Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Inclusion as a Value in Participation: Children’s Councils in Spain

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Abstract:  The two‐way relationship between inclusion and participation makes municipal child participation organisations and experiences a key means of guaranteeing the inclusion in community life of children and adolescents, who are traditionally excluded from decision‐making and the promotion of changes in the realities of their lives. One of the main objectives of municipal child participation organisations is to ensure that these spaces are inclusive. This means that they must promote equality of guarantees and conditions in the development of the right to participation from a perspective that addresses the different axes of inequality, not only in access to these spaces but also in the relational dynamics that take place in them. Based on a theoretical reflection on inclusion and participation, this article analyses the data from a questionnaire applied to 279 people (191 technical figures and 88 elected authorities) from 179 municipalities in Spain, which seeks to describe the state of child and adolescent participation in municipalities that are part of the International Association of Educating Cities, Child Friendly Cities, or both. A qualitative analysis is made of those issues related to the strategies used to promote inclusion within the Children’s Councils, as well as in the initiatives promoted in the field of child participation. The results show agreement in considering Children’s Councils to be inclusive bodies, but the means and procedures used do not always guarantee this inclusiveness.

Keywords:  childhood; equal opportunities; human rights; inclusion; municipalities; participation



© Javier Morentin‐Encina, Elena Noguera Pigem, María Barba Núñez. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.