"In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration."

United Nations
Convention on the Rights of the Child

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is a United Nations treaty establishing human rights standards for the treatment and development of children. It recognizes that "people under 18 years old often need special care and protection that adults do not" and lays out basic human rights standards as applicable to children (Convention on the Rights of the Child website).

Immigration proceedings in the United States do not have legal provisions offering special care and protection for children. Children face the same courts and judges as adults, and similarly, they have no right to counsel at government expense.

The Immigrant Child Advocacy Project (ICAP) pairs Child Advocates with children in immigration proceedings. A Child Advocate has many duties, among which are providing support for the child, helping them obtain proper legal representation, and advocating for the child's best interests according to the standards provided for in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In the following interview excerpt, ICAP Director and Founder Maria Woltjen discusses the origins of the Child Advocate role, and Child Advocates' many duties as they assist children in immigration proceedings.

5/22/2012 07:12:15 pm

Great information about Advocating for the Child's Best Interest & the other information of the system. It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed information.


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