Child rights toolkit launched

  • May 11, 2017

The CBA took advantage of a conference dedicated to children’s access to justice earlier this month to launch its Child Rights Toolkit.

The launch took place at a May 11 session of the Access to Justice for Children – Child Rights in Action Conference in Vancouver that was broadcast live.

The culmination of three years of work – more than 30 professionals across the country were directly involved in its development, and many others participated indirectly – the kit is an educational and practice tool meant to help lawyers and others advocate more effectively for children.

Funded by the Law for the Future Fund, the toolkit was developed by the Subcommittee on the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child of the CBA’s National Children’s law Committee, inspired by a lack of consistent, effective advocacy for children.

In fact, Canada ranks 17th out of 29 rich countries for children’s well-being, UNICEF said in 2016.

Despite the fact that the best interests of the child are always top-of-mind particularly in family law, children have broad legal rights that are often unknown or ignored by legal and other professionals. Violations of those rights are often unidentified and hence not remedied.

Exacerbating the problem is the fact that law schools, continuing legal education programs and judicial programs don’t commonly cover “children and the law” in their curricula.

This toolkit, meant to be a user-friendly resource for legal professionals and the general public, is now available online.

More toolkits

The Collateral Consequences report was launched in April at the Criminal Justice Conference in Toronto. Its goal is to help legal professionals understand the potential implications of a criminal sentence.

The Successfully Parenting Apart Toolkit prepared by the CBA National Family Law Section is a collection of on- and off-line resources that will help lawyers better advise clients who are navigating their way through separation and divorce. It is expected to become available this month.