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20 years of babies' rights

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20 years ago the UK signed up to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In that time, some great advances have been made. However, many children still don’t receive the support and protection they need. The NSPCC has launched its All babies count campaign because babies are particularly vulnerable. Here we highlight the key developments in policy and services for babies in the last 20 years which have led to improvements in their outcomes and better protection of their rights.

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20 years of babies' rights

  1. 1. 20 years of babies’ rights20 years ago the UK signed up to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Inthat time, some great advances have been made. However, many children still don’treceive the support and protection they need. The NSPCC has launched its All babiescount campaign because babies are particularly vulnerable. Here we highlight the keydevelopments in policy and services for babies in the last 20 years which have ledto improvements in their outcomes and better protection of their rights.NSPCC registered charity numbers 216401 and SC037717.All content is either owned by NSPCC, cleared by the copyright owner for our use, where known.
  2. 2. 1991 © UNICEF/HQ89-0089/Mera UK government ratifies the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child Britain signs up to the first worldwide treaty of human rights for children. The Convention sets out, among others, the child’s right to freedom of expression, protection from all forms of abuse, privacy and the right to a family life. Just two countries have failed to ratify the Convention: Somalia and the US. In an office at UNHQ, (left-right) UNICEF Executive Director James Grant, boy scout Brian, Under-Secretary-General Jan Martensen, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Audrey Hepburn and boy scout Michael make a collective telephone call to children at UN offices in Geneva, Switzerland, to announce the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that day. On receiving the news, the children in Geneva held a torch-lit procession through the city streets.
  3. 3. 1994 With kind permission of University of Greenwich.UNICEF baby-friendly initiative launched in the UK‘Baby-friendly’ hospitals and healthcare services must meet standards that cover the support, encouragement and informationgiven to new mums about breast feeding. A survey in 2000 showed that ‘baby-friendly’ hospitals had increased breast-feeding ratesby 10 per cent in four years.
  4. 4. 1998 A Baby Signing Lesson at Dovers Green Children’s Centre in Surrey.Sure Start launches in EnglandInitially developed in areas of high deprivation, Sure Start children’s centres combine childcare, early education,health and other children’s services with the aim of improving outcomes for children and families. In 2010, therewere 3,600 centres throughout England, although numbers have recently fallen due to cuts in funding.
  5. 5. 2001Peter Clark who was Children’s Commissioner in Wales from 2001 until his deathin 2007. Photograph courtesy of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales. Wales appoints the UK’s first Children’s Commissioner The Commissioner is responsible for protecting children’s rights, raising awareness of children’s rights and ensuring children’s voices are heard. In 2011, Wales continued to lead on children’s rights: becoming the first UK country to fully incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into domestic law.
  6. 6. 2003Fathers receive two weeks’ paid paternity leaveThis was the first time fathers had legally been entitled to paid leave to support their partners and bond with their babies. In 2011, thegovernment went further, passing a law allowing fathers to take up to 26 weeks’ leave to care for their child once the mother returned to work.
  7. 7. 2004The Children’s Act passed in England and WalesThis landmark legislation ushered in the Every Child Matters agenda, with the sole purpose of improving outcomes for all children.Directors of children services were established in each local authority, the role of Children’s Commissioner was created in Englandand Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards were introduced.
  8. 8. www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid= 2005Image by koratmember . Breastfeeding Act passed in Scotland This ruling makes it an offence to prevent, or stop, a mother from breastfeeding their child in public.
  9. 9. 2007Baby Peter Connelly diesA stark reminder of the vulnerability of babies and the role we all play in protecting them. Peter’s mother, her boyfriend and his brother wereall convicted of causing or allowing the death of a child. But children’s services and health professionals were also held to account – they hadrepeated contact with Peter but failed to spot the warning signs.
  10. 10. 2009With kind permission of NHS Northamptonshire Healthy Child Programme launched in England The Healthy Child Programme sets out the health services and support that children and their families should receive from birth. This includes screening, immunisations, reviews of a child’s development and support around a child’s wellbeing. The programme places significant emphasis on providing support for parents and the early identification of need.
  11. 11. 2011The NSPCC launches the All babies count campaign20 years after the UK ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, babies remain at risk. On average, one baby is killed every twoweeks in the UK. Many more are at risk of abuse and neglect. The NSPCC believes all babies count and is calling on the government to domore for those who need it most. Back our campaign at www.nspcc.org.uk/allbabiescount

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