Family Bill of Rights

Family Bill of Rights

Adopted on 09/09/2014

The New Orleans Children and Youth Planning Board recognizes that ALL children, youth and families deserve to be treated with respect, dignity, courtesy and cultural understanding.  Therefore we have adopted the following rights to serve as guiding principles for members’ work and work we support to advocate and address the needs of ALL children, youth and families of New Orleans.

1) Right to Notification—families have a right to be notified anytime significant decisions are being made about or harm is done to their loved ones or questions are being asked that could result in their child’s suspension, expulsion, arrest, prosecution, removal from families, or any placement or movement in a state institution.

2) Right to Participation—families have a right to participate and give input in critical hearings and decision making points concerning their child. Given this right, all processes should be conducted using language and terminology families can understand.  Meetings about families or their children should be conducted at times and locations conducive to family participation, (i.e. after work hours, Saturdays, provide meals, childcare, on a bus line).

3) Right to Peer or Advocate Support—families have a right to the support of a peer or an advocate who can support and assist families in the decision making process as they navigate too often complex and intimidating systems.  A peer is someone who has been through any of the systems such as but not limited to: school disciplinary, juvenile justice or foster care processes with their own loved ones.  An advocate is someone that has that family’s best interest as priority.

4) Right to Contact—families have a right to see and otherwise be in contact with their loved ones in any out of home placement and should not face undue fines and fees. Thus, every effort should be made to have young people placed at safe, most appropriate youth facilities within 90 miles of the home, phone call costs should not be exorbitant and provisions should be made to support family visitation.

5) Right to Influence Policies—families should be consulted and engaged when  policies  and practices are being designed that affect their lives or the lives their children. Local, state and national governments should work to incorporate family’s meaningful participation in determining the direction of policy and practice.