Representing Children Worldwide is a research project which compiles information and resources on how children’s voices are heard in child protective proceedings around the country and around the world in the year 2005. The website provides a summary of the practices of the 194 signatories to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child (UNCRC) with respect to this question, as well as background information on the jurisdiction’s child protective practices and web resources and contact information for further research in this field.
Or research focuses particularly on how different countries’ practices relate to Article 12 of the CRC, which guarantees children’s right to express views freely in all matters concerning them, and particularly to be heard in all judicial and administrative proceedings that concern them. Our findings on this question are charted in the Research Summary section of this website; they are further discussed in Peters, REPRESENTING CHILDREN IN CHILD PROTECTIVE PROCEEDINGS: ETHICAL AND PRACTICAL DIMENSIONS (Lexis Law Publishing, 3 rd Edition) to be published in 2006.
We recognize this website as a beginning of the inquiry into child protective practice worldwide, not as an endpoint. Our inquiry is confined to the application of a small part of the CRC to the narrow context of child protective proceedings. The research raises but does not answer questions about other important judicial proceedings that affect children, including delinquency, adoption, custody, and criminal abuse and neglect adjudications. Similarly, the focus on one particular arena in the child protective system - the courtroom - raises but does not answer questions about how the decisions made by judges are received and implemented by parents, child welfare agencies, and other important players in the protection of children. Our hope is that the links, articles, and contact information on the website will provide a useful starting point for other governments, academics and practitioners to look into these related and equally important questions.
The breadth of our inquiry, which looks into child protective systems across 56 United States jurisdictions and 194 international jurisdictions, often made it difficult to look at each individual system with the depth and thoroughness necessary to make clear judgments. For many jurisdictions, practical barriers to finding information prevented us from being able to come to any conclusion at all. We recognize that in many other cases our analysis may have excluded important information or interpreted some of our evidence incorrectly. Although, at this writing, we are not planning to do a thoroughgoing update of the research, we are continuing to collect information that could enable us to refine our data and provide a more accurate picture of child protection practice. Our contact information is available on the Contact Us page.