Children are a significant part of the population, but their interests are often overlooked or eclipsed by other interests in public policy formation and other significant decision-making. In the simplest terms, Child Rights Impact Assessment (CRIA) helps make children visible in the decision-making process. More than ad hoc consideration of children as affected stakeholders, CRIA is a systematic process to take potential impacts on children into account in policy, legislation and other administrative decisions. The ultimate aim is to improve children’s well-being by improving the quality of information available to decision-makers.
CRIA provides information in a wider screen and at a higher resolution
Impact assessments are used in a variety of policy domains, such as environmental protection, health and privacy, to improve decisions and avoid costly unintended consequences. There is increasing awareness of the need to specifically consider impacts on children in decision-making, given the elevated potential for negative and unintended impacts on this vulnerable group. The daily lives of children are affected by policies, legislation, regulations, programs and the allocation of resources by all levels of government. There is no child-neutral policy area. These types of decisions often affect children differently than adults because of their age, dependency and vulnerability to the actions of others. As a result, the use of Child Rights Impact Assessment (CRIA) is a growing practice among governments and other organizations. The intent is to understand how a proposed course of action will contribute to or undermine fulfillment of children’s rights and well-being, and how positive impacts can be maximized and negative impacts avoided or mitigated or alternatives considered. The impacts can be direct and indirect; short-term and long-term; positive, negative or neutral.
“…a tool predicting the impact of any proposed law, policy or budgetary allocation which affects children and the enjoyment of their rights.”
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
“…a tool for looking at a policy, law or decision and assessing its impact on children and young people and their rights. It allows the impact to be predicted, monitored and, if necessary, avoided or mitigated.”
Scottish Commissioner for Children and Young People
“…a tool for translating the Convention and the child’s best interests into practice in a concrete, structured manner.”
Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, Sweden
“The process can range from thinking about the impact of decisions on children in the course of day-to-day work activity, through to the formal application of a structured impact assessment template accompanied by a record of the outcome and decisions.”
Welsh National Assembly