Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that ‘all children and young people have a right to have a say on all issues that affect them and for their views to be taken seriously.’
Fulfilling this commitment can involve a variety of activities ranging from providing child friendly information to directly engaging with children and young people, from listening to their views to monitoring the involvement of children and young people in everyday decision making at a policy and programme level.
Children between the ages of 8 and 12 routinely tell me that they have few opportunities to have a say. Adults often underestimate their competencies and rely heavily upon their own assumptions about children’s perspectives and experiences. Policymakers and advocates also tell me that 8-12 year olds are overlooked from a policy and programme perspective. The focus on the importance of early brain development and early years learning, as well as an increasing focus on adolescent mental health, has meant that public policy for 8-12 year olds is not a high priority.
This report is the first in a series of annual reports on this project.