Notes on Social Insurance and Protection Policies for Children, Women and Families

What is social protection and why is it particularly important for children and families? What types of social protection policies are currently in place around the world?
Are conditional and targeted cash transfers fair? Are they efficient? Why do cash transfer programs seem to be in fashion rather than more general redistribution policies? Is social protection only for the most vulnerable children or should it reach all children? Does social protection strengthen and ensure child rights? Are social security programs only feasible for developed countries or are they also attainable for the developing world?

The aforementioned questions do not yield straightforward answers. While the meaning and scope of social protection are widely debated, what is clear is an inordinate number of people lacking access to basic services, social protection and minimum income/standard of living throughout the world. Moreover, as one of the most vulnerable groups, children are often disproportionately excluded from these basic services and policies, which result in violations of their rights, multiple deprivations and poverty. With growing numbers of children facing the present situation of despair, their futures bleak, it is difficult to refute the need for introducing and expanding social protection policies, especially for children and families. However, the debate on what this should entail and its long term effects is only beginning. There are many terms used interchangeably to describe the myriad projects, programs and policies that could fall under the rubric of social protection policy. These include, among others: Social Welfare, Social Assistance, Social Protection, Social Insurance, Social Security, and Social Safety Nets. Although misunderstanding of definition and scope surround many of these terms, this paper does not intend to offer new definitions. Rather, the approach consists in applying a broad view to frame a discussion of the concepts, debates and future of social protection for children, women and families.

By Alberto Minujin, Enrique Delamonica, Alejandra Davidziuk y Elizabeth Sweet.

In Minujin, A.; Delamonica, E. (eds.) (2007), Social Protection Initiatives for Children, Women and Families, The New school, New York.

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