COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
Day of General Discussion: "Children’s Rights and Alternative Care" 16-17 September 2021
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 day of general discussion (“DGD”) to the issue of children in alternative care, which was scheduled to take place on 18 September 2020. However, in the light of the health risks and travel restrictions related to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Committee decided to postpone the 2020 DGD on “Children’s Rights in Alternative Care” to 2021. It will take place over two half days on 16 and 17 September 2021, during the 88th session of the Committee at the United Nations Office in Geneva. More information about the time and the format of the Day of General Discussion (hybrid or fully online) will be provided in due course.
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 2021 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 United Nations General Assembly resolution on the Rights of the Child regarding children living without parental care, the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty and the normative discussions between the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Specific objectives of the 2021 DGD
- 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;
- Acknowledge the harms of care and the abuse of children in care, and explore the measures that can be taken to ensure prevention, intervention and access to justice, accountability and suitable reparation;
- Draw lessons from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s care and alternative care, including on efforts to strengthen and reform alternative care systems, and make recommendations for the response and preparedness for future public health as well as social and environmental global crises;
- In order to prevent family separation, expand opportunities for learning from best practice in reducing the number of children admitted to formal alternative care, through enhanced prevention and gatekeeping initiatives;
- 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;
- Explore efforts towards the development or strengthening of fully-integrated child protection systems;
- Explore innovative approaches to alternative care for children in particularly vulnerable situations, such as humanitarian contexts and migration, and learning from existing good practices.
Submission of written contributions/videos
As part of a public consultation to help feed into and guide the discussions, all interested stakeholders, whether adults or children, are encouraged to send written submissions to the Committee at
firstname.lastname@example.org. The submissions will be posted on the 2021 DGD webpage. Children may also send other forms of submissions, such as video and audio recordings. Written contributions can be submitted in English, French and Spanish, the three working languages of the Committee, in electronic format exclusively. The word limit is
2500 words. Kindly note that the
deadline for all submissions, including reports from the global consultation with children, is
14th June 2021. For more information on participation and submissions, please refer to the