Policy gone wrong

  • Issue identification – the 'issue' identified may be based on stereotyping or discrimination against young people. For example, the government may decide it needs to "do something" about 'problem young people' hanging out on the street. They may be identifying an issue in this case that violates children's right to play, use public space and not be discriminated against.
  • Policy analysis – age based discrimination is prevalent across the world, and policy makers may only consult with people and research that confirms this. They may also rely heavily on ideas gathered from other policies that also discriminate against children.
  • Policy instrument development – children and young people are not often engaged as policy makers. Policy instruments are more often designed by adults, and therefore can reflect age-based prejudices. Cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity can also be overlooked in policy development as well.
  • Consultation – children may be overlooked as 'stakeholders' and may not have been consulted, or their consultation may only be tokenistic and inadequate.
  • Co-ordination – many of the government bodies that oversee policy initiative overlook the specific needs of young people. They may not be aware of the issues children experience, or it may not be their priority.
  • Decision – children are often not empowered in the decision-making processes. They are often not in positions of power to make these decisions themselves, and they are generally denied the right to vote for those who make decisions for them.
  • Implementation – policies can be implemented in ways that discriminate against children; they are often overlooked as beneficiaries in the roll out of policies and the experiences of indirect discrimination are easily ignored.
  • Evaluation – unless children's voices and experiences are explicitly sought in the evaluation process, the effects of policy on children can be ignored.

There are many ways to overcome these potential pitfalls and produce good policies. These include participation, education and awareness raising, complaints and remedies, and commissioners and ombudspeople.