IFSW sent the following letter to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child January 30, 2009:
IFSW was pleased to give evidence to the Committee on 1 February 2008 about the role of social work in promoting the rights of children. In discussions at the time, it was suggested that IFSW might assist the Committee by providing a paper illustrating how social workers help people to turn the principle of the best interest of the child into reality. I am pleased to enclose a brief paper which starts to do this.
In our experience, achieving that practical reality is often a very complex task, taking into account the age and stage of development, and the unique experiences and situation of each individual child.
We have tried to draw out key elements of this task in the paper – but we are aware that the work needs to go further. We have already started on this next phase of the work, in consultation with colleagues around the world.
We would be happy to meet with you again, if you think this would be helpful, to work out how we might together promote a wider appreciation of the issues involved in determining the best interest of each child, and implementing the principle in practical ways so that it has relevance to children, their families and carers.
This important matter is expected to be a significant element in the work leading into our next global conference in Hong Kong 2010. This will be the first ever fully joint conference with our colleagues in the International Association of Schools of Social Work and International Council of Social Welfare. We are working on a participative global process which will help us to agree a global social agenda for the next decade. As I mentioned during our meeting last February, we would welcome the participation of the Committee in that consultative process.
Thank you for inviting us to undertake this work. I hope this first paper is helpful to your deliberations and I look forward to hearing from you about future work.
David N Jones