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NCJ Number: 211527 Find in a Library
Title: Representing Children's Views and Best Interests in Court: An International Comparison
Journal: Child Abuse Review  Volume:14  Issue:4  Dated:July-August 2005  Pages:220-239
Author(s): Andy Bilson; Sue White
Date Published: July 2005
Page Count: 20
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This article presents a comparison of international practices regarding the appointment and organization of guardians ad litem and other children’s representatives in child care and family proceedings.
Abstract: The review of international practices was based on a search of social care and law databases and of United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) State Parity Reports from different countries. The review is designed to provide a comparative framework of the various models of service delivery utilized in different countries. The UNCRC is described in terms of children’s rights in a juridical or service delivery context and the term “guardian ad litem” is defined. The evolution of the guardian ad litem service in England and Wales is described, followed by an analysis of international alternatives to the guardian ad litem process. The German model is presented, as are the volunteer model in the United States and the “Child’s Voice” perspectives in New Zealand, Australia, and France. The analysis notes that in their haste to address the need for the representation of children in legal proceedings, English-speaking countries have merged two of the articles of the UNCRC: the article dealing with the child’s best interests and the article addressing the right of the child to express their wishes and feelings. The outcome is that the child’s representative must assess their best interests in addition to communicating their views. The authors suggest that an advocate may be better able to provide for an increased role for children during the course of legal proceedings. Table, references
Main Term(s): Child protection services; Children in the courtroom
Index Term(s): Child welfare; Comparative analysis; Family courts; US/foreign comparisons
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