Day of General Discussion: "Children’s Rights and Alternative Care" 18 September 2020, Postponed

Given the current situation with the spread of COVID-19, the Committee on the Rights of the Child has decided that the 2020 Day of General Discussion on Children’s Rights in Alternative Care”, scheduled to take place on 18 September2020, will be postponed to 2021. More information will be provided later.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely ratified international human rights instrument, with 196 States Parties.

During its 81st session, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the body of independent experts responsible for reviewing progress made by States parties in implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child, decided to devote its 2020 general discussion day to the issue of children in alternative care. It will take place on Friday, 18 September 2020, during the 86th session of the Committee at the United Nations Office in Geneva.

The purpose of General Discussion Days is to foster a deeper understanding of the contents and implications of the Convention as they relate to specific articles or topics. Representatives of Governments, non-governmental organizations, United Nations human rights mechanisms, United Nations bodies and specialized agencies, national human rights institutions, the business sector, as well as individual experts and children are welcome to take part.

Overall objective of the 2020 DGD

The overall purpose of the day of general discussion is to examine broadly the current situation regarding alternative care in its complexity, identify and discuss particular areas of concern with regard to the unnecessary separation of children from their families and appropriate ways to respond to family and child separation in cases where it is unavoidable.  

The day of general discussion also provides an opportunity to review implementation of relevant international standards and progress made since the adoption of the UNGA resolution on the Rights of the Child regarding children living without parental care, the Global Study and the normative discussions between the CRC and CRPD Committees.

Specific objectives of the 2020 DGD

  1. Create meaningful engagement for children and young people who have experience of the child protection system and/or of living in alternative care of any type so they can voice their opinions on what constitutes quality care and advocate for legislative and systemic changes;
  2. Follow up on the 2019 UNGA Resolution on the Rights of the Child which focused on children without parental care, building on and consolidating the global perspectives of civil society on this issue as expressed in the Key Recommendations;
  3. Build on the recommendations on institutions arising from the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty;
  4. In order to prevent family separation, expand opportunities for learning from international, regional and national success in reducing the number of children admitted to formal alternative care, through enhanced prevention and gatekeeping initiatives. This can include learning from evidence about services and support aiming to address the root causes of family separation, and the provision of family support and strengthening programmes;
  5. Expand opportunities to learn from evidence about targeted support that can enable families to remain together, or be reunited if separation has already taken place. They include families facing social exclusion, stigma or other forms of discrimination, such as those caring for children with disabilities (or where the parents have a disability), children of indigenous or minority communities, families fleeing armed conflict or other dangers, and children moving across borders;
  6. Expand opportunities to learn from evidence about alternative care options and evidence about what constitutes quality alternative care, with a view to establishing a meaningful process for developing guidance on this;
  7. Explore efforts towards the development or strengthening of fully-integrated child protection systems, grounded in a coordinated approach among services responsible for working with the family to address its needs, tackling the perceived need for separation, and foreseeing appropriate alternative care when necessary;
  8. Encourage rigorous research to identify the outcomes and impacts of alternative care provision in different settings, and follow-up mechanisms for children leaving the care system;
  9. Explore innovative approaches to alternative care for children in particularly vulnerable situations, such as humanitarian contexts and migration, and learning from existing good practices, including appropriate efforts to provide community-based support to families and analysing the need for specialized training for professionals working with and for children at risk and children that haven been placed in alternative care.


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