UN Proposed Guidelines on Alternative Care for Children

In 2004 the UN CRC Committee asked for Guidelies on state alternative care for children without parental care.  These have been under drafting for a long time and have now been completed – 172 paragraphs stressing the state's obligations to care for children in institutions, child headed households and street children.  It stresses the first objective of avoiding institutional care if possible, reintegrating children with their families and supporting them and their families when appropriate, seeking adoption, foster care or small family unit care as alternatives to institutions etc.  And also seeking a child's best interests as early as possible before a child is too damaged.

The Human Rights Council of the UN has had a resolution to agree that these draft Guidelines should go forward to the UN General Assembly on the 20th Anniversary of the CRC, but at a Child Rights Conference in London last week, a speaker – Nigel Cantwell from Geneva who has been party to the drafting – said that the UK, USA and Canada were conspiring to block it (reasons obscure).  55 of the 75 of us at the conference subsequently signed a letter to David Miliband commending the Guidelines and yesterday the HRC approved the resolution with no objection from the UK or USA.  Only China and Canada spoke against but they agreed not to stand in the way of the consensus !

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