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Know your rights

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is an important agreement by countries who have promised to protect children’s rights.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child explains who children are, all their rights, and the responsibilities of governments.

All the rights are connected, they are all equally important and they cannot be taken away from children.

This text is supported by the Committee on the Rights of the Child

You can download a child friendly version by clicking on the booklet.


Children’s rights in detail

A child is any person under the age of 18.

All children have all these rights, no matter who they are, where they live, what language they speak, what their religion is, what they think, what they look like, if they are a boy or girl, if they have a disability, if they are rich or poor, and no matter who their parents or families are or what their parents or families believe or do. No child should be treated unfairly for any reason.

When adults make decisions, they should think about how their decisions will affect children. All adults should do what is best
for children. Governments should make sure children are protected and looked after by their parents, or by other people when this is needed. Governments should make sure that people and places responsible for looking after  children are doing a good job.

Governments must do all they can to make sure that every child in their countries can enjoy all the rights in this Convention.

Governments should let families and communities guide their children so that, as they grow up, they learn to use their rights in the best way. The more children grow, the less guidance they will need.

Every child has the right to be alive.

Governments must make sure that children survive and develop in the best possible way.

Children must be registered when they are born and given a name which is officially recognized by the government. Children must have a nationality (belong to a country).

Whenever possible, children should know their parents and be looked after by them.

Children have the right to their own identity – an official record of who they are which includes their  name, nationality and family relations.

No one should take this away from them, but if this happens, governments must help children to quickly get their identity back.

Children should not be separated from their parents unless they are not being properly looked after – for example, if a parent hurts
or does not take care of a child.

Children whose parents don’t live together should stay in contact with both parents unless this might harm the child.

If a child lives in a different country than their parents, governments must let the child and parents travel so that they can stay in contact and be together.

Governments must stop children being taken out of the country when this is against the law – for example, being kidnapped by someone or held abroad by a parent when the other parent does not agree.

Children have the right to give their opinions freely on issues that affect them. Adults should listen and take children seriously.

Children have the right to share freely with others what they learn, think and feel, by talking, drawing, writing or in any other way unless it harms other people.

Children can choose their own thoughts, opinions and religion, but this should not stop other people from enjoying their rights. Parents
can guide children so that as they grow up, they learn to properly use this right.

Children can join or set up groups or organisations, and they can meet with others, as long as this does not harm other people.

Every child has the right to privacy.

The law must protect children’s privacy, family, home, communications and reputation (or good name) from any attack.

Children have the right to get information from the Internet, radio, television, newspapers, books and other sources.

Adults should make sure the information they are getting is not harmful.

Governments should encourage the media to share information from lots of different sources, in languages that all children can understand.

Parents are the main people responsible for bringing up a child.

When the child does not have any parents, another adult will have this responsibility and they are called a “guardian”. Parents and guardians should always consider what is best for that child. Governments should help them. Where a child has both parents, both of them should be responsible for bringing up the child.

Governments must protect children from violence, abuse and being neglected by anyone who looks after them.

Every child who cannot be looked after by their own family has the right to be looked after properly by people who respect the child’s
religion, culture, language and other aspects of their life.

When children are adopted, the most important thing is to do what is best for them. If a child cannot be properly looked after in their own country – for example by living with another family – then they might be adopted in another country.

Children who move from their home country to another country as refugees (because it was not safe for them to stay there) should get help and protection and have the same rights as children born in that country.

Every child with a disability should enjoy the best possible life in society.

Governments should remove all obstacles for children with disabilities to become independent and to participate actively in the community.

Children have the right to the best health care possible, clean water to drink, healthy food and a clean and safe environment to live in.

All adults and children should have information about how to stay safe and healthy.

Every child who has been placed somewhere away from home – for their care, protection or health – should have their situation checked regularly to see if everything is going well and if this is still the best place for the child to be.

Governments should provide money or other support to help children from poor families.

Children have the right to food, clothing and a safe place to live so they can develop in the best possible way. The government should help families and children who cannot afford this.

Every child has the right to an education. Primary education should be free. Secondary and higher education should be available to every child. Children should be encouraged to go to school to the highest level possible. Discipline in schools should respect children’s rights and never use violence.

Children’s education should help them fully develop their personalities, talents and abilities.

It should teach them to understand their own rights, and to respect other people’s rights, cultures and differences. It should help them to live peacefully and protect the environment.

Children have the right to use their own language, culture and religion – even if these are not shared by most people in the country where they live.

Every child has the right to rest, relax, play and to take part in cultural and creative activities.

Children have the right to be protected from doing work that is dangerous or bad for their education, health or development.

If children work, they have the right to be safe and paid fairly.

Governments must protect children from taking, making, carrying or selling harmful drugs.

The government should protect children from sexual exploitation (being taken advantage of) and sexual abuse, including by people forcing children to have sex for money, or making sexual pictures or films of them.

Governments must make sure that children are not kidnapped or sold, or taken to other countries or places to be exploited (taken advantage of).

Children have the right to be protected from all other kinds of exploitation (being taken advantage of), even if these are not specifically mentioned in this Convention.

Children who are accused of breaking the law should not be killed, tortured, treated cruelly, put in prison forever, or put in prison with adults. Prison should always be the last choice and only for the shortest possible time. Children in prison should have legal help and be able to stay in contact with their family.

Children have the right to be protected during war. No child under 15 can join the army or take part in war.

Children have the right to get help if they have been hurt, neglected, treated badly or affected by war, so they can get back their health and dignity

Children accused of breaking the law have the right to legal help and fair treatment. There should be lots of solutions to help these children become good members of their communities. Prison should only be the last choice.

If the laws of a country protect children’s rights better than this Convention, then those laws should be used.

Governments should actively tell children and adults about this Convention so that everyone knows about children’s rights.

These articles explain how governments, the United Nations – including the Committee on the Rights of the Child and UNICEF – and other organisations work to make sure all children enjoy all their rights.

Useful Resources and Websites

Get in touch with us if you find another website that may be of interest to others and we can include it here

Know Your Rights

The Convention on the Rights of the Child explains who children are, all their rights, and the responsibilities of governments.

Just Youth

Supporting young people in Sandwell to be the best they can be, by ensuring they have the best start at home, school, work and life.

Shape Sandwell

The SHAPE Programme organises events and opportunities throughout the year for children and young people to engage in positive activities. 

Ambitious Lives

Ambitious Lives is a youth service provider that meets the needs of disadvantaged young people with challenging behaviours.

Sandwell Leisure Trust

Sandwell Leisure Trust (SLT) maintains nine affordable leisure centres for an annual fee from Sandwell Metropolitan Borough council. It is both an independent company limited by guarantee and a registered charity.

Transport West Midlands

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority. We work with bus and train operators to make sure that public transport is: safe, reliable, affordable and accessible for everyone

Go Play Sandwell

Our child-friendly approach has the potential to unite a range of progressive agendas including health and wellbeing, school readiness, sustainability, resilience and safety and act as a catalyst for urban regeneration and innovation ensuring children have a playful childhood in Sandwell.

Visit Sandwell

On this site you can explore things to see and do in Sandwell, discover unexpected hidden gems, browse what’s on in each of our Towns and join in with our colourful and diverse calendar of festivals and events. 


The service offers honest information about drugs.


The DECCA (Drug Education, Counselling and Confidential Advice) Team are Sandwell’s young people's alcohol, drug and tobacco advice service.


Cranstoun provides services for adults and young people facing difficulties with alcohol and other drugs, domestic abuse, housing and criminal justice.

Youth Justice

The Youth Justice Team is a group of professionals from Children and Young People, Health, Police and Probation services working with young people who are at risk of offending or who offend.

Kaleidoscope Plus

At The Kaleidoscope Plus Group, our goal is to champion mental health and wellbeing, driving real change and providing crucial mental health support services to the community, wherever they are needed.


Free, safe and anonymous support from the online mental wellbeing community

Young Minds

We want to see a world where no young person feels alone with their mental health, and all young people get the mental health support they need, when they need it, no matter what.

Family Information Service

Sandwell Family Information Service offers free, impartial information to families with children aged 0 to 19 years (or up to 25 years with a special educational need or disability), young people and professionals. 

Coram Voice

Every day Coram offers direct, practical help and emotional support to vulnerable children, young people, and their families.


Propel is brought to you by Become, the charity for children in care and young care leavers. We provide help, support and advice so that young people who spend time in care can unleash their potential and take control of their lives.


For 30 years, we’ve stood shoulder to shoulder with children in care and young care leavers, helping them get the support they need.

Safeguarding Partnership

Sandwell Children’s Safeguarding Partnership (SCSP) undertakes the work of the formerly Sandwell Safeguarding Children Board (SSCB) with the aim to ensure all children in Sandwell are safe, happy, healthy and achieving.

Early Help Partnership

The Early Help Partnership brings together schools, voluntary agencies, community organisations, faith groups, Sandwell Council, health providers, police and fire services and others, to work more closely supporting children and families in Sandwell.

Strengthening Families

The service offers support to children, young people and families who need some help to make things better.

Healthy Sandwell

Healthy Sandwell is part of Sandwell Council’s Public Health team.  The team charges a range of services to support local people to make positive lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or losing weight.

Health Passport

The Care Leavers Mobile App is a user friendly Health Information store for care leavers which enables you to keep important information about your Health, appointments, health history, immunisations in one secure

Care Leaver Covenant

The Care Leaver Covenant is a national inclusion programme that supports care leavers aged 16-25 to live independently. We create meaningful opportunities for care leavers in five key areas and support care leavers to access those opportunities.

National Youth Agency

NYA is the national body for youth work, and the Professional Statutory Regulatory Body (PSRB) for youth work in England. 

Children's Commissioner

The Office of the Children's Commissioner for England is a non-departmental public body in England responsible for promoting and protecting the rights of children as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as other human rights legislation.

British Youth Council

The British Youth Council empower young people aged 25 and under to influence and inform the decisions that affect their lives.

Sandwell Virtual School

The Sandwell Virtual School (LACE) has high aspirations for looked after children and ensure that children and young people are given every opportunity to access the best education, giving them the chance to achieve their potential.


Horizons is Sandwell Children’s Trusts dedicated Child Exploitation Team who specialise in supporting children and young people abused through all forms of exploitation.


Childline is yours – a free, private and confidential service where you can talk about anything. We’re here for you online, on the phone, anytime.

SMBC Education Support

Information about school admissions, term times, adult learning, school meals and teaching to name a few.


Sandwell Council of Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a charitable organisation based in Sandwell which supports Sandwell’s Voluntary and Community Sector, comprised of voluntary-run community groups, charities, not-for-profit businesses, faith communities and social enterprises.

Local Offer (SEND)

Our vision for children and young people in Sandwell with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is that they will be able to achieve their aspiration for a healthy ordinary life through meaningful employment and fulfilling relationships within the community of their choosing.

Brook Advisory

Being a young person can be tough. Through our innovative clinical services, digital support, tailored counselling and inspiring relationships and sex education, young people are able to take charge of their sexual health and wellbeing.

Sandwell CAMHS

Sandwell CAMHS is a specialist mental health service commissioned to provide interventions to those children, young people and their families who are vulnerable to mental health problems that are severe or complex in nature.

Murray Hall

Murray Hall Community Trust provide a range of innovative services for children, families, young people and adults, from early years to end of life care.

Rees Foundation

Rees offer help and advice to care experienced individuals about any concern and are always here to listen. They run a number of projects that hopefully can make a real difference to care experienced people of any age.


National Leaving Care Benchmarking Forum (NLCBF) members support each other to develop more compliant, efficient and cost-effective services through sharing and developing policies and best practice.

Help at Hand

If you’re in care, leaving care, living away from home or working with children’s services Help at Hand can offer you free support, advice and information.


IMO is a voice for teenagers in care and for care leavers. It is somewhere you can share stories, experiences and achievements, get and give advice, and find loads of great free stuff!


Connexions Sandwell provides careers guidance in line with statutory requirements to young people who live or are educated in the Sandwell area.