Swedish law (SOL 2001:45, LVU 1990:52) has gone through several changes to promote participation. The law also includes that young people should be able to participate even during a placement at youth detentions.
The aim of this study is to describe how young people at youth detentions are participated in their treatment plans. The questions of the study were: How and where are the young opinions produced in their treatment plans; how did the opinions change during the time in detention; and how have the opinions been considered at youth detentions? Participation is a wide concept with different meanings. The meaning of participation in this study is that youth have been listened to and that their opinions have been paid attention to. A document study of 15 treatment plans was carried out using a qualitative method.
The result shows that in four of the treatment plans, no participation exists.
The result also shows that opinions from young people in their treatment plans were produced differently between plans. The opinions that were visible showed both comments of treatments, measures and desires regarding everyday life.
My conclusion is that participation is limited in the studied treatment according to the big amount of material that exists in treatment plans.
The systematic way found in the local template used by youth detentions contains specific headlines according to legislation. Despite these structured headlines, adapted to suit the youth’s voice, there are differences and varying extents in how the youth’s voice is produced and requested.
Despite efforts of legislation, there is no guarantee that participation is made possible in practice. The compulsion and the surrounding environment minimize the scope for participation for the youth. How the helper uses their power to equalize the unbalance of power and conditions for young people to both be visible and taken into account in the treatment affects this. In spite of both legislation and organizational polices, there are different ways to interpret the young peoples’ right to participation.