Harvard FXB Child Protection Certificate Program


The Harvard François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights offers Harvard graduate students the opportunity to obtain a certificate in child protection. This interdisciplinary qualification is open to students from any Harvard graduate school.

Child protection work aims to prevent, respond to, and resolve abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence experienced by children in domestic and international settings. It requires an interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral approach that encompasses work in health, education, social service, and law enforcement to advance the protection of children and involves collaborating with a wide range of partners across government and within civil society, communities, and families.

The certificate program incorporates ongoing child protection research and practice grounded in field-based realities and takes into account the expertise of UNICEF, a university-wide faculty steering committee, and external child protection experts.

With this comprehensive graduate-level training, certificate recipients will be better equipped to:

  • Identify relevant social, economic, legal, and cultural issues affecting the protection of children,
  • Build a stronger child protection evidence base by engaging in more rigorous research, monitoring, evaluation, and use of data,
  • Understand the multiple interactions at policy, community, family, and individual levels needed to create a protective environment for children,
  • Gain the competencies to develop the cross-sectoral partnerships necessary to a holistic child protection system.

The CPC Curriculum 

The curriculum is composed of courses selected from across Harvard’s graduate programs and covers five domains of child protection:


  • Law and Policy
  • Systems Capacity and Integration
  • Data/Statistics
  • Birth Registration


  • Protection from Violence, Exploitation, Abuse, Neglect
  • Protection in Emergencies
  • Impact of Violence on Children


  • Children in Conflict with the Law: Detention/Diversion
  • Children in Contact with the Law: Family Court; Foster Care; Criminal Witness


  • Social Protection
  • Social Inclusion/Non-Discrimination
  • Cultural and Social Norms/Social Change


  • Leadership
  • Negotiation
  • Advocacy

Child Protection Certificate Requirements

Participation in a one-semester, non-credit child protection seminar.

The mandatory biweekly seminar will be offered in both fall and spring semesters. It will enable candidates to consolidate their understanding of the child protection field in both the domestic and international arenas through exchange with invited expert speakers and mentorship by senior child protection practitioners. Students will be encouraged to share their own child protection research and experience and engage with their peers.

Completion of 12 credits selected from CPC course offerings in at least three of the curriculum’s five domains.

The child protection foundational courses count as one of the domains required to qualify for the certificate.

CPC Application and Approval Process

Application: 2017-2018 CPC program candidates are required to complete a short application, consisting of an essay and a proposed list of qualifying CPC courses.

The application form can be found here.

Applications will be reviewed by the FXB Child Protection Certificate Program Director, in consultation with the faculty steering committee. Qualified candidates are accepted on a rolling basis until the program reaches its annual limit of 25 students.

Approval: Prior to graduation, candidates will submit an approval request, detailing their completion of the requirements and providing a statement assessing their program of study. The program director and committee will review these requests against the student’s transcripts. Approved candidates will be invited to attend the program’s annual spring awards ceremony, where they will receive their certificates, successfully marking completion of the program.

Child Protection Certificate Program Courses

A. Child Protection Systems

Course Professor
SUP 321M: Designing Social Security Systems Jo Anne Barnhart
SBS222-01: Social Services for Children, Adolescent & Families (spring) Peter Maramaldi and Kristie Thomas
HLS 8001: Child Advocacy Clinic and HLS 2021: Clinical Seminar* (spring) Elizabeth Bartholet
AH-125: Mobilizing the Science of Early-Childhood Development to Drive Innovation in Policy and Practice (fall) Jack Shonkoff
HLS 2011: Art of Social Change* (spring) Elizabeth Bartholet, Crisanne Hazen
SBS201-0: Society and Health (fall) Ichiro Kawachi
SBS501-01: Community-Based Participatory Action Research (spring) Justeen Hyde
A-612: Organizing: People, Power, Change (spring) Marshall Ganz
GHP231-01: Sexual and Reproductive Health A Global Perspective (spring) Ana Langer
SBS281-01: Principles of Social & Behavioral Research (fall) Laura Kubzansky
IGA-523: Innovation for Global Development (fall) Calestous Juma


B. Violence Against Children

Course Professor
H392: Childhood Trauma: Dynamics, Interventions, and Cross-Cultural Perspectives (fall) Betsy McAlister Groves
A-117: Implementing Inclusive Education (spring) Thomas Hehir
IGA-351M:   Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery (spring) Siddharth Kara
ID240: Principles of Injury Control (spring) David Hemenway
IGA-229: Sex, Violence, and Global Politics (fall) Dara Kay Cohen
H-331: Risk and Resilience in Social Contexts from Birth to Young Adulthood (fall) Stephanie Jones
HLS Seminar: Gender Violence, Law and Social Justice (spring) Diane Rosenfeld
H-310M: Establishing Safe Spaces for Learning: Preventing Bullying and Discrimination in U.S. Schools (fall) Gretchen Brion-Meisels


C. Justice For Children

Course Professor
T413: Restorative Justice: From Classroom to Cellblock to Community (spring) Kaia Stern
HLS 8001: Child Advocacy Clinic and HLS 2021: Clinical Seminar* (spring) Elizabeth Bartholet
A203: Educational Justice (spring) Meira Levinson
HLS Seminar: Child, Family, and State* (spring) Elizabeth Bartholet
A-210D: Schools and the Law: Selected Topics (spring) Rhoda Schneider


D. Social Change/Family Strengthening

Course Professor
HLS 2094: Future of the Family (fall) Elizabeth Bartholet
DPI-312: Sparking Social Change in a Dynamic World (fall) Mark Moore
MLD-304A: Science of Behavior Change (spring) Todd Rogers
H-236 I: Adolescent Development (spring) Nancy E. Hill
SBS212-01: Developmental Disability (fall) David Helm
A-117: Implementing Inclusive Education (spring) Thomas Hehir
H-382: The Challenges Kids Face: Developmental, Cultural, and Contextual Perspectives on Risk and Resilience (fall) Holly Lem


E. Competencies in Child Protection

Course Professor


L-104 A & B: Practicing Leadership Inside and Out (fall) Lisa Laskow Lahey, Robert Goodman, Deborah Helsing, Adria D. Goodson
MLD-323: Authentic Leadership Development (spring) Dana H. Born
MLD-602: Performance Leadership: Producing Results in Public and Nonprofit Agencies (spring) Robert Behn


EDU A501: Negotiation (fall) Gillien Todd and Deborah Goldstein
MLD-220MA: Fundamentals of Negotiation (fall) Brian Mandell
MLD 225: Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Negotiation (spring) Robert Wilkinson
MLD-224: Behavioral Science of Negotiations (fall) Julia Minson


HLS Clinic: International Human Rights Clinic* Tyler Giannini and Susan Farbstein
HLS Clinic: Child Advocacy Clinic* (spring) Elizabeth Bartholet, Crisanne Hazen
HLS Seminar: Advanced Skills Training for Human Rights Advocacy* (fall) Tyler Giannini and Susan Farbstein
H-387: Child Advocacy Seminar/Internship (yearlong) Betsy McAlister Groves
H-388Y: Child Advocacy Seminar (spring) Betsy McAlister Groves