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Strengthening participation of children and young people with disability in advocacy

SIMMONS, Dr. Catharine
ROBINSON, Dr. Sally
October 2014

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Participation by children and young people in advocacy and change-making can not only improve and foster positive change in their own lives, but also influence the lives of others. When young people’s participation is supported, meaningful and engaged, multiple benefits accrue; their perspectives and experiences bring a unique contribution and can result in rights-based empowerment, enacted citizenship and improved relationships. This has the potential to shape policy, to increase the relevance and responsiveness of organisations they use, and to influence change in their communities in positive ways

 

However, there are significant issues and a range of barriers that discourage, prevent or actively exclude children and young people with disability from participating. A culture of low expectations, social and cultural barriers, relationship and identity difficulties and practical hurdles exist for many young people. As a result, many are precluded from participation, particularly around change-making activities

 

This paper examines how meaningful participation of children and young people with disability in advocacy and change-making can be strengthened. In the paper CDA calls for the promotion of children and young people’s participation as active and valued community members

 

This paper is also available at https://www.cyda.org.au/cda-issue-papers

 

Issue Papers

Take us seriously! Engaging children with disabilities in decisions affecting their lives

LANSDOWNE, Gerison
et al
June 2013

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UNICEF’s work on disability is based on a human rights approach, with a focus on equity. It has been developed within the framework of inclusive development, and actively promotes the social model of disability. A central tenet is that legislation, policies and programmes must be informed and shaped by the children they will affect. Participation is a foundational principle of a rights-based approach. These guidelines are meant to strengthen the capacity of UNICEF and partners in creating opportunities for children with disabilities to exercise their right to be heard and taken seriously.

It is important to:

  • clearly identify obstacles impeding the participation of children with disabilities;
  • examine why participation is important for children with disabilities;
  • provide practical guidance on how and where to reach out and engage children with disabilities more effectively and systematically;
  • prioritize ways to measure the effectiveness of participatory initiatives with children with disabilities. 

Disabled people in refugee and asylum seeking communities

ROBERTS, Keri
HARRIS, Jennifer
2002

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This study was done to assess the situation of disabled refugees and asylum seekers in the UK, in terms of numbers, country of origin, and their situation regarding access to social and welfare services and housing. Recommendations are made for social care and refugee practitioners in the UK

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