An image of a family with a baby and an arrow leading to the same family in the future, where the baby has grown up into a young person.

UNCRC Article 18

I have the right to be brought up by both parents if possible

Article 18 of the UNCRC says that a child or young person’s parents will normally have the main responsibility for bringing them up. They should both do this, both share responsibilities, and both be concerned with the best interests of the child or young person in their care.

If a child or young person only lives with one parent, their other parent should provide them with support. The form this support takes will depend on what that child or young person’s best interests are. Children and young people shouldn’t be discriminated against if their parents aren’t married or never were.

When it isn’t possible for a child or young person to be brought up by their parents, they should be cared for. Article 20 of the UNCRC details rights around going into care.

Government responsibilities

Scotland and the UK have a responsibility to assist parents where they can, and this responsibility is carried by people employed by the State who are involved in a child or young person’s upbringing. These people include:

  • people who run playgroups or youth clubs
  • school guidance counsellors
  • school nurses.

The Scottish and UK Goverments should review how their employees assist parents, to make sure they are keeping their human rights promises to children under this article of the UNCRC.


The Families Outside helpline is open on weekdays from 9 to 5 and can give you support and information while prison visits are suspended.

Being able to keep in touch with your parents is important for all children and young people. Having a parent in prison has a major impact on your human rights even in less unusual times. We’re calling for alternative ways to contact your parent to be found, so that the prison service respects your human rights.

Days of General Discussion

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child facilitates Days of General Discussion where experts from around the world can discuss a child rights issue in detail. The reports of their discussions are a helpful tool to understand how the UNCRC should be interpreted.

Some Days of General Discussion relevant to Article 18 are: