The UNICEF USA Child Friendly Cities Initiative (CFCI) provides a child rights framework for building child friendly cities and communities. CFCI supports and enhances the work of local communities to create a holistic action plan for children and young people ages 18 and under and ensures they have a voice in the issues affecting their lives.
The first cohort in the United States to implement the CFCI process, in partnership with UNICEF USA, includes: Decatur, Georgia; Houston, Texas; Johnson City, Tennessee; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Prince George's County, Maryland and San Francisco, California.
To support the process, UNICEF USA is building a national CFCI Learning Community of city officials, subject matter experts and advocates to exchange resources and learning opportunities in how to put children first in local governance and decision making.
The framework consists of two pillars:
Goals and results to be achieved
Strategies for achieving these goals and results
Inspired by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UNICEF USA CFCI Framework for Action provides the following goals and strategies to protect the safety, health and happiness of every child and young person ages 0 to 18:
Local governments strive to achieve and measure their success as a child-friendly community in five priority areas:
Safety and inclusion: Every child and young person is valued, respected and treated fairly within their communities and by local authorities
Children’s participation: Every child and young person has their voice, needs and priorities heard and taken into account in public laws, policies, budgets, programs and decisions that affect them
Equitable social services: Every child and young person has access to quality essential social services
Safe living environments: Every child and young person lives in a safe, secure and clean environment
Play and leisure: Every child and young person has opportunities to enjoy family life, play and leisure
The UNICEF USA CFCI rests on two pillars of strategies to achieve goals and results for children:
developing sustainable mechanisms for meaningful and inclusive child and youth participation
increasing child rights awareness and capacity development
encouraging child and youth projects, campaigns and civic actions
establishing a coordinating unit for children, such as a Children’s Cabinet
appointing advocates or ombudsmans for children
implementing child-responsive budgeting
advocating for child-responsive policy-making
supporting child-sensitive urban planning
preparing child-responsive disaster emergency response