Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)

The Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action were formulated between January 2011 and September 2012 by the Child Protection Working Group (CPWG), an inter-agency working group composed of child protection practitioners, other humanitarians, academics, and policy makers. The standards set out a common agreement on what needs to be achieved in order for child protection in humanitarian settings to be of adequate quality. They are intended for use by the range of actors and agencies working on child protection or related areas of humanitarian action, including those working directly with children, families and communities, planners and policy makers, coordinators, donors, academics, advocacy and media/communication specialists.

Many of the standards emphasize the critical role of families and caregivers in protecting children at times of crisis or emergencies but also recognize the ways these emergencies can place families under intense strain and undermine their capacity to care appropriately for their children (Standard 8 on physical violence and other harmful practices and Standard 10 on psychosocial distress and mental disorders). Specific recommendations are provided on ways of working with, and involving, caregivers in interventions to protect children, including through providing support to them in their caregiving role but also assisting them to deal with their own needs and distress. Useful guidance is also provided on addressing the care needs of children associated with armed forces or armed groups (Standard 11), and providing appropriate responses to children who are unaccompanied and separated children (Standard 13), including addressing interim care needs, identifying supportive community structures and systems and ensuring the availability of different alternative care options.

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