Family and child benefits

Man's point of view

Child and family benefits, in cash and in kind, play a particularly important role in realizing children’s rights and addressing their needs, particularly for the most vulnerable members of society. Evidence from many parts of the world demonstrates that social protection benefits have led to a marked improvement in children’s nutritional status. Cash transfer programmes have also contributed to a significant increase in the utilization of pre- and post-natal health visits and in a reduction in the proportion of home-based births, thus enhancing maternal and child health. More generally, such programmes have been shown to increase the utilization of health services, again contributing to improvements in children’s health. Cash transfers for children and families, both conditional and non-conditional, have also contributed to significant increases in children’s enrolment and attendance at school in different parts of the world, as well as, although with less conclusive evidence, improvements in education outcomes (e.g. additional years of schooling, impact on wages). Through these various channels, social protection benefits contribute to enhancing children’s current and future well-being, and their ability to seize economic and social opportunities in later life. Child and family benefits, together with other forms of benefits and services, are also an important means of responding to the special needs of children with disabilities, orphans and vulnerable children, children affected by violence and abuse, and other disadvantaged children.

Photo credit: “A man’s point of view” by DFID- UK Department for International Development (CCBY 2.0 via Flickr).


Expert Commentaries

Leaving No One Behind: Social protection for children from ethnic and linguistic minorities

“I would like to go for walks more. Now mom and dad don’t allow it because others discriminate against us. This happens to us all the time. People say that we are dirty and discuss our clothes.” Girl, 14-16, Roma, from Montenegro What does it mean for a child or an adolescent belonging to an […]

Challenging Assumptions: From child-focused to child-sensitive social protection

Few people would disagree that children need protection and support, and that they should receive priority in policy interventions, including social protection. These beliefs are underpinned by the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which has been ratified by 192 of 195 of the world’s countries. In the past decade, social protection […]

Are Conditional Cash Transfers Having an Impact on Achieving Access to Education? Some Answers from Argentina

The impact of Argentina’s Asignación Universal por Hijo Cash Transfer Programme on the right to education The conditions of poverty and exclusion that affect a great part of Latin America have led governments to create various social security programmes, directed primarily at the most vulnerable families and communities. Several governments, including those of Argentina, Colombia […]

Using Human Rights in the Courts to Broaden Social Protection—The South African Example

Human rights have an important role to play in supporting the objectives of social protection which include the prevention of poverty and inequality, ensuring solidarity and inclusion, and creating economically and socially fairer societies. They offer a normative basis and a legal imperative for requiring that states realize the right to social security for their […]


Inclusion of Vulnerable Groups

As a human right that is intrinsic to all, the international community recognizes the need to design and implement social protection systems according to the principle of social inclusion, underlying the particular need to include persons in the informal economy (Recommendation No. 202, para 3e). Delivery systems should therefore be particularly attuned to the challenges […]


Social protection is essential in preventing and reducing poverty for children and families, in addressing inequalities and in realizing children’s rights. Despite recent progress in many parts of the world, too many children live in poverty and are deprived of their most elementary rights. In, fact, in most parts of the world, children and families […]

Legal Instruments

Decreto 27-2003. Ley de Protección Integral de la Niñez y Adolescencia

Esta ley establece las protecciones para los niños y niñas en temas como apoyo en caso de carencia material (art. 21); condiciones para la lactancia materna (art. 26); protección para los niño(s) con discapacidad (art. 47).  

Decreto 839 – Ley de Protección Integral de la Niñez y Adolescencia

Este Decreto establece la protección de la niñez y adolescencia. Es el deber del Estado, como a los padres y madres, adoptar todas las medidas necesarias para proteger a la familia (art. 7). En principio de corresponsabilidad, la garantía de los derechos de las niñas, niños y adolescentes corresponde a la familia, al Estado y […]

Ley 7.430

El objetivo de la presente Ley es fomentar la nutrición segura y suficiente para los lactantes, mediante la educación de la familia y la protección de la lactancia materna. Para ello se dará el apoyo específico a los programas y las actividades que la promuevan y se regulará la publicidad y la distribución de los […]

Ley 3460 de fomento a la lactancia materna

La Ley tiene como objetivo contribuir al bienestar físico, mental y social de la madre y su hijo (a), mediante la promoción, apoyo, fomento y protección de la lactancia natural y la regulación de la comercialización de sucedáneos de la leche materna y otros productos relacionados.

Child Care Board Act

Chapter 381 of the Child Care Board Act of Barbados makes better provision for the care and protection of children.

Ley I – n° 132 Régimen de licencia con goce íntegro de haberes por hijo con discapacidad.

El artículo 1 establece un régimen de licencia especial de hasta ciento ochenta (180) días con goce íntegro de haberes por hijo con discapacidad, en los términos del Artículo 2 de la Ley XIX – N° 23 (antes Ley 2707).

Childcare and Protection Act 29 (Antigua and Barbuda)

An act to provide for the establishment and functions of a Childcare and Protection Agency, the licensing of childcare facilities, the maintenance of appropriate standards in respect of their operations and for other matters relating to the safety, care and protection of children.

Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202)

Recommendation No. 202 is the first international instrument to offer guidance to countries to close social security gaps and progressively achieve universal protection through the establishment and maintenance of comprehensive social security systems. To this aim, the Recommendation calls for (1) the implementation, as a priority, of social protection floors (SPF) as a fundamental element […]

Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), 1989

Convention on the Rights of the Child Article 26 recognizes for every child the right to benefit from social security, including social insurance. In addition, Article 27(1) recognizes the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development. Under Article 27(2) and (3), States […]

Legal Cases

The Right of Children with HIV to Privacy in Kenya

Summary: This case concerns a directive issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta ordering the collection of data and the preparation of a report pertaining to school-going children, guardians, and expectant and breastfeeding mothers living with HIV. The High Court of Kenya at Nairobi found this action to be in violation of the rights to privacy and […]

Children’s welfare in Senegal

This case addresses the plight of as many as 100,000 children (known as talibés), who while attending Qur’anicschools (daaras) in Senegal, are forced by some instructors to beg in the streets, to secure their own survival and enrich the teachers. The children live away from their families, often in deplorable conditions, and are exposed to […]

Women and children’s social and economic rights (including health) in Uganda

Nature of the Case The case was brought on behalf of a pregnant woman who died in a hospital while awaiting obstetric care. It considers whether the hospital failed to provide appropriate obstetric care and management, thereby violating her rights as well as those of her surviving children. Summary On May 5, 2011, Irene Nanteza […]

Equal access to health and family planning information for all women in Hungary

The communication was filed with regards to the alleged forced sterilization of an ethnic Roma woman by medical staff pursuant to an emergency caesarian section that was required to remove a deceased fetus. The Committee found that previous medical care, the poor medical condition of the victim, A.S., upon arrival at the hospital, short time […]

Coherent Constitutions and the Right to Social Protection for Adopted Children in Taiwan

The Judicial Yuan, a body responsible for interpreting the Constitution, examined the constitutionality of provisions in the Statute for Labor Insurance preventing children adopted within less than six months of the death of their adoptive parents from collecting social insurance benefits as survivors. The Court held that despite the intentions of the provision to prevent […]


Girls’ Rights are Human Rights: An in-depth study of the status of girls in the international human rights framework

Girls’ rights are human rights. Yet, millions of girls continue to struggle to claim their rights. Girls are disproportionally disadvantaged in education, health, work and family life – particularly in the world’s poorest countries. When factors like poverty, ethnicity or disability intersect and where gender stereotyping and unequal power relations prevail, girls’ disadvantage is magnified. […]

Girls’ Rights Platform

Plan International has developed the Girls’ Rights Platform to help NGOs, young activists, diplomats, UN agencies, and academia bring girls from the margins to the centre of the international agenda. This platform offers a number of innovative tools, including the world’s most comprehensive human rights database, training tools for girls’ rights advocates, and a UN […]

Global Goals for Every Child: progress and disparities among children in South Africa.

This report presents an analysis of progress and disparities among children in South Africa. Data show significant progress during the past two decades in areas such as child poverty, child survival, mother to-child transmission of HIV and primary school attendance, among others. These are impressive achievements, but they are only part of the story. Stark […]

Children of Austerity: impact of the great recession on child poverty in rich countries

The 2008 financial crisis triggered the worst global recession since the Great Depression. Many OECD countries responded to the crisis by reducing social spending. Through 11 diverse country case studies (Belgium, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States), this volume describes the evolution of child poverty and material […]

Building the Future: Children and the Sustainable Development Goals in rich countries

The Sustainable Development Goals have set ambitious targets that apply to rich countries as well as poor. The most telling sign of a nation’s progress towards meeting those goals will be how well it meets the needs of its children. This Report Card offers an assessment of child well-being in the context of sustainable development […]

Thirsting for a Future: Water and children in a changing climate

Climate change is one of many forces contributing to an unfolding water crisis. In the coming years, the demand for water will increase as food production grows, populations grow and move, industries develop and consumption increases. This can lead to water stress, as increasing demand and use of water strain available supplies. One of the […]

Financing Development for Children in Africa: The state of budget transparency and accountability in the continent

This report builds on the findings of the Open Budget Survey 2015, by taking a closer look at the 31 African countries included in the survey. It seeks to promote transparency and accountability in the use of government budgets in Africa. The rationale for this report is twofold. First, Africa is witnessing a historic demographic […]

The Political Economy of Mineral Resource Governance and Children’s Rights in Papua New Guinea

Papua  New  Guinea  has  had  a diverse history  of  contestation  over  resource  revenues during  its past forty  years  since  independence. The  major  actors  have  been  the national and provincial level governments and politicians, international development agencies,  resources  companies  and  local  landowners  in  project  development areas. This paper explores the debates over decentralization and the distribution […]

Mapping the Global Goals for Sustainable Development and the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Introduction Aim. This interactive document aims to encourage an in-depth and broad-based exploration of the links and synergies between the Global Goals for Sustainable Development and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Background. It complements the 2-page document produced by UNICEF in January 2016 which presents preliminary mapping of the current priority Global […]

The State of the World’s Children 2016: A fair chance for every child

Every child has the right to health, education and protection, and every society has a stake in expanding children’s opportunities in life. Yet, around the world, millions of children are denied a fair chance for no reason other than the country, gender or circumstances into which they are born. The State of the World’s Children […]

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