"Don't just make a decision without listening to what the child has to say". Experiences from Youth with Participation in the Child Welfare Service in Norway
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the experiences of youth regarding their participation in the Child Welfare Service in Norway. An additional aim was to examine how these youth experienced participation in their aftercare. This was done by first looking at their participation before they turned 18, and then studying the experiences they had with participation in aftercare, which is received after they turn 18. This distinction was made as the legal regulations concerning participation change when the youth turn 18. The qualitative methods of semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions were used in order to answer the research questions. Altogether, 26 youth have participated in this study. The findings have been discussed through using theoretical frameworks such as the social studies of children and childhood, the main principles in the Child Welfare Service, participation theories and the concept of citizenship. Albeit there are some variations, this study indicates that the youth have not adequately participated in making decisions in issues that concern them. However, some youth also said that they did not believe that it was always right for them to participate in making decisions. Regarding the issue of aftercare, these findings indicate that the youth participate more in decisions concerning their aftercare and that they are generally more satisfied with this assistance than the assistance they get before they are 18. This is not always the case, however, as there are also some variations in the experiences of the youth in such participation before and after they are 18 concerning this issue there are also some variations. In addition these findings also indicate that not all youth are informed about the possibilities of receiving aftercare.