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.

CPC 2018-2019

Applications for the 2018-2019 academic year can be found here. Please be aware that some courses may change as the 2018-2019 academic calendar becomes finalized; we also anticipate adding some new qualifying courses.  However, the information below should provide prospective participants an overview of the program and can be used for the statement of intent  and your planning purposes.


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 will be offered in the spring 2019 semester. 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: Program candidates are required to complete a short application, consisting of an essay and a proposed list of qualifying CPC courses.

Applications will be reviewed by the FXB Child Protection Certificate Program Director, in consultation with the faculty steering committee. The program has an annual limit of 30 students. We are accepting applications now and will notify applicants of their status at the beginning of the semester.

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 (from 2017-2018)

Foundational Courses: Covering three or more Child Protection domains

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

IGA 305: The Human Rights of Children and Youth as Citizens, Migrants and Refugees | Jacqueline Bhabha

SUP 211: Institutional and Community-based Strategies to support Children and Families (also offered as H-307) | Julie B. Wilson


A. Child Protection Systems

Course Professor
SUP 321M: Designing Social Security Systems Jo Anne Barnhart
SBS222: Social Services for Children, Adolescent & Families Peter Maramaldi and Dana Prescott
AH-125: Driving Science-Based Innovation in Early Childhood Practice and Policy (also offered as SHS 299) Jack Shonkoff
HLS 2011: Art of Social Change* Elizabeth Bartholet, Crisanne Hazen
SBS201: Society and Health Ichiro Kawachi
SBS501: Community-Based Participatory Action Research Justeen Hyde
A-612: Organizing: People, Power, Change (also offered as MLD-377) Marshall Ganz
GHP231: Sexual and Reproductive Health A Global Perspective Ana Langer
SBS281: Principles of Social & Behavioral Research  Laura Kubzansky
IGA-523: Innovation for Global Development Calestous Juma
SUP 211 Institutional and Community-based Strategies to support Children and Families (also offered as H-307) Julie B. Wilson



B. Violence Against Children

Course Professor
H392: Childhood Trauma: Dynamics, Interventions, and Cross-Cultural Perspectives Betsy McAlister Groves
EDU A816: Education in Armed Conflict (also offered as EMR 129) Sarah D. Peterson
ID 205: Societal Response to Disaster and War Jennifer Leaning, Satchit Balsari
GHP 515: International Humanitarian Response 1* Stephanie Kayden, Daniel Maxwell
GHP 518: International Humanitarian Response 2* Stephanie Kayden, Daniel Maxwell
IGA-351M:   Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Siddharth Kara
ID240: Principles of Injury Control David Hemenway
GHP553: Human Rights Dilemmas in Child Protection (also offered as IGA 342M) Jacqueline Bhabha
IGA-229: Sex, Violence, and Global Politics Dara Kay Cohen
H-331Y: Risk and Resilience in Social Contexts from Birth to Young Adulthood (also offered as H-322Y) Stephanie Jones
HLS Seminar: Gender Violence, Law and Social Justice* Diane Rosenfeld
H-310M: Establishing Loving Spaces for Learning: Preventing Bullying and Discrimination in U.S. Schools Gretchen Brion-Meisels


C. Justice For Children

Course Professor
GHP 511: International Perspectives on Justice for Children (also offered as IGA-344M) Cecile Aptel
T413: Restorative Justice: From Classroom to Cellblock to Community Kaia Stern
HLS 8001: Child Advocacy Clinic and HLS 2021: Clinical Seminar* Crisanne Hazen
A203: Educational Justice Meira Levinson


D. Social Change/Family Strengthening

Course Professor
A-117: Implementing Inclusive Education Thomas Hehir
SUP 211 Institutional and Community-Based Strategies to support Children and Families (also offered as H-307) Julie B. Wilson


HLS 2011: Art of Social Change* Elizabeth Bartholet, Crisanne Hazen
MLD-304: Science of Behavior Change Todd Rogers
H-236: Adolescent Development Nancy E. Hill
SBS212: Developmental Disabilities I: Evaluation, Assessment, and Systems David Helm
H-382: The Challenges Kids Face: Developmental, Cultural, and Contextual Perspectives on Risk and Resilience Holly Lem


E. Child Protection Leadership Tools

Course Professor


MLD 201 Exercising Leadership: The Politics of Change Farayi Chipungu, Timothy O’Brien, Hugh O’Doherty

L-104AY & BY: Practicing Leadership Inside and Out Lisa Laskow Lahey, Robert Goodman, Deborah Helsing, Adria D. Goodson, Dobbin Bookman, Candace Crawford-Zakian
MLD-323: Authentic Leadership Development Dana H. Born
MLD-602: Performance Leadership: Producing Results in Public and Nonprofit Agencies Robert Behn


EDU A501: Negotiation* Deborah Goldstein, Gillien Todd
HPM 252: Negotiation Linda Kaboolian
MLD-220M: Fundamentals of Negotiation Brian Mandell
MLD-224: Behavioral Science of Negotiations Julia Minson


HLS 8001: Child Advocacy Clinic and HLS 2021: Clinical Seminar* Crisanne Hazen
HLS Clinic: International Human Rights Clinic* Susan Farbstein
HLS Seminar: Advanced Skills Training for Human Rights Advocacy* Tyler Giannini and Susan Farbstein
H-387Y: Child Advocacy Seminar/Internship* Betsy McAlister Groves, Karoline Ryan
H-388Y: Child Advocacy Seminar* Karoline Ryan

*Cross registration by permission of professor only