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Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action (CPMS)

The Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action (CPMS) are used by child protection practitioners globally to strengthen the protection of children. When they were revised in 2019, a key update was the inclusion of considerations for infectious disease outbreaks.
Child Protection Minimum Standards booklet front cover.

The Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action (CPMS) are used by child protection practitioners globally to strengthen the protection of children. When they were revised in 2019, a key update was the inclusion of considerations for infectious disease outbreaks.

The CPMS provides critical actions to keep children safe and to support children and families’ well-being in infectious disease settings like the current COVID-19 pandemic. The principles outlined in the CPMS are critical to fully applying and achieving the standards and are founded upon the international legal framework (i.e. the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child).

Read through the Questions and Answers below to learn how the 2019 CPMS applies to the COVID-19 pandemic!

Question 1: What standards are relevant to the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Answer: The whole of the 2019 CPMS remains applicable in the COVID-19 pandemic. The specific Minimum Standards that are relevant to your work will depend on the type of work being delivered and the sectors with whom you are working. Specific guidance is provided on key actions in infectious disease outbreaks in most of the standards.

Child protection and humanitarian actors are encouraged to analyse the outbreak’s effects on the well-being and protection of children, their families and communities and to prioritize key actions according to the context and stage of the pandemic.

Preparedness and response are essential; however, we must also be planning ahead for the secondary impacts of the pandemic on children’s rights to protection (i.e. family separation for economic reasons, worst forms of child labour, etc). Don’t forget to consult all four pillars of the CPMS.

Question 2: How can the 2019 CPMS help strengthen the protection and well-being of children in the COVID-19 pandemic?

Answer: The 2019 CPMS can help child protection and broader humanitarian actors in all stages of the COVID-19 cycle to:

  • Strengthen child protection response strategies in line with the socio-ecological model (seePillar 3, Standard 14).
  • Ensure integrated approaches to mental health and psychosocial distress in children of all ages and their caregivers (see Standard 10).
  • Advocate with other sectors, clusters and coordination groups to ensure multi-sectoral preparedness and response plans are child protection-sensitive and include integrated approaches, particularly to child protection and health (see Pillar 4 especially Standard 24: Health and Child Protection).
  • Guide capacity building for humanitarian actors on new approaches (see for example, Standard 16: Strengthening family and caregiving environments).
  • Collaborate with camp management and shelter colleagues to ensure the protection of children who are refugees, migrating or displaced (see Standards 27) and 28).

Question 3: Where can I learn more about the Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action in relation to COVID-19?

Answer: Seven of the eight child protection risks listed in the CPMS are likely to either emerge as new risks for children or be exacerbated by the current pandemic.

You will find an overview of these seven risks and the COVID-19-specific factors that may contribute to each of the risks as well as the potential outcomes children may experience in Section 1.3 of the Technical Note: Protection of Children during the Coronavirus Pandemic) (V.2).

You can also explore each of the minimum standards on child protection risks through the links below. Choose one standard to explore now, before moving to the task below. 1. Dangers and Injuries: CPMS 7

  1. Physical and Emotional Maltreatment: CPMS 8
  2. Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV): CPMS 9
  3. Mental Health and Psychosocial Distress: CPMS 10
  4. Child Labour: CPMS 12
  5. Unaccompanied and Separated Children: CPMS 13
  6. Standards on Social Exclusion: CMPS 8, 10, 11, 17, 20

Your Task

What standard did you explore?

Consider an example of how you have used the CPMS in your work during COVID-19 to help strengthen the protection of children.

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Protecting Children during COVID-19 and other Infectious Disease Outbreaks

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