General Comment No. 7

Indicator Set 7: Participation in Family Decision-Making

The Convention, for the first time in international law, recognises the right of children to be actively involved in the decisions made within their homes. By so doing, the Convention adds a new feature to the status of children. It points out that children are not just passive recipients of parents’ or caregivers’ protection and service provision. Rather, they are active recipients entitled to have their voices heard and their opinions considered. Implementing children’s right to participate in family decision-making is a means to achieve justice and influence outcome. It empowers children by helping them to challenge neglect or abuses of their rights and to actively safeguard those rights. The right to participate in family decision-making is one way to reiterate or implement article 12 of the Convention: the right to be listened to and taken seriously. Many other CRC articles acknowledge and insist upon the “visibility” of children within their environments. Children’s rights include:

  • Parental provision of direction and guidance in accordance with respect for children’s evolving capacity (article 5)
  • Non-separation of children from families without the right to make their views known (article 9)
  • Freedom of expression (article 13)
  • Freedom of conscience, thought and religion (article 14)
  • Freedom of association (article 15)
  • Privacy (article 16)
  • Information (article 17)
  • Education that promotes respect for human rights and democracy (article 29)

Key Question: With respect to articles 5, 12 and 18.2 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, what measures are in place to provide parents and caregivers with information which supports child participation in household decision making, promotes respect for evolving capacities as an enabling principle, and assesses the impact of such programmes?