Children occupy a unique status in our society. While they are entitled to the basic rights prescribed in their nations’ Constitutions, their status, as minors, renders them vulnerable and in need of safeguards to ensure their protection. In recognition of children’s special status, the United Nations commenced efforts in 1979 to develop an inclusive, legally-binding human rights treaty for all the world’s children. Ten years later, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989 and instituted as international law in 1990.
Despite that the U.S. was an active and prominent participant in the decade-long drafting process, we, along with Somalia, remain the only two nations a party to the UN who have not ratified this celebrated document. The 193 countries that have ratified the Convention has used it as a guide to develop and implement policies and programs that best address and fulfill children’s needs.
Our children are our future decision-makers and leaders. They will set public policy and implement laws. In essence, they will shape the future of not only American society and culture, but that of the world. Thus, we need to raise resilient children who will make good citizens, who care about others, who share our values, and who will make excellent parents. In order for children to thrive, childhood needs to be made a national as well as global priority.
Children are seldom considered as a factor in decision-making. It is passed the time that we think about how our decisions affect the lives of each and every child. After all, we are going to have to live with the consequences of our actions.
|Click here to view photo highlights of the National Symposium held June 1-2, 2009. Use the drop-down menu to move between Day 1, Day 2 and the Reception.|
UPDATE: Symposium panelist papers will be published in a special journal by the Children’s Welfare League of America. Please watch for updates on when the proceedings will be available in this format.