Child Protection Index

ChildPact and its members plan to build a Child Protection Index, composed of country-level child protection indices for each ChildPact country. The index will be an independent tool to measure each country’s child protection reform in accordance with the UNCRC’s rights based approach  and the systems approach to child protection. The results will show where each country stands in child protection, pointing to those reform areas where more progress is needed. The index will offer information about: policy development, policy implementation, actual service delivery, capacity for service provision, accountability in the child protection system and coordination of the actors involved. The index will offer a transparent cross-country comparative view as the countries are assessed across the same list of indicators. 

Why is there a need for a child protection index?

All countries in our region share a post-Communist legacy that is still visible in the child protection system. 25 years ago we all started from a situation where every child protection concern was adressed by child institutionalisation. To change this harmful system all governments in the region started to prepare and implement child protection reforms. In the last years we could see some excellent results of these reforms, but much still needs to be done. ChildPact believes that the next level of success in child protection reform can only be achived by means of regional cooperation[1]: it is time that countries learn from each other and work together to prevent and combat harm against children.

The Child Protection Index follows the example of other indices in the social sphere[2]. Like these indices, the Child Protection Index will be published regularly (every 1-2 years) to stimulate policy changes, encourage regional cooperation and warn countries when they depart from a sound trajectory in child protection. As international donors contribute to child protection reforms, the Child Protection Index will make available information to reinforce the impact of donor support and government investment. The ChildProtection Index will be a unique tool offering quality analysis made available by civil society organisations working at grassroots levels.

The Child Protection Index is proposed at an important time in the region. The European Union’s Enlargement and Neighbourhood policies extend resources and technical support to our region in return for economic and social policy reform by government. Previous Enlargement processes produced very important results for the child protection systems of the candidate countries. The EU Enlargement brought tangible results for the most vulnerable children of the new EU Member States. ChildPact believes that this experience can be made available to the current Enlargement and Neighbourhood area and the ChildProtection Index will show which are the areas where the EU support could be most effective.

What are the objectives of the Child Protection Index?

In short, ChildPact’s Child Protection Index is built to: 1. provide an evidence-based approach to policy debates; 2. identify needs and gaps in child protection systems; 3. create cross-national comparisons for advocacy and funding purposes; 4. push for new efforts on data population; 5. unify various sectors and actors (government, civil society and academia) under shared principles and increase collaboration.

Where do we stand in the process of developing the Child Protection Index?

The decision to create a Child Protection Index with the above-mentioned characteristics was taken in September 2012, at the ChildPact Steering Committee Meeting which took place in Sofia, Bulgaria, hosted by the Bulgarian National Network for Children. Following this decision, ChildPact conducted a study to: 1. review successful and unsuccessful initiatives by other stake-holders towards the creation of child-related indices; other existing tools to compare national child protection systems; relevant similar elements in other indices (i.e. human development index, NGO sustainability index, etc.); 2. provide a list of options for creating a Child Protection Index, in terms of vision, development steps, indicators, type of needed data, verification means, etc. Based on this study ChildPact developed an Indicators Framework which currently includes 524 indicators and now the ChildPact members and their partners are reviewing this Framework. Should you want to join the reviewing panel or contribute in any other way to building the Child Protection Index, please contact Mirela Oprea, ChildPact Secretary General, mirela_oprea@wvi.org.

What the Child Protection Index is NOT?

The ChildPact Index is NOT meant to measure the well-being of children, but it is rather about reviewing what governments are doing and not doing in the field of child protection.

[1] Regional Cooperation in the Wider Black Sea Region: Why Successful Child Protection Demands a Regional Response, ChildPact, 2013, available at: http://www.childpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/ChildPact-Regional-Cooperation-Brief-April-2013.pdf.

[2] Such as the Human Development Index, the Gender Inequality Index, the Global Peace Index, Corruption Perception Index and so on.