On 1 June, the National Observatory for Children and Adolescents approved the Guidelines for the participation of girls and boys. This is a very important document for all adults who share life experiences with young people in the various contexts of life, drawn up by the Observatory to offer a new outlook on the participation practices of the new generations, presenting some operational indications framed from a universalist perspective in which differences and diversities are recognised and valued.
"The specific objective of the Guidelines", reads the presentation, "is also to orient the path of the National Observatory for Childhood and Adolescence, foreseeing that listening to and participation by children as a methodological tool to be implemented at all stages of the National Plan of Action for Children and Adolescents, with a view to its monitoring and the drafting of the next one, but also to direct other institutions, at all levels of government, and/or the various contexts in this direction, making children's participation an intrinsic element of the processes that affect them."
The Guidelines are designed primarily for adults who share experiences with children and young people in the various contexts of life, starting from the family to the school and other formal and non-formal educational institutions, without neglecting other contexts that welcome children and young people in difficult circumstances (hospitals, care and protection services, etc.). They are thus aimed at operators of educational and social services, teachers, doctors, nurses and other health professionals, community care workers, psychologists, mediators, guardians, judges, lawyers, law enforcement, correctional officers, but can also be a useful reference for promoting the culture of participation in everyday family life.
"The text illustrates the deeper meaning of youth participation, showing how professionals - individually or in groups - can support the young people they work with to participate in decisions that affect them. Methodological indications are provided to establish a meaningful dialogue between adults and young people, including those in fragile or marginalised conditions, as well as those in the delicate phase of becoming an adult, in order to guarantee everyone the possibility of expressing themselves by resolving any barriers, including language barriers, that might limit authentic processes of participation."
The Guidelines outline a new model of participation, propose some guidelines for quality participation and focus on various aspects: the main players of participation (roles, focus and style of the relationship); the phases of the participatory process (preparation, implementation, restitution and evaluation); the system of governance (the role of national and local institutions); participation in specific contexts (families, schools, associations, contexts of vulnerability, contexts at risk of marginality).
Two annexes complete the publication, presenting, respectively, the topic of participation in the UN Convention and the development of consequential legislation, and a review of good practices.
The document is available on the website of the Department for Family Policies, in the dedicated news item.
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