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Making Rights Real A Journey Through Childhood. Girfec Indicators. # MakingRightsReal. United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Children under 18 have the right: To survival To develop to the fullest To protection from harmful influences, abuse & exploitation

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Making Rights Real

A Journey Through Childhood

girfec indicators
Girfec Indicators



United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

Children under 18 have the right:

  • To survival
  • To develop to the fullest
  • To protection from harmful influences, abuse & exploitation
  • To participate fully in family, cultural & social life
united nations convention on the rights of the child
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

Four core principles:

  • Non-discrimination
  • Devotion to the best interests of the child
  • Right to life, survival & development
  • Respect for the views of the child

Article 3:

Best interests of the child must be a primary concern in decisions that affect children.


Article 12:

When adults are making decisions that affect children, children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinions taken into account.


UNCRC: The foundation of Getting it Right for Every Child

Scottish Government, March 2013


“Putting children at the centre endorses the UNCRC in two ways. First it means everyone concerned with children must place Article 3 of the UNCRC at the forefront of their thinking, planning and actions. Second, putting the child at the centre means that everyone concerned with children must comply with Article 12, which is about children being respected by having the right to form and express their views in matters that affect them. This should drive the way practitioners work with children.”


Donna is aged 8 years. She is referred to the Children’s Hearings System on the grounds of lack of parental care and becomes the subject of a complulsory supervision order at home.


Donna is aged 13 years. She has not been attending school consistently. She was involved in a disturbance in class and has been asked not to return to school. She does not think that this is fair. Her social worker suggests to her that she might be able to do something about this.


Donna returns to school but continues to struggle with the work, given she has missed out on much. She gets no extra help in school. She speaks to her advocacy worker, who is concerned that she might be excluded again as her behaviour has deteriorated again. She wonders if anything can be done to help her in class.


Social Work is increasingly concerned about Donna living at home, as her parents are not able to manage. Social Work asks for a review hearing, and recommend that she be accommodated.


Donna finds it hard to settle in the residential unit after the Children’s Hearing. She has an argument with a member of staff and barricades herself into her room. The police are called and she is charged with assaulting a police officer, assaulting a member of staff and breach of the peace.


Donna is now aged 15 years and starts a sexual relationship with Callum, a 14 year old boy who also resides within the Residential Unit. Staff in the unit are concerned about Callum and Donna. Amongst other things, they are worried because both Donna and Callum are under 16. Donna is worried as she thinks she may have a Sexually Transmitted Infection. She would like some advice but does not want anyone to know.


Donna returns home one weekend and witnesses a violent assault by a neighbour on her mother. Donna gives a statement to the police. Her mum is in hospital for a few days after the incident. The police charge the neighbour with assault. The case is set down for trial in the Sheriff Court in 3 months’ time. Donna is cited as a witness. She is frightened of the neighbour and really doesn’t want to give evidence in court.


Donna has a younger brother and sister who live in a different care placement away from home. Donna has not seen her siblings in over a year.


Donna is pregnant. A pre-birth Child Protection Case Conference is arranged. Social work consider whether or not the baby will have to be accommodated with foster carers. Parallel planning commences regarding possible routes to permanence. Donna would like to look after the baby but social work do not think she is able. Callum would like contact with his baby.


Information regarding Donna, now aged 15 years, is disclosed by Donna to her youth worker. The youth worker thinks that the information might impact on Donna’s wellbeing but Donna does not want the information to be shared with her named person.


Donna is now 16 and her compulsory supervision order is due to be terminated in the near future. She has left school and is looking for work but has not found anything yet. She is also considering starting a college course but isn’t sure if she could afford the rent on a flat nearer to the college.


Donna is now 24 years old and would like to find out about how to become a youth worker. She has had various charges from the police in the past and wonders whether these will make it difficult for her to do this.

  • What could have been improved for Donna during the process or issue concerned?
  • On which other processes and issues does this area of law impact?