Who holds the key to child welfare paramountcy?
A critical analysis of the ‘triangular rights’ decision-making paradigm: child, parent, and state
Keywords:child rights, best interests, parental responsibility, triadic relationship model
The triadic, rights-based relationship between child, parent, and state has sparked much socio-legal debate. Judicial rights-balancing exercises have contributed to the shaping of the law and policy frameworks that support child and parental rights but have also influenced sociological understandings of the concepts of parenthood, childhood, and best interests. There is a need however for greater clarity in relation to the meaning and scope of the child welfare paramountcy principle and the remit of parental responsibility: within the UK for example, the Gillick principle - and certain provisions of the Children’s Convention - still draw criticism. This paper seeks to reassess the triadic relationship (child, parent, state) via a ‘keyholder model’ to illustrate its workings and tensions.
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