CHILDREN IN CARE
It is universally acknowledged that the family is the best place for a child’s development and
well-being. However, children sometimes have to be entrusted to care
institutions. A child can experience this "placement" as a traumatic
experience, and it is important that the care procedure, arrangements and
conditions respect the rights of the child concerned.
In 2005, the Council of Europe Recommendation on the rights of children living in residential institutions established overall guiding principles to be applied whenever a child is placed outside the family, particularly in a residential institution and underlines that every placement must ensure that the child's human rights are fully respected. According to this Recommendation, placements are justified only when the child is in such danger that it is impossible for him or her to remain in the family environment. Residential institutions - when necessary through reforms – have to assure children of the best possible development and future; the reintegration of children into family life is also considered.
The book Rights of children at risk and in care, published by the Council of Europe in 2006, shows the importance of the issue and the necessity of dealing with it in a sensible and cautious way.
In 2009, the European Committee for Social Cohesion made an evaluation of the implementation of the Recommendation and produced a report on the results.
A child-friendly information booklet addressed to children and young people in alternative care Children and young people in care – Discover your rights! has been prepared in co-operation with SOS Children’s Villages International. Through comics, stories and informative texts, children and young people in care can learn about their rights, as set forth by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Council of Europe recommendation Rec(2005)5 on the rights of children living in residential institutions, and United Nations Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children and the Quality4Children Standards for Out-of-Home Child Care in Europe. They can also learn how to exercise these rights and take on an active role in their own care process, including ways to improve it.
Recommendation on the rights of children living in residential institutions
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