DGD 2021 | Background document

Filipe Meirelles
Filipe Meirelles Family for Every Child • 16 September 2021

The DGD 2021 background document aims to summarise and present evidence shared in the submissions received by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child through the public consultation process. It presents a synthesis of the submissions, bringing together the voices and experiences of children and young people in care or with lived experience of care, as well as adult care leavers and child rights professionals. It also presents key recommendations based on the analysis of those submissions.

The methodology for this paper consisted of a review, analysis and synthesis of the submissions undertaken by an independent consultant., using a standard qualitative research coding process to identify and examine the key themes arising from the submissions. Members of the Committee and the public can have access to the integral content of the submissions in the present synthesis document. The document provides a general overview of the following emerging themes:

  • Prevention of family separation
  • Kinship care
  • Foster care
  • Residential care
  • Quality of alternative care
  • Care reform
  • Care sector workforce
  • Monitoring of care
  • Participation in decision making
  • Children at high risk of separation and care placement
  • Leaving alternative care
  • Data and recordkeeping
  • Accountability and access to justice
  • Other essential considerations

Key recommendations (extract):

“Addressing the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on children’s care

States should implement a child- and family-centred response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the socioeconomic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governments must ensure all children and families can utilize high-quality essential primary healthcare, nutrition, childcare, early childhood development, social protection, and safe, inclusive and equitable educational opportunities, including distance learning.

States should ensure that child protection services are recognized as emergency life-saving services and service providers as frontline workers to ensure continuity of high-quality care of children during the COVID-19 pandemic and future public health or other emergencies. States should also increase support services to vulnerable families at risk of separation due to the impact of the pandemic.

States should prioritize provision of mental health and psychosocial support for workers, carers, children, and care leavers associated with alternative care, and provide added support for children suffering trauma in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governments, service providers, donors and researchers should also learn from, and build on, examples of innovative, preventative work enacted during COVID-19 which have allowed a recognition of families’ strengths and assets, leading to increased trust, and a more equal partnership approach that can help keep families together. The planning for the recovery from COVID-19 should be a catalyst to build and fund stronger child protection and care systems.

Prevention of Family Separation

States should address root causes of family-child separation by tackling social norms that contribute to family separation, addressing the impact of poverty and social exclusion, and establishing programmes that help children remain with their families and in the community. This includes increasing provision of inclusive and accessible family-based and community-based services for children, including for children with disabilities.

States should put in place measures to combat stigmatizing attitudes and harmful beliefs, which place children at risk. Stigma and discrimination based on disability, sexuality, gender, ethnicity, immigration, and caregiver marital status, amongst others, continue to play a significant role in which children are placed in care.

States should prioritize family-friendly policies and other measures, such as parenting programmes aimed at strengthening and supporting parents and families, and scale-up child-sensitive, gender-responsive and inclusive social protection programmes linked to inclusive community-based services.

States should ensure that social protection measures take into account the disability related costs of caring for a child with a disability, including the economic impact of a caregiver having to choose between caring for their child or being able to work. Without these protective measures in place, a caregiver may be forced to place a child with a disability in an institution to maintain their income.”

Download the background document to access the full list of recommendations, available available in English, Spanish and French. For more information about the Day of General Discussion on Child Rights and Alternative Care, click the button below.

Learn more about the DGD