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23 Nov 2009
EveryChild is delighted that on Friday 20th November the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly welcomed by consensus the Guidelines on the Alternative Care of Children, exactly 20 years on from the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The Guidelines provide urgently needed guidance on how governments can develop family based alternatives to institutional care and provide services to help keep vulnerable families together.
Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive of EveryChild said: ‘EveryChild welcomes the agreement of the UN guidelines, something that NGOs, many governments and child rights campaigners have worked tirelessly towards over the past five years. The guidelines are an essential enhancement to the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, particularly in light of the findings of a new report by EveryChild, that reveals there are at least 24 million children in the world who are growing up without parental care and due to the global recession their number is rising rapidly.’
‘We now call on all governments, including the UK’s, to develop an action plan for the full implementation of the UN guidelines. It is time to recognise the right of every child to grow up in a loving family environment and to mainstream child protection issues and children left without parental care in interventions on global poverty reduction and in responses to environmental degradation, conflict and natural disasters.’
In its report, Missing: Children without parental care in international development policy , launched the same day that the UN guidelines were agreed in the UN GA, EveryChild makes the following recommendations:
1. All governments who have ratified the UNCRC must develop an action plan for the full implementation of the UN guidelines which involves the participation of children, families and communities. Such action plans should not narrowly focus on child care reform, but extend to ensuring that children without parental care are considered in social protection programmes, and the delivery of basic services.
2. International donors must provide proper investment in programmes to disseminate and implement the guidelines.
3. Civil society organisations (CSOs) should support the development of national plans of action, including promoting child and community participation. CSOs should also commit to promoting the guidelines in their own interventions, particularly through reversing the current support offered to residential rather than family based care by many CSOs.