In Children and Youth Services Review Volume 154, November 2023, 107139.
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Changefactory is a Norwegian knowledge centre set up with one purpose – to find out how public services for children can be improved by directly asking children themselves. The knowledge centre has published around 50 reports with responses from over 14,000 children. Children and youth themselves, called “pros”, present the main findings of these reports to professionals, students, decision makers, and politicians. This perspective article uses the combined knowledge from these children to present demands to researchers undertaking research on public services for children. The demands originate from children’s lived experiences of public services that did not work optimally for them and their frustration over adult professionals’ uncritical faith in methods and programs on “how to help children”. How can adults know what works for children if children have not been directly involved in developing and evaluating services? Through Changefactory’s work, it has become evident that knowledge from children, presented on its own without interpretation and theorization from adults, is rare. It has also become clear that when this type of knowledge is not easily available public services lose out on chances to improve their quality. This perspective article addresses researchers and their role in changing this and puts forward the following 10 demands: (…). Relevant and trustworthy scientific evidence should inform decisions about service improvement together with contextual knowledge, information on values and preferences, and insight from adultś professional expertise. However, this cannot replace the direct experience of children with first-hand knowledge of the services and systems. Policy, practice, and research can be improved by listening closely to the children themselves.

In Empowering Children and Youth through Law and Participation. (5 ed.) (Research Reports in Sociology of Law; Vol. 2023, No. 5). Sociology of Law, Lund University.
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Do decision-makers and practitioners understand well enough what children as a group think is important, before making decisions concerning children? When making and voting on laws, do policymakers know enough about children before deciding? In individual lives, in child protection systems, schools, and youth mental health services, do practitioners have enough information from the child in front of them before assessing what is in the best interest of that specific child? Maybe they have asked the child for their opinion, but did the child feel safe enough, to tell the truth or elaborate on their answer? Do adults think they have a responsibility to be informed with enough knowledge from children before making decisions concerning them? What might we miss out on, and what could be the consequences, for both children as a collective and for each individual child, if we lack sufficient understanding from children? And what do we as a society miss out on? These different issues concerning child and youth participation will be discussed in this chapter, but first some information about Changefactory.

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