Participation and listening to children

Focus partecipazione e ascolto dei minori di età

Advances and developments in participation and listening to children: a legal framework

Child participation in the society in which they live and in the decisions that affect them represents one of the most innovative and revolutionary principles that has been established at international level, a principle that signals that fundamental shift from the conception of the child as a subject only to be protected to a fully-fledged person, entitled to fundamental rights and responsible for his or her own life. This so-called Copernican revolution in the legal understanding of persons under the age of 18, first came about with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in Resolution no 44/25 of 20 November 1989.

It is important to emphasise that this inclusive methodology is becoming a recurrent practice in European child and adolescent policies. Indeed, in the Council of Europe as well, for the drafting of the latest Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2022-2027), Children's Rights in Action: from Continuous Implementation to Joint Innovation, CM (2021)168-final, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 23 February 2022, a choice was made to put children at the centre of the deliberations. The Strategy was devised as part of a broad consultation process in which national governments, international organisations, civil society organisations and, most importantly, 220 children from ten Member States participated.

The main international, European and national legislation on the topic of participation and listening to children is attached.