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UN (United Nations), 1948, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights


The first universal statement on the principle of inalienable human rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is the foundation of international human rights law. The UDHR has in its core values, non-discrimination, equality, fairness and universality, which apply to everyone, everywhere and always. Children have been granted specific additional rights under the UDHR. These aim to ensure that children have access to things they need so they can grow and develop well and also gives children protection in the event of any abuse or exploitation.

UN (United Nations), 1989, Convention on the Rights of the Child of the Child, UN General Assembly A/RES/44/ 25

The UNCRC is a universally agreed set of non-negotiable obligations and standards. These basic standards, which are human rights, set out minimum entitlements and freedoms for children that should be respected by governments. They are founded on respect for the dignity and worth of each individual, regardless of race, colour, gender, language, religion, opinions, origins, wealth, birth status or ability and therefore apply to every human being everywhere. With these rights comes the obligation on both governments and individuals not to infringe on the parallel rights of others. The definition of a "child" for the UNRC is under the age of 18.

Children's rights in the UNCRC are often divided into three or four groups, described as the three or four p's. The three are: Provision, Protection and Participation, with sometimes Prevention added as the fourth.

Provision - Right that enable children's growth and development including rights to adequate housing, food and education, and this can include the childcare and play, leisure, arts and recreation provision (See also general comment 17 below), provided by out of school care services.

Protection - These protect children against exploitation and abuse and allow intervention when either occur. For example children who are abused at home can be removed by the state.

Participation - Rights that enable children to take part in decisions that involve or affect them and this also includes the right to an opinion.

And sometimes another "P" is added in:
Prevention - Enable systems to be put in place to protect children from abuse or infringement on their rights. These include the right to legal representation.

Out of School Care services are important in terms of children's rights in terms of all of these headings and all of the rights set out in the UNCRC. The UNCRC is strong on parent's rights too, as the provisions support keeping families together and give rights to ensuring children are able to be brought up in their own family culture and religion.

All of our work is underpinned by a commitment to supporting and promoting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), in particular Articles 31; the right to play, culture, rest and leisure; Article 12, the right to consultation, Articles 26 and 23; provision for children in poverty and provision for children with disabilities and Article 18; states parties to develop appropriate services to support families, including assistance with childcare for working parents.

SOSCN's Quality Improvement Framework & Assessment Achieving Quality Scotland, has commitment to the UNCRC as a fundamental and overarching standard.

Adults can use the link above to look at the finer details of the UNCRC. SOSCN has also produced a children's guide to the UNCRC, which provide a child friendly summary of all the Articles of the Convention.

General Comment on Article 31

UN (United Nations), 2013, General comment no 17,the right of the child to rest, leisure, play, recreational activities, cultural life and the arts

Further Reading


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