Support efforts to keep children in, or return them to, the care of their family or, failing this, to find
another appropriate and permanent solution, including adoption and kafala of Islamic law;
Ensure that, while such permanent solutions are being sought, or in cases where they are not possible
or are not in the best interests of the child, the most suitable forms of alternative care are identified and provided,
under conditions that promote the child’s full and harmonious development;
Assist and encourage governments to better implement their responsibilities and obligations in these
respects, bearing in mind the economic, social and cultural conditions prevailing in each State; and
Guide policies, decisions and activities of all concerned with social protection and child welfare in
both the public and private sectors, including civil society.
A. The child and the family
The family being the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth, well-being
and protection of children, efforts should primarily be directed to enabling the child to remain in or return to the care
of his/her parents, or when appropriate, other close family members. The State should ensure that families have
access to forms of support in the caregiving role.
Every child and young person should live in a supportive, protective and caring environment that promotes
his/her full potential. Children with inadequate or no parental care are at special risk of being denied such a
nurturing environment.
Where the child’s own family is unable, even with appropriate support, to provide adequate care for the child,
or abandons or relinquishes the child, the State is responsible for protecting the rights of the child and ensuring
appropriate alternative care, with or through competent local authorities and duly authorized civil society
organizations. It is the role of the State, through its competent authorities, to ensure the supervision of the safety,
well-being and development of any child placed in alternative care and the regular review of the appropriateness of
the care arrangement provided.
All decisions, initiatives and approaches falling within the scope of the present Guidelines should be made on
a case-by-case basis, with a view notably to ensuring the child’s safety and security, and must be grounded in the
best interests and rights of the child concerned, in conformity with the principle of non-discrimination and taking
due account of the gender perspective. They should respect fully the child’s right to be consulted and to have his/her
views duly taken into account in accordance with his/her evolving capacities, and on the basis of his/her access to all
necessary information. Every effort should be made to enable such consultation and information provision to be
carried out in the child’s preferred language.
6.bis In applying the present Guidelines, determination of the best interests of the child shall be designed to
identify courses of action for children deprived of parental care, or at risk of being so, that are best suited to
satisfying their needs and rights, taking into account the full and personal development of their rights in their family,
social and cultural environment and their status as subjects of rights, both at the time of the determination and in the
longer term. The determination process should take account of, inter alia, the right of the child to be heard and to
have his/her views taken into account in accordance with his/her age and maturity.
States should develop and implement comprehensive child welfare and protection policies within the
framework of their overall social and human development policy, with attention to the improvement of existing
alternative care provision, reflecting the principles contained in the present Guidelines.
As part of efforts to prevent separation of children from their parents, States should seek to ensure
appropriate and culturally sensitive measures:
To support family caregiving environments whose capacities are limited by factors such as
disabilities; drug and alcohol misuse; discrimination against families with indigenous or minority backgrounds; and
those living in armed conflict regions or under foreign occupation;


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