Child Protection Certificate Program

Applications are now being accepted for the 2021-2022 cohort. See below for details and the application form. 

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, 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 2021-2022

Take a look at the 2021-2022 brochure for the Child Protection Certificate Program for Harvard graduate students. Application forms for the 2021-2022 cohort can be found here.

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 2022 semester.  Details as to the dates/times of the seminar will be provided to accepted candidates during the fall semester to allow ample time for planning. 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.

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. Application forms for the 2021-2022 cohort can be found here.

Applications will be reviewed by the FXB Strategy Officer/Child Protection Certificate Program Director, in consultation with the faculty steering committee. The program has an annual limit of 30 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

(The below course information is based on the 2020-2021 academic year, and will be updated to reflect the 2021-2022 academic year in the summer as schedules become finalized. Please note that the direct links to each course work best with your Harvard log-in.)

Foundational Course: Covers Three or More Child Protection Domains

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

SBS222: Social Services for Children, Adolescent & Families | Peter Maramaldi

SBS201: Society and Health | Ichiro Kawachi

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

GHP231: Sexual and Reproductive Health A Global Perspective | Ana Langer

IGA-385: Strategizing for Human Rights: Moving from Ideals to Practice | Douglas Johnson

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

SBS 281: Principles of Social and Behavioral Research | Laura Kubzansky

SBS 220: Society and its Effects on Child Health | Ronald Samuels

GHP 204: Foundations of Global Mental Health | Vikram Patel

GHP 209 Early Childhood Development in Global Contexts (also offered as EDU A-827) | Dana Charles McCoy, Aisha Yousafzai

SBS-299 Science-Driven Innovation in the Early Childhood Ecosystem | Shonkoff

SUP 211 Institutional & Community-based Strategies to support Children & Families (also offered as EDU H307) | Wilson

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

B. Violence Against Children

ID 205: Societal Response to Disaster and War | Jennifer Leaning, Satchit Balsari

HDS 3334 Religion, Conflict, and Peace in the Contemporary Middle East | Diane Moore

GHP 515: International Humanitarian Response 1* | Stephanie Kayden, Gregory Gottlieb

GHP 518: International Humanitarian Response 2* | Stephanie Kayden, Gregory Gottlieb

ID240: Principles of Injury Control | David Hemenway

GHP553: Human Rights Dilemmas in Child Protection (also offered as IGA 342M) | Jacqueline Bhabha

IGA-229 Gender, Sex, & War | Dara Cohen

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

C. Justice For Children

A203: Educational Justice | Jacob Fay

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

EDU T416: Transformative Justice | Kaia Stern

HLS Emerging Issues in Refugee Protection: The Representation of Child Asylum Seekers | Nancy Kelly, John Willshire

HLS Gender Violence, Law and Social Justice | Diane Rosenfeld

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

HLS Children and the Law | Anne Dailey

D. Social Change/Family Strengthening

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

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

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

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

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

GHP 288: Introduction to Health and Human Rights | Stephen Marks

EDU H210P: Queering Education | Gretchen Brion-Meisels

HLS The Art of Social Change | Elizabeth Bartholet, Crisanne Hazen

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

MLD 304: Science of Behavior Change | Rogers

E. Child Protection Leadership Tools


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

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

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

EDU A302: Equity in Action in School Systems | Jennifer Cheatham      


EDU A501: Negotiation* | Deborah Goldstein, Todd Gillien

HPM 252: Negotiation | Linda Kaboolian

MLD-220M: Fundamentals of Negotiation | Brian Mandell

MLD-224: Behavioral Science of Negotiations | Julie Minson

MLD-223: Negotiating Across Differences | Kessely Hong


SBS 245: Social and Behavioral Research Methods | Steve Gortmaker, Erica Kenney

EDU S501Y / 502Y: Researching in Community: Intergenerational Participatory Action Research for Educational Justice | Gretchen Brion-Meisels

HLS: Special Education Advocacy for Students Impacted by Trauma | Michael Gregory

*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.