Objective 4: Strengthen Child Welfare and Protection Systems

A well-functioning child welfare and protection system has the following:

  • Strong leadership and governance, including strong policies, legislation, and regulations
  • Effective coordination and networking mechanisms to ensure commitment and collaboration among key stakeholders, leaders, sectors, and services
  • Good service models and delivery mechanisms for identifying vulnerable children, supporting child well-being, and preventing and responding to abuse exploitation, neglect, and family separation
  • Adequate financing to ensure continuity and sustainability or services
  • Effective information management and accountability systems
  • A well-performing workforce

Child welfare and protection systems can also be understood as having formal and informal components, which may not always connect or coordinate. In some countries, coordination between the more formal, national, or government-led elements of the system (e.g., laws, policies, finance, workforce, etc.) and the more informal is complicated by a difference in values, beliefs, and expectations. 

All Children Count, but Not All Children Are Counted

Birth registration is imperative for governments to create and monitor national population statistics. Improved birth registration records contribute to statistical data that are crucial for planning, decision making, and monitoring actions and policies aimed at promoting a culture of protection for children.

  • In less developed countries, only half of children under 5 have their births registered.
  • Non-registration is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where over 64 percent of children under 5 do not have their birth registered.
  • For Asia and the Pacific, the Middle East and North Africa, and the Latin America/Caribbean region, the rates of children who are not registered by their fifth birthday are 29 percent, 23 percent, and 10 percent, respectively.1


  1. UNICEF. (2005). A statistical analysis of birth registration.

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