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Walking a Tightrope

Evaluating the Child and Youth Impact Report in Flanders

In: The International Journal of Children's Rights
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  • 1 Post-doctoral fellow, Human Rights Centre, Ghent University and Law and Development Research Group, University of Antwerp, Belgium, e.desmet@ugent.be
  • | 2 Senior Research and Policy Advice Officer, Children’s Rights Knowledge Centre and post-doctoral fellow, Leuven Institute of Criminology ( linc), University of Leuven, Belgium, hanne.opdebeeck@keki.be
  • | 3 Professor of Human Rights Law and unicefChair in Children’s Rights, Law and Development Research Group, University of Antwerp; member Executive Board, Children’s Rights Knowledge Centre, Belgium, wouter.vandenhole@uantwerpen.be
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In Flanders, a child and youth impact report (JoKER) must accompany all legislative proposals based on an initiative of the Flemish government, that have a direct impact on the interests of persons under the age of 25. This article presents the results of the first in-depth evaluation carried out of this impact assessment instrument. Based on multiple data collection techniques (including an electronic survey and focus groups), JoKER was critically evaluated as to its scope, quality, process, support and control, effectiveness and impact. The evaluation required maintaining a balance between various perspectives and tensions. A major challenge concerns the tension between mainstreaming JoKER in the more general regulatory impact assessment (ria), on the one hand, and preserving the specificity of a youth and children’s rights perspective, on the other.

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