New article has been accepted in the Journal of Family Social Work: “I do not want to cause additional pain …” – Child protection workers’ perspectives on child participation in child protection practice by Karmen Toros and Asgeir Falch-Eriksen.

In this article, we examine the perspectives of child protection workers (CPWs) (n = 106) on the participation of children in child protection practice in Estonia. The findings indicate that child participation was most related to the term “asking a child’s opinion.” On a theoretical level, CPWs considered the asking of a child’s opinion to be significant in child protection practice in order to make decisions in the child’s best interests. In practice, however, asking a child’s opinion was acknowledged to be dependent on the level of development and age of the child, whether there were any custody disputes, and time factors. The reflections of CPWs indicate a protectionist approach regarding child participation because they discussed the issue of children being vulnerable and how encouraging them to participate might be detrimental to their well-being.

Keywords: child participation, child protection worker, decision-making, child protection assessment, protectionist approach