UNICEF trains BSPD on children’s rights


  Posted by: Dental Design      17th February 2023

BSPD leaders have undertaken training on Children’s Rights in Practice from the UK Committee for UNICEF’s (UNICEF UK) Child Friendly Cities & Communities programme.  It was attended by BSPD’s key representatives to external organisations, chairs and secretaries of branches and affiliated groups and the executive committee.  BSPD’s President, Jenny Harris is making ‘Rights from the Start’ centre-stage for the Society during her presidential year.  

The learning outcomes from UNICEF UK’s training include gaining good knowledge and understanding of children’s human rights, understanding the meaning and principles of a child rights-based approach and exploring its practical application in work with and for children and young people.

Jenny Harris, who is a community-based Consultant Paediatric Dentist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust,  began visiting BSPD’s regional branches in January 2023 taking a lecture on ‘Rights from the Start’ around the UK, exploring the clinical implications of upholding children’s rights in paediatric dentistry. Her lecture, presented either in person or virtually, is illustrated with case examples showing how children with disabilities have the right to extra help and special care. Jenny also raises the rights of children to be protected from harm and the role dental professionals should play in safeguarding them from maltreatment.

Jenny Harris, President, BSPD said “Children’s rights is our focus this year, so it is essential that as a Society we understand more clearly what that means.  UNICEF UK’s training will allow those who attended to take the learning back into their roles and share insights both with their BSPD teams and in their own workplaces. We covered important principles such as treating children and young people without discrimination, encouraging their participation and making decisions in their best interests – all of which have applications in the day-to-day situations faced by our members.”

Sarah Handley, UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) Child Friendly Cities and Communities Programme Manager,  said “Every child has the right to the best possible health – and access to good oral care is part of this. Paediatric dentists have a role to play in upholding Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which covers ‘health and health services’, and advancing children’s rights more broadly. So, it was important to be able to work with BSPD leaders to discuss how appropriate oral health education, care and services are integral to that goal.”

Outcomes from the session will include a reassessment of BSPD’s mission and strategy, to ensure children’s voices are amplified – as well as working with the Society’s members to disseminate the key messages of  UNICEF UK’s Children’s Rights in Practice training.

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