Toronto Metropolitan University
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Is the right to early intervention being honoured? A study of family experiences with early childhood services

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posted on 2023-09-15, 19:50 authored by Kathryn UnderwoodKathryn Underwood, Elaine B. Frankel, Karen Spalding, Kathleen Brophy

This article presents an empirical study of family interactions with childhood disability and early years services in Ontario, Canada, with a focus on whether the right to early intervention is being honoured. International mandates, national legislation, and local policies have increased global awareness of the rights of children to be provided with environments for optimal healthy development and education, including the right to early intervention. The right to early intervention is articulated by the United Nations in several international declarations and conventions. Article 20 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC, 1989) was the first convention to use the term disability. It specifically addresses the particular rights of disabled children, with articulation of the right to “enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance, and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community” (A.20, s.1, 1990). Further, the CRC clearly states that children have the right to special care and assistance for both the child and the service providers working with the child. Services are to be delivered free of charge in order to ensure that the child has access to education, training, health care, rehabilitation, preparation for employment, and recreation services. In all cases these services must consider the fullest social integration and individual development that is consistent with cultural and spiritual beliefs (A.20, s.2-4).     


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