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
Browne (2013) Child-Friendly Spaces for Adolescent Girls in Emergency Settings
This desk-based report provides a rapid syntheses of key literature and of expert thinking in response to the question “What is the evidence that child-friendly spaces in emergency settings address the specific needs of adolescent girls (particularly with regards to…Keep reading
Save the Children (2009) Child Friendly Spaces Facilitator Training Manual
This training manual is a reference that guides Save the Children emergency response personnel and implementing partners in the rapid implementation of effective child friendly spaces for children during and immediately after an emergency such as a natural disaster or…Keep reading
Save the Children (n.d.) Child Safe Programming Guidelines
This document sets out guidance on how to implement child safe programming within the context of Save the Children’s Child Safeguarding Policy. For the purposes of these guidelines, “programming” refers to programs and projects, as well as to events and…Keep reading
UNICEF (2014) Documenting Child Friendly Spaces Across Typhoon Haiyan Affected Areas
This case study documents the role that child-friendly spaces have played as a response mechanism in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Philippines, including transition/exit strategies, best practices, and challenges. The case study provides lessons from the Philippines…Keep reading
Theirworld (2016) Safe Spaces: The Urgent Need for Early Childhood Development in Emergencies and Disasters
This resource explains how Safe Spaces can provide holistic support to help babies and young children overcome the physical, emotional and psychological trauma inflicted by emergencies. It includes case studies of successful projects and demonstrates the amazing resilience of children…Keep reading
Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action (2019) Resources for Safe Spaces for Children in Humanitarian Settings
This set of resources covers psychosocial elements key to Safe Space programming and have detailed activities to support their implementation. They can also be used to complement and reinforce one another. Back to ResourcesKeep reading
Christian Children’s Fund (2008) Starting Up Child Centered Spaces in Emergencies: A Field Manual
This manual describes Christian Children’s Fund child protection framework, which provides the conceptual foundation for establishing child-centered spaces (CCSs). The manual then provides 13 practical steps for implementing CCSs. The annexes and a reference list provide supplemental resources for working…Keep reading
People in Need (2015) Quality Standards Checklist for the Establishment and Operation of Child Friendly Spaces
These checklists provide simple guidance on minimum standards for the establishment and operation of child-friendly spaces. They include questions to check that every stage of the process has been completed properly – from inclusion in the proposal, to budgeting, implementation…Keep reading
Catholic Relief Services (2018) Quality Checklist for Child Psychosocial Support and Child Friendly Spaces
This checklist is intended to help child psychosocial support and child friendly space supervisors adhere to quality standards during program implementation. It is a general list that will need to be modified based on the specific context. Elements of this…Keep reading
Child Protection Working Group (2018) Child Friendly Spaces Minimum Standards Cox’s Bazar – Rohingya Emergency Response
These minimum standards outline the steps to set up and run a CFS in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh. They include community-based child protection mechanisms, safety and security principles, and considerations in how to close a CFS. Back to…Keep reading
Handicap International France (n.d.) How to Include Children with Disabilities in Child-Friendly Spaces
This handout offers ways to be more inclusive of children with disabilities in child-friendly spaces in humanitarian settings. Back to ResourcesKeep reading
World Vision et al. (2016) Longer-Term Mental Health, Developmental and Systems Impacts of Child Friendly Space Interventions in Humanitarian Emergencies
World Vision and Columbia University, working with Save the Children, UNICEF, and Mercy Corps, undertook a three-year collaborative project to document the outcomes and impacts of CFS and develop capacity for rigorous evaluation. These agencies regularly implement CFS as part…Keep reading
Plan International (2016) Child and Adolescent Friendly Spaces. Providing Child Protection and Education in Emergencies: A Case study from the Nepal 2015 Earthquake Response
This case study describes child- and adolescent-friendly spaces set up by Plan International after the 2015 Nepal earthquake. Lessons learned include the importance of early involvement of parents and caregivers in the activities to reinforce awareness raising and protection of…Keep reading
Plan International (2017) Child Friendly Spaces Providing Child Protection and Education in Conflict Settings: A Case Study from Timbuktu, Mali
This case study examines lessons learned from three child-friendly spaces established by Plan International in conflict-affected communities in Timbuktu (out of a total of eight spaces that reached 4,400 children in Plan International’s humanitarian response in Northern Mali). The findings…Keep reading
World Vision and IFRC Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support (2019) Toolkit for Child Friendly Spaces in Humanitarian Settings
The Toolkit for Child Friendly Spaces in Humanitarian Settings provides a set of materials to assist managers and facilitators/animators in setting up and implementing quality CFS. These resources have at their core the protection of children from harm; the promotion…Keep reading
Child Protection Working Group (2019) Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action
The Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action (CPMS) have become one of the key resources for humanitarian workers since its launch in 2012. The CPMS have been developed to support child protection work in humanitarian settings by: Establishing common principles between those working in…Keep reading
Plan International (2013) Inclusion in Child Friendly Spaces: A Study on Barriers and Good Practices
This study examined how a child-friendly space (CFS) can address the needs of children of different sexes, ages, abilities, and backgrounds. Based on fieldwork conducted in the Philippines and a desk review on CFS world-wide, the findings include issues and…Keep reading
Global Education Cluster (2011) Guidelines for Child Friendly Spaces in Emergencies
These guidelines outline a clear and comprehensive way to establish a child-friendly space in different emergency contexts (natural disaster and war situations). They consist of principles for establishing a child-friendly space and implementation in practice, starting with assessment and selection…Keep reading
UNICEF et al. (2017) Philippine National Implementation Guidelines for Child Friendly Spaces in Emergencies
These guidelines cover the development and implementation of child-friendly spaces in emergencies in the Philippines. They link with existing guidelines on Camp Management and Women-Friendly Spaces and are informed by the global Guidelines for Child-Friendly Spaces and the Minimum Standards…Keep reading
UNICEF (2020) A Practical Guide for Developing Child-Friendly Spaces
This training package is designed to assist UNICEF staff and partners in establishing and operating Child-Friendly Spaces (CFS) in an emergency. It covers all aspects of developing and operating a CFS and presents design approaches that may be adapted in…Keep reading
Children’s Advocacy Centers or Barnahus
Southern Regional Children’s Advocacy Center (2021) Toolkit for Reemerging Child Advocacy Centers
The purpose of this toolkit is to provide guidance and sample documents regarding how Child Advocacy Centers can re-emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and provide services while protecting the health of their staff, clients, MDT partners, board members, and visitors.…Keep reading
Rasmusson (2011) Children’s Advocacy Centers (Barnahus) in Sweden: Experiences of Children and Parents
This article is based on an evaluation of Children’s Advocacy Centers (CAC) in six municipalities in Sweden 2006–2007. The study concerned cooperation between different authorities (police, social services, public prosecutor, forensic medicine, pediatrics and child psychiatry) responsible for children who…Keep reading
National Children’s Advocacy Center (2021) Children’s Advocacy Centers – The Literature: A Topical Bibliography
This bibliography provides citations and abstracts to English language publications pertaining to Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) and similar organizations founded upon the core CAC model. It also includes publications produced in conjunction with CACs, such as research that took place…Keep reading
U.S. Department of State (2021) Child-Friendly Spaces for Survivors of Human Trafficking
This excerpt from the 2021 Trafficking in Persons Report discusses the use of child-friendly spaces to provide comprehensive assistance and support to child trafficking victims in other settings. These spaces, which can be a separate room or even just a…Keep reading
Kriel (2014) Planning Child-Friendly Spaces for Rural Areas in South Africa: The Vallharts Case Study
Child-friendly spaces are not successfully implemented in South Africa due to problems such as urbanization, development pressure, lack of qualitative openspaces and lack of policy and legislation guiding the planning and protection of such spaces. This study evaluates local and…Keep reading
Save the Children (2017) Child Friendly Spaces in Reception Centers
In the autumn of 2015, Save the Children Finland piloted a child-friendly space in an asylum center (utilizing an intervention in a Finnish context that is usually implemented in the countries in which the humanitarian emergency has occurred). This report…Keep reading
Monitoring & Evaluation, Research, Learning
Elmquist et al. (2015) A review of Children’s Advocacy Centers’ (CACs) response to cases of child maltreatment in the United States
Child maltreatment is a serious and prevalent problem in the United States. Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) were established in 1985 to better respond to cases of child maltreatment and address problems associated with an uncoordinated community-wide response to child maltreatment.…Keep reading
National Institute of Justice (2004) A Resource for Evaluating Child Advocacy Centers
This resource, written expressly for Child Advocacy Center administrators, is designed to give administrators who have varying amounts of evaluation experience the knowledge they will need to conduct either one-time or ongoing evaluations.This manual can also be used by those…Keep reading
World Vision et al. (2016) Evaluating the Effectiveness of Child Friendly Spaces in IDP Camps in Eastern DRC: Goma Field Study Summary Report
Child-friendly spaces are used by humanitarian agencies as a means to promote protection and psychosocial wellbeing for children in emergency settings. World Vision International together with Columbia University conducted a series of studies to investigate the effectiveness of CFS in…Keep reading
Community Child Protection Exchange (2018) Community Management of Child Friendly Spaces: Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement, Uganda
This case study describes how a Ugandan NGO, the Transcultural Psychoscoial Organisation Uganda (TPO Uganda), involved the community in creating child-friendly spaces to protect children. Back to ResourcesKeep reading
World Vision et al. (2016) Evaluation of Child Friendly Spaces: Tools and Guidance for Monitoring and Evaluating CFS
This resource provides practical guidance to child protection practitioners for monitoring and evaluating child-friendly spaces. It presents tools for planning and implementing, as well as the monitoring and evaluation of CFS. For each tool, the objectives are explained, along with…Keep reading
World Vision (2012) Child Friendly Spaces: A Structured Review of the Current Evidence-Base
This structured review of published and “grey” literature identified ten studies on the positive outcomes of CFS, particularly with respect to psychosocial well-being. Analysis of these studies suggests that greater commitment to documentation and measurement of outcomes and impacts is…Keep reading
World Vision (2015) Evaluation of Child Friendly Spaces
World Vision and Columbia University, working with Save the Children, UNICEF and others, engaged in a three-year collaborative project to document the outcomes and impacts of CFS and develop capacity for rigorous evaluation. This report presents a summary of those…Keep reading
Hermosilla et al. (2019) Child friendly spaces impact across five humanitarian settings: a meta-analysis
Humanitarian crises present major threats to the well-being of children. Humanitarian response efforts frequently address these threats through psychosocial programming, such as child-friendly spaces. This analysis assesses the impact of child-friendly spaces after humanitarian emergencies. Back to ResourcesKeep reading
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.