Applying nine basic requirements for meaningful and ethical child participation during COVID-19

Date: 7th May 2020


Child participation gives children the opportunity to express their views, have these views taken seriously and offer the chance to influence decision making. This document provides guidance on how to have meaningful child participation safely and ethically during the Coronavirus pandemic.

To do this, nine basic requirements are necessary:

  • Transparent and informative- this requirement means children clearly understand their right to express their views, that they will be heard and valued. In addition, they understand what their participation will help to achieve, who has access to the information and measures children can take to protect themselves.
  • Voluntary- children have received sufficient and appropriate information and time to make informed choices, and they also know that they are free to make decisions to participate or not.
  • Respectful- children’s views are respected, valued and heard by adults and other children.
  • Relevant- children can understand why the issue is of relevance to them and why their views are being sought. Children are also encouraged to identify issues that they themselves regard as relevant.
  • Child friendly- children feel welcomed and the research methods used are child friendly.
  • Inclusive- the participation process ensures that the most deprived children, children with disabilities and children who are marginalised have equal access and that their voices are heard and valued. In addition, children are not discriminated against by reason of age, gender, race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethical, or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.
  • Supported by training- all adults working with children have been trained and equipped to work effectively with children to facilitate meaningful participation of children.
  • Safe and sensitive risk- children know that all considerations in relation to their safety and protection from harm have been taken into account and staff have taken every precaution to minimise the risk to children of abuse, exploitation or other negative consequence of their participation.
  • Accountable- children receive feedback on how their contribution has advised, informed, or influenced development and children have adequate time, support, and information to share any feedback with their peers.

Read the recommendations in full here