United States Government Action Plan on Children in Adversity: A Framework for International Assistance: 2012–2017, December 2012
Statement of National Policy
The goal of the U.S. Government Action Plan on Children in Adversity is to achieve a world in which all children grow up within protective family care and free from deprivation, exploitation, and danger.
The plan is grounded in evidence that shows a promising future belongs to those nations that invest wisely in their children, while failure to do so undermines social and economic progress. Child development is a cornerstone for all development, and it is central to U.S. development and diplomatic eﬀorts. The plan seeks to integrate internationally recognized, evidence-based good practices into all of its international assistance initiatives for the best interests of the child.Eﬀorts to assist vulnerable girls and boys in low- and middle-income countries have often focused on single vulnerability cohorts and categories – for example, children aﬀected by HIV/AIDS, in emergencies, or in the worst forms of child labor, including those who have been traﬃcked. Although current eﬀorts have produced substantial beneﬁts, this diﬀ used approach can result in a fragmented response. Coordinated, multifaceted action can help ensure that children in adversity beneﬁt fully from policies and services.
Public Law 109-95: The Assistance for Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children in Developing Countries Act of 2005 (PL 109-95) calls for a comprehensive, coordinated, and eﬀective response on the part of the U.S. Government to the world’s most vulnerable children. PL 109-95 also requires an interagency strategy. In accordance with the legislative mandate, an interagency coordination strategy was developed in 2006. However, interagency partners agree that the strategy required revision given the number of U.S. Government oﬃces, departments, and agencies involved in international assistance to vulnerable children that were not included in the 2006 strategy, which focused on programming for children aﬀected by HIV/AIDS. The 2006 strategy lacked clarity with regard to overarching guiding principles, goals, objectives, and outcome indicators.
In 2011, U.S. Government interagency partners actively began a process to establish whole-ofgovernment guidance and a strategy for children in adversity. The process was informed by a U.S.
Government Evidence Summit on Protecting Children Outside of Family Care, an interagency initiative under Public Law 109-95. A key result of the summit was the commitment of senior U.S.
Government interagency leaders to establish guiding principles and a U.S. Government strategy for assistance to these children – the very ﬁ rst of its kind. This commitment was published in The Lancet on December 12, 2011. Under the leadership of the U.S. Government Special Advisor for PL 109-95, an interagency team worked collaboratively over 10 months to develop this ﬁ rst-ever U.S. Government Action Plan on Children in Adversity.
The Special Advisor will work with interagency partners over the next 5 years to ensure that all U.S. Government activities under the plan are implemented by appropriate U.S. Government departments and agencies, integrated into relevant U.S. Government foreign policy initiatives, and enhanced through engagement with governmental and nongovernmental partners.