Child Protection and Inclusion

Every day, millions of children face violence, exploitation and abuse, and are denied their rights to safety and security. UNICEF’s child protection programs strive to create an environment where children grow up free from harm.

Protecting children from abuse

UNICEF's work with partners in this area focuses on a number of issues, including:

  • Protecting children's rights online, given that Internet access and digital engagement have become an integral part of daily life for many
  • working toward ending child labor and child marriage, harmful practices that have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • advocating for greater investment in — and improved access to — mental health services and support

Prioritizing mental health

Mental health is just as important as physical health. This is especially true in childhood and adolescence, when we lay the foundations for our lifelong development and our resilience in the face of stress. But because of barriers, including stigma and lack of funding, too many children and families lack access to the support they need globally including in the U.S. We need to break the silence on mental health to ensure that young people are heard, especially those with lived experience of mental health conditions. 

No matter where you live in the world, everyone has mental health and mental health needs to be understood as a continuum. All countries — rich and poor alike — are facing a huge gap between mental health needs and access to quality services. Urgent investment in child and adolescent mental health across sectors, not just in health, is needed to support a whole-of-society approach to prevention, promotion and care.

Read more on how UNICEF is working to protect children across the globe.