The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted in 1989 and applies to all young people under 18 years of age. A total of 193 countries have signed the convention up to the present time. Since the Netherlands signed it in 1995, it has been obliged to keep to the rules laid down in this convention. Main points of the Convention on the Rights of the Child:
They may be grouped in three categories:
provision: good and free education, good and accessible health care and other forms of care protection: freedom from ill-treatment, exploitation, neglect, child labour, acts of war, child trafficking and slavery participation: children should be given an opportunity to participate in everything that is related to their lives. This includes the right to freedom of expression and an opportunity to make their views known and take part in decision-making about matters that have a bearing on them. The full Convention on the Rights of the Child can be found on the United Nations Human Rights website, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Coalition of organisations for children’s rights
The Dutch NGO Coalition for Children’s Rights is a group of organisations working to enforce children’s rights. Its member organisations are Defence for Children International, UNICEF, the National Youth Council and the National Youth Fund Jantje Beton. The Coalition for Children’s Rights is consulted regularly by the State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) especially in relation to important debates in parliament and reports to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. At the same time as the government submits its report to the UN on the implementation of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Coalition for Children’s Rights submits a report of its own to the United Nations. In 2009, for the first time, this was expanded to include a report prepared by young people themselves. In September 2010, UNICEF and Defence for Children presented the third annual report on children’s rights to the government. The annual report describes the state of affairs in the areas of aliens law, exploitation, youth care, child abuse and juvenile criminal law.
Child Rights Home provides information on children’s rights The Child Rights Home in Leiden draws attention to children’s rights issues in regional, national and international forums. It also offers space to organisations that are active in this area. Groups of children and young people − and adults – wishing to learn more about children’s rights are welcome to visit this centre. The Child Rights Home also offers young people opportunities to exchange ideas, to learn from one another and to set up joint projects.
In cases in which the problems in a family are so great as to place the child’s development in danger, for instance if parents neglect or ill-treat their child, or subject him or her to sexual abuse, child protection agencies may intervene. The government is working to improve child protection, for instance by ensuring that cases can be dealt with more quickly. The Dutch child protection system consists of the Youth Care Office, the Child Protection Board and the courts. They help families (and sometimes force families to accept help) when it becomes clear that parents cannot take care of their children properly.
Child protection measures
A children’s judge may issue an order obliging a family to accept help in raising a child. This may involve placing the child under a supervision order, possibly combined with a care order. In certain cases the children’s judge may divest parents of their parental responsibility. Placing a child under a supervision order
Placing a child under a supervision order is the most common measure. When this happens, a family supervisor from the Youth Care Office is assigned to the child. A family supervisor provides help with a child’s...