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Hearing the voice of children and young people – practical tools for experts

Ministry of Justice
Publication date 17.2.2023 14.07
News item

Children and young people have the right to participate and be heard in matters that concern them. The project of the Ministry of Justice has developed methods, compiled good practices and produced communication and training materials on the participation and consultation of children and young people, aimed at authorities.

The authorities have a duty to ensure that children and young people are informed about issues that have an impact on their lives and that their views are heard during the drafting process. Practical tools have now been gathered for experts to support for example legislative drafting.

Keys to success

During the project, the following five areas have been identified as keys to the success of the consultation of children and young people:

  1. Extensive consultation – assess the impact of the issue on the target group and offer them a low-threshold opportunity to participate and be heard.
  2. Open communication and interaction – provide clear and accessible information about the issue under preparation and its progress.
  3. Collaboration – look for partners to plan and carry out consultations as early as possible.
  4. Clear process and objectives – ensure that children and young people are consulted at different stages of the preparation and set clear objectives for the consultation.
  5. Diversity and safety – ensure the diversity of the consultation, follow the principles of a safer space and pay special attention to language groups and vulnerable children and young people.

Training, tips and materials

In November 2022, an online training course was published in eOppiva for all government experts who need skills related to the participation and consultation of children and young people in their work. At the same time, an extensive eOppiva training package on children’s rights open to all has been worked on under the National Child Strategy. One of the training courses deals with children’s right to participate and be involved. 

In 2022, SOS Children’s Villages carried out workshops for children and young people on topics related to democracy, such as voting and participation, on behalf of the Ministry of Justice. In addition to the workshops, children and young people were also reached in other ways, including summer camps for sign language speaking children and young people and a survey aimed at children and young people with a Roma background. Particular attention was paid to the consultation of disadvantaged children and young people.

The materials compiled by SOS Children’s Villages were used as a basis for drawing up practical guidelines for the consultation of children and young people in legislative drafting and other preparation work in central government. They were published on the Government’s internal website. During the spring, a webinar and a closing event of Finland’s national sub-project will also be organised to discuss observations and achievements of the project across Europe as well as measures taken at national level. 

The Voice of Children and Young People in Europe project is part of the CP4Europe project, which is coordinated and co-funded by the Council of Europe and has received funding from the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) programme. Finland’s national sub-project is coordinated by the Ministry of Justice and implemented in cooperation with the Office of the Ombudsman for Children and as part of the implementation of the National Child Strategy together with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Prime Minister’s Office. The project will continue until the end of June 2023.

Inquiries: Liisa Männistö, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 150 231, [email protected]

eOppiva online training (in Finnish): Lasten ja nuorten osallistuminen ja kuuleminen säädösvalmistelussa (Participation and consultation of children and young people in legislative drafting)

eOppiva online training (in Finnish): Lapsen oikeudet – Osallisuus ja osallistuminen ( Rights of the child – Participation and involvement)

A Voice for Children and Young People videos (Finnish, Swedish and English) on the Ministry of Justice’s YouTube channel

CP4Europe project on the Council of Europe website

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