Reimagining Children's Rights in the US

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JAMA Pediatrics

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Importance: The US faces a pivotal moment of opportunity and risk regarding issues affecting children (aged 0-17 years). Although the US remains the only United Nations member state to not have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), a child rights framework is essential for child health professionals seeking to advance many issues affecting children in the US. The Reimagining Children's Rights project (2020-2021) conducted an in-depth environmental scan of relevant literature and policy analysis using the Three Horizons design process to assess strategies that could advance the rights and well-being of children in the US. The project was overseen by a steering committee and informed by an advisory committee composed of youth leaders and experts in children's rights, advocacy, health, law, and a range of child-specific issues (eg, youth justice, early childhood development), who provided expert input on strategic considerations for advancing children's rights.

Observations: Seven findings about advancing children's rights in the US are notable, all reflecting current gaps and opportunities for using a whole-child rights framework in the US, even without formal adoption of the CRC. Actionable strategies, tactics, and tools to leverage sustainable change in the multitude of issue areas can advance the current state of children's rights. High-potential strategies for catalyzing advancement of children's rights include youth activism, innovations in governance and accountability, legislative action, impact litigation, place-based initiatives, education and public awareness, alignment with other children's movements, and research. The child rights framework is unifying and adaptive to future unforeseen challenges.

Conclusions and Relevance: Children's rights provide a powerful, synergistic framework for child health professionals-in partnership with youth and other leaders-to increase equity and protect the rights and well-being of all children in the US.


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Recommended Citation

Elizabeth Barnert, et al., Reimagining Children's Rights in the US, JAMA Pediatr. Published online October 24, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2022.3822



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