Saturday, June 17, 2006

Child,Youth and Family breaches UN Convention over "riding crop case"

The case where a woman disciplined her child with a riding crop is now in the public arena after initial publicity from this blog and an interview on Radio Rhema has spread into the mainstream media.

However there is one point that the media has not reported on: it is that CYFS is breaching the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child, while telling parents that smacking their children in this country is illegal ( it's not).

Under Article 9 of the Convention, a child must not be taken away form their parents against their will "except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child"

Our courts have interpreted that discipline in this case was within applicable laws, and it appears that the best interests principle was equated with "it is not in the best interests of a child to be smacked by their parents".

But that didnt stop authorities giving the child anti-psychotic drugs.

Under article 25 of the Convention, any child who has been placed by authorities for the purposes of care and protection is to have a periodic review of the treatment. In this case the review could be of the placement location, whether it is in the best interests of the child to be given drugs, and the treatment of the child in the placement.

It could also include whether it is appropriate for a CYFS caregiver to call a child in a placement a "little arsehole" and if it is appropriate to tell a child that if he "doesn't shut his mouth" "I`ll shut it for you".

Then a determination could be made to see whether this placement is in the child's best interests.

This review has never happened and there are no plans for it to happen.

Why isn`t the Childrens Commissioner taking action in this case to uphold the principles of the convention, ( which is her job) or does she have the liberty to pick which articles of the convention she wants to adhere to as it suits?

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