Care for child development
All children have the right to an education and to be protected from violence, exploitation and abuse.
UNICEF’s Care for Child Development (CCD) intervention provides information for cognitive stimulation and social support to young children, through responsive caregiver-child interactions.
- UNICEF survey statistics reveal that 42 percent of babies (1-2 year olds) have been physically punished.
- Among toddlers (3-6 years), the rate of physical punishment is as high as 59 percent.
- As children get older, the violence does not decrease; 42 percentof Belizean children between 1-14 years old experience corporal punishment.
- In Belize, many children under the age of five are left home alone, or with another child under the age of ten, putting them at risk for non-responsive care, injury or even death by abuse and neglect.
- There continues to be a need for more access to well regulated, quality pre-schools and lower elementary school in Belize.
In 2011 only 32 percent of children aged 3 to 6 attended, by 2015 that had increased to 55 percent. But many more children are still not getting the early start they need.
Care for Child Development (CCD) is a holistic Early Childhood Development (ECD) intervention originally developed in the 1990s as part of regular healthy child visits under the WHO/UNICEF strategy of Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI). Since then, additional initiatives have been added, including Accelerated Childhood Survival and Development (ACSD), Infant Young Child Feeding (IYCF), and Maternal and Newborn Health (MNH).
In response to the threat Zika syndrome poses to Belizean infants, UNICEF is building on a collaborative approach across the Ministries of Health, Education and Human Development, to provide screening and family counseling on Zika transmission and the potential impact of Zika on children at healthcare facilities countrywide.
Because children exposed to systematic violent discipline show lower levels of socio-emotional development and are more likely to demonstrate violent behavior towards other children and adults, in 2017 UNICEF Belize became the first country to bring violence prevention and child protection under Care for Child Development.
This new dimension of CCD in Belize has already expanded into three areas: evidence for toxic stress and violence on early childhood, data on violence in early childhood in Latin America and Belize, preventative actions that can be taken by caregivers and warning signs for caregivers.
There is a continuous rotation of “train-the-trainers” workshops, and an increase in the number of rural and public health nurses, social workers, teen moms, Rovers from the Roving Caregiver program and preschool teachers qualified in Care for Child Development.
UNICEF partners with the Government of Belize’s Ministries of Health, Education and Human Development as they support parents and other caregivers.