United States Government Action Plan on Children in Adversity

United States Government

The Action Plan on Children in Adversity is the first government wide strategic guidance for U.S. Government international assistance for children. The goal of the Action Plan is to achieve a world in which all children grow up within protective family care and free from deprivation, exploitation, and danger. The plan is grounded in evidence that shows a promising future belongs to those nations that invest wisely in their children, while failure to do so undermines social and economic progress. The plan seeks to integrate internationally recognized, evidence-based practices into all of its international assistance initiatives for the best interests of the child. 

An interagency coordination strategy was developed in 2006 to respond to the call for a comprehensive response on the part of the U.S. Government to the world’s most vulnerable children, but the strategy primarily focused on programming for children affected by HIV/AIDS and lacked clarity with regards to overarching guiding principles, goals, objectives, and outcome indicators. Thus, in 2011, the U.S. Government interagency partners actively began a process to establish a whole-of-government guidance and a strategy for children in adversity. The process was informed by a U.S. Government Evidence Summit on Protecting Children Outside of Family Care. A key result of the summit was the commitment of senior U.S. Government interagency leaders to establish guiding principles and the very first U.S. Government strategy for assistance to these children. This commitment was published in The Lancet on December 12, 2011, and an interagency team worked collaboratively over 10 months to develop this first U.S. Government Action Plan on Children in Adversity.

The Action Plan has three principal objectives, with Objective 2 specifically highlighting the importance of family care, and three supporting objectives to promote greater U.S. Government coherence and accountability for whole-of-government assistance to vulnerable children. They are as follows:

Principal Objectives

  • Objective 1: Build strong beginnings. The U.S. Government will help ensure that children under 5 survive and thrive by supporting programs that promote a child’s health, nutrition, and family support.
  • Objective 2: Put family care first. U.S. Government assistance will support families to care for their children, prevent unnecessary family-child separation and promote appropriate protective and permanent family care.
  • Objective 3: Protect children. The U.S. Government will facilitate efforts of national governments to prevent, respond to and protect children from violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect.

Supporting Objectives

  • Objective 4: Strengthen child welfare and protection systems.
  • Objective 5: Promote evidence-based policies and programs.
  • Objective 6: Integrate this plan within U.S. Government departments and agencies. 

For further information, please visit: http://www.usaid.gov/children-in-adversity