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Families and communities in Africa face challenges that impact their ability to provide adequate and secure environments in which children can reach their full developmental potential. These challenges include poverty, inadequate social protection systems and limited access to quality social services.

Consequently, children in Africa continue to face diverse and serious risks to their wellbeing, including neglect, abuse, violence and harmful practices. The Child and the Family Programme documents and promotes policies and programmes that protect children from violence; reduce vulnerability, risk and deprivation of at-risk children; create a safe environment for children; and ensure the social and economic empowerment of children and families.

Within the context of broader social protection, ACPF promotes childfriendly, culturally appropriate and gender-sensitive parenting practices. Furthermore, ACPF recognises that relevant, child-sensitive and adequately resourced social and economic policies are required not only to reduce child vulnerability, but also to contribute towards continued economic development.

Child-Headed Households

ACPF is undertaking research that aims to document the extent and breadth of the problem of child-headed households, but also identifies policies, structural systems and programmes that enable children in childheaded households to be empowered and live fulfilling lives.

Support to Parenting

Within the context of a broader social protection framework, ACPF aims to enhance the role of parents and families in the care and protection of children in Africa. This implies promoting positive African parenting practices, and supporting and facilitating national strategies and programmes on the family in Africa, as per the
recommendations of the African Union Plan of Action on the Family in Africa (2004).

Addressing Violence against Children

ACPF has conducted extensive research in Africa on violence against children. What emerges from this work is that despite legislative and policy progress to protect children from abuse, discrimination and violence, more remains to be done.

Informed by this research, ACPF aims to:

  • Provide and guide a comprehensive pan-African framework, and relevant national frameworks, to inform policy and legislative reviews
    Encourage African countries to put in place effective monitoring systems for violence against children and promote their efforts
  • Strengthen effective functioning child protection systems to achieve progress at the national level
  • Promote and encourage good practice across countries.

Protecting Children with Disability

Children with disabilities face socially constructed barriers that marginalise and exclude them. ACPF research enhances knowledge of the situation of children with disabilities in Africa and the challenges they face. It aims to assist policymakers, practitioners and partners to strengthen their policies and programmes and ensure they are relevant to children with disabilities, and to enable these children to realise their rights.