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. Applications for the 2024-2025 CPC Cohort will be available on this webpage in late July/early August 2024.

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, public policy, 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.

CPC 2024-2025

Take a look at the 2024-2025 brochure for the Child Protection Certificate Program for Harvard graduate students. The application form will be available on this webpage in late July/early August 2024.

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 seminar, consisting of panels of child protection experts brought in specifically to talk to and meet with certificate candidates, will be offered in the spring 2025 semester.  The seminar will take place on Fridays in February from 10:00am-12:00pm and is required. Seminars will enable candidates to consolidate their understanding of the child protection field in both the domestic and international arenas through exchange with the invited 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. Please note there will be other non-mandatory events throughout the academic year to provide networking opportunities.

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

The child protection foundational courses are not required courses, but offer candidates flexibility in terms of which domain they are counted towards.

CPC Application and Approval Process

Application: Program candidates are required to complete a short application, consisting of an essay and a proposed list of qualifying CPC courses. The application form for the 2024-2025 CPC cohort will be available on this webpage in late July/early August 2024.

Applications will be reviewed by the FXB Child Protection Program Director, in consultation with the faculty steering committee. The program has an annual limit of 30 students. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis by school.

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

(Please note that the direct links to each course work best with your Harvard log-in.) Below are the qualifying courses from the 2023-2024 academic year. This will be updated for 2024-2025 on an ongoing basis as course schedules become available.

Foundational Course: Covers Three or More Child Protection Domains

GHP 553: Human Rights Dilemmas in Child Protection (also offered as IGA 342M) | Bhabha | This course is not required, but if taken, candidates may apply the credits towards domain A, B or C (below) as needed.

A. Child Protection Systems

SBS 222: Social Services for Children, Adolescents & Families | Maramaldi

SBS 201: Society and Health | Kawachi

A-612: Organizing: People, Power, Change (also offered as MLD-377) | Ganz

SBS 246: Maternal and Child Health: Programs and Policies | Tiemeier

SBS 281: Principles of Social and Behavioral Research | Denckla

SBS 220: Social and Structural Inequities and Children’s Health | Slopen

GHP 204: Foundations of Global Mental Health | Patel

GHP 209 Early Childhood Development in Global Contexts (also offered as EDU A-827) | Yousafzai

SBS-299 Science-Driven Innovation in the Early Childhood Ecosystem (also offered as EDU AH-125) | Shonkoff

HPM 562 Narrative Leadership – Using Storytelling to Mobilize Collective Action in Public Health | Stojicic

SBS 501 Community-based Participatory Research: Principles, Processes and Practices | Chu, Nalls

HLS 2011: The Art of Social Change | Hazen, Gregory

EDU H513 Immigrant Children & Youth | Suarez-Orozco

B. Violence Against Children

GHP 515: International Humanitarian Response 1* | Kivlehan

GHP 518: International Humanitarian Response 2* | Kivlehan

ID 240: Principles of Injury Control | Hemenway

GHP 553: Human Rights Dilemmas in Child Protection (also offered as IGA 342M) | Bhabha

EDU H310M: Establishing Loving Spaces for Learning: Preventing Bullying and Discrimination in U.S. Schools | Brion-Meisels

IGA 229M: Gender, Sex and Violence in Global Politics | Cohen

EDU H319: Childhood Trauma: Promoting Healing, Resilience, and Hope in Schools | Pejic

HLS Special Education Advocacy for Students Impacted by Trauma | Guinn

C. Justice For Children

A203: Educational Justice |Fay

HLS Child Advocacy: Child Welfare, Education & Juvenile Justice Clinical Seminar|Hazen

EDU T416: Transforming Justice: From Classroom to Cellblock to Community |Stern

HLS Gender Violence, Law and Social Justice |Rosenfeld

EDU T406 Educating Incarcerated Youth: Practice, Research, Policy, and Advocacy | Tannis

EDU H304: Legal and Ethical Issues in Child Advocacy | Zeller

EDU T418: Education in Uncertainty | Dryden-Peterson

HLS Lawyering for Children & Youth Clinical Seminar |Hazen

HLS Child Advocacy Clinic | Hazen

D. Social Change/Family Strengthening

SUP 470: Strategies and Policies for Education Excellence with Equity (also offered as EDU A108) | Ferguson

SBS 212: Developmental Disabilities I: Evaluation, Assessment and Systems* | Folger

SBS 214: Developmental Disabilities II: Value, Policy and Change* | Folger

HDS 3335 Learning in Context: Narratives of Displacement and Belonging in Israel and the West Bank* |  Moore

EDU H311 Issues of Diversity in Cross-Cultural Counseling and Advocacy | Kim

EDU H210P: Queering Education |  Topping

EDU-H382 The Challenges Kids Face: Developmental, Cultural & Contextual Perspectives on Risk & Resilience | Lu

MLD 304: Science of Behavior Change | Rogers

EDU A314 Collaborative Action for Children: Redesigning Education for Equity | Reville

EDU H310M: Establishing Loving Spaces for Learning: Preventing Bullying and Discrimination in US Schools | Brion-Meisels

EDU H390AY: Theory, Practice, and Technique in Working with Children, Adolescents, and Families: Part 1 | Savits-Romer, Lu

HLS 2011: The Art of Social Change | Hazen, Gregory

EDU H236 Adolescent Development | Hill

EDU 612 Supporting Children’s Social, Emotional, & Behavioral Development | Zeller

EDU H610 Parenting and Child Development across Cultures | Rowe

E. Child Protection Leadership Tools 

MLD 201: Exercising Leadership: The Politics of Change | Chipungu, O’Brien, O’Doherty

MLD 102: Getting Things Done:  Management in a Development Context | Andrews

MLD 103: PDIA in Action: Development Through Facilitated Emergence | Andrews

EDU A501: Negotiation* | Benns

HPM 252: Negotiation | Kaboolian

MLD-220M: Fundamentals of Negotiation | Mandell

MLD-223: Negotiating Across Differences | Hong

HLS3263 Negotiating Across Worldviews | Seul

SBS 245: Social and Behavioral Research Methods | Chen

HLS: Special Education Advocacy for Students Impacted by Trauma | Guinn

HLS Advanced Human Rights Training: Strategy and Advocacy | Farbstein

EDU L104AY: Practicing Leadership Inside and Out | Crawford-Zakian, Lahey, Koehler

EDU S501Y or EDU S502Y: Researching in Community: Intergenerational Participatory Action Research for Educational Justice | Brion-Meisels

*Cross registration by permission of professor only.

Note:  In order to qualify for the CPC courses must be taken for-credit. | Regular Harvard course cross-registration and enrollment processes apply for all CPC courses.