A grandfather holds his young grandson.

Strategic Objectives

The Strategy builds on three evidence-based objectives that inform the U.S. Government’s policies and programs to benefit the world’s most-vulnerable children. They are interrelated, interdependent, and mutually reinforcing. Success with each creates a multiplier effect by contributing to a solid foundation to protect children and adolescents from a wide array of risks and supporting their development, care, and safety.


Objective 1: Build Strong Beginnings

The U.S. Government will promote nurturing care for the most-vulnerable newborns and young children, starting before birth, by funding and supporting comprehensive and integrated programming in early-childhood development to provide for children’s health, nutrition, safety and security, responsive caregiving for social and emotional well-being, and opportunities for early learning.

The Earlier the Investment, the Greater the Return: The Heckman Curve





Objective 2: Put Family Care First

The U.S. Government will support those most vulnerable children who are, or are at risk of, living outside of family care by promoting, funding, and supporting nurturing, loving, protective, and permanent family care.

The Negative Impacts of Institutionalization on Brain Function

These images illustrate some of the findings of the Bucharest Early Intervention Project, a randomized controlled trial that measured profound impacts of institutionalization on the brain function of children institutionalized at a young age, and the potential for recovery when removed and placed in good-quality family care.




Objective 3: Protect Children from Violence

The U.S. Government will promote, fund, and support the protection of children from violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect by investing in preventative and responsive programming.

Violence Against Children and Youth Causes Severe, Life-Long Consequences


Guiding Principles

The Strategy also applies five guiding principles when funding and supporting programs internationally to support children and adolescents in adversity.


Adapt Approaches

The U.S. Government will adapt programs and policies to a child’s age, life stage, and gender, with attention to disabilities, to increase the effectiveness of the interventions it funds.


Strengthen Systems

The U.S. Government will assist governments and civil society in partner countries to build and strengthen their capacities to support, manage, and finance their social-service and child-protection systems fully.


Generate and Use Evidence-based Information

The U.S. Government will use the best available data for decision-making and employ research, implementation science, and programmatic learning to design evidence-based and evidence-informed policies, programs, and practices and adapt them according to the findings.


Create Synergies

The U.S. Government will work across Departments and Agencies to promote the best possible outcomes for children and families around the world by fostering synergies across sectors and breaking down silos where they exist.


Promote Strategic Partnerships

The U.S. Government will engage and mobilize a broad range of resources and stakeholders, including governments, civil society, faith-based organizations, and donors to increase the scale and effectiveness of the U.S. Government’s international efforts.


Implementation Plan

Following the launch of the Strategy, the Special Advisor will work with U.S. Government partners, including USAID field Missions, to develop an implementation plan that details how each different partner will contribute to the achievement of the Strategy's Objectives. The Special Advisor will also led the development of a monitoring and evaluation plan to measure implementation progress.