Giving Children’s Rights Their Day in Court
Resource type: Grantee Story
The research underlying the 1997 report by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child identified many issues related to the youth of Northern Ireland. A key finding was low awareness among children, families and caregivers of children’s legal rights and available services. This finding provided the impetus for establishing the Children’s Law Centre and its advice-and-information service known as CHALKY – the Children’s Law Centre Help and Advice Line for Kids and Young People.
CHALKY responds to all referrals of children whose rights have been denied, but gives priority to cases where changing an individual’s situation could have much broader impact. This strategy has been successful and helped persuade the government to, among other things, appoint a Commissioner for Children and Young People to address gaps in youth-justice policy.
Purpose and Impact of the Grant
Research conducted in 2004 for the Commissioner for Children and Young People indicated a need for stronger advocacy and more services to represent children’s rights. The Children’s Law Centre heard this as a call to enhance and expand CHALKY, which is the focus of this Atlantic grant.
Atlantic’s support will enable the centre to increase the number of children helped by broadening awareness of CHALKY, adding staff and deepening expertise in children’s legal rights and needs. Through this expansion, the centre anticipates being able to handle 1,800 calls for advice each year.
The centre is also using the grant to strengthen its ability to analyse data and share the resulting insights to support advocacy and policy work on children’s issues. The organisation plans to launch an updated and more accessible Web site that gives children, parents, caregivers, lawyers, advocates and other interested parties current information on laws and issues affecting children and youth.
With Atlantic support, the centre will also develop a fundraising strategy to ensure its long-term survival in a society that is only beginning to give children’s rights their due.