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Child-sensitive social protection

Children from poor households are more likely to receive poor healthcare, suffer inadequate nutrition, achieve lower educational results and consequently lower future earnings in the labour market. They are likely to grow up into poorer adults whose children do less well thus continuing the intergenerational transmission of poverty. Child-Sensitive Social Protection secures basic incomes and reduces risks for children in extreme poverty and/or without family care, and takes into account the voices and views of children and their caregivers.

Social protection policies and programmes are an essential element of realising child rights and breaking the intergenerational, vicious cycle of poverty. Policies designed and implemented with children in mind can significantly increase benefits for children including: educational attainment, health care access, adequate nutrition and reduction in risk of abuse, exploitation and neglect. Child-Sensitive Social Protection (CSSP) comprises policies, programmes and systems that address the specific patterns of children’s poverty and vulnerability and recognize the long-term developmental benefits of investing in children as well as the obligation to fulfill their rights.

CSSP encompasses child-focused or family-based programmes that directly or indirectly address children’s needs and rights and improve child development. Save the Children is working to ensure that all social protection programmes are child-sensitive, by maximising impacts and minimising harms for both girls and boys of all ages.

CSSP often means providing cash transfers, in-kind transfers or a combination, often in humanitarian crisis situations. It could also be providing access, among very poor families with children, to social insurance such as unemployment benefits, health insurance, pensions and maternity care. The aim is to reach the most vulnerable and deprived ─ orphans, very poor families with young children, mothers with newborns, children in institutional and family-based care and poor students in need of support to continue schooling (often girls).

In 2018 the Child Poverty Global theme launched the organisation wide common approach ‘Resourcing Families for Better Nutrition. Driven by the CSSP subtheme, our ‘Cash-Plus’ global common approach works to provide cash transfers and information to families to ensure pregnant women and babies receive the right kind of food, preventing long-term damage from undernutrition in the critical first 1000 days of a child’s life.

In CSSP, Save the Children is working together with a number of partners, particularly UNICEF and other members of the Global Coalition to End Child Poverty.

Photo: Prasanth Vishwanathan/Save the Children


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