Dr Rebekah Grace is the Deputy Director of the Centre for Translational Research and Social Innovation (TReSI) at Western Sydney University. Rebekah’s research gives focus to the service and support needs of vulnerable children and their families. She employs a cross-disciplinary, mixed-methods approach and has expertise in the translation of research so that it is transformative to policy and practice. Rebekah is committed to the conduct of participatory research with children and young people.
Rethinking Child and Youth Participation in Policy Making and Practice (Policy Think Space)
Rethinking child participation is critical if we are to improve the outcomes for vulnerable children and young people. Given rapid societal changes, ways that adults engage with children and young people are changing. If we are to give children and young people opportunities to genuinely participate in policy design, and for their ideas and views to be translated into practice, what needs to be different?
The Kids in Action Network was established to increase the profile of participatory health research with children. This group operates over 5 continents with a range of projects that support the use of participatory health research with children. The network provides a platform for the development of participatory methods to enhance the participation of children in research, policy-making and practice.
This panel discussion will profile exemplars of effective participatory health research with children and young people which could be adapted for the child protection context. Following this, an open and critical conversation will be facilitated to consider four lines of inquiry. Namely:
1. What is (and is not) participatory research with children and young people?
2. Which epistemologies are most (and least) conducive to such research?
3. What are its dark-sides and how might these be understood?
4. What forms of evidence are required to engage the ‘unconverted’?
If we are to move from ‘responding’ to child protection issues to upholding the rights of all children, methods for their participation are not only critical but the best opportunity we have for creating real change.