One of the most frequently cited principles in the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is Article 12. This article provides a critical analysis of the challenges that child protection social work faces when implementing Article 12 in social work decision-making whilst simultaneously keeping children safe. The article begins with an outline of the general reasons for involving children in decisions that affect them but argues that despite being beneficial, implementing Article 12 has proved to be problematic due to theoretical, practical and ethical challenges within social work which will be examined. The article continues by arguing that it is possible to overcome these obstacles using Lundy’s model of conceptualising Article 12 as a real-world tool that offers practical solutions to help social work/ workers overcome rather than avoid the identified challenges. It is intended that these suggestions will help empower social work/ workers to discharge their legal obligation to enable children to be heard in decisions that affect them. The article concludes by arguing for a more empowering approach to children’s involvement in social work decision-making with some reflections on the future of Article 12 within the social work paradigm.
- Child’s rights; participation; decision-making; child protection