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This chapter asks whether the United States would benefit from establishment of a national independent children’s rights institution (ICRI). This chapter begins with…
This chapter asks whether the United States would benefit from establishment of a national independent children’s rights institution (ICRI). This chapter begins with insights into why the United States has not established a national ICRI. Although about half of the 50 US states have set up children’s rights ombudspersons, most of these state-level institutions do not focus on rights of all children and their efforts are not coordinated. This chapter discusses what ICRIs do and what their essential qualities are, then seeks to demonstrate that an ICRI will meet needs of American children and their rights. This chapter suggests that a national US ICRI can participate in international activities around children’s rights, which will advance rights and interests of American children.
This chapter provides an overview of ways the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC) has influenced the development, structure, and functions of independent…
This chapter provides an overview of ways the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC) has influenced the development, structure, and functions of independent children’s rights organizations (ICRIs). Employing theoretical perspectives of New Institutionalism and World Society Approach and other concepts from institutional theories, this chapter explores explanations of isomorphic impacts of ENOC on ICRIs. This chapter examines how ENOC membership criteria have influenced ICRIs and their work, how ENOC’s influences on ICRIs may be tied to deterring decoupling from the symbolic promises nation states make when ratifying children’s rights instruments, and how agendas at ENOC annual meetings foster focused attention and work of ICRIs on specific substantive issues relevant to the promotion of children’s rights. That ENOC has served as a model organization of ICRIs suggests worldwide influences on the promotion of children’s rights.
Under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, states have the obligation to implement and monitor children’s rights. A key element thereof is the creation of…
Under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, states have the obligation to implement and monitor children’s rights. A key element thereof is the creation of independent national institutions for the promotion and protection of children rights (independent children’s rights institutions – ICRIs). All over the world a wide variety of such institutions can be found. In this chapter, the authors aim at providing a broader understanding of how to research ICRIs’ capacity to monitor and promote children’s rights. The authors use the case of the Dutch Children’s Ombudsman and an evaluation of this institute to draw out key elements of such research. This chapter shows the importance of studying the political process behind the establishment of an ICRI, and conceptualize and measure the autonomy of an ICRI in a comprehensive way. Moreover, the chapter sketches how an ICRI is part of a wider “children’s rights landscape” engaging with children’s rights actors at different levels. Multidisciplinary research is needed to grasp these elements and conduct a comprehensive assessment of an ICRI.
As an independent children’s rights institution (ICRI), the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland (CYPCS) has contributed to significant changes in children’s…
As an independent children’s rights institution (ICRI), the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland (CYPCS) has contributed to significant changes in children’s rights in Scotland (e.g., the implementation of the UN CRC in Scots national law). Since the establishment of CYPCS in 2004, children living in Scotland have come to be seen as holders of rights. Yet this change has been neither linear nor certain. Instead, the CYPCS has contended with pressures to demean children’s rights, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the CYPCS continues to advocate for children’s rights and interests, this ICRI looks forward to bolstering decision making of young people and ensuring security of their rights, which in turn will inform the efforts of the CYPCS.
Charitable Choice Policy, the heart of President Bush’s Faith‐Based Initiative, is the direct government funding of religious organizations for the purpose of carrying out…
Charitable Choice Policy, the heart of President Bush’s Faith‐Based Initiative, is the direct government funding of religious organizations for the purpose of carrying out government programs. The Bush presidential administration has called for the application of Charitable Choice Policy to all kinds of social services. Advocates for child‐abuse victims contend that the Bush Charitable Choice Policy would further dismantle essential social services provided to abused children. Others have argued Charitable Choice Policy is unconstitutional because it crosses the boundary separating church and state. Rather than drastically altering the US social‐policy landscape, this paper demonstrates that the Bush Charitable Choice Policy already is in place for childabuse services across many of the fifty states. One reason this phenomenon is ignored is due to the reliance on the public‐private dichotomy for studying social policies and services. This paper contends that relying on the public‐private dichotomy leads researchers to overlook important configurations of actors and institutions that provide services to abused children. It offers an alternate framework to the public‐private dichotomy useful for the analysis of social policy in general and, in particular, Charitable Choice Policy affecting services to abused children. Employing a new methodological approach, fuzzy‐sets analysis, demonstrates the degree to which social services for abused children match ideal types. It suggests relationships between religious organizations and governments are essential to the provision of services to abused children in the United States. Given the direction in which the Bush Charitable Choice Policy will push social‐policy programs, scholars should ask whether abused children will be placed in circumstances that other social groups will not and why.
In Hungary, soon after the democratic transition in 1989/1990, the institution of the general ombudsman was established, based on the Swedish model, possessing broad…
In Hungary, soon after the democratic transition in 1989/1990, the institution of the general ombudsman was established, based on the Swedish model, possessing broad oversight. Since 2012, with the Fundamental Law (new constitution) and a new ombudsman act entering into force, the defense of children’s rights has become one of the legal obligations of the general ombudsman. In this chapter, the author examines the historical background of this “hybrid” institution1 and the performance of the last three commissioners based on the child rights approach of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC).
The UN CRC represents the “whole child” approach, a holistic view of a child which also informs the work of independent children’s rights institutions (ICRIs). Hence, the four guiding principles of the UN CRC2 (the right to non-discrimination; the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and the right to participation) can be seen as analyzable elements of an ICRI’s performance. There are also “informal” factors that can influence the performance of an ICRI – even a stand-alone – for example, social and political recognition of the institution, the societal and legal regard of children (are their rights widely recognized or not, etc.), the personal motivation and drive of the ombudsman, the ombudsman’s own interests and background, the financial constraints of the office and the overall political atmosphere and various political influences around. These factors can play a vital role, but their existence can only be assumed in cases where the institution’s more exact outputs based on the UN CRC guiding principles can be seen: the appearance of children in its work, attention to vulnerable groups and cases related to non-discrimination, the number of complaints submitted to the commissioner (including those by children) and the appearance of best interests of children in cases. The author has found differences between the last three commissioners’ performances based on the guiding principles, which are also not independent from informal factors too.
Intercountry adoptions (hereafter ICAs) in the USA are a form of sale of children. According to international policy, sale of children is an illicit social practice that…
Intercountry adoptions (hereafter ICAs) in the USA are a form of sale of children. According to international policy, sale of children is an illicit social practice that involves improper financial gains by at least one party. Sale of children is a threat to legitimate ICA. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the policy and practice of ICAs in the USA, including pricing arrangements, demonstrate that US ICAs, which can have humanitarian aims and be legitimate forms of family development, comprise sale of children.
Internet searches and e-mail inquiries were used to obtain ICA cost data for a randomised sample of 10 per cent of the agencies in the USA that facilitate ICAs.
Cost information was obtained from only 25 per cent of the sample, suggesting lack of transparency in and available information about monetary costs of US ICAs. A range of US$12,000 to $40,000 suggests that US ICAs are expensive and costs vary. Large, undisclosed fees in the form of “required donations”, agency fees, and extensive foreign travel requirements imply third party economic gains are made through US ICA transactions.
US ICA agencies should disclose costs and employ transparent practices. US policies regulating ICAs should be clarified and strengthened. The US Government should ratify, implement, and enforce major children’s rights international policy standards.
International demand for adopted children may encourage child trafficking, child laundering, and kidnapping for profit (see Smolin, 2005), putting children, adoptive families, and birth communities at risk of breaches of basic human rights.
No study has offered systematic analysis of monetary costs of US ICAs and linked this analysis to policy and legitimacy of social practices.