Barriers and facilitators to Child First participation and co-production in youth justice

At this CYCJ webinar on October 28, Dr Sean Creaney and Dr Samantha Burns discussed barriers and facilitators to Child First participation and co-production in youth justice.

Child First puts children’s priorities, interests and their emotional health and wellbeing needs at the forefront of service design and delivery. It is a rich and powerful concept, which has the potential to further transform adult-led approaches and supervision, igniting a commitment to co-creating practice with children. This is based on the importance of organisational strategies and interventions principally focused on encouraging children’s meaningful participation throughout assessment processes, intervention planning and supervision.

In this engaging and interactive webinar on October 28, Dr Sean Creaney (Edge Hill University) and Dr Samantha Burns (Durham University) discussed and explained the barriers and facilitators to Child First participation and co-production in youth justice – and how professionals can further break with adult-centric practices. This was a rich and insightful account of the steps required to execute more transformative participation with children to foreground children’s voices in decision making processes, with inspiration from England-based participation practice. 

Watch this webinar

View presentation slides

Recommended reading

Participation opportunities with CYCJ

Youth Justice Voices is a joint collaboration between the Children’s and Young People’s Centre for Justice (CYCJ) and the Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum (Staf), funded by the Life Changes Trust.

Set up in April 2019 and led by the Youth Just Us steering group, the project utilises creative ways to enable young people with lived experience of the justice and care systems to explore and share their voices with policymakers, managers, corporate parents and the Scottish Government. If you’d like to get involved or know someone who would, email

STARR is Scotland’s only curated space for secure care experienced people of all ages. It provides a space for people of all ages with lived experience to come together, spend time with peers and friends, and share ideas of how to improve the secure care journey. STARR is a small group that is keen to grow – email to find out more.

CYCJ Participation Worker Julia Swann is developing opportunities for children aged 12-16 to participate in policy and practice developments, and to influence change in the YJ system. To do this, she is creating a network of interested organisations who will collaborate on projects. If you think you can help, please contact her at

Participation Practitioners’ Forum

The participation practitioners’ forum is a free bi-monthly event for participation workers supporting young people with care and justice experience to connect with, and learn from, each other: sharing successes, reflecting on challenges, and championing examples of best practice in an informal setting. Its is free to attend and anyone with an interest in participatory practice is welcome.

The forum next meets on November 25 (10am-11.30am) with input from the National Leadership Network and exploring the concept of empowerment. Register here.


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Children's and Young People's Centre for Justice
University of Strathclyde
Lord Hope Building, Level 6
141 St. James Road Glasgow G4 0LT

(0141) 444 8622

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