Child Protection

“The sharp escalation in the scale and intensity of armed conflicts and the increasing violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights Law (IHRL) throughout 2023 has had devastating consequences for children’s rights, including their right to protection. One in five children globally live in or are fleeing from conflict zones. Forced displacement reached unprecedented levels in 2023 and children constitute 41% of all forcibly displaced people despite being only 30% of the world's population.  Due to the protracted nature of conflict, the majority of these children will spend their entire childhoods in displacement…The UN Secretary General’s 2023 report on Children and Armed Conflict included the highest ever numbers of verified grave violations against children throughout 2022. Attacks against schools and hospitals increased by 112%, and the recruitment and use of children by armed forces and armed groups rose by 21% compared to the previous year.” (The Alliance, 2023)

Humanitarian crises often have long-lasting, devastating effects on children’s lives. Whether caused by armed conflict or a sudden onset natural disaster, crises exacerbate pre-existing vulnerabilities and protection risks as well as create new risks for children. Children may face a greater risk of injury and disability, neglect, physical and sexual violence, psychosocial distress and mental disorders, family separation, recruited into armed forces, exploitation, and death. Refugees, internally displaced, and stateless children can be especially vulnerable.

Child protection is the ‘freedom from all forms of abuse, exploitation, neglect, and violence, including bullying; sexual exploitation; violence from peers, teachers, or other educational personnel; natural hazards; arms and ammunition; landmines and unexploded ordnance; armed personnel; crossfire locations; political and military threats; and recruitment into armed forces or armed groups.’. Child protection actors and interventions seek to center the protection of children in humanitarian action to prevent and respond to all forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence. Effective child protection builds on existing capacities and strengthens preparedness before a crisis occurs. During humanitarian crises, timely interventions support the physical and emotional health, dignity, and wellbeing of children, families, and communities. Child protection in humanitarian action (CPHA)  includes specific activities conducted by local, national, and international child protection actors. It also includes efforts of non-child protection actors who seek to prevent and address abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence against children in humanitarian settings, whether through mainstreamed or integrated programming.  International and national organizations, community groups and schools, family support, and the children themselves can all serve to enhance the level of protection children experience. Sustainable solutions build on and strengthen these existing protective factors so that children are protected in the short and long terms. 

Experience repeatedly shows that when children are protected in an effective and holistic manner, other humanitarian efforts - including education - are more successful. In turn, simultaneously strengthening child protection and education systems is proven to be one of the most cost-effective ways to build resilience and promote sustainable development. An intersectoral approach is therefore necessary to address the multifaceted challenges and risks faced by children in humanitarian settings. 

Additional information on the needs and impacts of intersectoral programming to support the protection of children can be found in documents prepared by The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action (The Alliance). Specifically, The Unprotected: Overview of the Impact of Humanitarian Crises on Children in 2023 and the Technical Annex: Recommendations to Support the 2023 Overview of the Impact of Crises on Children and Their Protection.

CPHA and Education in Emergencies (EiE) are natural partners in humanitarian response. The two sectors have much in common: both are child-focused, are priorities for affected populations, and, through collaboration, they reinforce each other’s sectoral outcomes. Mainstreamed, joint, and integrated programming across CPHA & EiE add value to affected populations, service providers, and donors. Working together can create more efficient, better-targeted, and more effective programs that result in improved outcomes for children and young people (Alliance and INEE, 2021). The Alliance and INEE are committed to strengthening the intersection between child protection and education during humanitarian crises. The Joint Pledge at the Global Refugee Forum 2023 outlines three areas of shared responsibility and collaboration. They are:

  1. Capacity and knowledge sharing amongst Child Protection and Education practitioners 
  2. The promotion of evidence-based approaches to Education and Child Protection integration
  3. Collective action for collective impact: Joint advocacy on child protection and education integration 


This collection was developed with the support of Rachel McKinney, INEE Thematic Areas Team Lead.

 

31 January 2024 Advocacy Brief Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action

The Unprotected: Overview of the Impact of Humanitarian Crises on Children in 2023

The Alliance calls for urgent action and investment in three critical areas in 2024: 1) Invest in the Child Protection Workforce — it is the key asset to protect children in crises, 2) Prioritise preventing harm while continuing the response to urgent needs, and 3) Join us - Every actor across the humanitarian system has a role to play in protecting children.

30 January 2024 Report Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action

Technical Annex: Recommendations to Support the 2023 Overview of the Impact of Crises on Children and Their Protection

This Technical Annex accompanies The Unprotected: An Overview of the Impact of Humanitarian Crises on Children in 2023. It includes thematic spotlights on “Children Affected by Armed Conflict” and “Children Separated from their Caregivers”, as the two top issues coming out of the consultations.

5 December 2022 Manual/Handbook/Guide Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE)

Supporting Integrated Child Protection and Education Programming in Humanitarian Action

This guidance note by INEE and the Alliance aims to promote integration and collaboration across the two humanitarian sectors of education and child protection. It orients stakeholders in both sectors to principles, frameworks, opportunities, and resources for program integration in order to ensure efficient, targeted, and effective interventions that result in improved outcomes for children and young people.

20 November 2023 Advocacy Brief Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action

The Centrality of Children and their Protection in Humanitarian Action – An Introduction

The Alliance calls upon the leadership of the humanitarian architecture, decision makers within humanitarian organisations, donors, and all humanitarian actors to fulfil their commitments to children and their protection as an integral part of the Centrality of Protection and central element of all humanitarian action.

31 January 2021 Report Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE)

Collaboration Across Child Protection and Education in Emergencies

In this paper, the The Alliance and INEE set out the evidence supporting collaboration and integration between the sectors, providing a rationale for cross-sector work grounded in child well-being and holistic development. The paper includes a summary of challenges and opportunities, and draws out clear recommendations for systematic and planned collaboration

1 September 2020 Framework Child Protection Area of Responsibility (CP AoR), Global Education Cluster

Education in Emergencies - Child Protection Collaboration Framework

The CP-EiE Collaboration framework supports Education and CP coordination teams’ predictable and coherent collaboration throughout the Humanitarian Programme Cycle (HPC). At each step of the HPC, it provides steps to strengthen CP-EiE collaboration, promising collaboration practices from country coordination groups, and tools and resources to support collaboration.

18 August 2023 Framework Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action

Child Protection in Humanitarian Action (CPHA) Competency Framework

The CPHA Competency Framework builds on the Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action to articulate a set of recognised technical competencies for child protection in humanitarian action. It broadly describes expected standards of performance across a number of technical competencies that can be applied to different roles within the sector

15 March 2021 Report Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE)

No Education, No Protection: What school closures under COVID-19 mean for children and young people in crisis-affected contexts

This report highlights the primarily negative effects resulting from the combination of sudden school closures and restricted access to and availability of services, social networks, and other protective facilities for children and young people living in crisis-affected contexts.

17 February 2021 Manual/Handbook/Guide Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action

Child Well-Being Contextualization Guide and Package

This Guide highlights the key steps in the process of adapting the global inter-agency child well-being definition and measurement framework to context. It includes all of the contextualization and measurement tools and questionnaires. The training package provides practical guidance, support and materials to help the training facilitators successfully implement the training for data collectors in a manner that maximizes learning.

12 July 2023 Technical Note Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, Plan International, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), US Agency for International Development (USAID)

Education Interventions for Children Associated with Armed Forces and Armed Groups

The findings indicate that joint and integrated Child Protection and Education programming can address the immediate and systemic risks children formerly associated with armed forces and armed groups face returning to learning, such as physical and psychological harm, sexual exploitation and abuse, and re-recruitment into armed forces and armed groups.

18 April 2024 Manual/Handbook/Guide Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action

Indicators to Measure Cross-sectoral Contributions to Children’s Protection and Well-being

The primary purpose of this package is to outline a set of indicators that measure sectoral contributions towards children’s protection and well-being. The package does this by providing technical guidance for collecting and analysing data on key indicators in humanitarian action.

1 January 2006 Manual/Handbook/Guide
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Psychological First Aid Field Operations Guide: 2nd Edition

Gives guidance on responding to disaster or terrorism events using the Psychological First Aid intervention. This evidence-informed approach helps to assist children, adolescents, adults, and families in the aftermath of disaster and terrorism. The manual includes in-depth information about each of the eight core actions and accompanying handouts for adults, adolescents, parents and caregivers, and providers.

1 January 2019 Toolkit Save the Children

Safeguarding in Emergencies Toolkit

The toolkit is designed to be used by Child Safeguarding Country Leads and Focal Points, deployable Safeguarding/PSEA staff, and humanitarian/operational managers with responsibility for safeguarding.

24 March 2023 Background Paper Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE)

Child Labour and Education in Humanitarian Settings

This paper proposes various actions, which have been adapted from the “Inter-Agency Toolkit: Preventing and responding to child labour in humanitarian action” and are structured around the INEE Minimum Standards.

1 January 2017 Report Global Coalition to Protection Education from Attack (GCPEA)

​The Safe Schools Declaration: a Framework for Action

This Framework for Action seeks to provide governments with a non-exhaustive list of suggestions, recommendations, and examples that can assist them as they determine the appropriate way to implement the commitments made through endorsement of the Safe Schools Declaration.

1 January 2018 Toolkit International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), World Vision

Toolkit for Child Friendly Spaces in Humanitarian Settings

The toolkit provides a set of materials to assist managers and facilitators/animators in setting up and implementing quality CFS. These resources have at their core the protection of children from harm; the promotion of psychosocial well-being; and the engagement of community and caregiver capacities.

1 January 2017 Manual/Handbook/Guide Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action

Guidance Note for Reviewing Child Protection in Emergencies Proposals

These notes have been developed by the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action (the Alliance) in collaboration with the Child Protection Area of Responsibility (CP AoR) as a practical aid for assessing standalone Child Protection in Emergencies (CPiE) proposals and multi-sector proposals with CPiE components.

1 January 2018 Manual/Handbook/Guide Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action

Guidance Note: Protection of Children during Infectious Disease Outbreaks

This Guidance Note aims to provide humanitarian child protection practitioners, particularly child protection advisors and program managers, with guidance on how to engage in responses to infectious disease outbreaks to ensure children’s protection needs are taken into account in preparedness for, and during responses to, the outbreaks.

1 January 2011 Manual/Handbook/Guide
Global Education Cluster, Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC)
Global Protection Cluster

Guidelines for Child Friendly Spaces in Emergencies

The purpose of these principles is to give practical guidance to the field teams that establish CFSs in different types of emergencies and contexts.

28 October 2014 Toolkit
The Keeping Children Safe Coalition

Keeping Children Safe: A Toolkit for Child Protection

The Keeping Children Safe Coalition (KCS) toolkit is a complete package for people working in child protection across the world. The standards and exercises provide a sound basis for the development of effective measures to prevent and respond to violence: from awareness raising strategies to safeguarding measures.