Article 3

Adults should do what’s best for you.

Article 3 of the UNCRC says that adults should think about the best interests of children and young people when making choices that affect them.

In practice, this means that:

  • adults who know individual children and young people – such as their parents, guardians or teachers – should think about their best interests when they make decisions
  • adults in positions of power – such as those who work in the Government or in courts of law – should think about the best interests of all children and young people in their juristiction when making laws.

Adults who know individual children and young people should:

  • think about what’s best for them in their day to day lives
  • make sure they are protected and cared for.

Adults in positions of power should:

  • think about what’s best for children and young people in their day to day lives when making laws
  • make sure children and young people are protected and cared for
  • make sure that groups who protect and care for children and young people are good at what they do.

Why Article 3 matters

Article 3 is one of the most important articles in the UNCRC, and many other articles are related to it. It means that the interests of children and young people should be thought about at all levels of society, and that their rights should be respected by people in power.

The Commissioner helps make sure the rights of children and young people are respected in Scottish law. Find out how he does this.

Related articles

Article 3 is considered a general principle of the UNCRC. This means it should be considered when thinking about any other articles in the Convention.

Other general principles of the UNCRC include:

  • Article 2, which says children and young people should be protected from discrimination
  • Article 6, the right to life of children and young people
  • Article 12, which says that a child or young person's opinion matters.

As well as the general principles, other articles related to Article 3 include:

Article 9

When a decision is made about whether to take a child from a parent, that child's best interests should be considered.

Article 18

When a decision is made about how often a child should see a parent, that child's best interests should be considered.

Article 20

When a decision is made about whether a child should live away from their family, that child's best interests should be considered.

Article 21

When a child is being adopted, their best interests should be considered.

Article 37

A child's best interests should be considered if one of their parents is put into prison.

Full text

This article is a simplified version of Article 3 of the UNCRC. The full text of the Article can be found below:

1. In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.
2. States Parties undertake to ensure the child such protection and care as is necessary for his or her well-being, taking into account the rights and duties of his or her parents, legal guardians, or other individuals legally responsible for him or her, and, to this end, shall take all appropriate legislative and administrative measures.
3. States Parties shall ensure that the institutions, services and facilities responsible for the care or protection of children shall conform with the standards established by competent authorities, particularly in the areas of safety, health, in the number and suitability of their staff, as well as competent supervision.

Links

Scottish Government: Children, young people and families

Find out what the Scottish Government does to look after the best interests of children and young people.

The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act

One of the things the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act does is to place more duties on Scottish Ministers and Public Bodies to consider children and young people's rights. Find out more about this here.