Make Our Voices Count: Children and young peoples’ responses to a global survey for the Day of General Discussion 2021 on Children’s Rights and Alternative Care

Kate Butler, Ph.D, Vanessa Currie, MA, Katie Reid, MA and Laura Wright, Ph.D. - International Institute for Child Rights and Development

On 16-17 September 2021, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child held a Day of General Discussion (DGD) in Geneva on Children’s Rights and Alternative Care.

The DGD is a public meeting aimed at fostering a deeper understanding of the contents and implications of the UNCRC as they relate to specific topics. This report was commissioned by a group of civil society organizations (CSOs) in an effort to get a broad sense of what children and young people themselves think about their experiences in alternative care. A global survey was carried out online from 12 April to 30 May 2021. It entailed six quantitative demographic questions about gender, age, disability status, alternative care placement and country, as well as 11 qualitative questions with topics that ranged from what prevents separation of children from families, to what makes good quality care, to how COVID-19 has affected participants’ lives. 1,181 children and young people aged five and 25 from across the world participated. The data was analyzed and this report details the themes that emerged. It is important to note that this report is only the beginning of the conversation about what children and young people think and feel about being in alternative care, their suggestions for change, and about how children and young people like themselves can better realize their rights. This report does not offer definitive solutions for how to go forward, but instead is illustrative of how crucial it is to listen to children and young people who have experienced care to improve the prevention and response processes and strategies used by adults, service providers, and systems.

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