Background: National child welfare policies and legislation in Ghana suggest that children and young people should be involved in decisions affecting their lives. However, till date, the experiences of young people concerning their participation with child protection meetings have not been reported.
Objective: To develop better ways to improve children's participation in child protection in Ghana, the experiences of young people with child protection meetings were explored.
Participants and setting: Thirteen young people (5 males, 8 females) in contact with the Department of Social Welfare were involved in the study.
Methods: A qualitative approach using the interpretive phenomenology guided the conduct of the study. Data from in-depth interviews were analysed following thematic analysis.
Results: The following themes summarised young people's experiences with their participation in child protection meetings; (a) not informed (b) child protection meetings as adult business and (c) presenting view on case. Responses from the young people showed that there were instances where they felt part of the meetings and times they were left out.
Conclusion: The study confirms findings from the western literature suggesting that young people have limited opportunities to participate in decisions affecting their lives. The findings demonstrate that the context where participation occurs is an essential consideration for social workers involving children in child protection meetings. The study provides culturally relevant measures needed to promote children's participation in child protection meetings in Ghana.
- Child protection meetings
- Children and young people