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Children's rights in Wales

This advice applies to Wales

All children under 18 are protected by an international agreement called the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This covers many things, from your right to have a name to the right to be protected from abuse.

The way you are treated by professionals such as teachers, police officers, social workers and doctors should also be based on the rights set out in the Convention.

If you live in Wales, the government must also consider these rights when making new laws or policies. This page tells you about your rights and what you can do if you think this hasn't happened.

What are your children's rights?

You've got many different rights which include:

  • the right to be properly cared for and protected from harm
  • the right to have a say when adults are making decisions about you
  • the right to good quality healthcare and education

See a full list of children's rights .

What does this mean for you?

The government must consider all your rights when making new laws or policies. They shouldn't do anything which takes them away.

For example, according to current law, if a headteacher wants to exclude you from secondary school, they have to give you a chance to appeal, as well as telling your parents so that they can appeal too.

However, if the government wanted to change this policy so only your parents could appeal, you can now complain about this. You could say that the government didn't take into account your rights under Convention on the Rights of the Child. If you're successful in your complaint, this could mean the law shouldn't have been changed in this way and the old rules will still stand.

How can you complain about a minister's decision?

Ministers make many decisions on behalf of government. To complain about a Minister's decision you could:

  • complain to the Minister
  • send a petition to the National Assembly for Wales if you can get ten or more people to sign it
  • use the judicial review procedure. You would need to get legal advice about how to do this.

Next steps

You can get advice about how to complain about a Minister's decision from Meic, the advocacy and advice helpline for children and young people in Wales, or from the Children’s Commissioner for Wales.

Freephone: 08088 023456 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
Free text: 84001

Children's Commissioner for Wales - freephone
Freephone: 0808 801 1000 (Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 5.00pm)
Text: 80800 and start the message with COM

If you want to argue against a proposal to make a change to a law or policy before the change has actually been made, you can ask an Assembly Member to help.

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