Statistical Manual for a Core Set of Child Protection Indicators for Europe and Central Asia
UNICEF is leading the preparation of the Statistical Manual for a Core Set of Child Protection Indicators in Europe and Central Asia that offers National Statistical Offices (NSOs), line Ministries and other child protection authorities and stakeholders, the practical guidance and tools for the collection of child protection data that is essential for monitoring the overall functioning and strength of child protection systems in countries across the region of Europe and Central Asia. The data and information generated by the proposed child protection indicators should be used by national governments, academia and civil society actors to identify the priority protection needs of children and the necessary prevention and responses to those needs, provide information to guide the national response including programme development and budgeting, and support advocacy to improve laws, policies, systems and services for children in need of protection. The data should be considered with available survey data (for instance from MICS, DHS or other surveys) and combined with qualitative data and information from key child protection stakeholders, including children themselves.
Set of Indicators
The current version of the manual was developed as a refinement of the TransMonEE database indicators’ and its manual, and is the result of an extensive desk review, and several consultations within UNICEF, governments and NSOs in the region, and with some external partners. During the TransMonEE meeting held in Vienna, 26-27 November 2019, it was agreed among all the countries present, that the first edition of the manual will be published in late 2020, upon the completion of in-depth testing of indicators that have not been collected in the TransMonEE database, so this will serve to validate the feasibility for countries to provide quality and timely data for those indicators and to fill in the gaps for those indicators that are not methodologically complex. The work on gaining greater methodological consensus or clarity on some complex indicators (for instance indicators on children affected by family/civil law proceedings or on the prevention of unnecessary separation of children from their families) that have not been collected yet in the TransMonEE database, will require more time to resolve and will be pursued in parallel and incorporated into the manual at a later time. Indicators have been grouped in three categories: (1) children in alternative care and adoption of children; (2) access to justice for children; and (3) violence against children.
Child protection is defined as preventing and responding to violence, exploitation and abuse of children.
Child protection data needs are driven by the goals, objectives and targets set out in international and national legal and policy frameworks and cross-country agreements pertaining to the protection of children.
This Manual recognizes the common goals of child protection systems across the region, for instance: reducing the number of children unnecessarily separated from their families; reducing the use of institutional care for children; increasing the use of appropriate protection responses such as foster care; reducing the number of children in detention; increasing the number of children who benefit from alternatives to detention, such as diversion; identification of and adequate responses for children who experience violence; and increasing social work and social service workforce capacities to prevent and respond to child protection concerns.
For national level policy makers and other stakeholders to assess the performance of their child protection systems against national and regional goals and targets relevant child protection data must be regularly collected, analysed, validated and reported. Ideally, the data should be part of a central and inter-operable national data system that is coordinated by an appropriate government agency, such as an NSO, to ensure data collection from all relevant sectors and proper aggregation; and that allows Government at national and subnational level to better monitor, evaluate and improve the protection of all children in the country.
The data and information generated by the proposed child protection indicators should be used by national governments, regional and local authorities, academia, civil society actors and other key stakeholders to:
- monitor policy and practice improvements at all levels;
- help to identify the protection needs of children and the necessary prevention and responses to those needs;
- provide information to guide the national response including programme development and budgeting;
- support advocacy to improve systems and services for children in need of protection; and
- demonstrate national commitment to globally accepted measures of child protection.
 This is in line with the 2017 Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data, specifically the Strategic Area 1, Objective 1.1: “Strengthen national statistical systems and the coordination role of national statistical offices, focusing explicitly on the coordination NSO-other government data producers”. See: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/hlg/Cape_Town_Global_Action_Plan_for_Sustainable_Development_Data.pdf.