Every year, 20 November is celebrated as “Universal Children’s Day”, marking the anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989

No other human rights treaty has so many signatures, reflecting the fact that little else seems to unite the world so much as the belief that if we are to call ourselves a civilized planet, innocent children must be protected.

The convention establishes children’s rights to live with a family that cares for them in a safe and clean environment, have nutritious food and access to healthcare, be educated, play and rest, express their opinions and have those opinions heard and taken seriously.

However, there is a deep disconnect between the promised rights and reality for millions of children around the world. In particular, for 220 million children who are at risk of growing up without parental care.  They are most likely to experience rights violations, poverty, and exclusion, poor physical and mental health, lack of access to education and basic services, high youth unemployment, and high levels of violence and neglect. Those are the children who live in unregulated or institutional care settings or have no one to rely on to provide adequate care due to poverty, disease, natural disasters or displacement.

Why is care important?

When children are alone they are most likely to experience human rights violations such as poverty and exclusion, higher levels of violence, human trafficking, and lack of access to education and medical services. There is a scientifically proven connection between the amount of love and care children receive and their mental health and ability to learn. Without a loving family to care for them, children cannot reach their full potential.

Care for children is one of the best investments the global community can make.

Children who grow up in a caring environment are more likely to be mentally and emotionally stable, and to develop essential skills that will enable them to shape their own futures and actively contribute to the development of their communities.

Investment in care and most importantly in early childhood care is an ultimate investment into the society with less violence, harm and destruction.