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Places and Spaces: Environments and children’s well-being
SPOTLIGHT

Places and Spaces: Environments and children’s well-being

Report Card 17 explores how 43 OECD/EU countries are faring in providing healthy environments for children. Do children have clean water to drink? Do they have good-quality air to breathe? Are their homes free of lead and mould? How many children live in overcrowded homes? How many have access to green play spaces, safe from road traffic? Data show that a nation’s wealth does not guarantee a healthy environment. Far too many children are deprived of a healthy home, irreversibly damaging their current and future well-being. Beyond children’s immediate environments, over-consumption in some of the world’s richest countries is destroying children’s environments globally. This threatens both children worldwide and future generations. To provide all children with safe and healthy environments, governments, policymakers, businesses and all stakeholders are called to act on a set of policy recommendations.
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Life in Lockdown: Child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the time of COVID-19
Life in Lockdown: Child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the time of COVID-19
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

COVID-19 lockdowns have significantly disrupted the daily lives of children and adolescents, with increased time at home, online learning and limited physical social interaction. This report seeks to understand the immediate effects on their mental health. Covering more than 130,000 children and adolescents across 22 countries, the evidence shows increased stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms, as well as increased alcohol and substance use, and  externalizing behavioural problems.

Children and adolescents also reported positive coping strategies, resilience, social connectedness through digital media, more family time, and relief from academic stress. Factors such as demographics, relationships and pre-existing conditions are critical.

 To ensure children and adolescents are supported, the report recommends building the evidence on the longer-term impact of the pandemic on child and adolescent mental health in low- and middle-income countries, including vulnerable populations.

Family-friendly policies in South Asia
Family-friendly policies in South Asia

AUTHOR(S)
Jennifer Waidler; Bindu Sunny; Gwyther Rees

Published: 2021 Innocenti Working Papers

Bringing up children requires care, time and resources. Yet, too often, all over the world, parents and other primary caregivers are left to struggle with this fundamental task without enough support. The burden of responsibility tends to fall disproportionately on women. Often parents have to make impossible choices between earning enough money for their family and giving children the care that they need.

The concept of ‘family-friendly policies’ has emerged as a way of thinking about and addressing these issues. There is no agreed definition of the concept, but it is generally conceived as a set of policies that help parents/caregivers to reconcile various aspects of work and family life. Such policies may differ from one region and location to another depending on, amongst other things: demographics, including the definition of what a family is, and its function; the characteristics of the labour market and the workplace; the social and cultural context, including attitudes, expectations and norms; and the economic context.

 This paper addresses the issue of what family-friendly policies could look like in the South Asian context, where female labor force participation is very low and more than 90 per cent of workers are in the informal sector or under informal employment. It considers how these policies can be responsive to the particular characteristics and circumstances of countries in the region – including multi-generation families, family units built around adolescent mothers (and sometimes fathers), and migration for work both within and outside countries. It also tackles the question of how family-friendly policies might need to evolve in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.

By taking an equity approach to family friendly policies, we provide recommendations on how to reach families in different situations and facing different degrees of vulnerabilities, including those not working or working under very difficult circumstances.

Worlds of Influence: Understanding What Shapes Child Well-being in Rich Countries
Worlds of Influence: Understanding What Shapes Child Well-being in Rich Countries

AUTHOR(S)
Anna Gromada; Gwyther Rees; Yekaterina Chzhen

Published: 2020 Innocenti Report Card

A new look at children from the world’s richest countries offers a mixed picture of their health, skills and happiness. For far too many, issues such as poverty, exclusion and pollution threaten their mental well-being, physical health and opportunities to develop skills. Even countries with good social, economic and environmental conditions are a long way from meeting the targets set in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Focused and accelerated action is needed if these goals are to be met.

The evidence from 41 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and European Union (EU) countries tells its own story: from children’s chances of survival, growth and protection, to whether they are learning and feel listened to, to whether their parents have the support and resources to give their children the best chance for a healthy, happy childhood. This report reveals children’s experiences against the backdrop of their country’s policies and social, educational, economic and environmental contexts.

Families, Family Policy and the Sustainable Development Goals
Families, Family Policy and the Sustainable Development Goals

AUTHOR(S)
Dominic Richardson; Esuna Dugarova; Daryl Higgins; Keiko Hirao; Despina Karamperidou; Zitha Mokomane; Mihaela Robila

Published: 2020 Innocenti Research Report
This report explores how the role of families, and family policies from around the world, can contribute to meeting the ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Given the key role that both families and family policies have in determining social progress, and the national and international focus on meeting the SDGs by 2030, the timing of the publication is opportune. The report summarizes reviews of evidence across six SDGs that cover poverty, health, education, gender equality, youth unemployment, and ending violence to highlight some important issues that policymakers might consider when making future policies work for families, and family policies work for the future. A key contribution of the work, given the broad scope of the SDG ambitions, has been to map how the successes of family-focused policies and programmes in one SDG have also been successful in contributing to positive outcomes in other goal areas.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 276 | Tags: family, family policy, SDGs
Key Findings on Families, Family Policy and the Sustainable Development Goals: Synthesis Report
Key Findings on Families, Family Policy and the Sustainable Development Goals: Synthesis Report

AUTHOR(S)
Dominic Richardson

Published: 2018 Innocenti Research Report
This synthesis report, ‘Families, Family Policy and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Key Findings’ explores how the role of families, and family policies from around the world, can contribute to meeting the SDG targets. Given the key role families and family policies play in determining social progress, and in view of the national and international focus on meeting the SDGs by 2030, the timing of this publication is opportune. The report summarizes evidence across the six SDGs that cover poverty, health, education, gender equality, youth unemployment, and ending violence. It highlights important issues that policy makers may wish to consider when making future policies work for families, and family policies work for the future. Given the broad scope of the SDG ambitions, a key contribution of this work is to map how the successes of family-focused policies and programmes in one SDG have been successful in contributing to positive outcomes in other SDG goal areas.
Family and Parenting Support: Policy and Provision in a Global Context
Family and Parenting Support: Policy and Provision in a Global Context

AUTHOR(S)
Mary Daly; Zlata Bruckhauf; Jasmina Byrne; Ninoslava Pecnik; Maureen Samms-Vaughan; Rachel Bray; Alice Margaria

Published: 2015 Innocenti Insights
Families, parents and caregivers play a central role in child well-being and development. They offer identity, love, care, provision and protection to children and adolescents as well as economic security and stability. In keeping with the spirit of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, family and parenting support is increasingly recognized as an important part of national social policies and social investment packages aimed at reducing poverty, decreasing inequality and promoting positive parental and child well-being. This publication seeks to develop a research agenda on family support and parenting support globally.
The 'Family-in-Focus' Approach: Developing policy-oriented monitoring and analysis of human development in Indonesia
The 'Family-in-Focus' Approach: Developing policy-oriented monitoring and analysis of human development in Indonesia

AUTHOR(S)
Friedhelm Betke

Published: 2001 Innocenti Working Papers
Socio-economic and political turmoil in Indonesia has had an impact on the country's thirty years of progress in social development. However, it has also opened up new avenues for participation and region-specific policy formulation alongside growing demand for new approaches to the monitoring and analysis of social change. This paper examines the Family-in-Focus Approach - a comprehensive lifespan-based concept of human development. This joint initiative from UNICEF, the Government of Indonesia and others, sees families as participants in development rather than passive recipients of programmes. A family focus in the planning of multi-sectoral interventions could ensure better targeting, while building capacity for analysis at Governmental and institutional levels.
The Outcomes of Teenage Motherhood in Europe
The Outcomes of Teenage Motherhood in Europe

AUTHOR(S)
Richard Berthoud; Karen Robson

Published: 2001 Innocenti Working Papers
Research in many countries has confirmed that teenage mothers and their families are often at a disadvantage compared with those whose children are born in their twenties or thirties. But there has never been an opportunity for a systematic comparison between countries, based on a common data source. This paper analyses the current situation of women whose first child was born when they were teenagers, across 13 countries in the European Union, based on the European Community Household Panel survey. Outcomes considered include educational attainment, family structure, family employment and household income. Teenage mothers were disadvantaged in all countries, but the severity of their position varied substantially between countries.
Achieving Gender Equality in Families:  The role of males. Global Seminar Report, 1995
Achieving Gender Equality in Families: The role of males. Global Seminar Report, 1995

AUTHOR(S)
John Richardson

Published: 1995 Innocenti Global Seminar
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 56 | Thematic area: Gender Issues | Tags: family, gender equality, men's role | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
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Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being
Publication

Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being

Digital experiences can have significant negative impact on children, exposing them to risks or failing to nurture them adequately. Nevertheless, digital experiences also potentially yield enormous benefits for children, enabling them to learn, to create, to develop friendships, and to build worlds. While global efforts to deepen our understanding of the prevalence and impact of digital risks of harm are burgeoning – a development that is both welcome and necessary – less attention has been paid to understanding and optimizing the benefits that digital technology can provide in supporting children’s rights and their well-being. Benefits here refer not only to the absence of harm, but also to creating additional positive value. How should we recognize the opportunities and benefits of digital technology for children’s well-being? What is the relationship between the design of digital experiences – in particular, play-centred design – and the well-being of children? What guidance and measures can we use to strengthen the design of digital environments to promote positive outcomes for children? And how can we make sure that children’s insights and needs form the foundation of our work in this space? These questions matter for all those who design and promote digital experiences, to keep children safe and happy, and enable positive development and learning. These questions are particularly relevant as the world shifts its attention to emerging digital technologies and experiences, from artificial intelligence (AI) to the metaverse, and seeks to understand their impact on people and society. To begin to tackle these questions, UNICEF and the LEGO Group initiated the Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children (RITEC) project in partnership with the Young and Resilient Research Centre at Western Sydney University; the CREATE Lab at New York University; the Graduate Center, City University of New York; the University of Sheffield; the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child; and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. The research is funded by the LEGO Foundation. The partnership is an international, multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral collaboration between organizations that believe the design and development of digital technology should support the rights and well-being of children as a primary objective – and that children should have a prominent voice in making this a reality. This project’s primary objective is to develop, with children from around the world, a framework that maps how the design of children’s digital experiences affects their well-being, and to provide guidance as to how informed design choices can promote positive well-being outcomes.
Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning
Publication

Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning

Emerging evidence shows a positive association between women school leaders and student performance. Some studies suggest women school leaders are more likely than their male counterparts to adopt effective management practices that may contribute to improved outcomes. However, women remain largely underrepresented in school leadership positions, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. This brief presents emerging insights on the association between women school leaders and education outcomes and draws attention to women’s underrepresentation in school leadership roles. It highlights the need for further research on gender and school leadership to identify policies and practices that can be implemented to increase women’s representation and scale high-quality management practices adopted by women leaders to more schools to improve education outcomes for all children.
Annual Report 2021
Publication

Annual Report 2021

The UNICEF Innocenti Annual Report 2021 highlights the key results achieved in research and evidence to inform policymaking and programming.
Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia
Publication

Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia

When schools started closing their doors due to COVID-19, countries in Europe and Central Asia quickly provided alternative learning solutions for children to continue learning. More than 90 per cent of countries offered digital solutions to ensure that education activities could continue. However, lack of access to digital devices and a reliable internet connection excluded a significant amount of already marginalized children and threatened to widen the existing learning disparities. This report builds on existing evidence highlighting key lessons learned during the pandemic to promote learning for all during school closure and provides actionable policy recommendations on how to bridge the digital divide and build resilient education systems in Europe and Central Asia.

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