A mother holds her smiling child to her face


Millions of children throughout the world live under conditions of serious deprivation or danger.

This figure highlights influences throughout the lifespan of adverse childhood experiences on social, emotional, and physical well-being.  The Action Plan (link) is grounded in research that reveals a promising future belongs to those nations that invest wisely.

Children who have experienced violence or are exploited, abandoned, abused, or severely neglected, face significant threats to their survival and well-being as well as profound life cycle risks that have an impact on human, social, and economic development. Efforts to assist vulnerable girls and boys in low- and middle-income countries have often focused on single vulnerability cohorts and categories – for example, children affected by HIV and AIDS, in emergencies, or in the worst forms of child labor, including those who have been trafficked. Although such efforts have produced substantial benefits, this diffused approach can result in a fragmented response. Coordinated, multifaceted action can help ensure that children in adversity benefit fully from policies and services.

Did You Know?

  • 200 million children under 5 (more than 30% of the world’s children) fail to reach their developmental potential in lower and middle income countries. 
  • 6.9 million children die before their 5th birthday of largely preventable causes.
  • In less developed countries, only half of children under 5 have their births registered.
  • As many as 8 million children may be living in institutions.
  • Globally, 36% of girls and 29% of boys have been sexually abused.
  • An estimated 300,000 children are associated with armed forces or groups.
  • 70 million children are affected by natural disaster.
  • 3.3 million children under 15 are living with HIV and AIDS and 17.3 million children under 18 have lost one or both parents to it.
  • 1.8 million children are victims of sex trafficking or pornography.

Photo credit: USAID Kenya

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