On 16- 17 September, the Committee on the Rights of the Child is holding a Day of General Discussion (DGD) on “Children’s Rights in Alternative Care”. The purpose of the DGD is to look at the situation of children in alternative care, to discuss areas of concern, to review implementation of relevant international standards, including the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
“Alternative care” refers to any placement of a child outside their biological family, including institutional care. Considering that many disabled children are placed in institutions, including small group homes, family-type homes and SOS Children’s Villages, ENIL and a group of disability and child rights organisations have been taking part in the preparations of the DGD. Our aim is to ensure that any existing child rights standards, which allow for the placement of children in institutions, are revised to ensure compliance with the CRPD. According to Article 19 CRPD, all children should have the opportunity to grow up in a family. This can be their biological family, or another family – kinship, foster or adoptive, which can come in any form.
In order to promote good practices in supporting all children – even those with the most complex support needs – to grow in up their families, with their siblings, ENIL prepared a submission on the role of Personal Assistance. Since Personal Assistance is still fairly unknown among child rights groups and the Committee on the Rights of the Child, we hope that we will be successful in raising awareness and improving know-how. For many children, especially those who need 24/7 support, it can be the only way to avoid placement in some form of residential care (whether short-term or long-term).
Other organisations we work with – Disability Rights International, International Disability Alliance, Inclusion International, Validity Foundation and CRIN– focused on other topics relevant to children with disabilities. Their submissions will be available from the DGD website in the coming month. We are also planning to organise two joint side events in the run up to DGD – on the 7th and 8th September – and will share information and registration details during August.
*Photo is from our members JAG