United Kingdom

The Child Friendly Cities and Communities programme is led by UNICEF in the United Kingdom (UUK). The programme was launched on the 20th November 2017 following the completion of a three year, five city pilot.

Local authorities wishing to work towards recognition as a Child Friendly City or Child Friendly Community are supported by a specialist team at UUK. Over the course of three to five years, the team supports local authorities and their partners to achieve measurable progress in practically embedding children’s rights within local systems and services.

Using the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as a guide, the UUK team works collaboratively with local authorities, providing extensive training and guidance to political leaders, social workers, frontline staff, community and voluntary organizations, children and young people and more. The programme aims to profoundly change the way local government works with and for children, so children have a say in decisions that affect them, experience services that are designed with and for them, know what services are available to them, understand how to access and navigate the often complex local systems, and feel safe and prioritised within their cities and communities.

Achieving ‘Child Friendly’ recognition will depend on the city/community’s progress in key areas such as; political commitment to children’s rights, workforce knowledge and understanding of children’s rights, meaningful participation and equal access to services. Thematic areas and impact outcomes are identified at the outset of the journey by the city/community with guidance from UUK, in line with local needs and context. Progress is assessed through a mixture of self-evaluation, child-led evaluation and ultimately by an independent panel of experts in human rights, child well-being and public services.

Up to five cities/communities will be invited to join the programme each year. The first four cities working towards CFC recognition in the UK are:

Aberdeen (Scotland)

Aberdeen City Council hopes that every child and young person living in Aberdeen enjoys being young and at the same time feels safe, nurtured, healthy, active, included, respected and responsible. The Council aims to achieve this by coming together as colleagues, parents and carers to make sure every child and young person achieves their full potential and is supported to participate in decisions that affect them. Participating in this programme will help Aberdeen to embed knowledge and understanding of the CFC in services and the wider community, and ensure that young people are part of a rigorous approach to self-evaluation.

Barnet (London)

Barnet has an ambition to be the most ‘Family Friendly’ borough in London by 2020, and wants the children, young people and families that reside there to be safe, healthy, resilient, knowledgeable, responsible, informed and listened to. Participating in the programme will allow the Council and its partners to embed a child rights-based approach within service design, delivery and evaluation, ultimately ensuring that the services delivered within the borough realise children’s rights at every level.

Cardiff (Wales)

Cardiff City Council believes that every child and young person in the city has the right to grow up healthy, happy and safe. Cardiff City Council feel that adults, the local authority itself and their partners all have a responsibility to protect children’s rights and promote the well-being of children and young people. Cardiff’s participation in the programme has been designed to help the city and its partners take account of the economic, social, cultural and civil circumstances specific to children and to help public services adopt a child rights-based approach to planning and delivering the right support.

Newcastle (England)

Newcastle City Council is committed to encouraging and supporting all children to achieve their potential. In order to do this the Council believes that children, and particularly vulnerable groups of children, need to be aware of and understand their rights. In doing so the Council hopes to ensure they are able to access everything they are entitled to and that they will have the capacity to access and influence any service they need. Participating in the programme will support the Council in achieving this aim for the most vulnerable children and young people living in the city.

UNICEF Rights Respecting School and Child Rights Partners, at Swinton Primary School, in Glasgow, Scotland, on 4 November 2014.

© UNICEF/Sutton-Hibbert

• Aberdeen
• Barnet (London)
• Cardiff
• Newcastle


Naomi Danquah
Programme Director, Child-Friendly Cities & Communities
Tel 020 7017 1763