Child Safety & Welfare
Architects, Teachers and all others organising Architecture & Children activities, or working with children in the context of Architecture & Children programmes, should take steps to ensure that all relevant laws, regulations and guidelines for the protection and safety of children are observed.
Some of the activities described in the RIAI Architecture & Young People website - model-making, construction studies projects, field trips to historic buildings, for example - carry inherent risks of accidents. National Health & Safety Regulations should be observed at all times. Children should never be taken onto a construction site. Only persons who carry an up-to-date FÁS Safe Pass card are entitled to enter a construction site, and then only with the consent of the Main Contractor who has possession of the site.
Child Protection Guidance
The Department of Health and Children publication Our Duty to Care: Principles of Good Practice for the Protection of Children and Young People, gives specific guidance to the voluntary and community sector on creating safe environments for children. It provides practical advice on best practice in relation to recruitment management, complaints and reporting procedures so as to promote child welfare and safety. www.dohc.ie/publications/our_duty_to_care.html
UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child
The RIAI supports the principles of the UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child, which came into force in September 1990 and has been ratified by 192 countries including Ireland.
The Convention defines a child as "every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier". It upholds the right of a child, without discrimination of any kind, to education and information in the spirit of the ideals proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations and in particular in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity . . . especially those aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health.
It holds that education should be directed towards development of:
- the child's personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential;
- respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations;
- respect for the child's parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate, and for civilizations different from his or her own;
- preparation for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin;
- respect for the natural environment.
The full text of the Convention can be found at www.unicef.org/crc/