Our Approach

VA Press

Document & Report Human Rights Abuses Against Children

One of the most important functions we perform is investigating, documenting and reporting human rights abuses committed against children. Our reporting will focus on our five key issue areas:

(1) Harm committed against children, including abuse, neglect, and exploitation;

(2)  Abuses committed against children who come into conflict with the law, including those in the child welfare, juvenile justice, and criminal justice systems;

(3) Harm and discrimination committed against immigrant, non-native children;

(4) Failures in our educational system, including any harm or abuse that children may experience; and

(5) Failures to provide children access to adequate nutrition, housing, and healthcare.

As part of our broader efforts to prevent children from experiencing harm, we have specific reporting on gender, ethnic, or racially motivated harm, such as female genital mutilation, racial and ethnic violence, or discriminatory treatment of children.


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Policy Research

As the premier human rights organization advocating on behalf of children, we identify and research areas of the law for improvement to better protect children’s rights. We also develop specific policy recommendations for localities, states, and the federal government in each of our five issue areas in order to improve children’s lives.

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Public Education

After documenting and reporting human rights abuses against children, as well as our development of policy proposals, we engage in public education to raise the profile of issues affecting children. We do this by talking with community members, members of the media, policymakers, and other advocates.

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Grassroots Organizing

Part of our public education effort includes coalition building and grassroots mobilization. By engaging members of each individual community, state, or country we are able to amplify our message to bring attention to human rights abuses committed against children and push for reforms that will lead to long-term systemic change.

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Critical to our work is advocating for policy changes that ensure each state and every country provide protection and a base level of care for children to keep them safe from harm and give them the best opportunity to become thoughtful, caring, and contributing members of their society. Legislative reforms we advocate for range in scope from criminal statutes targeting child predators to juvenile justice reform measures to focus states on rehabilitating and reintegrating children who come into conflict with the law. We also advocate on behalf of children before international bodies, including the United Nations Human Rights Committee & Committee on the Rights of the Child.


Strategic Litigation

We engage in and support strategic litigation to bring about lasting legal reforms on behalf of children through the court systems. Our work ranges in scope from submitting Amicus Briefs in important cases impacting children’s rights to directly representing children who have suffered human rights abuses. Our litigation work is done in concert with our legislative advocacy and public education efforts to maximize the impact of our work protecting children from human rights abuses.


Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the United States

The United States in the only country in the world that has yet to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Several of the provisions of the CRC came at the recommendation of President Reagan’s Administration and President Bill Clinton signed the CRC in 1995. However, the Convention has never been submitted to the U.S. Senate for ratification. While the U.S. is a party to the optional UN protocols against children in armed conflict and child exploitation, it is critical that every nation state sign and ratify the CRC to protect the human rights of children.

A special project of Human Rights for Kids is the ratification of the CRC by the United States Government.