2.4 The law and the child’s right to be cared for and looked after
Children, because of their vulnerability and lack of power, require special care and protection to enable them to develop to their full potential. The UN Convention therefore introduced a number of responsibilities obliging parents and governments to provide that care and protection. For example:
- The obligation to give the child’s best interests primary consideration (Articles 3 and 18)
- The responsibility of parents or guardians for the upbringing and development of children (Article 18)
- The responsibility of governments to provide assistance and support to parents to help them care for their children (Article 18)
- The right of children to special protection and assistance if their parents cannot care for them (Article 20)
- The right of children to an adequate standard of living, and the responsibility of governments to provide help where necessary with nutrition, clothing and housing (Article 27).
Many of these rights and responsibilities have been incorporated into national legislation in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The overall aim of these rights and responsibilities is to ensure that children achieve their best possible development, and are able to live constructive lives and participate actively within their communities.