Child Friendly Cities Initiative

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

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 say a resounding ‘Yes!’ to all the above. That’s why UNICEF USA is bringing UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities Initiative to the U.S. so we can all work together to make advancing the rights of every child a national priority.

Today, UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities Initiative reaches over 30 million children in 44 countries worldwide. UNICEF USA is now partnering with select cities across the U.S. to draw upon the strength of this proven global program to kids’ rights to a safe, healthy and happy childhood.

What is a Child Friendly City?

It’s a place where kids:

  • Are protected from exploitation, violence and abuse
  • Can grow up healthy and cared for
  • Have access to quality social services
  • Get a quality, inclusive education that supports students of all abilities
  • Can express themselves and have a say in decisions that affect them
  • Are enriched by the support of loving family, friends and a community that’s invested in their social and emotional development
  • Live in a safe, secure and clean environment with plenty of green spaces to explore with friends
  • Are never held back by their gender, family’s income, religion or ethnic background

Learn how to make your town a Child Friendly City

Are you a city government employee or civil society leader who is interested in applying Child Friendly Cities Initiative principles to help the kids in your town? Join our Facebook Group or send us an email to learn more.

Anyone can help make a city, town or community more child friendly. Urge your mayor to protect the rights of every child by clicking here.


Listen to Mayor Shane Bemis of Gresham, Oregon, Chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Youth Involvement Taskforce, share why he is a champion of the UNICEF Child Friendly Cities Initiative:

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

How UNICEF USA can help:

UNICEF USA is working with select pilot cities to support them in their efforts towards receiving global and national recognition as a Child Friendly City. To receive recognition, each city will conduct a situational analysis and develop and implement an action plan to ensure that the rights, voices, needs and priorities of children and young people are integrated into their decisions, policies and programs. UNICEF USA will help by providing:

  • Technical expertise
  • Convening power
  • The equity of a global brand
  • A diverse network of dedicated volunteers
  • Global and national networking opportunities 

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