Literature Review

A foundational element of QIC-EY’s Environmental scan, the Literature Review summarizes numerous articles to determine what system and staff changes are needed to ensure authentic children and youth engagement. Only peer reviewed articles and articles that specifically provided information about how child welfare professionals can engage with children and youth in service provision and planning were included.  Not only does this document provide a thorough and detailed overview of the literature, it also provides specific information about action. 

Three key takeaways from the Literature Review include:

  • Competencies and characteristics professionals must have to best support children and youth engagement.
  • How the workforce can best be supported with methods such as training and supervision.
  • How courts can better support children and youth engagement.

Competencies and Characteristics

A variety of competencies, or skills, were uncovered in this review. Some important  points include the ability to partner respectfully with children and youth, communicate openly and honestly and develop authentic relationships. The three key characteristics uncovered in the literature that support workers in permanency and engagement efforts include commitment, flexibility and self-awareness. Combined, a healthy blend of competencies, training, and coaching to encourage skill building assisted workers in better partnering with children and youth for successful outcomes.

Workforce Support

The key elements of this section include the need for more enhanced supervision, the benefits of coaching and how to better involve children and youth in worker training development.  The main takeaway is clear- supporting the workforce in implementing the important skills and characteristics necessary for effective work with children and youth is essential. 


The review focused on six areas for court personnel to be mindful of in their work with children and youth.  The areas of focus included preparing children and youth for court, open communication, active listening/asking questions, accommodating child/youth attendance at court, and encouraging participation in court. The predominant theme focused on taking more time to build rapport with children and youth and ensure they are prepared, informed and involved appropriately in the legal process.

Things you can do with this Literature Review

This QIC-EY product provides a clear compass for how to look at specific agency and system practices in order to identify strengths and remove barriers to effective children and youth engagement.  Here are a few things child welfare professionals  can do with this report.

  • Circulate to staff and have folks take one section to review and provide their insights for discussion at a staff meeting. 
  • Highlight the characteristics and competencies during a staff meeting and have workers identify which of these they feel they possess and which they think they could improve.  
  • After reading the report, have staff and supervisors work together to look at their current child and youth engagement activities and determine what is working and may need augmentation as well as to begin to create a clear plan for improvement where needed.  

The vital information included in the literature review serves as to guide child welfare professionals to move beyond transactional work with children and youth and instead find ways to engage with them so that their voice is included in all decisions including relational, cultural and legal permanency. Sometimes a little can go a long way!

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