Children in Adversity E-Newsletter
Issue 8 – June 2014

News of Note

The Action Plan on Children in Adversity (APCA) is a demonstration of the U.S. Government’s commitment to greater coordinated, comprehensive and effective assistance to prevent and respond to the needs of especially vulnerable children. More than 30 offices across the U.S. Government continue to support programs and policies relevant to the APCA objectives globally. We are currently conducting a whole-of-government portfolio review and expect to report results to Congress by the end of this summer.

Progress on the Ground

While the Action Plan on Children in Adversity applies to U.S. Government assistance globally, it also identifies a more targeted starting point for these efforts: to achieve three core outcomes in at least six priority countries over a span of 5 years. In these countries, through U.S. Government collaboration with other government, international, private, faith-based and academic partners, the framework seeks to achieve significant reductions in the numbers of:

  1. Children not meeting age-appropriate growth and developmental milestones
  2. Children living outside of family care
  3. Children who experience violence or exploitation

Cambodia, Moldova, Rwanda and Uganda have either been identified or are under consideration as APCA-designated priority countries.

Updates on the Action Plan on Children in Adversity

  • Objective 4: Strengthen Child Welfare and Protection Systems
  • Objective 5: Promote Evidence-Based Policies and Programs
  • Objective 6: Integrate Action Plan within U.S. Government Departments and Agencies

Objective 1: Build Strong Beginnings

A Shared Strategy for Nutrition: Ensuring Every Child Has the Potential for a Healthy and Productive Life

Photo of mother and child smiling.

On May 22, 2014, USAID launched the 2014–2025 Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy. This strategy is the first of its kind at the Agency and builds upon President Obama’s commitment to create a world where every child has the potential for a healthy and productive life.

Investing in Young Children Globally: The Cost of Inaction

With support from the CDC, the National Institutes of Health and PEPFAR, the Institute of Medicine’s Board on Children, Youth, and Families launched the first workshop on April 17–18 as part of a 3-year Forum on Investing in Young Children Globally. The interactive public workshop featured presentations and discussions highlighting opportunities for scientifically grounded investments in young children globally. Investments are broadly conceived to include allocations of economic, natural, social and other resources that sustain or promote human development and well-being.

PEPFAR’s Four-Country Special Initiative on Young Children

PEPFAR has announced a special initiative for the youngest children in the epidemic as part of its Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) programming. A growing understanding of the importance of early childhood development and the impact that HIV and AIDS have on the development of an HIV and AIDS-exposed child has prompted PEPFAR to examine how best to increase the attention to the health and developmental needs of these young children and their mothers. Four countries – Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland and Zimbabwe – have been chosen to participate in the initiative.

Assembling an Effective Pediatric HIV Treatment and Prevention Toolkit

Gretchen Bachman from USAID’s Office of HIV and AIDS and Dr. Nicole Behnam from the State Department’s Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator were recently published in The Lancet. The article underlines the critical importance of socioeconomic interventions in addition to medical support for children affected by AIDS, including those living with HIV.

How Does Early Childhood Development Factor in to the Post-2015 Agenda?

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN): A Global Initiative for the United Nations has mobilized scientific and technical expertise from academia, civil society and the private sector in support of sustainable development problem solving on the local, national and global scales. The SDSN’s Thematic Group on Early Childhood Development, Education, and Transition to Work aims to create a comprehensive, lifelong and multigenerational approach to learning that will maximize the world’s potential for sustainable development.

Objective 2: Put Family Care First

A Surge of Unaccompanied Minors Crossing the Border into the United States

Children on the run. Photo of child standing in a field.

On June 2, 2014, President Obama stated that the surge of unaccompanied minors crossing the south Texas border has created a humanitarian crisis and ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate a response involving several federal agencies as well as state and local governments. Administration officials said 47,017 children traveling without parents had been caught crossing the southwest border since October 1.

Families Make the Difference

On April 11, 2014, USAID’s Displaced Children and Orphans Fund (DCOF) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) hosted a seminar called “Families Make the Difference.” The event gathered academics, donors, policymakers and practitioners interested in the effect of parenting programs on child outcomes.

Objective 3: Protect Children from Violence, Exploitation, Abuse and Neglect

World Day against Child Labor

Each year on June 12, government bodies, civil society groups, activists and other stakeholders around the world join together to commemorate World Day against Child Labor. This day marks the adoption of the landmark International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 182, which addresses the need for action to tackle the worst forms of child labor. The ILO estimates that there are 215 million children in child labor worldwide.

The U.S. Government Response to Boko Haram and the Abduction of 300 Nigerian Girls

“The kidnapping of hundreds of children by Boko Haram is an unconscionable crime, and we will do everything possible to support the Nigerian Government to return these young women to their homes and to hold the perpetrators to justice.”
– Secretary of State John F. Kerry

67th World Health Assembly Adopts Resolution to Address Violence against Women and Children

On May 24, 2014, the 67th World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted a historic resolution entitled, “Strengthening the role of the health system in addressing violence, in particular against women and girls, and against children.”

New Approaches to Monitoring and Reporting on Grave Violations of Children’s Rights in Armed Conflict

On July 1, 2014, the Washington Network on Children in Armed Conflict (WNCAC), which is jointly convened by USAID’s Displaced Children and Orphans Fund and Search for Common Ground, will host a meeting at which two new approaches to information gathering and reporting on six grave children’s rights violations will be presented and discussed.

Objective 4: Strengthen Child Welfare and Protection Systems

Building a Global Social Service Workforce

Photo of a group in India.

On April 29, 2014, the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance hosted a symposium entitled “Supporting Families, Building a Better Tomorrow for Children: The Role of the Social Service Workforce.” The symposium provided a forum for practitioners, government representatives, researchers and other experts from around the world to discuss efforts to strengthen the social service workforce and advance systems and services for children and families.

Objective 5: Promote Evidence-Based Policies and Programs

Global Classroom

USAID’s Center on Children in Adversity is developing the “Global Classroom on Childhood Adversity: Promoting Better Outcomes for Children in Low and Middle Income Countries.” The virtual course will serve as a globally-accessible, evidence-based framework for informing an integrated approach to child health and development. To date, a dozen expert speakers have generously given their time to record lectures. Once editing is complete, the course will be disseminated and made available widely.

From Strong Beginnings to Youth Resilience: Pathways Out of Adversity

Photo of two children concentrating.

USAID’s Global Development Lab and the Center on Children in Adversity are in discussion about conducting a longitudinal study to identify key investments that provide cost-effective pathways out of adversity at scale. Internationally recognized experts in child and adolescent development, gender and economic development would be invited to participate in a steering committee to guide research efforts and to help disseminate results.