Social protection policies can help address the multifaceted nature of child poverty and improve children’s well-being, especially in the areas of education, health and nutrition. However, it is important to consider the gender-, age- and context-specific needs and vulnerabilities of children during all stages of the policy cycle. This issue of Policy in Focus presents a collection of 15 articles from leading scholars, researchers and policy practitioners, shedding light on the key challenges of promoting social protection programmes for children.
Social protection is increasingly considered a development success story. At the same time, it still does too little to account for social differentiation and to address vulnerability, as opposed to poverty. Child sensitive social protection has gained considerable momentum, particularly in a developing country context, raising questions about its concept and practical implications. We argue that three types of vulnerabilities call for more tailored thinking about social protection for children and discuss implications for social protection interventions on the basis of case studies.
This study aims to provide the Egyptian government with additional empirical evidence to inform the reform of its energy subsidy and social protection programs. In particular, the focus is on protecting the most vulnerable children from the impacts of subsidy cuts through a child cash transfer program financed by using a small part (10% or less) of the savings generated by subsidy cuts. The decision to focus on child cash transfers as the prime mitigating measure emanates from discussions with government officials.
Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) is a large-scale social protection intervention aimed at improving food security and stabilizing asset levels. The PSNP contains a mix of public works employment and unconditional transfers. It is a well-targeted program; however, several years passed before payment levels reached the intended amounts. The PSNP has been successful in improving household food security. However, children’s nutritional status in the localities where the PSNP operates is poor, with 48 percent of children stunted in 2012.
Social protection is particularly important for children, in view of their higher levels of vulnerability compared to adults, and the role that social protection can play in ensuring adequate nutrition, access to and utilization of social services. While existing evidence shows that social protection programmes successfully address several dimensions of child well-being -often in an indirect way - a move towards a more "child sensitive" approach to social protection has recently been advocated at the highest level in the international development community.
The Social Protection Strategic Framework makes the case for investing in social protection for children, and demonstrates how social protection is a cross-cutting tool with the potential to complement investments across sectors, resulting in more equitable outcomes. Social protection helps increase households’ capacity to take care of their families and overcome barriers to accessing services, such as poverty, discrimination, and remote location.
The joint statement aims to build greater consensus on the importance of child-sensitive social protec- tion. It lays out the particular vulnerabilities that children and families face, the ways that social protec- tion can impact children even when not focused on them, and outlines principles and approaches for undertaking child-sensitive social protection. The statement emerged from meetings and discussions between partners to consider and outline the importance of furthering social protection and ensuring it is child-sensitive.