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|Caring for children|
|Outside the home|
|Institutions and standards|
Child protection is a set of usually government-run services designed to protect children and young people who are underage and to encourage family stability.
Due to economical reasons, especially in poor countries, children are forced to work in order to survive. Child labour often happens in difficult conditions, which are dangerous and impair the education of the future citizens and increase vulnerability to adults. It is hard to know exactly the age and number of children who work. At least 150 million children under 5 years of age worked in 2004, but the figure is underestimated because domestic labour is not counted.
In some countries, children can be imprisoned for common crimes. In some countries, like Iran or China, children can even be sentenced to capital punishment (the United States abandoned the practice in 2005). In contexts where military use of children is made, they also risk being prisoners of war. Other children are forced to prostitution, exploited by adults for illegal traffic in children or endangered by poverty and hunger. Infanticide today continues at a much higher rate in areas of extremely high poverty and overpopulation, such as parts of China and India. Female infants, then and even now, are particularly vulnerable, a factor in sex-selective infanticide.
Most children who come to the attention of the child welfare system do so because of any of the following situations, which are often collectively termed child abuse:
The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency dealing with labour issues, created in 1919. It takes care also of child labour issues, in particular with conventions 138 and 182.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is a United Nations Programme headquartered in New York City, that provides long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries.
In 2000, an agreement was reached among UNO countries about the military use of children.
The effectiveness of these programs is contested and seems limited to some.
Provincial or state governments' child protection legislation empowers the government department or agency to provide services in the area and to intervene in families where child abuse or other problems are suspected. The agency that manages these services has various names in different provinces and states, e.g., Department of Children's Services, Children's Aid, Department of Child and Family Services. There is some consistency in the nature of laws, though the application of the laws varies across the country.
Recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding… should be afforded the right to survival; to develop to the fullest; to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and social life.
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