The negative consequences of both natural and man-made disasters fall heaviest upon the most vulnerable in society, and children will often lead this group in terms of their sheer numbers and in terms of their inherent fragility. Children comprise almost half of the world’s displaced persons, and over half of all refugees. The lives and well-being of children are placed at particular risk by their elevated susceptibility to illness, malnutrition, family separation, loss of education/future, trafficking, exploitative labour, and recruitment into armed forces. And often because they are children, effective programming must be specialized in its targeting and implementation in order to protect their lives and rights.

Young girl doing her homework on her own

Photo: Jeannie O'Brien/Trócaire

Key actors

The lead UN agency for promoting children’s rights, supports their development, and provides humanitarian assistance and protection in humanitarian emergencies

Alliance of 30 national Save the Children organizations, promoting children’s rights and supporting children in developing countries and humanitarian emergencies

Inter-agency group setting standards and providing technical support to child protection in humanitarian settings

Part of the Protection Cluster and with UNICEF as the focal point agency, provides coordination support for child protection in emergencies

Focus on preventing child recruitment and supporting the reintegration of former child soldiers

Works to protect children, advocate for their rights, and support education and livelihoods in conflict settings

Focus on building families for children in need through SOS Villages and wider support programs

Global network striving to end violations against children in armed conflicts and to guarantee their rights

Key references

Sets out core principles and standards for child protection work, including standards that ensure the quality of child protection response, needs, strategies, and mainstreaming in other humanitarian sectors

Latest content

Crosscutting themes

Refugees and displaced persons

Following the guiding principles of 2004, the Field Handbook provides up-to-date and detailed operational guidance for all actors concerned with the welfare and protection of unaccompanied and separated children


Global guidance for health and psychosocial staff providing care and treatment to child survivors of sexual abuse in humanitarian settings

Latest discussions


The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action