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Monitoring the Commitment and Child-Friendliness of Governments: A New Approach From Africa

NCJ Number
Child Abuse & Neglect Volume: 34 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2010 Pages: 34-44
Assefa Bequele
Date Published
January 2010
11 pages
This paper reports on the methodology, philosophical and legal foundations, as well as the results of the application and policy lessons specified in a recent report by the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF), which shows conceptually and empirically how the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the child (CRC) can be used as a tool for planning national action and monitoring government performance and compliance.
The methodology developed by the ACPF is called the Child-Friendliness Index, which involves the analysis and monitoring of the performance of all 52 African governments. The index was derived from the CRC's three core principles: Protection, Provision, and Participation. These core principles are measured by approximately 40 policy and child-outcome indicators. This methodology was applied to the organization of data, assessment of performance, and the scoring and ranking of the 52 African governments at time points and over the long term. Based on the scoring system, governments that are and are not child friendly are identified, with underlying empirically based reasons given for the assessment. Recommendations are offered for how poorly performing governments can be brought into compliance with international mandates for children's rights. This paper concludes that the system developed by the ACPF provides a simple, transparent, and objective framework for analyzing national policy and practice regarding a country's implementation of CRC mandates. The application of this methodology to the African experience confirms the importance of politics that put children at the center of public policy, the enactment of laws that protect them, and the development of budgets that provide for children's basic needs and positive development. 2 figures, 3 charts, 4 tables, and 2 references