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. We are now accepting applications for the 2023-2024 CPC Cohort. You can find the application form here.
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.
The CPC Curriculum
The curriculum is composed of courses selected from across Harvard’s graduate programs and covers five domains of child protection:
A. CHILD PROTECTION SYSTEMS
- Law and Policy
- Systems Capacity and Integration
- Birth Registration
B. VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN
- Protection from Violence, Exploitation, Abuse, Neglect
- Protection in Emergencies
- Impact of Violence on Children
C. JUSTICE FOR CHILDREN
- Children in Conflict with the Law: Detention/Diversion
- Children in Contact with the Law: Family Court; Foster Care; Criminal Witness
D. SOCIAL CHANGE/ FAMILY STRENGTHENING
- Social Protection
- Social Inclusion/Non-Discrimination
- Cultural and Social Norms/Social Change
E. CHILD PROTECTION LEADERSHIP TOOLS
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 2024 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. We are now accepting applications for the 2023-2024 cohort. The application form can be found here.
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 2022-2023 academic year. This will be updated for 2023-2024 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
SBS201: Society and Health |Kawachi
A-612: Organizing: People, Power, Change (also offered as MLD-377) | Gantz
GHP 209 Early Childhood Development in Global Contexts (also offered as EDU A-827) | McCoy, Yousafzai
SBS-299 Science-Driven Innovation in the Early Childhood Ecosystem (also offered as EDU AH-125) | Shonkoff
SUP 472 Inequality in Education Policy (also offered as EDU A-142) | Carlana
HLS 2011: The Art of Social Change | Hazen, Gregory
B. Violence Against Children
GHP 515: International Humanitarian Response 1* | Kivlehan
GHP 518: International Humanitarian Response 2* | Kivlehan
ID240: Principles of Injury Control |Hemenway
GHP553: Human Rights Dilemmas in Child Protection (also offered as IGA 342M) | Bhabha
C. Justice For Children
HLS Gender Violence, Law and Social Justice |Rosenfeld
EDU T418: Education in Uncertainty | Dryden-Peterson
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
EDU H210P: Queering Education | Topping
MLD 304: Science of Behavior Change | Rogers
HLS 2011: The Art of Social Change | Hazen, Gregory
MLD 201: Exercising Leadership: The Politics of Change | Chipungu, O’Brien, O’Doherty
EDU A501: Negotiation* | Benns
HPM 252: Negotiation | Kaboolian
MLD-220M: Fundamentals of Negotiation | Mandell
EDU L104AY: Practicing Leadership Inside and Out | Crawford-Zakian, Lahey, Koehler
*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.