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 editors: Kiili, Johanna; Itäpuisto, Maritta; Moilanen, Johanna; Svenlin, Anu-Riina; Malinen, Kaisa Eveliina

Journal or series: Journal of Childrens Services

ISSN: 1746-6660

eISSN: 2042-8677

Publication year: 2021

Publication date: 28/05/2021

Volume: 16

Issue number: 2

Pages range: 145-158

Publisher: Emerald

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/jcs-10-2020-0069

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially 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.

Keywords: social services; health services; children (age groups); child's status; participation; collective action; transgenerationality; ethicality; experts by experience

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

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 13:23