the CYAC members’ perspectives. The article shares lessons learned about the role and significance of dialogue to support other child and youth advisory bodies in research at the local and global levels.

International and Canadian Child Rights Partnership (2020, April 9). Recognising children’s rights in responses to COVID-19. (external link)  University of Edinburgh: Childhood and Youth Studies Research Group. (external link) .

Abstract: This blog post discusses the lessons learned from ICCRP’s project findings in relation to the current children’s right issues impacted by the global pandemic. This blog emphasizes the importance of continuing the effort of protecting children’s right to participation, provision and protection.  

Mayhew, A. (2020).  (PDF file) Book Review: Duncan, Mandy. Participation in Child Protection: Theorizing Children’s Perspectives (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).  [Translated into Portuguese.] (external link)  O Social em 
Questão/Social Question Journal. 46(1), 335-344. [Open Access] *Open access means that it is available to all on the internet. Click on the hyperlink provided to access the article.

Abstract: This book review discusses its contribution to understandings of children’s participation in child protection.

McMellon, C. & Tisdall, E. K. M. (2020) (excel file) . Children and Young People’s Participation Rights: Looking Backwards and Moving Forwards (external link) . International Journal of Children's Rights. 28(1), 157–182.

Abstract: This article was influenced but not centrally on the ICCRP project: abstract Children and young people’s participation is an ever-growing demand. Thirty years on from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child’s adoption, however, fundamental challenges continue for participation that are widely recognised cross-nationally but remain stubbornly consistent. As a way in to considering the children and young people’s participation literature more generally, all articles referring to participation in their titles were identified from The International Journal of Children’s Rights. These 56 articles were analysed to identify trends, challenges and opportunities. The analysis found: a remarkably consistent narrative on participation over the thirty years; limitations on domains considered, geography and conceptual clarity; and far more written about challenges than solutions. Drawing on these findings and considering the participation literature more generally, the article recommends that the field expands its geographic and intellectual boundaries, uses powerful concepts like agency, competency and autonomy with greater precision, and explores fresh ideas like child protoganism, activism and children as human rights defenders.  

Morrison, F., Callaghan, J. and Tisdall, E.K.M. (2020). Manipulation and Domestic Abuse in Contested Contact – Threats to Children’s Participation Right (external link) s. Family Court Review 58(2), 403-416. (external link) .

Abstract: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child has catalysed numerous jurisdictions to introduce new legal provisions to support children's participation rights when child contact is contested. Despite this, children's participation is frequently limited in practice, especially in contexts where children are perceived as vulnerable to a parent's manipulation, even if there are allegations of domestic abuse. While “resist and refusal dynamics” have yet to become mainstream terms in Scottish family law, “manipulation” has become a common concern in cases of contested contact. Drawing on a Scottish empirical study on contested child contact in circumstances of domestic abuse, we interrogate the implications that the concept of manipulation has for children's participation rights. The study involved separate in‐depth interviews with 18 children and their 16 mothers. Findings point to concerns about upholding children's participation rights, particularly in cases where children were depicted as “influenced” or “manipulated.” Through our analysis, we disentangle the problems professionals have when concerns about child manipulation and domestic abuse intersect. We argue that, when combined, allegations of manipulation and domestic abuse present a significant and serious risk to children's participation rights. We find the legal construction of the child's views as separate from the parental dispute to have unintended and serious consequences for children's participation rights. We offer ways in which law and practice may evolve to ensure children's participation rights in these contexts are both implemented and upheld.

Rizzini, I., Tabak. J. & Collins, T. M. (2020). (Des)Proteção Social e Violação de Direitos – English: Social Protection at Risk and Rights Violations (external link) O Social em 
Questão/Social Question Journal. 46(1). [Open Access]

Abstract: This issue of the Journal celebrates the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The articles discuss the use of several concepts about the idea of the rights of the child and the adolescent and practical challenges to their implementation. The articles also invite us to further develop policies about child protection in the light of new paradigms of contemporary childhood. The Issue arose from an international seminar held at PUC-Rio in May 2019 which was organized by the Department of Social Work and the Institute of International Relations at the university together with the Children and Youth Advisory Committees of the International and Canadian Child Rights Partnership (ICCRP).

Ruiz-Casares, M. & Gonzalez, E. (2020).  (PDF file) Child participation in child protection research: The role of children and youth advisory committees. [in Spanish] (external link) O Social em 
Questão/Social Question Journal. 46(1), 47-66. [Open Access]

Abstract: The International Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) underlines participation and protection as fundamental rights. In the field of child protection research, the role of children and young people has often been reduced to sources of information through interviews, questionnaires, and participant observations. However, an increasing number of academics and practitioners advocate for greater participation of children and youth in research decision making. This article illustrates this position with the experience of the Children and Youth Advisory Committees of the International and Canadian Child Rights Partnership, highlighting successes and challenges of the project. 

La Convención Internacional sobre los Derechos del Niño (1989) subraya la participa- ción y la protección como derechos fundamentales. En el campo de la investigación sobre la protección de la infancia, el papel de los niños, niñas y jóvenes se ha visto a menudo reducido a fuentes de información a través de entrevistas, cuestionarios, y observaciones participantes. No obstante, un número creciente de académicos y profesionales aboga por una mayor participación infantil en la toma de decisiones de investigación. Este artículo ilustra esta posición con la experiencia de los comités asesores de niños, niñas y jóvenes de la Alianza Internacional y Canadiense de los Derechos de la Niñez, resaltando los logros y desafíos del proyecto. 

Tisdall, E.K.M. and Cuevas-Parra, P. (2020). Challenges for Children’s Participation: Child activism for ending child marriage. (external link)  Children and Youth Services Review, 108.

Abstract: There is ever-increasing global and local attention to children’s participation rights. As activities have proliferated, so have concerns about children’s participation having an impact on decision-making. This article looks to what can be learned conceptually and practically from children’s activism, where children have actively changed decisions in their communities. This article examines one such example, where groups of children in Bangladesh stopped the illegal marriages of children. Research was undertaken with two Child Forums, involving 36 child activists. Further interviews were undertaken with girls whose marriages had been stopped and adults who had key roles in the child activism, such as local police officers and civil servants. The analysis finds that: (1) the legal context was critical to the child activists’ success, not because parents were arrested but because children could mobilise local officials; (2) the activism was collective rather than individual, supported by a nexus of relationships; (3) successes depended on children’s persistent and urgent activity, in order to mobilise other people’s attention and actions. The article concludes that the children’s participation field should attend to the conceptual lessons from activism and its practical contributions in: recognising the critical importance of the ‘shadow of the law’; building children’s political capital, and supporting the spaces and time for children to mobilise alongside educational demands.

Connections Grant Research 

(2015) Facilitating Child Participation in International Child Protection

Collins, T.M. (2019). (PDF file)  Visiting Professorship: Assoc Prof Tara M. Collins in Annual Report 2018 of the Children’s Institute. Cape Town: Children’s Institute. 

Abstract: This annual report outlines a summary of the Children’s Institute’s activities in 2018, including its collaboration with the ICCRP and the work produced from the Isibindi Youth Forums in South Africa. 

Collins, T. (2019).  (PDF file) Children’s Rights and the South African Child and Youth Care & Youth Conferences (external link) . CYC-Online/CYC-Net. 247. 40-46. [Open Access] 

Abstract: This article outlines Dr. Tara Collins’s experience from the National Association of Child Care Workers (NACCW) 22nd Biennial & 4th CYC-NET World Conference 2019 in Durban from July 2-4, 2019.

Collins, T., Shiwcharran, R., McLean, M. M., Shin, R. & Lima, C. (2019).  (PDF file) International and Canadian Child Rights Partnership (ICCRP) (external link) . CYC-Online/CYC-Net. 245. [Open Access]

Abstract: This article outlines what the ICCRP is and what it does. This includes ICCRP’s Child and Youth Advisory Committee (CYAC) members as co-authors. 

Cuevas-Parra, P., & Tisdall, E. K. M. (2019). Child-led research: Questioning knowledge (external link) . Social Sciences, 8(2), 44. doi:10.3390/socsci8020044. [Open access] 

Abstract: This article was influenced by (but not centrally on) the ICCRP project: abstract Over the last twenty years, childhood studies has challenged the schooled and developmental models of childhood. The children’s rights agenda has combined with academic childhood studies, to emphasise that children are and can be social actors and to seek ways to recognise and support their participation rights. For those who promote the participation of children and young people, there is considerable enthusiasm to involve them in all research stages—from research planning, fieldwork, and analysis to dissemination, leading to growth in what is often called ‘child-led research’. This article draws upon an empirical study of ‘child-led research’ projects, undertaken in Bangladesh, Jordan and Lebanon, for a critical examination of the meanings and implications of ‘child-led research’. In particular, this paper explores what counts as knowledge in social science research within contexts of generational difference and power. 

Grover, S. (2019). Collective Reparations as a Partial Remedy for State-Perpetrated Blanket Violations of the Rights of Targeted Child Asylum-Seeker Groups (external link) In Global Community Yearbook of International Law and Jurisprudence (2018), 337-368.

Abstract: This article argues for the entitlement of discrete refugee groups to collective reparations for targeted state-perpetrated blanket grievous human rights violations against their group whether by the home, transit or prospective asylum state. A review of selected international law and international principles of justice are discussed as a grounding for the applicability of collective reparations in such a refugee context. The example is discussed of children from Central America who accompanied their parent or parents to the US-Mexican border in search of refugee asylum most of whom, but not all, crossed the US border irregularly and then were separated from their parents as a result of President Trump’s so-called ‘zero-tolerance’ migration policy and held in US custody. Over 500 of these children are still, at the time of writing, separated from their parents and for a significant number of those, their parents have been deported without them.

 Grover, S. (2018). Children’s Participation in Holding UN Peacekeepers Accountable for Sex Crimes. (external link) Children’s Legal Rights Journal, 38(1), 1-38.

Abstract: Over the years, there have been hundreds of unresolved allegations and specifically identified, credible cases of United Nations- ("UN") mandated or otherwise UN-authorized international peacekeepers perpetrating sex-related human rights violations and crimes against children in the country of deployment. In some situations, such as in the Central African Republic, children have been the frequent victims of these alleged sex crimes by international peacekeepers. Arguably, these crimes can rise to the level of Rome Statute-defined international crimes in some instances. This paper discusses the potential for child participation in international judicial and  quasi-judicial mechanisms directed towards: (i) criminal and/or civil accountability of individual international peacekeepers for sexual exploitation and abuse of children, and (ii) accountability of the troop-sending State where there is a failure of that State to properly investigate and, where warranted, prosecute their peacekeeper nationals responsible for SEA perpetrated while on a UN peacekeeping mission. This paper also highlights the tensions that can arise between (i) the child's right to participate in the pursuit of justice in seeking accountability and a remedy for their SEA victimization by international peacekeepers and (ii) the child's immediate and long-term protection needs. 

Jamieson, L., Shin, R., Mjilana, Z., Dywili, A. & Collins, T. (2019). The International and Canadian Child Rights Partnership (ICCRP). (external link) Journal of Child & Youth Care Work. 37(1).

Abstract: Four-page article for the NACCW’s professional journal for child and youth care workers about the ICCRP. 

Moran-Ellis, J., & Tisdall, E. K. M. (2019). The relevance of ‘competence’ for enhancing or limiting children’s participation: Unpicking conceptual confusion (external link) . Global Studies of Childhood. 9(3).

Abstract: This article was influenced but not centrally on the ICCRP project: Recent debates about children’s participation rights, formulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, primarily focus on ‘effectiveness’ of implementation. However, children’s participation remains problematic, its limited impact on adult power in decision-making or on the nature of decisions made persists, and implicated in both are reservations about children’s competence as participants. In respect of this, we analysed conceptualisations of competence in 67 articles, published between 2007 and 2017 in six childhood studies journals, in which ‘competence’ and its variations appear in the abstract. Although competence was rarely defined, conceptualisations were wide-ranging, covering competence as skills, as compliance with adult views, and as a trope signalling the field of childhood studies. As a result of our findings, we argue that epistemological clarity is vital for this concept to be useful regarding children’s participation and that attention must be paid to the different kinds of competences relevant for ‘effective’ participation. 

Ruiz-Casares, M. (2018 December 9). YFE TIG Week: Establishing and Maintaining Child and Youth Advisory Committees. American Evaluation Association. 365. (external link) 

Abstract: A blog post of the process of establishing and maintaining Child and Youth Advisory Committee (CYAC) within ICCRP, and the lessons learned from the CYAC. 

Collins, T. M. (2017).  (excel file) A child's right to participate: Implications for international child protection. The International Journal of Human Rights, 21(1), 14-46. doi:10.1080/13642987.2016.1248122.

Abstract: Child protection is an essential international policy and programming priority involving various efforts. While different actors attempt to redress child protection issues, it is unclear how they appreciate and respect child participation in their work. Consequently, the essential question for this article is how child participation is understood and implemented in international child protection efforts. The child’s rights to participate and to protection are included in several provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and other international human rights instruments. Due to numerous benefits, much literature and various actors and organisations support the role and value of child participation. Nevertheless, child participation poses a significant challenge in practice for various reasons including age discrimination, denial of opportunities, as well as tokenistic and irrelevant participatory efforts. Accordingly, this article reviews the international human rights framework and the literature in order to obtain a thorough understanding of how participation and protection are defined and practiced in international child protection efforts and the implications for international human rights in order to generate some considerations for future work. It is submitted that the role and right of child participation reflects rhetoric rather than practice in relation to the historical priority of child protection in most development and humanitarian efforts concerning children. 

Collins, T.M., Grover, S., Ruiz-Casares, M., & Tisdall, E.K.M. (2017). Facilitating Child Participation in International Child Protection (external link) . The International Journal of Human Rights, 21(1). doi:10.1080/13642987.2016.1262520.

Abstract: In recent years, increasing international attention surrounding children and young people’s participation in international development and humanitarian interventions has grown. This special issue contributes perspectives from different continents and fields of study/disciplines. At the same time, the articles raise important questions regarding the import of children and young people’s participation in international child protection and readers will thereby be encouraged, it is hoped, to consider the implications for children’s rights in a broad range of practical settings as well as for child human rights theory. We hope that the arguments presented in this special journal issue will add enthusiasm to ongoing, critical research and mobilization towards effective child protection.

Le Borgne, C., & Tisdall, E. K. M. (2017). Children’s participation: Questioning competence and competencies?Social Inclusion, 5(3), 122-130. doi:10.17645/si.v5i3.986. [Open Access]

Abstract: While Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child has encouraged children’s participation in collective decision-making, the literature is replete with the challenges as well as successes of such participation. One challenge is adults’ perceptions of children’s competence and competencies. These are frequently used as threshold criteria, so that children viewed as incompetent or lacking competencies are not allowed or supported to participate. Despite this casual elision between children’s participation and their (perceived) competence and competencies, the latter are rarely explicitly defined, theorised or evidenced. This article draws on research undertaken in Tamil Nadu (South India) and Scotland (UK), with two non-governmental organisations supporting children’s participation in their communities. The article examines how staff members can validate and enhance children’s competence and competencies, by scaffolding children to influence decision-making and recognising and adding to children’s knowledge. These empirical findings suggest the need for increased scrutiny of the concepts of competence and competencies, recognising their disempowering potential. The findings argue that competence is situationally and socially constructed rather than a set and individual characteristic. 

Porto, C., & Rizzini I. (2017). La visión de los niños sobre sus ciudades: reflexiones sobre aportes metodológico (external link) s. (English: Learning the views of children about their cities: reflections about new methodologies). Sociedad e Infancias, 1, 299-320.

Abstract: The issue of child participation in decisions about their lives has become part of intense discussions and studies since the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN 1989) and, in Brazil, since the passage of the Statute of the Child and the Adolescent (1990). The right to participation developed along several lines such as the right to free expression and demanding respect for the opinions of children. But before children’s voices can be respected, they must be heard and this article explores new ways for hearing those voices. This article is a reflection on two projects which explored new ways of eliciting children’s voices. In both cases photographs and video were used as key tools. It examines which methods enhance connections among researchers, researchers and children and make possible at the same time an opening for the unexpected to happen. We also examine how the results of this study fit in with the existing literature on listening to children.

*English version of the article was published in May 2019. 

Ruiz-Casares, M., Collins, T.M., Tisdall, E.K.M., & Grover, S. (2017). Children’s Rights to Participation and Protection in International Development and Humanitarian Interventions: Nurturing a Dialogue (external link) Special issue of International Journal of Human Rights21(1), 1-13. 

Abstract: This introduction provides the rationale for the special issue of the International Journal of Human Rights on the topic of the children’s right to participation and protection in international development and humanitarian efforts. It summarizes selected contributions relating to an international conference entitled ‘Facilitating Child Participation in International Child Protection’ that took place 5–6 October 2015 at Ryerson University in Toronto (Canada). The concepts of child participation and child protection are explored. Then, the challenges and opportunities are highlighted regarding the actual and potential participatory role of children and young people in effective child protection. Finally, an overview of the articles included in this collection is provided.


Brinco, C., & Collins, T.M. (2016).  (PDF file) Exploring Tensions in Child Participation in International Child Protection: Briefing Note. Child Participation Working Group of the International Child Protection Network of Canada. 1-7. 

Abstract: The Facilitating Child Participation in International Child Protection Conference convened at Ryerson University from October 5th and 6th, 2015. Participants heard voices of professionals in the field of children’s rights from various academic institutions, government affiliates and non-governmental agencies and from children and youth. These children and youth were involved in a preparatory meeting in advance of the conference in order to support their understanding of the tensions. During this meeting, many of their concerns were brought to light and added to the discourse at the conference that followed. The conference participants sought to address concerns in child participation and protection though the sharing of expertise in the field, and by addressing gaps in international frameworks. This briefing note disseminates the knowledge shared over the two conference days as they relate to current tensions.