ARACY issues Children’s Voice Position Statement
The Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) has issued a statement affirming that children are capable research participants, and that the incorporation of children’s views is beneficial to project outcomes and to children directly.
As such, ARACY said, consultation with children and young people is integral to their work. In accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), ARACY’s statement emphasised that the organisation upholds the right of children and young people to have a say in issues that affect them.
A spokesperson for the organisation said that in their consultations with over 3,000 children and young people in Australia, “(children) told us that participating is a key pillar of their wellbeing. In practice, this means the views of young people are taken into account, and they are involved in decision-making processes that may affect their lives.”
The position statement reinforced that ARACY values the views of children and young people, and seeks their contribution wherever feasible, a position reinforced by evidence which shows:
- that children and young people are capable and competent research participants
- the incorporation of children’s views benefits project outcomes
- incorporating children’s views benefits them directly.
“At ARACY, we are committed to enhancing the wellbeing of all Australian children and young people. In order to do that, it is imperative that we consult with them. As such, ARACY considers consultation with children and young people integral to what we do,” the statement read.
Successful consultation with children and young people, ARACY noted, “is respectful, builds trust, is flexible and adaptable, transparent and accountable, and brings benefit to them.” It must also be adaptive, age-appropriate, and cognisant of ethics and consent issues.
The importance of communication occurring in both directions was also highlighted, as was the importance of “access to information and material…especially those aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health” as recognised in the CRC.
As such, ARACY said, they strive to provide information and material that is accessible to children and young people and their families.
To read the Children’s Voice Position Statement, including example approaches to engaging children and young people and Principles for guiding the participation of children and young people, please see here.