UNICEF and the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center at Harvard University are partnering together to develop one of the first interdisciplinary graduate programs in child protection, which will be launched as a sub-concentration in the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) Master’s track. The curriculum aims to expand the cadre of qualified child protection policymakers and field workers, to enhance the capacity of current and future child protection professionals, and to further promote the professionalization of the child protection sector.
This collaboration will produce a robust set of courses on normative, historical, policy, and operational issues relating to populations in settings of emergency, non-emergency, and post-crisis. The curriculum is designed for professionals from around the world whose daily responsibilities require an understanding of these issues. Those who complete a specified number of credits from the curriculum will graduate from the HSPH Master’s program with a certificate in Child Protection.
The curriculum will reflect current research grounded in field-based realities, taking into account the expertise of UNICEF and external child protection experts, and will incorporate a range of disciplinary approaches to practical and theoretical aspects of child protection.
Importance and Anticipated Outcomes
With more comprehensive graduate-level training, child protection professionals will be better equipped to build a stronger evidence base in the sector by engaging in more rigorous research, monitoring, evaluation, and use of data. This unique program will also further the professionalization of child protection as a sector, giving it greater priority on the global policy and development agendas, and raising the profile of the sector overall.
So far, curriculum overseers have conceptualized courses addressing the major contemporary issues in child protection: child rights, extenuating circumstances of crisis response, juvenile justice and child protection policy. While these courses are being developed, the FXB Center has been in touch with a number of experienced faculty who will potentially serve as course instructors. All courses will be required components for certificate candidates; Harvard graduate students will be able to take specific courses of interest.
Curriculum Courses in Development
- Child Protection in Emergencies
- Reproductive Health Rights in Adolescence
- Navigating Child Protection Administration
- Human Rights Dilemmas in Child Protection*
- Youth, Justice and Systems of Protection*
*The latter two courses are expected to form part of the 2013/14 academic course catalog.