Shared Parenting Information Group (SPIG) UK

- promoting responsible shared parenting after separation and divorce -

Children in Charge (book review)

Children in Our Charge (book review)

Mary John (ed) (1996)

Children in Charge. The Child's Right to a Fair Hearing. Published March 1996. 288 pages.
Jessica Kingsley Publishers. ISBN 1 85302 368 X. paperback 16.95

Mary John (ed). Children in Our Charge. The Child's Right to Resources. Published 1996. 256 pages.
Jessica Kingsley Publishers. ISBN 1 85302 369 8. Paperback 16.95

These two new books are a collection of articles and papers inspired by the World Conference on Research and Practise in Childrens Rights held at the University of Exeter in September 1992. The conference encouraged the participation of children as well as professionals and many of the contributions here come from children. In philosophical terms the starting point of this collection is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which was passed unanimously by the UN General Assembly in November 1989. It develops a well articulated children's rights perspective on a massive range of children's issues.

The Child's Right to a Fair Hearing examines the twin themes of children's participation and children's involvement. Many of the articles will be of only passing interest to non resident parents but of particular note is the piece by Sarnia Harrison - 'Piggy in the Middle; What Happens To You When Your Parents Separate. Influenced by her own parents breakup she wrote this information booklet for children and young people when she was 17, as a college project . The Child's Right to Resources focuses on the issue of adult responsibilities to children and the question of defining exactly what is meant by ' the best interests of the child'. Again the articles cover a wide range of topics. Of particular interest to non resident parents will be the article by Monica Cockett and John Tripp 'Divorce, Mediation and the Rights of the Child'. Cocket and Tripp were responsible for the production of the influential Exeter Family Study (1994) on the effects of divorce on children and this article presents some of their findings particularly with regard to the mediation process.

This is an interesting and well edited book covering a vast range of diverse children's issues. It is aimed principally at the academic and professional market. Social workers, teachers, psychologists and students would all be interested in the material here. The articles are given a sense of unity by their common child centred approach. Worth ordering from your local library.

Arthur Baker

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