Understanding National Policies

A child protection system is the comprehensive set of laws, policies, procedures, and practices designed to ensure the care and protection of children, through both preventive measures and effective responses to allegations of child abuse, neglect, and exploitation. In many countries a child protection system exists and provides services in conjunction with health, education, and social services. Understanding a country’s child protection system, and working whenever possible in partnership with government, are vital to ensuring legal compliance and also help identify any government services or resources that can be utilized in the transition process. Country-level data and information about child protection policies are typically obtainable from government entities, although availability varies from one country to the next.

In many contexts there is an implementation gap in services at the local level that is often filled by nongovernmental and community-based organizations. An examination of national policies should be accompanied by an assessment of the local context or community-level factors that shape the transition to family care, as well as a review of international standards to guide practice.

Child Protection System Mapping and Assessment Toolkit Users’ Guide Provides a practical and user-friendly method to enable participants to engage in a mapping process of their child protection systems, and to examine the scope and capacity of the existing child protection system (ranging from formal to informal), accountability mechanisms, and resource mobilization approaches. (UNICEF)

Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children: A United Nations Framework Provides policy and practice guidance with specific regard to the protection and wellbeing of children deprived of parental care or who are at risk of being so. (SOS Children’s Villages International and International Children’s Service)

Measuring the Strength of National Social Service Systems for Orphans and Vulnerable Children Guides the measurement of the performance and gaps in national social service systems for orphans and vulnerable children. (Measure Evaluation)

Analysis, Design and Planning Tool (ADAPT) for Child Protection Helps with the identification, prioritization, and root cause analysis of child protection issues, and mapping of systems in place to protect children. The toolkit features national-level child protection analysis and local analysis for program staff, local partners, and other key stakeholders. Includes a section on listening to children and templates and tools to use. (World Vision International)