The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) includes provisions to ensure that children and young people have a say in decisions affecting their lives. Although a signatory to the UNCRC, Ghana is a nation where little empirical evidence has been gathered regarding the barriers that prevent children from participating in child protection. Thus, in this article, we report on findings from a qualitative study into the barriers to children's participation in child protection practice in Ghana. The study was based on qualitative interviews with 15 child protection practitioners, and a constructivist grounded theory approach was used to analyse data from the interviews. Intimidation, parental influence, communication problems, and confidentiality were identified as barriers to promoting participatory practices for children in the child protection process. The study findings suggest that engaging with children in separate rooms or spaces, away from the presence of parents and other adults, could help practitioners promote children's participation. It is recommended that practitioners should upgrade their skills for working with children by taking part in in-service training, workshops, and seminars to help address issues with communication. Practical actions suggested in this study may also be useful for other practitioners addressing similar issues.
- child protection
- child protection practitioners
- children's participation
- decision making