CRC concluding observations 2016, paragraph 53
Plain English recommendation
Government should ensure poverty is never the sole reason for removing a child from parental care, consider UN advice on alternative care of children and:
(a) Do more to help parents, guardians and informal kinship carers with their child-rearing responsibilities.
(b) Ensure separating a child from their family is in the child’s best interest, based on thorough investigation, and used only as a last resort.
(c) Find a placement for the child enabling contact between the child and the biological family.
(d) Ensure that secure accommodation in Northern Ireland is only used as last resort and for the shortest possible period of time. Tackle the reasons for lengthy stays and provide alternatives to secure accommodation.
(e) Provide stability for children in care. Make efforts to retain social workers and avoid unnecessary changes in placements.
(f) Consult with children on plans for their care, and support them when leaving care through further education and employment.
(g) Enact the Adoption and Children Bill in Northern Ireland.
Original UN recommendation
Drawing the State party’s attention to the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children (General Assembly resolution 64/142, annex), the Committee emphasizes that conditions directly and uniquely attributable to poverty should never be the sole justification for removing a child from parental care. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Intensify its efforts to render appropriate assistance to parents and legal guardians, including informal kinship carers, in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities;
(b) Ensure that the removal of children from their families is always subject to thorough investigation, is in accordance with the best interests of the child and is only used as a measure of last resort;
(c) Wherever possible, find a placement for the child that will facilitate contact with his or her biological parents and siblings;
(d) Ensure that secure accommodation in Northern Ireland is only used as a measure of last resort and for the shortest possible period of time, address the reasons for repeated or lengthy stays in such accommodation and develop alternatives to secure accommodation;
(e) Take all measures necessary to provide stability for children in care, including efforts to retain social workers and to avoid unnecessary changes in placement;
(f) Inform and consult with children from an early stage on plans for their care and transition and provide sufficient support for care leavers, including for accommodation, employment or further education;
(g) Expedite the approval and enactment of the Adoption and Children Bill in Northern Ireland.
Date of UN examination
UN article number
20 (children deprived of a family), 21 (adoption), 27 (adequate standard of living)