Article 20

I have the right to special protection and help if I can’t live with my own family.

Article 20 of the UNCRC says that children and young people have the right to special protection and help if they can’t live with their family. In many cases, this will involve going into care.

Rights and care

Children and young people have the right to go into care, and to have their rights respected when they are there. There should be independent checks to make sure that their rights are respected, especially if they are disabled or a refugee.

The opinions of children and young people in care should be listened to and taken seriously. They must have the freedom to do things they want to do and be able to grow up safely and happily.

Care standards

In Scotland, The National Care Standards help make sure the rights of children and young people in care are put into practice. They can be brought up with people who run care services or used to make a complaint when things don’t go as they should.

Find out more about the National Care Standards on the Scottish Government site.

Corporate parents

In Scotland, certain people and organisations are corporate parents, meaning that they have particular responsibilities to young people who are care experienced or looked after. Learn about corporate parenting here.

Being without a home

Article 20 also says children and young are entitled to special help if they are homeless, have run away from home or if have left the country that they are from.

Related articles

Article 3

The State should make sure that all care is provided to the same standard across Scotland.

Article 8

Children and young people don't lose their right to an identity when they're in care. The aspects of identity Article 8 covers should be protected during the transition into care.

Article 9

Children and young people should only go into care if this is in their best interests.

Article 16

A child or young person's living situation shouldn't be changed by the State without good reason.

Article 21

Article 21 covers adoption, and so is closely related to this article.

Article 22

Children and young people who are refugees have the rights granted by Article 20, just like anyone else their age.

Article 25

Children and young people should be regularly checked up on when in care.

Article 30

If a child or young person is  a member of a minority group, they don't lose the right to practice their culture, religion or language when in care.

Full text

This article is a simplified version of Article 20 of the UNCRC. The full text of the Article can be found below:

1. A child temporarily or permanently deprived of his or her family environment, or in whose own best interests cannot be allowed to remain in that environment, shall be entitled to special protection and assistance provided by the State.
2. States Parties shall in accordance with their national laws ensure alternative care for such a child.
3. Such care could include, inter alia, foster placement, kafalah of Islamic law, adoption or if necessary placement in suitable institutions for the care of children. When considering solutions, due regard shall be paid to the desirability of continuity in a child's upbringing and to the child's ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic background.

More on your rights in care