Childonomics is a research project aimed at developing a tool to determine the long-term social and economic return of investing in children. The tool will include an economic model informed by the costs of different services and approaches to supporting children and families in vulnerable situations. By using existing longitudinal data it will explore expected outcomes for children, families and society. Attention will focus on costs and outcomes associated with systems which rely on institutional care for children with disabilities and children separated from their families in the child protection system. These will be compared to systems which offer prevention, early intervention and family-strengthening services, high-quality family-based care for children separated from their parents, and the possibility of reintegration of children into their families, communities. The approach aims to be as comprehensive as possible, addressing the inter-play between social welfare, child protection, health and education services.
Why is such a project necessary?
The project will strengthen the economic case in support of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the UN Guidelines on Alternative Care. By taking a broad and long-term perspective, the approach will address the inter-play between different services. It will look at long-term societal costs linked to insufficient investment and misdirected funding of outdated care systems, which disenfranchise and further marginalise vulnerable children and families.
This project aims to increase awareness about the costs and benefits of reforming welfare systems among those outside the child rights community. It will provide a means of engaging in dialogue with Ministries of Finance and those responsible for managing public spending across different sectors. It can also be used to influence private donors and charities which sustain systems that are not compliant with international human rights standards.
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