Thirty years ago children were formally recognised as having non-negotiable rights and that active support was required for them to claim their rights. Nearly all Governments have pledged to respect, protect and promote these rights by signing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ‘UNCRC’ https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/content/dam/gb/reports/humanitarian/uncrc19-child-friendly.pdf.
Notable progress has been achieved globally in the past three decades, through ongoing work to end child poverty along with a focus on increasing school attendance. Yet significant challenges remain in particular for girls, for children with disabilities and for children in disadvantaged and vulnerable situations, and frustratingly children still die from preventable diseases.
Lot of the articles in the UNCRC resonate with us in Healthcare, the right to life and good health care (Articles 6,23 & 24); the right to education, play, to relax and have fun (Articles 28,29 & 31); the right to what is best for children (Article 3); the right to information (Articles 13 & 17); the right to respect (articles 2 & 14); the right for children to have their say (Article 12); the right to consent (articles 5 & 12); the right to privacy and confidentiality (Article 16); the right to be safe (Articles 19, 33, 34 & 36) and the right to a family life (Article 1, 2 & 42). They complement the NHS Constitution https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-nhs-constitution-for-england providing the ‘blue print’ for services to achieve.
This is a great poster from young people in Wales that you my want to download, develop and adapt with your local youth forum members http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/863/page/91176
This 30th birthday gives us an opportunity to look back on what’s been achieved relating to children’s rights and to look to the future, asking ourselves what more we can do to ensure children and young people who come into contact with our services have a positive experience. Will all children and young people who access our services report feeling that rights are respected, upheld and promoted? Children’s rights are everyone’s business so we all need to take on this challenge across the NHS.
I wonder if we’re consistently involving children in commissioning decisions? Are CYP involved in the assessment of services by using tools such as the ’15 steps’ https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/15-steps-children-young-people.pdf Are we adopting resources such as ‘We Can Talk’ https://wecantalk.online/ and ‘CYP Me First’ https://www.mefirst.org.uk/ to help us communicate as effectively as possible with CYP so that they are actively involved in decisions about their care? Do we have child friendly complaint processes? https://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/publication/common-principles-for-a-child-friendly-complaints-process/
Are we focusing on mental and physical health and wellbeing, along with good effective preparation for the move into adult services ie transition?
So some asks, will you…
· Work to involve Children more in your services? https://www.england.nhs.uk/participation/get-involved/how/forums/nhs-youth-forum/
· Seek out and hear Children’s voices in decisions about their care? https://www.health.org.uk/blogs/ask-three-questions
· Ensure information about services, treatment and care is accessible and understandable? https://pifonline.org.uk/resources/publications/health-info-for-children-and-young-people/
· Identify Young Carers and signpost/refer them to ongoing support? https://carers.org/young-carers-awareness-day-2020
Committing to taking on these challenges would be the best birthday present ever! Happy 30th Birthday UNCRC #UNCRC30