Professionals’ views on children’s service user involvement
Kiili, J., Itäpuisto, M., Moilanen, J., Svenlin, A.-R., & Malinen, K. E. (2021). Professionals’ views on children’s service user involvement. Journal of Childrens Services, 16(2), 145-158. https://doi.org/10.1108/jcs-10-2020-0069
Published inJournal of Childrens Services
© Johanna Kiili, Maritta Ita¨puisto, Johanna Moilanen, Anu-Riina Svenlin and Kaisa Eveliina Malinen. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited
Purpose Children are gradually attaining recognition as service users and their involvement in service development has been advanced in recent years. This study draws on empirical research in social and health-care services designed for children and families. The purpose of this paper is to analyse how professionals understand children’s involvement as experts by experience. The focus is on professionals’ views and intergenerational relations. Design/methodology/approach The research data comprise 25 individual and 10 group interviews with managers and professionals working in social and health-care services in one Finnish province. The data were analysed using qualitative thematic analysis. Findings The professionals recognised the value of children’s service user involvement. However, they concentrated more on the challenges than the possibilities it presents. Health-care professionals emphasised parental needs and children’s vulnerability. In turn, the professionals from social services and child welfare non-governmental organisations perceived children as partners, although with reservations, as they discussed ethical issues widely and foregrounded the responsibilities of adults in protecting children. In general, the professionals in both domains saw themselves as having ethical responsibility to support children’s service user involvement while at the same time setting limits to it. Originality/value This study confirmed the importance of taking intergenerational relations into account when developing children’s service user involvement. The results indicate that professionals also need to reflect on the ethical challenges with children themselves as, largely owing to the generational position of children as minors, they rarely perceive them as partners in ethical reflection. ...
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Additional information about fundingThe Finnish Work Environment Fund.
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