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Dec 11, 2013 Commentary
A children’s rights-based approach to involving children in decision making

by Elizabeth Welty and Laura Lundy

Children’s issues have become a greater priority on political agendas since the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Each government has agreed to ensure that all those working with and for children understand their duties in relation to upholding children’s rights including the obligation to involve children in decisions that affect them (Article 12). Respecting children’s views is not just a model of good pedagogical practice, but a legally binding obligation. However, there is a limited awareness of Article 12, and how to actualise it. While many people speak about the ‘voice of the child’ or ‘student voice’, these concepts do not capture the full extent of the provision. Lundy (2007) developed a model, which helps duty bearers involve children meaningfully in decision-making. According to this model four separate factors require consideration: Space, Voice, Audience, and Influence. In this paper, we provide an overview of these four factors and a summary of the main implications of the model.

Volume 12 • Issue 3 • 2013