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Children, youth and participation

This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

This module has its basis in the new perspectives of children and youth, based on updated research in sociology, psychology and social work. It focuses on children and youth, as competent parties in the construction of their daily life and in decisions concerning their everyday life. These perspectives can also be found in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and will have consequences for the practice of social work and social policy.

Learning outcome

At the end of the module the students shall have knowledge about
  • State of the art in the field of social work with vulnerable children, youth and marginalized families,
  • Theoretical concepts such as empowerment, user participation, partnership and democratic processes related to Human Rights and The Right of the Child,
  • Participatory principles in social work and practical tools for its application

At the of the module the students shall be able to practice
  • Cultural and ethical sensitivity in dealing with children and youth
  • Research-based skills and methods within the theory of mastering-focused social work and to analyze how various theoretical perspectives are reflected in social work practice.
  • A balanced approach to social work that explores the strengths and assets of children, youth and families
  • Communication with children and youth

General Competencies
The module aims to give the students basic knowledge of:
  • New child perspectives within sociology, psychology and social work.
  • New paradigms related to strengths perspectives and skills in building solutions in social work with children and marginalized families for keeping kids safe
  • Factors concerning vulnerable children rights and competences to participate in decisions and solutions concerning their everyday life.


The module will focus on strength perspectives, mastering perspectives and solution-oriented perspectives within social work with vulnerable children and marginalized families. It will also take up issues of non-oppressive practices in child protection, skills in dialogue with children and youth and child and youth research.

Required prerequisite knowledge



Weight Duration Marks Aid
Written assignment1/17 daysA - F
Written individual home exam. Students can write the exam in Norwegian. Word count: 3 000 words (+/- 10 %) including table of contents, notes, references and bibliography. Reference style: APA 6th.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator
Elisabeth Enoksen
Programme coordinator
Aase Bø-Rygg

Method of work

Lectures, workshops, student presentations and seminar groups.

Open to

Social Studies - Master's Degree Programme in Social Work

Course assessment

Standard evaluation in accordance with Faculty guidelines


Indicative bibliography
Main Texts
Banks, S. (2016). Everyday ethics in professional life: social work as ethics work. Ethics and Social Welfare, 10 (1), pp. 35-52.
Banks, S. (2015). Social work ethics. In James D. Wright (Ed.). International Ecyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition. Oxford: Elsevier. Vol. 22, pp. 782-788.
Berg, I.K & Kelly, S. (2000). Building Solutions in Child Protective Services, pp.4 - 303, Norton Professional Books, NY, London
Hart, R. (2008). Stepping back from "the ladder": Reflections on a model of participatory work with children. In A. Reid, B.Jensen, J.Nikel & V.Simovskl (eds.). Participation and learning: Perspectives on education and the environment, health and sustainability: Netherland: Springer, s. 19-31
Healy, K (1998). Participation and child protection: The importance of context. In "British journal of social work". Number 28, pp 897-914. Oxford university press.
Healy, K. (2014). Social work theories in context. Creating frameworks for practice. 2nd edition. New York: Palgrave MacMillian. Chapter 7 & 8, pp. 137 - 181.
James, A and Prout, A (2003). A new Paradigm for the sociology of childhood? Provenance, Promise, and Problems. In James, A and Prout, A "Construction and Reconstructing Childhood" pp 7-33. Routhledge Farmer, London.
James, A and Prout, A (2003). Introduction. In James, A and Prout, A "Construction and Reconstructing Childhood" pp 1-6. Routhledge Farmer London.
Landsdown, G (1997). Children's rights to participation, a critique? In Cloke, C and Davies, M. "Participation and Empowerment in child protection in child protection" pp 19-38. John Wiley and Sons, West Sussex.
Lee, N (2005). Possession and separation: Resistance to children`s rights. In Lee, N "Childhood and Human Value" pp 3-36. Open University Press, Berkshire.
Leonardsen, D. (2007). Empowerment in social work: an individual vs. a relational perspective. International Journal of Social Welfare, 16, pp. 3-11.
Malone, K. & Hartung, C. (2010). Challenges of participatory practice with children and young people. In B. Percy-Smith & N. Thomas (eds). A handbook of children and young people`s participation. London: Routledge, s. 24-38
Percy-Smith, B. & N. Thomas(eds) (2010). Conclusions: Emerging themes and new directions. In Percy-Smith, B. & N. Thomas(eds). A handbook of children and young people`s participation. London: Routhledge, s. 356-366
Rappaport, J (1987): Terms of empowerment/Exemplars of prevention: Toward a theory for community psychology. In "American Journal of Community Psychology" vol 15 no 2 pp 121-148. Plenum Publishing Corporation
Reynaert, D., Bouverne-De Bie, M. & Vandeveldr, S. (2009). A review of children`s rights literature since the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Childhood, 16, 518-533. DOI:10.1177/0907568209344270..
Rutter, M (2000): Resilience reconsidered: conceptual considerations, empirical findings, and policy implications. I: Shonkoff,J.P. ock Meisels, S.J. (red.). Handbook of early childhood interventions. Andra Upplagan (s. 651 - 683). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Saleebey, D., (2006) Introduction: Chapter One:"Power in the People" (p2 -23), Chapter Five:- The Strengths approache to Practice (p77-91), Chapter Fifteen:"The Strengths perspective:Possibilities and Problems" (p277-302) in Saleebey,D. (ed.) The Strengths Perspective in Social Work Practice, Fourth Edition, Boston, Pearson Education
Sinclair, R (1998): Involving children in planning their care. In "Child and Family social work" volume 3 pp 137-142. Blackwell Science, Norwich.
Skivenes, M Strandbu, A (2006): A child perspective and children`s participation. In Children, Youth and Environments 16(2) pp 10-27. Colorado.
United Nations` Convention on the Rights of the Child. New York 20/11 1989. 14 pages.
Vagli, Å. (2003): The Social Organisation of Legitimate Risks Assessments in Child Protection - a Study of Backstage Talk and Interaction in a Local Child Protection Agency in Norway. In Mike Seltzer et al. Listening to the Welfare State. Aldershot.:Ashgate
Young, S , McKenzie, M, Schjelderup, L, Omre & Walker, S. (2014a): Practicing from theory: Thinking and knowing to "do" child protection work. I Social sciences 3(2014), 893-915
Young, S , McKenzie, M, Schjelderup, L, Omre & Walker, S. (2014b): What Can We Do to bring the Sparkle Back into this Child`s Eyes? Child Rights/Community Development Principles: Key Elements for a Strengths-based Child Protection Practice, Child Care in Practice, Vol. 20, No 1, pp.135-152. Routledge.

This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

Sist oppdatert: 07.12.2019