For most health workers, children’s rights are a concept without a clear meaning. Some will regard them as of theoretical interest only, while others will consider them to be part of their daily practice. Another view may be that rights are more relevant to the law and to education than to health. A closer reading will reveal how important the UN Convention is to health and health care, and very much in line with developing thinking in health circles that professionals need to work in partnership with children and their parents or carers.
Members of the British Association for Community Child Health, the Royal College of Nursing, the International Child Health Group and the Children’s Rights Development Unit have prepared this guide which is intended to promote good practice, to translate the contents of the UN Convention into everyday examples, and to highlight its importance in everyday health care. We welcome comments from health workers, children and young people and parents and carers which would be used in the preparation of the second edition.
In this guide we have picked out themes that seemed to us to be particularly relevant to our experience. It is a personal selection which is not comprehensive: we have not elaborated on disability, on sexual abuse or on refugees, for example. We wished to keep the guide short and relevant to everyday practice, thinking of GPs, health visitors, school nurses, hospital nurses, paediatricians as well as allied professionals: therapists, psychologists, social workers, teachers. Other themes may be added in future if there seems to be a need.
There is a tear out page at the back which is for young people themsleves: it can be copied and handed out or used as a poster on the wall of the clinic.