US: Bold measure to address needs of children in adversity

Categories: Policy.

According to Ivy Mungcal,senior staff writer, Devex Publications, this US Government Action Plan on Children in Adversity is the first-ever document of its kind launched by the donor country and it highlights the link between the well-being of children and a country’s social and economic progress.

Drafted by the US Agency for International Development in collaboration with the US Departments of State, Agriculture, Defense, Health and Human Services and the Peace Corps and informed by output from the scientific, academic, faith-based groups, and nonprofit communities, the plan has three core objectives:

  1. Build strong beginnings by increasing the percentage of children who reach their full developmental potential.
  2. Put family care first and reduce the percentage of children who live outside family care.
  3. Protect children and reduce the percentage of boys and girls exposed to exploitation and violence.

Could this action plan signal an opportunity for funding children palliative care we might ask? Six months since its launch, the plan faces its own adversity with development and health experts telling the Senate appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday 21 May that the action plan lacks ‘teeth.” 

Despite this however and according to USAID officials, this action plan is likely to impact aid procurement, particularly application requests for child health and safety programs, as the US Agency for International Development has committed to align its priorities with the plan’s strategy, beginning in a list of “focus countries” that will be announced in June 2013, reports Michael Igoe, International and Humanitarian Affairs Reporter for Devex. 

Mr Igoe further quotes, Neil Boothby, one of the action plan’s architects, who encourages aid partners to prepare for the upcoming procurement changes and for agencies to start looking at how they can align and reorient what they’re doing. Answers to questions such as reductions of children outside of family care, and reductions of violence will receive attention.

Does palliative care offer these answers? Is this the time to position children’s palliative care more prominently in the global agenda?

I say yes and the time to act is now. Palliative care offers real solutions for addressing care for children within the home or family settings. We need to offer these solution to the agencies work with us and use this new frame for leveraging resources to address children’s needs.

For more commentary, please see Michael Igoe’s full blog.