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 traumatic, and it is important that the care procedure respect the rights of the child concerned.
A child-friendly information booklet addressed to children and young people in alternative care Children and young people in care – Discover your rights! was 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.
A new publication “Securing Children’s rights – A guide for professionals working in alternative care” is also available. This guide, also developed in collaboration with SOS Children’s Villages International, complements the booklet “Discover your rights” and provides guidance and tools for professionals that work with children in care, promoting a child rights-based approach. This guide is the outcome of a set of consultations in three countries (Albania, Estonia and Croatia) with different stakeholders involved: young people in care, professionals working with children in care, representatives from UNICEF, representatives from governments, academics and ombudspersons (see SOS Children's Villages International's press release).
Two key Council of Europe recommendations address the needs of children in care:
- The Council of Europe Recommendation CM/Rec (2011)12 on children’s rights and social services friendly to children and families offers a definition of child and family friendly social services. It aims to guarantee that children receive social services that are adapted to their needs and circumstances. It also aims to ensure that the view of the child is always taken into consideration.
- The Council of Europe
Rec(2005)5 on the rights of children living in residential
establishes 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 – must assure children of the best possible
development and future; reintegrating children into family life is
English - French
Recommendation on the rights of children living in residential institutions
English - French - Czech - Estonian - Greek - Icelandic - Latvian - Lithuanian - Polish - Russian - Serbian
Explanatory report of the Recommendation on the rights of children
living in residential institutions
English - French - Greek - Polish - Russian
Leaflet "Guaranteeing the rights of children living in residential
English- French - Bulgarian - Czech - Lithuanian - Romanian - Russian - Turkish - Ukrainian
Booklet "Securing children’s rights: A guide for professionals
working with children in care"
English - French. Versions shortly available in: Bosnian - Croatian – Estonian
Booklet "Children and young people in care - Discover your rights!"
English - French - Azeri - Bosnian - Bulgarian - Croatian - Czech - Estonian - Polish - Romanian - Russian- Ukrainian
Leaflet "Children and young people in care - Discover your rights!"
English - French - Armenian - Bosnian - Croatian - Czech - Russian - Ukrainian
English - French - Armenian - Greek - Russian - Ukrainian
UN guidelines for the alternative care of children
Better Care Network
File on Vilnius Conference "Keeping the door open – support to young people leaving care", Vilnius, 7-8 October 2009