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Children’s Rights Indicators from Theory to Implementation: The Flemish Case


Through the creation of a ‘Flemish Action Plan for Children’s Rights 2011–2014’, the Flemish Government (Belgium) engaged itself, amongst others, to develop a set of indicators to monitor the realization of children’s rights. This commitment inspired the Children’s Rights Knowledge Centre (KeKi) to conduct a critical study about the use of indicators to monitor children’s rights. The study exists of a critical literature review regarding the creation of children’s rights indicators, an expert consultation and a participative followup of the steps taken by the Flemish Government in developing the indicators. In this article, the main challenges and opportunities that were identified through this study, are presented.

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Fig. 1


  1. 1.

    The federal government also holds responsibilities to implement children’s rights (for instance in matters of justice or migration). However, child and youth related competences at the federal level are more limited.

  2. 2.

    KeKi is the abbreviation of the Dutch name ‘Kenniscentrum Kinderrechten’

  3. 3.

    This seminar was named ‘Sense and nonsense of using children’s rights indicators’ and was held on June 25th, 2012. In this article, this seminar will be referred to as ‘Expert Seminar on Indicators (2012)’.

  4. 4.

    One representative of the Youth Department of the Social-cultural Work for Youth and Adults Agency; one representative of the ‘Gezinsbond’ (This is a civil society organization focusing on the needs of families. Roughly translated in English, it would be called ‘League of families’) and one representative of the university of Ghent, research group ‘Cultural Diversity: Opportunities & Socialisation’.

  5. 5.

    As well, the study results and the recommendations were presented at the 4th meeting of the International Society for Child Indicators (ISCI) (Seoul National University, May 29–31, 2013).

  6. 6.

    A recent exception is the ‘context analysis’ of the results of applied children’s rights and youth policies that is being prepared by the Youth Department of the Social-cultural Work for Youth and Adults Agency. This analysis is based on a broad range of available data.

  7. 7.

    The study about children’s rights indicators was not outsourced by the Flemish government; KeKi carried out this study and formulated the policy advice on its own initiative. The fact that the indicator development process took shape right after the communication of the guidelines, is due to timing: as KeKi was aware of the indicator development process being initiated, it was made sure that the advice was delivered right before the start of it.

  8. 8.

    A list of the proposed indicators as of March 25th, 2013, cannot be attached to this article, due to the confidentiality of this information as the indicator developing process is still in progress.


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Correspondence to Hanne Op de Beeck.

Appendix: Organizations Represented at the Expert Seminar on Indicators (2012)

Appendix: Organizations Represented at the Expert Seminar on Indicators (2012)

Agency for International Cooperation (policy)

Association of Flemish Youth Services (civil society)

Association for the United Nations (civil society)

Child and Family (civil society)

Criminology Institute of the University of Brussels (research)

Department for Well-Being, Public Health and Family (policy)

Expertise center for Culture of the University of Ghent (research)

Expertise center for Well-Being, Public Health and Family (research)

Flemish Coalition of Children’s Rights (civil society)

Flemish Youth Council (civil society)

Higher Institute for Family Sciences of the Brussels University College (research)

Institute for Social Law of the University of Leuven (research)

Law and Development Research Group of the University of Antwerp (research)

League of Families (civil society)

National Commission on the Rights of the Child (civil society)

OASeS (Poverty Research Center of the University of Antwerp) (research)

UNICEF Belgium (civil society)

UNICEF Chair in Children’s Rights (research)

Youth Department of the Social Work for Youth and Adults Agency (policy)

Youth Research Platform (research)

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Op de Beeck, H. Children’s Rights Indicators from Theory to Implementation: The Flemish Case. Child Ind Res 8, 243–264 (2015).

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  • Children’s rights indicators
  • Monitoring
  • Local implementation
  • Policy processes