The best interests of the child has become an central facet of the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in expulsion cases. This article argues that the indirect application of the best interests of the child as an interpretive benchmark for Article 8 ECHR is not the end point of state’s responsibilities under Article 3 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). This article argues that the ECtHR’s case law presents significant limitations in the subject matter scope of the best interests of the child, and limitations to the way in which it incorporates them into the Article 8 ECHR balancing exercise. This article acts as a thought experiment by modelling an alternative mode of decision-making. It asks what the best interests of the child might look like as the substantive human right at the centre of decisions about the expulsion of foreign nationals.