Child Protection


A system's building approach

The social welfare system

The justice system

In the community and family

HIV prevention


A system's building approach

A system's building approach
© UNICEF Cambodia/Nicolas Axelrod

Over the past few years, UNICEF has started moving towards a systems approach to child protection. While efforts focused on individual issues, such as child labour or child trafficking, have produced substantial benefits, the approach has often resulted in fragmented child protection responses and failure to address underlying structural issues.

Many children face multiple protection problems, rather than just one, and the fact that different risks are usually interlinked means that vulnerability in one area often leads to increased vulnerability in others. Focusing on one particular issue has sometimes resolved that issue while leaving the root causes untouched.

A systems approach promotes a holistic view of children and child protection that engages the full range of actors involved in protecting children’s rights. The approach is accompanied by a shift from mainly investing in responding to child protection concerns to a greater emphasis on preventing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation from happening in the first place. By doing so, it provides a more cohesive, sustainable and costeffective way to address child protection, resulting in longerterm, more sustainable impacts for children.





What is a child protection system?

A child protection system is 'a set of laws, policies, regulations, services and capacities needed across all sectors – especially social welfare, education, health, security and justice – to support prevention and response to protection-related risks' (UNICEF Child Protection Strategy, 2008).


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