For nearly a century, the global community has sought to afford children legal protections, abandoning widely held views that children were pecuniary assets. In the United States and globally, a nascent children’s rights movement culminated in broad child welfare reform. Whether adoption, armed conflict, child labor, education, human trafficking, or deinstitutionalization, the post-war 20th century witnessed an evolution of international child protections. The prevailing standard of “best interests of the child” (BIC) has been incorporated into domestic and international law doctrine and, not surprisingly, has been operationalized in a variety of ways. In recent years, the standard has been explored in the context of residential care institutions. Some advocates of deinstitutionalization assert that children should be reunified with biological relatives under all circumstances. Absolutes, however, are legally precarious and may be practically inconsistent with the BIC standard that practitioners and policymakers are required to acquiesce. In the current essay, the history of international child protection legislation is explored, and the BIC standard is assessed in the context of Armenia’s social system. I evaluate Armenia’s child protection obligations and conclude that the BIC standard may not always trigger deinstitutionalization and family reunification. Implications for international human rights law and the global child protection movement are assessed.
Recommended CitationGeorge S. Yacoubian Jr., Esq., Deinstitutionalization, Family Reunification, and the "Best Interests of the Child": An Examination of Armenia's Child Protection Obligations Under Conventional International Law, 33 Pace Int'l L. Rev. 151 (2021)
Available at: https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/pilr/vol33/iss2/1