Nurturing the virtuous circle: Looked After Children's participation in reviews, a cyclical and relational process

Autumn Roesch-Marsh*, Andrew Gillies, Dominique LaShari Green

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Children's participation in decision making of all kinds is of increasing interest across the world as more and more countries seek to comply with Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The participation rights of children who are in the care of the state are of particular concern. Recent research in England suggests that Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs) can play a crucial role in ensuring that looked after and accommodated children are able to participate in care planning and review processes. This paper outlines the findings of the first Scottish study to investigate the role of Reviewing Officers in encouraging children's participation in reviews. Surveys were collected from social workers, Reviewing Officers and young people after 69 review meetings as part of an action research study. Follow-up qualitative interviews were then completed with 10 young people and a focus group held with the five participating Reviewing Officers. The findings suggest that participation in looked after reviews can best be understood as a cyclical and relational process and that taking part in action research may enhance participation practices. While the role of the Reviewing Officer was found to be important, the findings suggest that everyone involved in the care and support of the young person needs to encourage participation processes that are individualized.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)904-913
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number2
Early online date10 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2017


  • Decision making
  • Looked After Children
  • Participation
  • Relationships
  • Reviews


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