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Whenever a decision is made to remove a child from her or his family because
the child is a victim of abuse or neglect within his or her home, the view of the child must be taken into account in order to determine the best interests of the child. The intervention may be initiated by a complaint from a child, another family member or a
member of the community alleging abuse or neglect in the family.
The Committee’s experience is that the child’s right to be heard is not always
taken into account by States parties. The Committee recommends that States parties ensure, through legislation, regulation and policy directives, that the child’s views are solicited and considered, including decisions regarding placement in foster care or homes, development of care plans and their review, and visits with parents and family.
Adoption and kafalah of Islamic law
When a child is to be placed for adoption or kafalah of Islamic law and finally
will be adopted or placed in kafalah, it is vitally important that the child is heard. Such a process is also necessary when step-parents or foster families adopt a child, although the
child and the adopting parents may have already been living together for some time.
Article 21 of the Convention states that the best interests of the child shall be
the paramount consideration. In decisions on adoption, kafalah or other placement, the “best interests” of the child cannot be defined without consideration of the child’s views. The Committee urges all States parties to inform the child, if possible, about the
effects of adoption, kafalah or other placement, and to ensure by legislation that the views of the child are heard.
(ii) The child’s right to be heard in penal judicial proceedings
In penal proceedings, the right of child to express her or his views freely in all
matters affecting the child has to be fully respected and implemented throughout every
stage of the process of juvenile justice.
The child offender
Article 12, paragraph 2, of the Convention requires that a child alleged to have,
accused of, or recognized as having, infringed the penal law, has the right to be heard. This right has to be fully observed during all stages of the judicial process, from the pre-
trial stage when the child has the right to remain silent, to the right to be heard by the police, the prosecutor and the investigating judge. It also applies through the stages of adjudication and disposition, as well as implementation of the imposed measures.
In case of diversion, including mediation, a child must have the opportunity to
give free and voluntary consent and must be given the opportunity to obtain legal and
other advice and assistance in determining the appropriateness and desirability of the diversion proposed.
In order to effectively participate in the proceedings, every child must be
informed promptly and directly about the charges against her or him in a language she or he understands, and also about the juvenile justice process and possible measures taken by the court. The proceedings should be conducted in an atmosphere enabling the
See the Committee’s general comment No. 10 (2007) on children’s rights in juvenile justice (CRC/C/GC/10).