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Principles That Apply to Child Protection Management

Learn more about the principles that apply to child protection management.
Young girl looks out of window with her thumb up smiling.
© UNHCR / Allana Ferreira

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was adopted by the United Nations in 1989. It is important for us to note the different articles in the CRC as we all have a duty to make sure all children’s rights are acted upon.

Below we highlight a number of the articles in the CRC that underpin some of the principles we are duty bound to uphold when working on child protection case management. These include:

The Best Interests of the Child

Article 3.1 of the CRC shows how the best interests of a child must be a primary consideration in all the decisions that are taken and everything we do to support and protect them.

‘In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration’ (CRC, Article 3.1).
When we make decisions with, and for, children, their best interests must be a primary consideration. The term ‘best interests of the child’ broadly describe the well-being of a child. Such well-being is determined by a variety of individual circumstances we should take into consideration including their gender, age, level of maturity, and experiences.

Respect for the Views of the Child

Article 12 of the CRC is about a child’s right to express their views and to have them fully taken into account in decisions that are made about their lives. Like all child rights, this is the same whether a child is in their own country or in another country.
‘States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child’ (CRC, Article 12.1).
We shall discuss this principle in more detail later in the course.

Non-discrimination and Inclusion

Article 2 specifies how children are entitled to realise their rights, including those of protection, without discrimination of any kind.
‘States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status’ (CRC, Article 2).
It also means, for example, that children who move from one country to another are entitled to have all their rights guaranteed in a country in which they are not a national. Inclusion of children in all aspects of the society they live in helps in the realisation of:
  • The fulfilment and enjoyment of their rights
  • Their meaningful participation
  • Their access to opportunities and resources.

Right to Life, to Survive and Development

Article 6 of the CRC clearly says that children have a right to life and States have an obligation to do everything possible to ensure children’s survival and development.
‘States Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life” and “States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child’ (CRC, Article 6).

This means we must consider anything that affects the fulfillment of children’s right to life as well as their physical, psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual development.

Do No Harm

We must also remind ourselves of the importance of the ‘do no harm’ principle. This means we should ensure all actions and decisions are undertaken in a way that minimises any possible harm to a child as well as ensures they experience the greatest benefits from them.

We will discuss other principles including those of confidentiality and accountability later in the course. It is also important to be aware of the national laws of the country you are working in as well as relevant international treaties and guidance.

Further information on the principles listed above – and others that are critical for child protection case management – can be found in the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action.

The ‘See Also’ section below has links to other reading material that may be of interest to you.

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