Social Protection for Children and their Families: A Global Overview

This paper explores social protections as receiving increasing attention in both the high-income industrialized countries and the middle- and low-income countries. It notes that children constitute the largest vulnerable group in most countries yet social protection for children remains far less developed than for the elderly everywhere. The social protection responses vary significantly across regions, and no one model is dominant across all regions. It highlights several commonalities and offers a framework for comparing and analyzing child-conditioned social protection policies and programs.

The paper provides an overview of the traditional social protection policies in high-income OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) and EU (European Union) countries including those addressing more recent risks such as lone parenthood. It draws on previous research in the OECD countries (Kamerman et al 2003), from the Columbia University Clearinghouse on Child, Youth, and Family Policies, and from a trend analysis of data on
social protection expenditures for children and their families (Gatenio Gabel & Kamerman, 2006).

It then reviews social protection child and family policies in a parallel sample of less developed and developing countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, focusing on the strategy of cash benefits and conditionality and the role of social services. The policies described include some of those addressing traditional risks as well as those targeted on vulnerable and disadvantaged children and families with special needs, such as: child labor, HIV/AIDS, early care and education, and child-headed households.

Authors: Kamerman, S. B. & Shirley Gatenio Gabel, (2007).
Published in:
A. Minujin, (Ed.) Social protection initiatives for children, women, and families: An analysis of recent experiences (pp. 91-127). The New School for Social Research and UNICEF.


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