Child Friendly Cities Initiative

When we make our communities better places for children, we make them better places for all.

About UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities Initiative

The Child Friendly Cities Initiative (CFCI) was launched in 1996 to protect children’s rights in an increasingly urbanized and decentralized world. The initiative brings UNICEF together with local stakeholders to create safe, just, inclusive and child-responsive cities and communities.

CFCI uses the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as a framework to help local governments prioritize the needs of children and young people and elevate the voices of youth in local governance and decision-making.

Through this flexible, dynamic, child rights-focused framework, communities are improved as neighborhoods become safer, schools and health systems function better and infrastructure is strengthened for all citizens. Thus, a "Child Friendly City" is a city that is fit for all. 

While CFCI is new to the United States as a formal model supported by UNICEF USA, UNICEF has been implementing it in other countries for over 20 years. Since 1996, CFCI has been adopted in over 3,500 municipalities in over 40 countries, impacting an estimated 40 million children and young people.

UNICEF USA, in its efforts to protect the rights of children, is working to bring UNICEF’s global Child Friendly Cities Initiative framework to the United States alongside a cohort of CFCI pilot cities. The pilot will entail an ambitious two-year transformative citywide process toward recognition as a UNICEF Child Friendly City.

This initiative will draw on the strengths of existing local efforts to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and systemic racism on children.  It will empower cities to combat all forms of discrimination against children and young people and elevate their voices in local governance and decision-making throughout the CFCI process and from a child rights-based approach. 


Is your city child-friendly?

If you want to find out, just ask the kids who live there. Do they feel safe? Can they go to a doctor when they are sick? Do they like their school? Are there plenty of parks and playgrounds where they can go and meet up with friends? Do people listen to them when they talk — their teachers, parents, coaches? Do they feel — most of the time — like they get their fair share?

UNICEF USA wants to help you ensure that every child who lives in your community can answer a resounding ‘Yes!’ to all the above. To learn more and connect with our national CFCI Learning Community, join our Facebook Group or send us an email.

Check out the video below to see what cities around the world are doing to ensure their communities are child-friendly!

Here is what mayors across the country are saying about UNICEF USA's Child Friendly Cities Initiative

Former Gresham, Oregon Mayor Shane Bemis, Former Chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Youth Involvement Taskforce, talks about why he is a champion for UNICEF's Child Friendly Cities Initiative:

Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston, Texas speaks on his commitment to children and ensuring their voices are heard:

For more information, resources and case studies about how cities around the world are taking part in UNICEF’s global Child Friendly Cities Initiative, visit