Objective 2: Putting Family Care First

U.S. Government assistance will support and enable families to care for their children; prevent unnecessary family-child separation; and promote appropriate, protective, and permanent family care.

There is much agreement that optimal support for a child comes from a caring and protective family.1 The Convention on the Rights of the Child,2 a normative legal framework in countries where U.S. international assistance is applied, affirms that the family has primary responsibility to protect and care for the child. However, governments have the responsibility to protect, preserve, and support the child-family relationship.

The Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children [PDF, 190 KB], welcomed by the U.N. General Assembly on November 20, 2009, emphasizes the primacy of the family as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth, well-being, and protection of children. The guidelines indicate that efforts should primarily be directed at enabling the child to remain in or return to the care of their parents or, when appropriate, other close family members.

Below are the specific outcomes that the U.S. Government aims to achieve within targeted subpopulations.

Outcome 2.1: The percentage of children living within appropriate, permanent, and protective family care is increased.

Outcome 2.2: The percentage of children living in institutions is reduced.

Outcome 2.3: The percentage of families providing adequate nutrition, education opportunities, care, and protection for their children is increased.


  1. Generally speaking, families give children an identity that instills in them a sense of permanence, belonging, stability, and security, paving the road for the raising of confident, independent, moral children. “Permanence” refers to “relational permanence,” which is something that transcends time and place.
  2. Although the United States has not ratified and is therefore not a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, it did sign the Convention on February 16, 1995. Signing is an act by which a State provides a preliminary endorsement of the instrument. Signing does not create a binding legal obligation but does demonstrate the State’s intent to examine the treaty domestically and consider ratifying it. While signing does not commit a State to ratification, it does oblige the State to refrain from acts that would defeat or undermine the treaty’s objective and purpose.

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