A young child refugee from Syria laughs and plays with Save the Children's Mariluz Garcia in Idomeni at the border between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. More than 10,000 refugees are stranded in Idomeni waiting for the border to open. Save the Children works in Idomeni offering protection to children traveling alone and provides food and support to families. Photo credit: Pedro Armestre, September 2015.

One of Samir's* sons plays with Save the Children's Mariluz Garcia. Samir* and his sister, Iman* are living in Idomeni with their spouses and 12 children, including two babies. Photo by Pedro Armestre/Save the Children.

Global Child Protection

Children in every country, every culture, at every social and economic level are at risk of violence including physical and emotional abuse, sexual harm and exploitation, and neglect or deliberate deprivation.

Children living in households and communities impacted by conflict, natural disasters, and global pandemics like HIV/AIDS are often at increased risk of abuse, violence and exploitation.

Families who lose their homes or livelihoods in conflict or natural disasters face challenges to keeping their families together and their children safe. Children who have experienced psychosocial distress are also at risk of negative impacts on their learning, relationship building and – ultimately – their ability to thrive as an adult member of society. When we focus our attention on prioritizing these children and families and work with them and their communities to highlight protection so that we can limit the negative outcomes they face.

To achieve these ambitious goals for children, their families and communities, we work to prevent violence from occurring in the first place. However, when violence does occur, we respond by ensuring children receive the support they need to recover and return to a supportive and protective environment. We do this by:

  • Strengthening families and caregivers with the knowledge and skills to protect children;
  • Working with governments to develop and implement protective policies for children;
  • Supporting relevant duty bearers and other partners, like social workers, clinic staff, teachers, and police, to effectively implement and coordinate appropriate services for children; and
  • Listening to and involving children in their own protection.

In line with Save the Children’s 2030 ambition, that violence against children is no longer tolerated, we focus on reaching the most deprived and marginalized children, who are too often excluded due to poverty, geography, gender, ethnicity or disability in both humanitarian and development contexts.

Some of our current work includes:

  • Strengthening systems to support orphans and vulnerable children affected by the global AIDS epidemic including:
    • Linking children and families to critical services such as HIV treatment, care and prevention, nutrition, health care, education, legal protection, and psychosocial support.
    • Empowering out-of-school youth, especially girls, through informal education, life skills courses, and vocational training aimed at reducing HIV risk.
  • Working with governments, communities and families to keep children in family-based care to reduce separation and other risks by:
    • Supporting governments to develop policies and standards for alternative care, including foster care and kinship care.
    • Improving social welfare systems by building the capacity of social workers, setting standards, and establishing referral mechanisms.
    • Strengthening families with positive parenting skills and economic opportunities.
  • Providing psychosocial support services for children who have experienced various forms of violence or exploitation including:
    • Supporting education and social and emotional healing through our signature program, Healing and Education through the Arts (HEART).
  • Helping children and families in emergency situations to maintain or regain family stability and safety by:
    • Providing safe spaces for children to play, socialize, learn, and express themselves as they rebuild their lives. Child Friendly Spaces also serve as a protective mechanism from abuse and psychosocial distress helping children both during and following crises.

Explore Our Child Protection Programs


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