Do I have rights? The influence of changes in public spending on children and young peoples’ understanding of themselves as rights holders
Dr Carol Robinson, University of Brighton
This presentation explores the perspectives of children, young people and parents/carers, in relation to how proposed budgetary changes are likely to impact on children and young people’s understanding of themselves as rights holders. The paper draws on findings from a research project commissioned by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC) for England which aimed to identify and understand how proposed changes in public spending are likely to impact on the rights of children and young people.
The paper addresses the following two research questions:
How do children, young people and parents/career perceive that proposed changes in public spending will impact on the rights of children and young people?
How do such perceptions contribute towards the human rights education of children and young people and impact on their understanding of themselves as rights holder?
The research was set in the context that the United Kingdom (UK) Government has adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) (1989) and, as a State Party to the UNCRC, is obliged under international law to use the maximum extent of its available resources to fulfil children and young people’s right to an adequate standard of living, social security, health, education and other economic and social rights (OCC, 2013). The research findings suggested that children, young people and parents/carers considered that certain budgetary changes supported children and young people to understand themselves as rights holder, while others had a negative impact upon this understanding.
Tibbitts’ (2002) theoretical framework, which presents a models Human Rights Education, will be drawn upon when considering the ‘hidden messages’ relating to children and young people’s rights which are transmitted through the proposed budgetary changes. The paper raises questions about how other significant policy/legislative measures also transmit messages to children and young people and contribute, positively or negatively towards their human rights education.
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