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UNCRC Article of the Week (WC: 19th October 2020)

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This week's article of the week is:

Article 5: The Government should respect the right of my family to help me know about my rights.

Article 5 of the UNCRC is about recognising that most young people will find that their parents, guardians or family are the people who are most qualified to give them good advice. It’s also about understanding how important family is to a young person’s well-being.

Best interests come first

Article 5 says that the parents or guardians of a child or young person should act in their best interests, as set out in UNCRC Article 3. What these are will change as a child or young person grows up: a young person is able to do more things safely than would have been the case when they were a child or a baby.

Parents or guardians should be aware of the changing abilities, wants and needs of children and young people in their care, and should take these into account when thinking about how to act in their best interests. They should be aware of those children and young people’s evolving capacities. 

What Article 5 doesn’t mean

Article 5 is about the support a child or young person receives from their family, parents or carers. It shouldn’t be taken to mean a family member or carer can deny a child or young person their rights. If a child or young person’s best interests aren’t being looked after by their family or carers, then there should be things that person can do to change this. Children and young people should be able to make their own decisions about what these changes might be.

It’s important to know that:

  • Article 5 doesn’t mean it’s for the best if all children and young people stay with a parent
  • Article 5 doesn’t mean it’s wrong if children or young people want to get away from a parent
  • Article 5 doesn’t mean children or young people should be judged if they’re not in contact with both their parents.
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