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Child Sensitive Social Protection


Child Sensitive Social Protection Gaspar Fajth Chief, Social Policy and Economic Analysis, UNICEF Policy and Practice, New York – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Child Sensitive Social Protection

Child Sensitive Social Protection
  • Gaspar Fajth
  • Chief, Social Policy and Economic Analysis,
  • UNICEF Policy and Practice, New York
  • Strategies for the extension of Social Protection
  • Turin 5 October, 2009

The themes of this presentation
  • Introduction the SPF-I and children
  • Why Social Protection needs to be child
  • What is so special about children?
  • The relevance of social protection programmes for
  • Challenges, issues

1. Introduction the Social Protection Floor and
  • UN Crisis response (April 2009)
  • Comprehensive Framework for Action (Food
  • Joint Crisis Initiatives (6 Social Protection
  • The Social Protection Floor
  • Basic social services
  • Income security
  • Focus on poor and vulnerable populations
  • Initiative and/or approach? The issue of national
  • Joint Statement on Child Sensitive Social
  • (August 2009)
  • The aim of this session

Poverty and absolute child deprivation global
  • Chance of a woman dying from complications during
    pregnancy or delivery
  • Ireland 1 48,000
  • Niger 1 7
  • Chance of a child dying during her/his first 5
    years of life
  • Hungary 1 143
  • Cameroon 1 7
  • Risk that a child will never attend school
  • Developing countries 1 7
  • Risk that a young child will be malnourished
  • Developing countries 1 3
  • Risk that a child will live in absolute poverty
    (severe human deprivation)
  • Developing countries 1 2
  • Risk that the child will live in household with
    no access to social protection
  • World 4 5

2. Why Social Protection needs to be
  • Many societies want to prioritize children/make
    progress on the MDGs
  • Social protection can reduce future poverty
  • through preventing risks, protecting from impact,
    promoting proactive responses and transforming
    the legal environment and/or societal values
  • Childrens experiences of poverty and
    vulnerability are different from those of adults
  • loss of family care is a significant risk for
    children in the contexts of malaria, HIV/AIDS,
    conflict, humanitarian crises, and juvenile
    justice and child protection practices
  • childrens complex physical, psychological ,
    emotional and intellectual development create
    particular opportunities as well as
  • they can not and should not respond alone

  • Child poverty has been defined as
  • deprivation of the material, spiritual and
    emotional resources needed to survive, develop
    and thrive, leaving children unable to enjoy
    their rights, achieve their full potential or
    participate as full and equal members of society
    (SOWC 2005)
  • Child sensitive social protection therefore
  • to have a multidimensional focus
  • look at the options of child-centered as well as
    adult-centered programmes
  • to be developed as an evidence-based approach
  • consider the fiscal and political realities, but
    aim at maximizing opportunities and developmental
    outcomes for children within given constraints
  • challenge those constraints taking advantage of
    evidence on progress elsewhere
  • develop indicators and analyses, assessments
  • raise awareness and build a coalition for making
    social protection child sensitive
  • Questions?

3. What is so special about children?
  • Moral and legal commitments
  • High returns to investment
  • Short window opportunity
  • Strong gains from combination of interventions
  • High risks that investment will not happen

Moral and legal commitments
  • Private and public support
  • Households
  • intra- and inter-household distribution and use
    of resources
  • coping strategies are not always sustainable/may
    have negative child impact
  • Corporate sector responsibility
  • business strategy
  • workforce (HR) policy
  • Public authorities
  • laws, policies, programmes
  • transparency, accountability, effectiveness and
  • Questions
  • What factors influence these?
  • How can we measure and/or influence them?

Moral and legal commitments (cont)
  • 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • The rights of the individual child
  • citizenship
  • family
  • health
  • education
  • protection from abuse
  • access to social security
  • maximum available resources
  • international collaboration
  • Legislative reform and implementation
  • Questions
  • What are the implications?
  • How to operationalize/prioritize/make progress?

Evidence on the high returns from investing in
  • Micronutrients for children
  • the most productive global investment (Copenhagen
    Consensus, 2008)
  • providing essential vitamins and minerals would
    cost 60 million per year and hold annual
    benefits above 1 billion a 1500 per cent rate
    of return (Horton at al 2008)
  • Early childhood development
  • analysis of four early childhood and pre-school
    programmes indicates benefit-cost ratios range
    between 3.8-17.0 to one in the US (Schweinhart, L
  • Indonesia Early Childhood Development Project
    suggests a ratio of 6 to 1 (World Bank 2009)
  • Infant and maternal nutrition intergenerational
  • evidence in rural Guatemala suggests that that
    for every 100 gram increase in maternal birth
    weight, her infants birth weight increased by 29
    grams (Ramakrisnan at al 1999)
  • Basic education
  • the estimated rate of return to one additional
    year of schooling is 10 per cent on average
    globally even without counting the social
    benefits of better education (Psacharopoulos at
    al. (2004)
  • Child protection
  • Children from socio-economically deprived
    families had a chance 700 times the average for
    placement in substitute care in the UK
    (Bebbington and Miles, 1989)
  • Question
  • How evidence like these could be used in the
    policy process?

Short window opportunity
  • Permanently damaging effects of even temporarily
    lack of support

Strong extra gains from combined interventions
  • For example
  • Nutrition
  • calorie, protein, micronutrients intake as well
    as water and sanitation, disease control
  • Stimulation
  • cognitive learning and emotional support
  • Best results come from a combination of nutrition
    support and stimulation for young children

Good nutrition and psychosocial development help
each other
In a Jamaican study, stunted children aged 9-24
months were randomly assigned to nutrition only,
stimulation only, nutrition and stimulation, and
control group and IQ was monitored ? The
benefits from a combination of nutrition
supplements and stimulation were additive after
2 years of intervention the children receiving
both treatments caught up to the nonstunted
control group (top line)
But remember! Stimulation works also the other
(negative) way
  • Stigma and low expectations influence child
  • The case of competition at a maze in India
    children's performance differed when their caste
    was made public! (WDR 2006 p76)
  • Stress can permanently lower memory capacity in
  • new research finds causality between chronic
    stress associated with poverty and impaired brain
    development in children (Economist 04.04.09)
  • These findings are particularly important
  • in the context of gender, adolescent,
    HIV/AIDS-related, poverty alleviation and special
    needs (child disability) programmmes
  • when making decisions on targeting of social

High risk that child-related commitments will not
be realized/investment will not happen
  • Structural poverty and/or social exclusion
  • poor maternal nutrition, health
  • loss of parental upbringing
  • low parental education and/or parenting skills
  • low awareness on childrens needs and/or
  • discrimination (e.g. gender, disability,
  • poor access to assets and income
  • Current poverty impacts
  • Idiosyncratic shocks (catastrophic health
    expenses, loss of a family member, loss of jobs
  • Aggregate /covariate shocks (economic, social or
    environmental crises)
  • Agency and governance issues
  • Voicelessness
  • Principal agent issue/relational nature of child
    well being (dependency on adults)

Summary children should get priority in public
  • Moral and legal commitments
  • Private and public support
  • 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • High returns to investment
  • Childhood is the best opportunity to invest in
    human resources
  • Broader social and economic gains returns tend
    to be particularly high among girls
  • Short window opportunity
  • Permanently damaging effects of even temporarily
    lack of support
  • Strong positive feedback from combination of
  • Progress needed at all major dimensions of child
    well being
  • High risks that investment will not happen, due
  • Structural poverty and/or social exclusion
  • Current poverty impacts due to economic, social
    or environmental crises
  • Governance and agency issues
  • Strong evidence on the impact of poverty on

4. The relevance of social protection programmes
for children
  • Social protection is part of broader development
  • Social protection cuts across many sectors
  • The principles of Child Sensitive Social
  • Social protection programmes relevant for
  • Are Conditional Cash Transfers magic bullets?
  • How programmes could address the continuity of
    risk and vulnerability

Social protection is part of broader development
Source World Bank 2008
Social protection cuts across many sectors
Social Policy
Water and sanitation
Child protection
Social Protection ?
Social welfare
  • Transfers could help removing barriers on the
    demand side
  • However, action on the supply side of services is
    often also necessary
  • Income/consumption poverty is a major barrier
  • But poverty is multidimensional and factors other
    than income matter too!
  • The structure of social expenditures shows
    different patterns by regions

Source World Bank 2008
Social protection programmes relevant for children
  • Social assistance (safety net) programmes
  • Targeted child grants (unconditional)
  • Conditional cash transfers (CCTs)
  • School feeding and other nutrition programmes
  • Fee waivers (health, education) and other in-kind
  • Emergency programmes (cash handouts, social
    funds, nutrition, education kits etc.)
  • Workfare programmes, active labour market
    policies (including youth programmes)
  • Means-tested unemployment benefit or other social
  • Social pensions
  • Social insurance programmes (contributory)
  • Cash family allowances (often hidden as tax
  • Maternal and parental benefits
  • Sick leaves
  • Public health insurance
  • Unemployment benefit
  • Public pension schemes

  • Universal social protection programmes
  • Birth grants (conditional to birth registration)
  • Pre-school programmes (subsidized)
  • Social care services (visiting nurses,
    counseling, shelter, respite care services etc.)
  • Free health services (e.g. on maternal and child
  • (Public health measures and free education is not
    considered as social protection, but these are
    very important for children)
  • Universal child grants/allowances
  • Price subsidies (staple and other food, fuel and
    energy, housing, water etc.)
  • Social protection is also private

Conditional Cash Transfers a magic bullet?
  • What is a CCT?
  • Social assistance programmes that provide cash
    transfers on evidence that households use health,
    education or other services (e.g. social work
    services in Chiles Solidario)
  • Focus on addressing structural poverty through
    investment in childrens human capital
  • Conditionalities - e.g. compliance with
    immunization plans, checkups for pregnant women,
    regular school attendance, participation in
    parents-teachers meetings etc.
  • Key examples
  • The Bolsa Familia in Brazil and the Oportunidades
    in Mexico, which cover respectively about 12 and
    5 million families with a budget less than 0.5
    of GDP
  • Key features
  • The practice of evaluation demonstrating
    results, helping political acceptance and
    improving design
  • High concentration on the poor the share of
    beneficiaries in poorest income quintile fall
    between 32 (Education Support Project in
    Cambodia) and 74 (Bolsa Familia)
  • Programme non-compliance could reach up a third
    or more of targeted beneficiaries
  • Administrative costs hover between 4 and 20
  • Gender considerations

How programmes could be integrated to address the
continuity of risk and vulnerability
  • Examples
  • A type interventions countercyclical
    macroeconomic policy, free basic education,
  • B type interventions child/family allowances,
    preventative social work services
  • C type interventions intensive/emergency
    social work services
  • A - B types together Bolsa Familia CCT
  • B - C types together Solidario CCT(Chile)

Principles of child sensitive social protection
  • Avoid adverse impacts on children, and reduce or
    mitigate social and economic risks that directly
    affect childrens lives
  • Intervene as early as possible where children are
    at risk, in order to prevent irreversible
    impairment or harm to children
  • Consider the age and gender specific risks and
    vulnerabilities of children throughout the
  • Mitigate the effects of shocks, exclusion and
    poverty on families, recognizing that families
    raising children need support to ensure equal
  • Make special provision to reach children who are
    particularly vulnerable and excluded, including
    children without parental care, and who are
    marginalized within their families or communities
    due to their gender, disability, ethnicity,
    HIV/AIDS or other factors
  • Consider the mechanisms and intra-household
    dynamics that may affect how children are
    reached, with particular attention paid to the
    balance of power between men and women within the
    household and broader community
  • Include the voices and opinions of children,
    their caregivers and youth in the understanding
    and design of social protection systems and

5. Challenges, issues
  • Low and unequal access to SP
  • Focus on structural versus transient poverty
  • Affordability ( of GDP, of public spending)
  • Political support and public attitudes
  • The issue of targeting (means-tested,
  • The issue of conditionality
  • Trade-offs (within SP and over education or other
    public programmes)
  • Negligible positive or negative effects (work and
    fertility effects, crowding out, stigma, worse
    child outcome etc.)
  • Gaps in attention to social are services and
    women in the labour force
  • The culture of evaluation (missing, narrow)
  • Administrative feasibility (corruption, capacity,
    costs, transparency)
  • Local ownership and exportability of key SP tools
    (local context)
  • Low awareness and/or low priority

Thank you!