Child Protection Systems

A range of factors lead to violations of children’s right to be protected. Among them are lack of access to quality education, rural–urban migration, displacement due to armed conflict or natural disaster, trafficking, harmful traditional practices, gender-based violence and discrimination due to gender, ability, political, ethnic or religious background. An effective national child protection system recognizes that the state has the ultimate responsibilities and human rights obligations towards children.

Save the Children believes that by building and strengthening child protection systems that are based on children’s rights, measures to protect all children will be holistic, inclusive, sustainable and well-coordinated. In essence, rights-based systems will lead to better protection for children.

A national child protection system consists of: laws and policies that protect children from abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence; a central government mechanism for child protection which brings together central government departments, different provinces, central and local levels of government and civil society and mechanisms that bring perpetrators to justice. It also needs effective regulation and monitoring at all levels, for example in childcare institutions and schools and a committed workforce with relevant competencies and mandates.

In addition, a functioning child protection system should provide child-friendly services at all levels and be informed by children’s views and experiences. It strengthens families in the care and protection of their children. The services are regulated by quality standards and delivered by the government or accredited social agencies.

Save the Children recognizes that most countries in the world have a long way to go before reaching this level and we therefore work to find strategic entry points for advocacy and capacity building in each country.

Photo: Christena Dowsett/Save the Children

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