Understanding International Standards

International standards, based on a large body of global evidence, recognize that every child has a right to family. These standards guide many countries’ national policies and provide a framework for supporting family-based care. The two most significant sets of standards—the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children—offer core principles for the care and protection of children and place limits on the use of residential care.

An understanding of these international standards should be accompanied by an in-depth understanding of the relevant child-focused national policies and the local contexts that likewise shape the transition to family care.

International Standards Summary Includes a complete list of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Guidelines for Alternative Care of Children, and other key international conventions.

Implementation Handbook for the Convention on the Rights of the Child Provides a detailed reference for the implementation of law, policy, and practice to promote and protect the rights of children. Looks at each article with a concise description of the role, power, and procedures for each. (UNICEF)

Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children: A United Nations Framework Provides policy and practice guidance with specific regard to the protection and wellbeing of children deprived of parental care or who are at risk of being so. (SOS Children’s Villages International and International Children’s Service)

Moving Forward: Implementing the ‘Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children Supports implementation of the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children by making strong connections between national policy, practice, and the Guidelines themselves. It includes policy and “promising practice” examples and provides signposts to additional resources. It is a user-friendly document for actual implementation. (Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland et al.)

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