Integrated Social Protection Systems: Enhancing Equity for Children

The Social Protection Strategic Framework makes the case for investing in social protection for children, and demonstrates how social protection is a cross-cutting tool with the potential to complement investments across sectors, resulting in more equitable outcomes. Social protection helps increase households’ capacity to take care of their families and overcome barriers to accessing services, such as poverty, discrimination, and remote location. While social protection is important for societies in general, it also reaches the most vulnerable children and families – for whom barriers tend to remain even when services and national human devel- opment averages improve. For example, while improving the availability of schools and quality of education will help get more children to enrol and stay in school, the children of poor families who cannot afford school supplies or who de- pend on income from child labour are still likely to not enrol, attend less, and drop-out early. Similarly, people living with HIV/AIDS may not access or receive existing health services due to mobility issues or stigma and discrimination. In these cases, social protection instruments such as cash transfers, home-based care, and anti-discrimination legislation boost income and food security and provide social support to even the playing field so that the most excluded are also able to benefit from health, education, water and sanitation, and other social services.