Last week's Supreme Court decision saves adults from excessive fines. But youth also hit hard by system; and kids of color disproportionately suffer.
The Supreme Court unanimously held last week that the constitutional right to be free of excessive fines applies to the states. While the case addressed fees, fines and civil asset forfeiture among adults, it also has significant implications for youth in the juvenile justice system.
Across the country, youth — particularly black and brown youth — are doubly punished with court and justice related fines and fees in addition to involvement in the juvenile justice system. Youth and families who cannot pay the fees face extended probation, denial of services and sometimes even incarceration. Familiesgo into debt or may have to choose between paying court fees or paying for groceries.
Children's Charter of Rights for all Australian states / territories attached to this article. Family and Community Services NSW state : "The Charter of Rights outlines the general rights and responsibilities of every child and young person in out-of-home-care. The NSW Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 requires that these rights are supported by carers and caseworkers." BUT you will notice that none of these charters explains exactly what kids can do when they're rights are being breached ...
Real and lasting damage is done to many children involved in Family Law and child protection systems and this will increase since the High Court decision on 7 August 2012.
This decision effectively reinforced the Family Law and other jurisdictions position that children can't be allowed to speak for themselves. So if you can speak or write - and if you disagree with this decision - now's the time to speak! Tell your local pollie, tell the media, tell your friends and rellies!
Most people would have heard about the Queensland Four - The sisters who apparently felt they had not had a fair hearing in the Family Law process. They found media outlets brave enough to carry their story. Other media outlets tried to damp down any possibility that the kids might have a point. Justice for Children knows there are thousands of other kids who want to tell their story but can't because nobody in the system is listening to them. The number one issue for Justice for Children Australia is that children are not given a real voice and a real choice in the current adversarial system.
Queensland Solicitor-General brought up this issue in the High Court case. Not to prove that the adversarial system was the wrong forum for assessing children's future but to confirm that kids don't have a voice in it.
First-of-its-kind report finds children are being imprisoned nationwide when families can’t pay fines levied by juvenile justice system.
"The debt in effect creates a rift between parents and their children,” one survey respondent said, and went on to describe a grandmother who was told to consider giving up custody of her grandson in order to avoid paying his juvenile court fees.
Many states are incarcerating poor children whose families can’t afford to pay juvenile court fees and fines, a report published Wednesday finds, which amounts to punishing children for their families’ poverty—and that may be unconstitutional.
Although the growing practice of incarcerating adults who are unable to pay municipal and court fees and fines has been documented for several years, as Common Dreams has noted, the latest report from the Juvenile Law Center is the first in-depth examination of the practice within the juvenile justice system.
1. I AM THE BOSS OF MY BODY! 2. I know my NAME, ADDRESS, & PHONE NUMBER, and my parents’ names too. (Don’t forget: kids need to know their parents’ mobile phone numbers!) 3. Safe Grownups Don’t Ask Kids for Help!! (They go to other grownups if they need assistance). 4. I never go ANYWHERE or take ANYTHING from someone I don’t know. 5. I must “CHECK FIRST” with my safe-smarts grownup for permission: before I go anywhere, change my plans, or get into a car even if it’s with someone I know. If I can’t check first, then the answer is NO! 6. Everybody’s bathing suit areas are PRIVATE. 7. I don’t have to be POLITE, if someone makes me feel scared or uncomfortable. It’s okay to say NO… even to a grownup, if I have to. 8. I don’t keep SECRETS… especially if they make me feel scared or uneasy. (No adult should tell a child to keep a secret). 9. If I ever get LOST in a public place, I can FREEZE & YELL or go to a Mom with Kids and ask for help. 10. I will always pay attention to my Special Inner Voice, especially if I get an “uh-oh” feeling.
Considering that, in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, the recognition of the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Noting that the States parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (hereinafter referred to as “the Convention”) recognize the rights set forth in it to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status,
Reaffirming the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of all human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Reaffirming also the status of the child as a subject of rights and as a human being with dignity and with evolving capacities,
Recognizing that children’s special and dependent status may create real difficulties for them in pursuing remedies for violations of their rights,
Considering that the present Protocol will reinforce and complement national and regional mechanisms allowing children to submit complaints for violations of their rights,
Recognizing that the best interests of the child should be a primary consideration to be respected in pursuing remedies for violations of the rights of the child, and that such remedies should take into account the need for child-sensitive procedures at all levels,
Encouraging States parties to develop appropriate national mechanisms to enable a child whose rights have been violated to have access to effective remedies at the domestic level,
Recalling the important role that national human rights institutions and other relevant specialized institutions, mandated to promote and protect the rights of the child, can play in this regard,
Considering that, in order to reinforce and complement such national mechanisms and to further enhance the implementation of the Convention and, where applicable, the Optional Protocols thereto on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and on the involvement of children in armed conflict, it would be appropriate to enable the Committee on the Rights of the Child (hereinafter referred to as “the Committee”) to carry out the functions provided for in the present Protocol,
Have agreed as follows:
Part I General provisions
Article 1 Competence of the Committee on the Rights of the Child
1. A State party to the present Protocol recognizes the competence of the Committee as provided for by the present Protocol.
2. The Committee shall not exercise its competence regarding a State party to the present Protocol on matters concerning violations of rights set forth in an instrument to which that State is not a party.
3. No communication shall be received by the Committee if it concerns a State that is not a party to the present Protocol.
Article 2 General principles guiding the functions of the Committee
In fulfilling the functions conferred on it by the present Protocol, the Committee shall be guided by the principle of the best interests of the child. It shall also have regard for the rights and views of the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.
Article 3 Rules of procedure
1. The Committee shall adopt rules of procedure to be followed when exercising the functions conferred on it by the present Protocol. In doing so, it shall have regard, in particular, for article 2 of the present Protocol in order to guarantee child-sensitive procedures.
2. The Committee shall include in its rules of procedure safeguards to prevent the manipulation of the child by those acting on his or her behalf and may decline to examine any communication that it considers not to be in the child’s best interests.
Article 4 Protection measures
1. A State party shall take all appropriate steps to ensure that individuals under its jurisdiction are not subjected to any human rights violation, ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of communications or cooperation with the Committee pursuant to the present Protocol.
2. The identity of any individual or group of individuals concerned shall not be revealed publicly without their express consent.
Part II Communications procedure
Article 5 Individual communications
1. Communications may be submitted by or on behalf of an individual or group of individuals, within the jurisdiction of a State party, claiming to be victims of a violation by that State party of any of the rights set forth in any of the following instruments to which that State is a party:
(a) The Convention;
(b) The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography;
(c) The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the involvement of children in armed conflict.
2. Where a communication is submitted on behalf of an individual or group of individuals, this shall be with their consent unless the author can justify acting on their behalf without such consent.
Article 6 Interim measures
1. At any time after the receipt of a communication and before a determination on the merits has been reached, the Committee may transmit to the State party concerned for its urgent consideration a request that the State party take such interim measures as may be necessary in exceptional circumstances to avoid possible irreparable damage to the victim or victims of the alleged violations.
2. Where the Committee exercises its discretion under paragraph 1 of the present article, this does not imply a determination on admissibility or on the merits of the communication.
Article 7 Admissibility
The Committee shall consider a communication inadmissible when:
(a) The communication is anonymous;
(b) The communication is not in writing;
(c) The communication constitutes an abuse of the right of submission of such communications or is incompatible with the provisions of the Convention and/or the Optional Protocols thereto;
(d) The same matter has already been examined by the Committee or has been or is being examined under another procedure of international investigation or settlement;
(e) All available domestic remedies have not been exhausted. This shall not be the rule where the application of the remedies is unreasonably prolonged or unlikely to bring effective relief;
(f) The communication is manifestly ill-founded or not sufficiently substantiated;
(g) The facts that are the subject of the communication occurred prior to the entry into force of the present Protocol for the State party concerned, unless those facts continued after that date;
(h) The communication is not submitted within one year after the exhaustion of domestic remedies, except in cases where the author can demonstrate that it had not been possible to submit the communication within that time limit.
Article 8 Transmission of the communication
1. Unless the Committee considers a communication inadmissible without reference to the State party concerned, the Committee shall bring any communication submitted to it under the present Protocol confidentially to the attention of the State party concerned as soon as possible.
2. The State party shall submit to the Committee written explanations or statements clarifying the matter and the remedy, if any, that it may have provided.
The State party shall submit its response as soon as possible and within six months.
Article 9 Friendly settlement
1. The Committee shall make available its good offices to the parties concerned with a view to reaching a friendly settlement of the matter on the basis of respect for the obligations set forth in the Convention and/or the Optional Protocols thereto.
2. An agreement on a friendly settlement reached under the auspices of the Committee closes consideration of the communication under the present Protocol.
Article 10 Consideration of communications
1. The Committee shall consider communications received under the present Protocol as quickly as possible, in the light of all documentation submitted to it, provided that this documentation is transmitted to the parties concerned.
2. The Committee shall hold closed meetings when examining communications received under the present Protocol.
3. Where the Committee has requested interim measures, it shall expedite the consideration of the communication.
4. When examining communications alleging violations of economic, social or cultural rights, the Committee shall consider the reasonableness of the steps taken by the State party in accordance with article 4 of the Convention. In doing so, the Committee shall bear in mind that the State party may adopt a range of possible policy measures for the implementation of the economic, social and cultural rights in the Convention.
5. After examining a communication, the Committee shall, without delay, transmit its views on the communication, together with its recommendations, if any, to the parties concerned.
Article 11 Follow-up
1. The State party shall give due consideration to the views of the Committee, together with its recommendations, if any, and shall submit to the Committee a written response, including information on any action taken and envisaged in the light of the views and recommendations of the Committee. The State party shall submit its response as soon as possible and within six months.
2. The Committee may invite the State party to submit further information about any measures the State party has taken in response to its views or recommendations or implementation of a friendly settlement agreement, if any, including as deemed appropriate by the Committee, in the State party’s subsequent reports under article 44 of the Convention, article 12 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography or article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the involvement of children in armed conflict, where applicable.
Article 12 Inter-State communications
1. A State party to the present Protocol may, at any time, declare that it recognizes the competence of the Committee to receive and consider communications in which a State party claims that another State party is not fulfilling its obligations under any of the following instruments to which the State is a party:
(a) The Convention;
(b) The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography;
(c) The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the involvement of children in armed conflict.
2. The Committee shall not receive communications concerning a State party that has not made such a declaration or communications from a State party that has not made such a declaration.
3. The Committee shall make available its good offices to the States parties concerned with a view to a friendly solution of the matter on the basis of the respect for the obligations set forth in the Convention and the Optional Protocols thereto.
4. A declaration under paragraph 1 of the present article shall be deposited by the States parties with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall transmit copies thereof to the other States parties. A declaration may be withdrawn at any time by notification to the Secretary-General. Such a withdrawal shall not prejudice the consideration of any matter that is the subject of a communication already transmitted under the present article; no further communications by any State party shall be received under the present article after the notification of withdrawal of the declaration has been received by the Secretary-General, unless the State party concerned has made a new declaration.
Part III Inquiry procedure
Article 13 Inquiry procedure for grave or systematic violations
1. If the Committee receives reliable information indicating grave or systematic violations by a State party of rights set forth in the Convention or in the Optional Protocols thereto on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography or on the involvement of children in armed conflict, the Committee shall invite the State party to cooperate in the examination of the information and, to this end, to submit observations without delay with regard to the information concerned.
2. Taking into account any observations that may have been submitted by the State party concerned, as well as any other reliable information available to it, the Committee may designate one or more of its members to conduct an inquiry and to report urgently to the Committee. Where warranted and with the consent of the State party, the inquiry may include a visit to its territory.
3. Such an inquiry shall be conducted confidentially, and the cooperation of the State party shall be sought at all stages of the proceedings.
4. After examining the findings of such an inquiry, the Committee shall transmit without delay these findings to the State party concerned, together with any comments and recommendations.
5. The State party concerned shall, as soon as possible and within six months of receiving the findings, comments and recommendations transmitted by the Committee, submit its observations to the Committee.
6. After such proceedings have been completed with regard to an inquiry made in accordance with paragraph 2 of the present article, the Committee may, after consultation with the State party concerned, decide to include a summary account of the results of the proceedings in its report provided for in article 16 of the present Protocol.
7. Each State party may, at the time of signature or ratification of the present Protocol or accession thereto, declare that it does not recognize the competence of the Committee provided for in the present article in respect of the rights set forth in some or all of the instruments listed in paragraph 1.
8. Any State party having made a declaration in accordance with paragraph 7 of the present article may, at any time, withdraw this declaration by notification to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Article 14 Follow-up to the inquiry procedure
1. The Committee may, if necessary, after the end of the period of six months referred to in article 13, paragraph 5, invite the State party concerned to inform it of the measures taken and envisaged in response to an inquiry conducted under article 13 of the present Protocol.
2. The Committee may invite the State party to submit further information about any measures that the State party has taken in response to an inquiry conducted under article 13, including as deemed appropriate by the Committee, in the State party’s subsequent reports under article 44 of the Convention, article 12 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography or article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the involvement of children in armed conflict, where applicable.
Part IV Final provisions
Article 15 International assistance and cooperation
1. The Committee may transmit, with the consent of the State party concerned, to United Nations specialized agencies, funds and programmes and other competent bodies its views or recommendations concerning communications and inquiries that indicate a need for technical advice or assistance, together with the State party’s observations and suggestions, if any, on these views or recommendations.
2. The Committee may also bring to the attention of such bodies, with the consent of the State party concerned, any matter arising out of communications considered under the present Protocol that may assist them in deciding, each within its field of competence, on the advisability of international measures likely to contribute to assisting States parties in achieving progress in the implementation of the rights recognized in the Convention and/or the Optional Protocols thereto.
Article 16 Report to the General Assembly
The Committee shall include in its report submitted every two years to the General Assembly in accordance with article 44, paragraph 5, of the Convention a summary of its activities under the present Protocol.
Article 17 Dissemination of and information on the Optional Protocol
Each State party undertakes to make widely known and to disseminate the present Protocol and to facilitate access to information about the views and recommendations of the Committee, in particular with regard to matters involving the State party, by appropriate and active means and in accessible formats to adults and children alike, including those with disabilities.
Article 18 Signature, ratification and accession
1. The present Protocol is open for signature to any State that has signed, ratified or acceded to the Convention or either of the first two Optional Protocols thereto.
2. The present Protocol is subject to ratification by any State that has ratified or acceded to the Convention or either of the first two Optional Protocols thereto. Instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
3. The present Protocol shall be open to accession by any State that has ratified or acceded to the Convention or either of the first two Optional Protocols thereto.
4. Accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of accession with the Secretary-General.
Article 19 Entry into force
1. The present Protocol shall enter into force three months after the deposit of the tenth instrument of ratification or accession.
2. For each State ratifying the present Protocol or acceding to it after the deposit of the tenth instrument of ratification or instrument of accession, the present Protocol shall enter into force three months after the date of the deposit of its own instrument of ratification or accession.
Article 20 Violations occurring after the entry into force
1. The Committee shall have competence solely in respect of violations by the State party of any of the rights set forth in the Convention and/or the first two Optional Protocols thereto occurring after the entry into force of the present Protocol.
2. If a State becomes a party to the present Protocol after its entry into force, the obligations of that State vis-à-vis the Committee shall relate only to violations of the rights set forth in the Convention and/or the first two Optional Protocols thereto occurring after the entry into force of the present Protocol for the State concerned.
Article 21 Amendments
1. Any State party may propose an amendment to the present Protocol and submit it to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Secretary-General shall communicate any proposed amendments to States parties with a request to be notified whether they favour a meeting of States parties for the purpose of considering and deciding upon the proposals. In the event that, within four months of the date of such communication, at least one third of the States parties favour such a meeting, the Secretary-General shall convene the meeting under the auspices of the United Nations. Any amendment adopted by a majority of two thirds of the States parties present and voting shall be submitted by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly for approval and, thereafter, to all States parties for acceptance.
2. An amendment adopted and approved in accordance with paragraph 1 of the present article shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the number of instruments of acceptance deposited reaches two thirds of the number of States parties at the date of adoption of the amendment. Thereafter, the amendment shall enter into force for any State party on the thirtieth day following the deposit of its own instrument of acceptance. An amendment shall be binding only on those States parties that have accepted it.
Article 22 Denunciation
1. Any State party may denounce the present Protocol at any time by written notification to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The denunciation shall take effect one year after the date of receipt of the notification by the Secretary-General.
2. Denunciation shall be without prejudice to the continued application of the provisions of the present Protocol to any communication submitted under articles 5 or 12 or any inquiry initiated under article 13 before the effective date of denunciation.
Article 23 Depositary and notification by the Secretary-General
1. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall be the depositary of the present Protocol.
2. The Secretary-General shall inform all States of:
(a) Signatures, ratifications and accessions under the present Protocol;
(b) The date of entry into force of the present Protocol and of any amendment thereto under article 21;
(c) Any denunciation under article 22 of the present Protocol.
Article 24 Languages
1. The present Protocol, of which the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited in the archives of the United Nations.
1. There is overwhelming scientific research that substantiates that children do best in a joint legal arrangement with 50-50 physical custody. Parents should endeavor to make this happen. (NOTE: It is amazing how parents do make this happen when denied a choice in these matters. Research demonstrates that giving parents the right to choose emboldens some of them to oppose joint legal custody when they would otherwise accept it if denied the right to choose.)
2. Parents must maintain a civil and respectful posture with the other parent in front of the child or in situations that can get back to the child.
"You have the right to have contact with your family and community." - Doesn't say how often and doesn't say how or which community became the child's at which point or after how long.
"You have the right to be told why you are in care and keep a record of your time in care." - Doesn't say you have the right to be told this by anyone outside the department or if the whole story gets told. And they can keep their own record?
"You have the right to ask for any information that is being kept about you, to read your file and add information to your file." - You've seen these files.. they're rampant with black markers. Doesn't say "all info". Doesn't say they'll keep was what added.
Let's give you an example. On August 25th 2009 at an emergency meeting held at DoCS Sutherland due to an assault/mental/emotional abuse of a little boy by his carer, it was requested the sibling group be given their Charter of Rights Booklets ASAP as all children in OOHC must be given this BOOKLET.
In attendance at this meeting was the case-manager & case-worker for DoCs Sutherland along with the Director of Youth and Children for Catholiccare and the Catholiccare case-worker who we might add had never heard of the Childrens Charter of Rights Booklet or the Childrens Charter of Rights.
When your parents separate, they may go to a court to help them decide who you will live with.Sometimes, they can agree about where you should live, but might ask the court to help them organise how you spend your time and communicate with the parent you don't live with.
Will anyone listen to what you have to say? What you have to say is very important. The court will want to know what you think before it makes any decision. Maybe you don't want to say what you want. That's okay too. Nobody will force you to talk about things you don't want to discuss. Well they tell you this in the brochure, but truth be told your ICL will taunt you and tell you that you are going to live with the abusive violent parent you basically do not know --- Amanda Steiner is great at this -- she will make ten year old children cry by telling them they will not see their mummy again for a long time.
How can you be sure the court will listen? You won't have to go to court and speak yourself. We understand that could be hard for you. Instead, a person called an Independent Children's Lawyer (ICL) will talk to you on your own before the court day. They will not put forward what your wishes are at all - so start writing your own affidavit and have somebody you trust submit it for you.