Power and Paradoxes in Children’s Participation in Decision-Making – The Perspectives of Child Life Specialists in the Netherlands
International and national frameworks on children’s rights place children’s participation in decision-making at the top of the political agenda. The Netherlands is a country that consistently ranks particularly high on numerous international and European rankings, including rankings related to children’s rights, health, wellbeing, and happiness. In pediatric health care practice, however, children’s rights to participation in decision-making can be challenging to implement. This webinar will provide an overview of key literature currently informing children’s rights to participation in decision-making and share the findings from a focused ethnographic doctoral study exploring the perspectives of twelve child life specialists and five hospital directors on children’s participation in decision-making across two pediatric hospitals in the Netherlands in 2020-2021. Due to COVID-19, children were not interviewed. The findings provide insights into the role of power relations and paradoxical ideas related to children’s agency and rights, which can shape children’s participation in decision-making. In turn, the findings introduce children’s participation in decision-making as a complex, contextual, and relational concept. Based on the study findings, participants in this webinar will engage with more critical ways of incorporating children’s participation in decision-making in pediatric health care practice.
Suggested Domain: Ethics
1. Review current key literature and frameworks for understanding children’s participation in decision-making.
2. Understand how children’s rights to participation in decision-making apply to child life practice.
3. Identify professional and structural facilitators and barriers that can influence children’s participation in decision-making in child life practice.
4. Identify how the experiences of child life specialists regarding children’s participation in the Netherlands can advance child life practice in a North American context.
Certified Child Life Specialist
Amarens Matthiesen, PhD(c), CCLS is a final-year PhD candidate in Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria in Canada. She previously earned an MA in Child and Youth Care, as well as a BA (Hons) in Psychology from the University of Dundee in Scotland. She has worked as a CCLS in a range of in- and out-patient health care settings with children, youth and families across Canada, including critical care, palliative care and rehabilitation. As a dual citizen from Canada and the Netherlands, the facilitator holds a special interest in conducting research that bridges a gap in knowledge regarding child life practice in a European and North American context.
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