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International commitment to building more inclusive societies has resulted in improvements in the situation of children with disabilities and their families, but too many of them continue to face barriers to their participation in the civic, social and cultural affairs of their communities. Realizing the promise of equity through inclusion will require action to:
1. Ratify — and implement — the Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
2. Fight discrimination and enhance the awareness of disability among the general public, decision-makers, and those who provide essential services for children and adolescents in such fields as health, education and protection.
3. Dismantle barriers to inclusion so that all children’s environments — schools, health facilities, public transport and so on — facilitate access and encourage the participation of children with disabilities alongside their peers.
4. End the institutionalization of children with disabilities, starting with a moratorium on new admissions. This should be accompanied by the promotion of and increased support for family-based care and community-based rehabilitation.
5. Support families so they can meet the higher costs of living and lost opportunities to earn income associated with caring for children with disabilities.
6. Move beyond minimum standards by involving children and adolescents with disabilities and their families in evaluating supports and services designed to meet their needs.
7. Coordinate services across all sectors so as to address the full range of challenges facing children and adolescents with disabilities and their families.
8. Involve children and adolescents with disabilities in making decisions that affect them — not just as beneficiaries, but as agents of change.
9. Promote a concerted global research agenda on disability to generate the reliable and comparable data needed to guide planning and resource allocation, and to place children with disabilities more clearly on the development agenda.