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

Child Labour in Mauritania

The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child considered a communication concerning child slavery and held Mauritania accountable for multiple violations of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. The Committee is an African Union body set up to protect children’s rights across the region. Said […]

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 […]


Realizing Children’s Right to Social Protection in the Middle East and North Africa: a compendium of UNICEF’s contributions

This Compendium documents the broad range of UNICEF’s social protection interventions in MENA from 2014-2017. The Compendium illustrates how UNICEF has worked hand in hand with partner governments in both humanitarian and development settings and succeeded in reaching the most vulnerable children with social protection mechanisms. Thetimeframe selected represents UNICEF’s previous global Strategic Plan, which included social inclusion and social protection as […]

Non-contributory social protection through a child and equity lens in Oman (One Pager 397)

Voisin de l’Arabie saoudite, des Émirats arabes unis et du Yémen, Oman se trouve sur la pointe sud-est de la péninsule arabique et figure parmi les six pays du Golfe à revenu élevé. Sa population compte environ 4,5 millions d’habitants, dont 1,1 million (25 pour cent) et 0,4 million (9 pour cent) sont respectivement âgés […]

Non-contributory social protection through a child and equity lens in Libya (One Pager 395)

Bordée par la mer Méditerranée au Nord et voisine de la Tunisie, de l’Algérie, du Niger, du Tchad, du Soudan et de l’Égypte, la Libye comptait en 2016 une population de plus de 6 millions d’habitants, dont et 10 pour cent étaient alors respectivement âgés de moins de 18 et de 5 ans. Dans la […]

Non-contributory social protection through a child and equity lens in Morocco (One Pager 396)

Le Maroc est un pays d’Afrique du Nord à revenu intermédiaire de la tranche inférieure. En 2016, sa population a été estimée à 35,27 millions d’habitants, dont 10 pour cent (3,5 millions) ont moins de 5 ans et 32 pour cent (11,4 millions) ont moins de 18 ans (Banque mondiale 2017a). Bien que son taux […]

Towards the Urgent Elimination of Hazardous Child Labour

This report brings together and assesses new research on hazardous child labour, following the ILO’s last report on this subject in 2011. The report demonstrates that we have extensive experience and an ample evidence base to assist us in tackling hazardous child labour.

Overview of Non-contributory Social Protection Programmes in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region Through a Child and Equity Lens

Through the definition of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), countries have acknowledged the importance of social protection for poverty reduction. Namely, target 1.3 of SDG 1, “End poverty in all its forms everywhere”, calls for the implementation of nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all to achieve substantial coverage of […]

Child Vulnerability and Social Protection in Kenya

The definition of child vulnerability used in Kenya’s social protection sector was shaped in the early 2000s, when policymakers noted an increasing number of orphans as a consequence of the AIDS pandemic and developed the National Plan of Action for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC). Kenya’s Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (CT-OVC) was […]

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 […]

Social Protection and Human Rights