Child participation in protection systems is a fundamental right that entails multiple psychosocial benefits for children and adolescents. Howe-ver, its correct implementation in protection systems is a challenge to be ad-dressed. In Chile, research on child participation, particularly in the national child protection system (SENAME), is scarce. This study seeks to explore, under the model of meaningful participation, how child participation is considered in alternative care programs and their regulatory and legal frameworks, through a thematic documentary analysis. The findings point to a low level of definition of the concept participation in technical and legal regulations, and a tendency to assign children and adolescents to a passive role, leaving adults to define the moments and forms of participation. Some factors,such as the age of the child, which play a central role in making participation possible are analysed. In conclusion, meaningful participation is not guaranteed in its three dimensions (being informed, listened to and considered in decision-making) throughout the process, being relegated to isolated and variable instances depending on the different programs.