This text refers to and quotes following source: http://www.iss-ssi.org/2009/index.php?id=25
UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children
A resolution ‘welcoming' the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children was adopted by UN General Assembly (UNGA) on 20 November 2009, a memorable day when the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child celebrated its 20th anniversary.
The Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children are intended to enhance the implementation of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child 1989, and other relevant provisions of international and regional human rights law, in matters of protection and well-being of children who are in need of alternative care, or who are at risk of so being. It therefore focuses on two main aspects:
- Ensure that children do not find themselves placed in alternative care unnecessarily; and
- that, where out-of-home care is provided, it is provided in appropriate conditions and of a type that responds to the child's rights, needs and best interests.
ISS commitment to the Guidelines from early days
The ISS is extremely pleased with the outcome at the UNGA given its involvement from 2004 with UNICEF, when the call for International Standards was first made and both organizations initiated a consultation process for the Guidelines.
These joint efforts sparked further progress in 2005, when the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child - which is responsible for examining the States Parties' implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - held a day of general discussion on children without parental care. Among the many recommendations set out in its final report, the Committee recommended the establishment of an expert meeting to prepare a set of international standards for the protection and alternative care of children without parental care for the UN General Assembly. As part of its recommendations, the Committee outlined the scope and objectives of these guidelines and standards. In response, the ISS with other key prepared an initial draft of the Guidelines.
A proposal was submitted for consultation to States and Governments in Brasilia in August 2006. As a result of this intergovernmental meeting, a "Group of Friends" - which is led by the Government of Brazil, and brings together 15 other interested States, representing all regions of the world - was established to spearhead the process.
Since this time, numerous consultations were held in Cairo, Geneva and New York etc with various Governments, UN Agencies, NGOs and of course children. In 2009, a text was agreed upon and on June 17, 2009 the Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted by consensus a procedural resolution A/HRC/11/L.11 submitting the "Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children" to the UNGA for the 20th anniversary of the UNCRC.
ISS continues its advocacy role into the future
ISS as the co-convenor of the NGO Working Group on Children without Parental Care based in Geneva continues to be a major actor in this advocacy process supporting formal recognition of the Guidelines. One of the major tasks of the NGO Working Group will to be promote the dissemination and implementation of the Guidelines.
To aid with the latter, SOS Children's Villages and ISS have launched a small publication of introductory questions to gauge whether the national policy reflects the principles espoused in the Guidelines. The objective of publication is to encourage all those who are committed to protecting and promoting the rights of children at risk of losing parental care, or who have lost parental care, in any national context. The publication can be downloaded for free below.