In this article the development and background of the Directive on procedural safeguards for children who are suspects or accused persons in criminal proceedings is sketched out. Two key rights are reflected upon: the right to legal assistance and the right to other appropriate assistance. The main challenge with regard to the implementation of the right to legal assistance is the possibility of member states to derogate from this right on the basis of the circumstances of the particular criminal case(s) involving the child. The right to legal assistance is contingent upon the proportionality clause that has been built in the Directive and therefore legal assistance is not guaranteed for every child suspect or accused. The right to other appropriate assistance is given separate attention in the Directive, which strengthens the child’s legal position and his support during the proceedings.