This website provides links to open-access materials that may be useful in the development, improvement, and maintenance of a child-friendly space (CFS).

While child-friendly spaces can be used by all children and adolescents (anyone under age 18), they are commonly used in working with vulnerable children, as well as those who have experienced trauma. The use of child-friendly spaces originated in emergency and humanitarian settings. They have also been used in working with child victims of abuse and violence, and, increasingly, to provide assistance and support to child trafficking victims.

Resources are organized as follows:

Children in Emergencies – This section includes resources on child-friendly spaces in emergency settings (also known as “safe spaces”) for children whose lives have been disrupted by conflict, disaster, or other humanitarian emergencies.

Children’s Advocacy Centers – This section includes resources on children’s advocacy centers (CAC) or Barnahus, a specific type of child-friendly space that provide community-based, multidisciplinary services for children and families affected by abuse.

Vulnerable Children – This section includes resources on the use of child-friendly spaces in locations where practitioners may interact with vulnerable children (such as asylum centers in destination countries, courts, domestic violence shelters, and police stations).

Monitoring & Evaluation, Research, and Learning – This section includes resources specific to the monitoring and evaluation of child-friendly spaces and research studies on the use of child-friendly spaces in different contexts.

Resources appear in the order they have been added. The resources in this collection reflect the opinions of their authors and not necessarily those of the Warnath Group. If you would like to suggest a resource for inclusion, please email us.

Children in Emergencies

Children’s Advocacy Centers or Barnahus

Vulnerable Children

Monitoring & Evaluation, Research, Learning

In every context, a child-friendly space should be:

Healthy by seeking to promote children’s psychological and physical well-being. Well-being is a combination of feeling positive and functioning well. Promoting the well-being of children is the ultimate goal of child-friendly spaces.

Accepting by being welcoming, non-discriminatory, and non-judgmental. A child-friendly space must not exclude or marginalize any child based on their personal characteristics. Practitioners should be sensitive to the diversity of children they may encounter (including differences in race, ethnicity, culture, religion, national origin, language, disability, sexual identity, gender identity and expression, and socio-economic status).

Protective by offering a secure physical location and emotionally safe place for children to interact with practitioners who are trained in child protection. This also involves strengthening local mechanisms for the support, protection, and care of children (such as engaging with parents, mobilizing other community resources, and raising awareness about children’s rights).

Participatory by recognizing that children have the right to participate and must be provided with opportunities to voice opinions about decisions that affect them. Children’s views should be given due weight according to their age and stage of development.

Youth-Inclusive by ensuring that both younger children and older children/adolescents are considered in all aspects of the space. Older children/adolescents may feel excluded if a physical space is set up and designed with only younger children in mind (for example, in the artwork used, the size of furniture, the activities available). Youth-inclusive means recognizing that a child is anyone under the age of 18 and that children and adolescents have different needs at different ages and stages of development.