A book about integrated children’s services, especially one with a focus on how children are experiencing Every Child Matters (ECM), would not be complete without a chapter devoted entirely to children’s own research. Child-led research provides a valuable insider perspective on how ECM and integrated services are working for children. A corollary of the sharper focus on children’s rights and an increased participation agenda, where children are more involved in issues that affect their lives, has been the empowerment of children as researchers in their own right. This parallels developments in other user settings such as disability emancipatory research, minority ethnic research and gendered research (Kellett, 2005a). As detailed in Chapter 2, the impetus of the UNCRC (1989) saw a shift from children as objects of research to subjects in research (James et al., 1998) and later to participant researchers (Lansdown, 2004). The realization that children could be agents in their own worlds provided momentum towards a gradual acceptance that children could be more than participants in research, they could be co-researchers (Nieuwenhuys, 2001; Jones, 2004). However, even though this was accompanied by greater consultation with children, criticism was still levelled at the tokenism and adult manipulation of children’s co-participation (Sinclair, 2004). Unequal power relations persisted. Adults still framed the research questions, chose the methods and controlled the analysis.
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