A1 Journal article (refereed)
Professionals’ views on children’s service user involvement (2021)

Kiili, J., Itäpuisto, M., Moilanen, J., Svenlin, A.-R., & Malinen, K. E. (2021). Professionals’ views on children’s service user involvement. Journal of Childrens Services, 16(2), 145-158. https://doi.org/10.1108/jcs-10-2020-0069

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsKiili, Johanna; Itäpuisto, Maritta; Moilanen, Johanna; Svenlin, Anu-Riina; Malinen, Kaisa Eveliina

Journal or seriesJournal of Childrens Services



Publication year2021

Publication date28/05/2021


Issue number2

Pages range145-158


Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/76016


Children are gradually attaining recognition as service users and their involvement in service development has been advanced in recent years. This study draws on empirical research in social and health-care services designed for children and families. The purpose of this paper is to analyse how professionals understand children’s involvement as experts by experience. The focus is on professionals’ views and intergenerational relations.

The research data comprise 25 individual and 10 group interviews with managers and professionals working in social and health-care services in one Finnish province. The data were analysed using qualitative thematic analysis.

The professionals recognised the value of children’s service user involvement. However, they concentrated more on the challenges than the possibilities it presents. Health-care professionals emphasised parental needs and children’s vulnerability. In turn, the professionals from social services and child welfare non-governmental organisations perceived children as partners, although with reservations, as they discussed ethical issues widely and foregrounded the responsibilities of adults in protecting children. In general, the professionals in both domains saw themselves as having ethical responsibility to support children’s service user involvement while at the same time setting limits to it.

This study confirmed the importance of taking intergenerational relations into account when developing children’s service user involvement. The results indicate that professionals also need to reflect on the ethical challenges with children themselves as, largely owing to the generational position of children as minors, they rarely perceive them as partners in ethical reflection.

Keywordssocial serviceshealth serviceschildren (age groups)child's statusparticipationcollective actiontransgenerationalityethicalityexperts by experience

Free keywordsintergenerational relations; service user involvement; collective participation; ethical reflection; expert by experience; children’s participation

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2021

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-22-04 at 16:29