Article 18 of the UNCRC says that a child or young person’s parents will normally have the main responsibility for bringing them up. They should both do this, both share responsibilities, and both be concerned with the best interests of the child or young person in their care.
If a child or young person only lives with one parent, their other parent should provide them with support. The form this support takes will depend on what that child or young person’s best interests are. Children and young people shouldn’t be discriminated against if their parents aren’t married or never were.
When it isn’t possible for a child or young person to be brought up by their parents, they should be cared for. Article 20 of the UNCRC details rights around going into care.
Scotland and the UK have a responsibility to assist parents where they can, and this responsibility is carried by people employed by the State who are involved in a child or young person’s upbringing. These people include:
- people who run playgroups or youth clubs
- school guidance counsellors
- school nurses.
The Scottish and UK Goverments should review how their employees assist parents, to make sure they are keeping their human rights promises to children under this article of the UNCRC.
Days of General Discussion
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child facilitates Days of General Discussion where experts from around the world can discuss a child rights issue in detail. The reports of their discussions are a helpful tool to understand how the UNCRC should be interpreted.
Some Days of General Discussion relevant to Article 18 are:
- 1994’s Day of General Discussion on the role of the family,
- 2001’s Day of General Discussion on violence against children within the family and in school,
- 2004’s Day of General Discussion on implementing rights in early childhood, and
- 2011’s Day of General Discussion on children of incarcerated parents.