Child Impact Assessment is a tool and method developed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church for reviewing decision-making from the perspective of children. Criteria for child impact assessment emerge from both the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the ELCF own self-understanding. It is also based on studies which show that children and young people who have the opportunity to influence their own lives are better off than those who do not. Participation increases the joy and vitality of children and the hope for the future. Being seen and heard and being able to influence matters in one’s own life support the development and strengthening of a positive and healthy self-image.
When speaking about children we mean children and adolescents.
The goals of the Child Impact Assessment are to:
- Promote the best interests of the child in ecclesiastical decision-making and action
- Strengthen consideration of children’s opinions and children’s involvement in Church activities
- Raise awareness of the human rights of the child in the Church
- Contribute to the Church’s own theological mission and strategic goals
The process also entails a pre-assessment which is carried out before any decisions are made to ensure that the effects of the decisions are known as widely as possible. Decision-makers have the opportunity to compare the pros and cons of different options. At the same time, it is possible to reinforce the positive effects of the decision and to anticipate and mitigate the negative effects.
For example, the following questions can be used for analysis:
- What are the positive or negative effects of different policy options on the overall well-being of children and adolescents (physical, phycological, mental, spiritual)?
- Which option has the most positive impact on the well-being of children?
- Do the options have different effects on different age groups under 18 or different effects on girls and boys?
- What is the impact of different options on, for example, in different minority groups, children living in different congregations or in different economic situations etc?
- Are the interests of some groups of children in conflict?
- How does the decision affect the most vulnerable children?
A Child-friendly parish, checklist:
- The rights of the child are known
- The diversity of children are taken into account in decision-making and actions
- Children have the opportunity to participate in the planning, evaluation and development of activities for them
- Children can influence the design and development of facilities
- Children have the opportunity to influence matters that are important to them
- Children have enough reliable adults
- Children are safe
- Children and childhood are valued
- The best interests of the children are a primary consideration when deciding on activities for children and young people
- Information on children is widely used in decision-making