3.6 Summary

  1. All children have needs, which are physical, psychological, social, economic, cultural and spiritual in nature. Failure to meet the needs of children will affect their development and their ability to participate and contribute to society, both in their childhood and later in life. Meeting children’s basic needs is essential for their optimal health and development. Although all children have the same needs, the way in which they will be met will differ according to their age and understanding.
  2. Recognition of the universal needs of children has led to a commitment across the governments of the world to introduce measures to meet the needs of children. It has been accepted that children are entitled to have their needs fulfilled: in other words, they have rights. Rights are based on deep-rooted understandings of how individuals should live together in a society, so that everyone is treated fairly and with human dignity and respect. Adults and children have rights. Many of these rights are the same or similar, but because children are more vulnerable and dependent, they do have additional protection rights. These rights are recognised in specific international agreements.

3.5 The relationship between rights and responsibilities

3.7 Self-assessment questions