Children and Young People’s Participation During the Corona Pandemic – Nordic Initiatives
15 sep 2023
What measures and strategies for ensuring the participation and influence of children and young people were used in the Nordic countries during the Covid-19 pandemic? Covid-19 measures affected children and youth, particularly through school closures and restrictions on their social life. Findings show that most decision-makers granted children and youth little or no actual influence, and most consultations usually took place after decisions were already made.
The research team behind this report have examined if and how national and regional authorities managed to ensure children’s and young people’s right to participate and to have a say in all matters concerning them during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The report provides a record of the challenges Nordic children and youth encountered during the pandemic, emphasizing the varied effects on their participation in education and leisure activities. While necessary measures were implemented for public safety, the closure of schools and recreational activities had detrimental consequences, particularly for vulnerable groups. The report explores how different Nordic countries involved children and youth in their pandemic strategies, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It analyses decision-making processes, revealing that children’s and youths’ voices were often considered after decisions were made.
Lessons learned and challenges encountered is highlighted in the report. The aim is to aid decision-makers to identify and address these problems more effectively in the future. The promising practices portrayed in the report have been presented as positive examples by experts working in youth policy, youth work, or social services. The practices cover five central categories, reflecting the many dimensions of participation in society that needs to be considered:
- Maintaining normal routines and social connections during crises.
- Creating structures to enhance children and young people’s participation.
- Implementing communicative practices and ensuring access to information.
- Allocating extra resources for specific concerns regarding children, youth, and families.
- Developing new digital learning and leisure environments for children and young people.
The report is written by researchers Alix Helfer, Viola Särkiluoto and Sinikka Aapola-Kari from the Finnish Youth Research Society as well as Jakob Trane Ibsen from Vive – The Danish Center for Social Science Research. The report is published by the Finnish Youth Research Society and commissioned by The Nordic Welfare Centre.
25 sep 2023
15 sep 2023