Children, young people and participation
Children and young people with disabilities have the right participate on equal terms with others, but this is not the case at present in the Nordic region. This is caused by factors including the lack of accessibility in environments that are important and the lack of competence among key people that is essential for enabling participation.
The Nordic Council of Ministers’ Committee for Children and Young People (NORDBUK) is therefore joining forces with the Nordic Welfare Centre to finance this project, which enhances the Nordic sharing of knowledge and experience about participation among children and young people with disabilities. In due course, the aim is that this will as a whole strengthen the rights and participation in society of children and young people.
Within this project, a group of experts will draw up a document containing a mapping of actors, good examples of participation and both obstacles to and success stories about participation. The group will also contribute with the perspective of children and young people in Nordic collaboration on disability in general.
- To appoint a Nordic expert group. The group includes experts from both the disability and the children’s and young people’s rights sectors, representatives from the Disability Council and NORDBUK, as well as organisations representing young people with disabilities
- That the expert group will provide input for the activities in the Nordic Council of Ministers’ action plan on disability 2018-22
- To map out policy documents and actors responsible for the participation of children and young people with disabilities
- To find and describe at least five examples of methods that enable children and young people with disabilities to participate in decisions affecting them or in activities that result in greater inclusion
- To find and describe at least five obstacles to participation
- To formulate recommendations for developing Nordic collaboration on how participation can be promoted.
Target groups and stakeholder groups
- Experts in national authorities and organisations with special responsibility for promoting the participation of children and young people with disabilities
- Nordic decision-makers, administrators and relevant institutions and collaborative bodies
- Organisations that represent children and young people, with a particular focus on disability.
The Nordic countries have all ratified the United Nations’ conventions on the rights of the child (CRC) and on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD). Children and young people with disabilities are given special attention in both conventions and have the right participate on equal terms with others. The sustainable development goals in the UN’s 2030 Agenda also require countries to increase equality and to promote the equal rights of all children and young people to participation and their future. Although the Nordic region has well-developed welfare systems and a tradition of balancing differences between different groups in society, there are major shortcomings in the participation of children and young people with disabilities in all areas of society.
Throughout the whole Nordic region there is a lack of, among other things, sufficiently good methods to get children and young people with disabilities involved in decisions that affect their living conditions. New research shows that children and young people with certain disabilities have poorer health than others, which is not directly the result of the disability. This is caused by factors including the lack of accessibility in environments that are important for the children and the lack of competence among key people that is essential for enabling participation. There are, however, examples of working models to involve children and young people with disabilities, and these should be highlighted and disseminated.