A Developmental Equality Model for the Best Interests of Children
Forthcoming chapter in Elaine E Sutherland & Lesley-Anne Barnes Macfarlane (editors), Implementing Article 3 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Best Interests, Welfare and Well-being (Cambridge University Press, 2016)
Posted: 2 Oct 2015
Date Written: 2016
UNCRC Article 3 best interests are inextricably intertwined with Article 2 equality guarantees and affirmative state obligations linked to equality under Article 4. An argument to challenge the state to engage in a more robust affirmative effort to insure children’s equality is essential to engaging with structural, institutional, and cultural barriers that create daunting hurdles to some children’s success. Critical to that argument is a contextual, rich understanding of development that is infused with race, gender and class perspective. This chapter argues for a model of developmental equality to implement this intersection in children’s rights. The shortcomings of the conventional developmental model (which is grounded in a child for whom race and gender are rarely taken into account and even more rarely considers identity factors in combination), coupled with the realities of children’s inequalities, is the basis to advocate for a developmental model infused with the role that race and gender play in the lives of children of color. That model would trigger the state’s obligation to dismantle developmental challenges that exacerbate inequality and encourage the state to insure developmental equality and opportunity for all children.
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