U.S. Government Action Plan on Children in Adversity

A Framework for International Assistance, 2012-2017

The Action Plan on Children in Adversity is the first-ever whole-of-government strategic guidance for U.S. Government international assistance for children.

Action Plan CoverThe goal of the U.S. Government Action Plan on Children in Adversity is to achieve a world in which all children grow up within protective family care and free from deprivation, exploitation, and danger. 

The plan is grounded in evidence that shows a promising future belongs to those nations that invest wisely in their children, while failure to do so undermines social and economic progress.  Child development is a cornerstone for all development, and it is central to U. S. development and diplomatic efforts. The plan seeks to integrate internationally recognized, evidence-based good practices into all of its international assistance initiatives for the best interests of the child. 

The Action Plan has three principal objectives and three supporting objectives to promote greater U.S. Government coherence and accountability for whole-of-government assistance to vulnerable children.

Primary Objectives

Objective 1 – Build Strong Beginnings: The U. S. Government will help ensure that children under five not only survive, but also thrive by supporting comprehensive programs that promote sound development of children through the integration of health, nutrition, and family support.

Objective 2 – Put Family Care First: U. S. Government assistance will support and enable families to care for their children, prevent unnecessary family-child separation, and promote appropriate, protective and permanent family care. 

Objective 3 – Protect Children: The U. S. Government will facilitate the efforts of national governments and partners to prevent, respond to, and protect children from violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect.

Supporting Objectives

Objective 4 – Strengthen Child Welfare and Protection Systems: The U. S. Government will support partners to build and strengthen holistic and integrated models to promote the best interests of the child.

Objective 5 – Promote Evidence-Based Policies and Programs: The U. S. Government will devote resources to building and maintaining a strong evidence base on which future activities to reach and assist the most vulnerable children can be effectively planned and implemented. This evidence base will assist in the cost-effective utilization of program funds as well as the monitoring and evaluation of program effectiveness and long-term impact on children.

Objective 6 – Integrate this Plan within U. S. Government Departments and Agencies: The U. S. Government will institutionalize and integrate the components of this Plan as reflected in its diplomatic, development, and humanitarian efforts overseas.

In this section

Over the past four years I have travelled to over a hundred countries and have seen firsthand that while talent is universal, opportunity is not; too many children around the world face obstacles that seem impossible to surmount…This Action Plan is designed to help overcome those obstacles and to improve the way we work together.”
Hillary Rodham Clinton
December 19, 2012