Exploring the essence of enabling child participation within child protection services

Ganna G. van Bijleveld*, Joske F.G. Bunders-Aelen, Christine W.M. Dedding

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The chances that children have to participate in child protection services are largely contingent upon the attitudes and skills of case managers. They have a crucial role in ensuring that a child's voice is being listened to and acknowledged in often sensitive dialogues. Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate what case managers need to facilitate child participation. By handing case managers a participation toolbox developed by children and through the use of reflexive monitoring in action, we elaborated on the barriers faced in practice. The results show that the intention to facilitate child participation is quickly overruled by often subconscious thoughts and beliefs, stemming from the complex interplay of child image, protection, and participation. Case managers need to be aware of this interplay and how this unknowingly steers their actions. Therefore, iterative reflection should be facilitated within organizations for an actual change in their daily practice and to amplify the role of children in the decision-making processes within child protection services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-293
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • case managers' attitude
  • child image
  • child participation
  • child protection


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