Yale Data on Child Representation

Representing Children Worldwide is a project of Yale Law School that attempts to catalogue “how children’s voices are heard in child protective proceedings” in an advertised 250 countries in the year 2005. This is an interesting, potentially useful, flawed project. Any data arrived at through a decent research method for such a spread of jurisdictions has real potential to help teachers, legislators and lawyers who find themselves working across legal boundaries.

The project seems to have run out of money, though, before it was completed. Thus, there’s nothing whatever on Canada, a jurisdiction that could have yielded up its various child representation rules fairly easily. (Perhaps that’s why it was neglected in favour of other countries with laws less accessible by potential users of the study.) The thing is, though, that the money evidently failed before the website got properly set up. So there’s a list of countries which are covered by the study, but it’s not hyperlinked; immediately below there’s a hyperlinked list of all 250 of the promised countries, some of which, like Canada, get you 404’s – i.e. messages that say the page does not exist. There are other technical and formatting glitches that make me want to get in there and fix things.

Still, presentation aside, it is a useful resource; and I join the project staff in their hope that someone will step in to carry on the work, otherwise it will become an ever more yellowed snapshot of most of 2005.


  1. I appreciate your mention of our website Representing Children Worldwide. I am one of the many students who has devoted countless hours to collect and post our research. In fact, those countless hours are still continuing. You are correct that there are formatting issues – that we are all interested in getting in there to fix – as well as data that is not yet posted. Though we were hopeful that this project would be finished at the beginning of this year, like most projects of a large scope, it has taken longer to wrap than anticipated. Many of us are still hard at work to get this website in its final shape and expect to be able to do so in the coming few weeks. Please do check back again soon and let us know what you think of our findings on Canada and the remaining jurisdictions that we are working so hard on to present accurate, informative, and easily accessible information on the child’s right to be heard in protective proceedings.