Children in Adversity

  • U.S. Government Action Plan on Children in Adversity

  • Objective 1: Build Strong Beginnings

  • Objective 2: Put Family Care First

  • Objective 3: Protect Children from Violence, Exploitation, Abuse, and Neglect

The U.S. Congress created Public Law (PL) 109-95 to ensure that international assistance to vulnerable children is comprehensive, coordinated, effective, and built on evidence-based good practices. Such children include those who are without protective family care or living in abusive households, on the streets, or in institutions; trafficked; participating in armed groups; exploited for their labor; and/or living within fragile families and face a multitude of risks posed by extreme poverty, disease, disability, conflict, and disaster.

USAID scholarship empower girls through the Wings to Fly Program
USAID scholarship empower girls through the Wings to Fly Program.
USAID/Clara Kakai

Through the PL 109-95 Secretariat, the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Health and Human Services, Labor, and State; the Peace Corps; the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) created the U.S. Government Action Plan on Children in Adversity, which was launched on December 19, 2012, at the White House.  The Action Plan has three principal objectives:

  • Build Strong Beginnings: The U.S. Government will help ensure that children under 5 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

In response to the Action Plan, USAID established a Center of Excellence on Children in Adversity to coordinate programs throughout the Agency led by the U.S. Government Special Advisor and Senior Coordinator to the USAID Administrator on Children in Adversity.

In December of 2011, the PL 109-95 Secretariat organized the Evidence Summit on Protecting Children Outside of Family Care. This collaborative endeavor was listed as one USAID’s top “Eleven Global Health Events in 2011.”

A New Global Alliance for Children in Adversity

The New Global Alliance for Children in Adversity
Photo of the new Global Alliance for Children in Adversity

Nineteen senior leaders and decision makers representing fifteen organizations, eleven nationalities, and four regions convened at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Conference Center in northern Italy on February 12-15, 2013, in the interest of developing a new global alliance for children in adversity.  This meeting was catalyzed by the growing scientific evidence that shows a clear relationship between early childhood development, appropriate family care, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and abuse.  There has been an increasing convergence in the work of participating organizations on the importance of establishing outcome-oriented and evidence-based approaches that recognize the significance of early intervention in the life cycle.

Participants discussed the selected outcomes to be supported by the alliance, organizational and management options, funding structure, priority country criteria, models of country-level engagement, and accountability and reporting. Formal decisions on these and other relevant topics will be made through a founders’ group.

The mission of the global alliance is to mobilize public and private knowledge and resources at the global and country levels to support country-driven strategies and government accountability around three core outcomes that will deliver significant, measurable, and sustainable results for children in adversity, beginning in a select number of countries.


  • SUMMIT 9 - The Christian Alliance for Orphans Annual Summit
    May 2-3, 2013, Nashville, T.N.
    What is oneBIGidea? Hear what’s on the minds of top thought leaders in the business, government, academic, and nonprofit sectors. Each leader will share a 7-minute “TED talk”-style presentation on one big idea they believe every orphan advocate should ponder. The U.S. Government Special Advisor and Senior Coordinator to the USAID Administrator on Children in Adversity, Dr. Neil Boothby, will be presenting on How the U.S. Action Plan for Children in Adversity Can Drive a Fundamental Change in Our Response to the Needs of Orphans and Vulnerable ChildrenLearn more about this event.

  • Evidence for Violence Prevention Across the Lifespan and Around the World: A Workshop
    January 23-24, 2013, Washington D.C.
    The Institute of Medicine convened a 2-day workshop to explore the evidentiary basis for violence prevention across the lifespan and around the world.  As the global community recognizes the connection between violence and failure to achieve health and development goals, such an approach could more effectively inform policies and funding priorities locally, nationally, and globally. Watch the meeting videos.