Do you make important decisions for a child?

Whether it is an out-of-home placement, imprisonment of a child in a police cell or the choice of school for a student with autism: all these decisions affect a child's future. Whether you are a social worker, a police officer, a teacher or a policymaker, you can use the Best Decision tool kit to put the best interests of the child first.

This tool kit is for everyone who makes professional decisions about children or young people. In every decision, it is your responsibility to know who you are dealing with and to investigate the best interests of the child. According to the Children's Rights Committee, a good decision requires a careful, systematic and complete balance of interests between the interests of the child and any other interests.

With the Convention on the Rights of the Child as a compass, we can ensure that children get the right decisions to which they are entitled and that professionals can once more do the work they chose as their profession.

Margrite Kalverboer

The child must be given the opportunity to tell their story to you, and you must involve their vision in the decision. If possible, you should research and assess the interests of the child together with a multidisciplinary team. You must pay attention to the potential risks of your decision for the child's future.

You must then present your decision to the child in a way that they understand. It should also be made clear to the child what they can do about it.

The Best Decision tool kit helps you on your way!

This tool kit has been created by the Children's Ombudsman to help you to make the best decision for the child. Use the tool kit at the various important moments in your process to arrive at a good decision together. The tool kit consists of various tools. You can use some of the tools as a professional in your job, preferably together with a multidisciplinary team. One important tool is the Best Decision Step-by-Step Plan. This will help you on your way towards an informed decision. Other tools are intended to be used together with the child, such as the questionnaire and the checklist. Use them at important moments, for example, when you start a conversation in your capacity as a professional with children, young people or their parents, foster parents or confidant. And do please share them with the children and young people you talk to!

The best decision: now and in the future

In addition to the Step-by-Step Plan, the Children's Ombudsman will develop other tools for making good decisions for children in the coming years, together with organisations from the youth domain. These tools are meant for professionals as well as for children and are being adapted step by step to the various sectors, from education to the police.

I often wondered: is this advice really the best decision for the child? I was not always able to answer 'yes' to that question wholeheartedly. Although with the knowledge and information I had at that time, it was my best decision. I was looking for an additional touchstone to support my advice. And I found it in the Convention on the Rights of the Child!

Margrite Kalverboer, about her time as a behavioural scientist at a juvenile detention centre