ChildFund’s approach

Strengthening our approach to child protection.


Our work to protect children builds on established organizational principles and approaches:

A life stage approach

At ChildFund, we tailor our interventions to meet children’s evolving needs as they develop from infancy through young adulthood. Our Life Stage Approach guides our programs, ensuring that children are able to realize a series of core outcomes in each chapter of childhood.


A systems approach

Our approach puts the child at the center of all we do and considers the different “layers” of potential support and risk to children. In our work, we are conscious of how these different layers impact a child’s life, and how they impact or interact with each other — either strengthening a system of support or fragmenting it.

A community-based approach

We know that families and communities have their own ways of protecting children from abuse, exploitation, neglect, and violence in the home, school, or community. ChildFund and its partners support community practices that are protective of children and strengthen community groups that informally work to prevent and respond to incidents of violence against children. We link these informal community-based child protection mechanisms (CBCPMs) with formal child protection services to ensure that children have access to social workers, police, health care and other agencies responsible for protecting children.

A child-centered approach

We put children’s voices and experiences at the center of our work. When we empower children and youth to claim their rights, they become agents of change in their own lives and mobilize their peers to action. We actively engage children and youth in defining both problems and solutions.

Change through advocacy

We are not alone in this effort; as part of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, ChildFund joins a growing global movement of governments, UN agencies, international organizations, civil society and other actors working to protect and advocate with and for children and youth around the world.

As a young person with a disability, I now feel safer because there are laws to protect people like me. In our community, there is also a council for the protection of children in the community they serve. They are champions of children’s rights and allies in our fight to end violence against children.
— Antonio, Philippines

Our program principles

Our principles call for us to uphold children’s right to protection from abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence. Moreover, we know that our efforts will only be sustainable if we address the root causes of violence against children, sch as social inequality, chronic poverty, and harmful social norms.

We believe in building collaborative relationships among the people and institutions engaged in protecting children. We know that when children and youth are inspired to become agents of change in their own protection, they can find their own solutions.

Embedding these principles in all that we do provides a strong foundation for achieving sustainable impact for children.


Building evidence and documenting impact through systematic monitoring, evaluation, and learning

Guided by our organizational strategy, we have refined our global monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system to capture new child protection data across all life stages. We now systematically:

  • Ask children and youth, their caregivers, and community representatives in all of our program countries about their exposure to and experience of violence in different settings and stages of childhood.

  • Explore whether community-based child protection mechanisms (CBCPMs) have been established to prevent and respond to harm against children and, if so, how well they actually function.

  • Examine how families and communities care for and protect children as well as the circumstances in which children are referred to formal service providers.

These data add a child protection layer to our global M&E system, which captures data from all of the countries and communities in which we work. By collecting information on a set of indicators aligned to our Life Stage Theories of Change, we are able to measure how we are progressing toward the outcomes we seek for children and learn about the role that protective environments play in achieving these outcomes.