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Step 3: Engage the children and young people

Decide how you will recognise and reimburse participants, set guidelines for communication, identify opportunities for training or mentoring, and more.

Recognition, reimbursement and remuneration approach

Determine the approach to recognition, reimbursement and remuneration.

All children and young people should be recognised for their participation and contribution.

Include information on the approach and how participants will be recognised for their involvement in relevant documentation such as advertisements, expressions of interest, position descriptions and terms of reference.

Ensure children and young people are aware of and agree to the approach before agreeing to participate.


Child safety must be  upheld in communication. Establish guidelines for communication and help set appropriate boundaries for staff and participants, including how children and young people interact with each other.

Choose ways of communicating with children and young people that suit their needs and lifestyles:

  • Ask children and young people what works for them.
  • Use plain English that is free of jargon.
  • Ensure your communications are inclusive and accessible to all participants.
  • Text messaging or social media (including using visuals) can be more effective than emails, letters and phone calls.

Tell the children and young people:

  • the purpose and the process of the participation
  • the skills needed to participate
  • the tangible outcomes expected
  • how their views and feedback will be used.

Make sure the children and young people understand their choices in participating, including that it is voluntary and that they can opt out at any time without giving a reason.

Decide training and support needs


  • what kinds of support children and young people will need to participate effectively
  • what opportunities for training, mentoring or skills development may be possible during the participation activity.

Children and young people generally need support to work with government and other organisations, particularly if they are being asked to contribute to policy issues rather than reflecting on their own experiences. It might be technical support to contribute to policy issues or supports for wellbeing due to the emotional labour required to share their own experiences.

Children and young people may look for or be given opportunities for training or mentoring. Building the capacity of young people to participate in a way that is meaningful is strongly aligned with the IAP2 (International Association for Public Participation) aspiration for public participation ‘to be empowering for participants’.

Diversity and inclusion methods

Determine what methods you will use to ensure you recruit children and young people from diverse backgrounds.
For example, you may recruit through:

  • youth organisations
  • service providers
  • school, TAFE or early childhood centres
  • the Victorian Youth Congress and Youth Parliament

Social media – if young people are sharing their views on these platforms and other advertising.

Consider how you will ensure these approaches to recruitment are accessible to all, including children and young people with disabilities.

Engagement and recruitment model

The model you choose will depend on the:

  • nature of the work – including project timelines and funding available
  • level of participation needed (ranging from one-off consultations to more in-depth, longer-term engagement – refer to the IAP2 participation spectrum)
  • project team’s experience and confidence in working with children and young people.

Possible models include:

  • recruit using an expression of interest process or advertisement
  • use existing channels (like youth advisory groups)
  • partner with a youth agency or organisation
  • outsource to a youth agency or organisation.
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