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Giving Children an Equal Chance

With the conviction that good policies can make all the difference in giving every child an equal chance, the World Policy Analysis Center released a set of global maps as part of its report "Changing Children's Chances: New Findings on Child Policy Worldwide." These maps have been described as the biggest global picture of children's well-being, education, and family life ever assembled, allowing countries to quantify where they stand globally in terms of child-friendly policies.

"Changing Children's Chances" is the first quantitative study that examines what steps have already been taken by governments and to inform what steps countries can take to ensure overall well-being of its children. Conducted over 7 years with a multilingual team, the study analyzes poverty policies, education, health policies, discrimination laws, child labor, child marriage, and family work conditions and policies. All 193 United Nations countries were taken into account;  during the release of the report, however, it was acknowledged that the process of reporting data is "dense, difficult to access, and not widely available."

By providing a global picture on child-friendly policies, the report reveals how these policies translate into practice. Dr. Jody Heymann, Founding Director of the World Policy Analysis Center, points out as an example that particularly for those countries who have signed onto the Convention on the Rights of the Child, one would expect the map to show that access to primary education is tuition-free, which is not the case. Overall, many positive elements were brought forth by the report's analysis, but it also revealed that many areas of concern remain.

Creators of the report felt it was important to have the evidence available in the form of simple maps so that the data would be transparent. It is hoped that governments will consider the policy recommendations provided and set the bar high to ensure all children have an equal chance. "It's not just a question of resources that are available for the government. It's not just the economic status of the country. It's about political will, political action, and prioritization," says Catherine Mbengue from the African Child Policy Forum.

The World Policy Analysis Center is a part of the School of Public Health at the University of California Los Angeles in the United States.

For More Information:

Changing Children's Chances: New Findings on Child Policy Worldwide (PDF)

Children's Chances (website)

Mapping Children's Chances (BBC news)