When people say 'the law' when talking about children's rights, they're usually referring to The Children Act. This law is about children and young people and how they should be protected and cared for and what their rights are.
What it says
It says that when a Court or a local authority (the Council) makes a decision about the welfare of a child, they should be thinking in the best interests of the child. It says that children should be brought up with their family unless they are thought to be at risk of harm, but if the child is not with their family then the child (and their parents) still have the same rights.
What it means:
It means that you should be listened to and protected and that you have to be told your rights.
The local authority have to explain what is happening and to ask you what you want.
What can happen:
The local authority must protect you if they think you are in danger. They have to listen if they are told you are at risk and must look into what is happening to you
This might mean that they have to go to Court and ask them what they think is best for you. The Court will only make a decision (called an Order) if they think it will make things better.
Some of your rights:
- In Court cases that are about you, you have a right to be heard.
- You have a right to your own solicitor so you can tell them what you want to happen.
- You can also ask a Court to look at an order that another lower Court has made.
- If you are in care you have a right to be told certain things by the local authority.