Child Protection

Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organization for children. We work in over120 countries. 

We make a difference to millions of children’s lives around the world through our child protection work. We believe that all children have the right to be protected from abuse,neglect, violence and exploitation so that they can survive, learn, participate, play and develop.



More than half of Cambodian children experience at least one form of violence before the age of 18, and the number of children living in residential care institutions has nearly doubled since 2005. To ensure all children grow up in a safe family environment, Save the Children is working in partnership with civil society organisations and the Royal Government of Cambodia to develop awell-functioning, comprehensive care system which responds to the needs of vulnerable children and families, and to enable a move from institutional to family based care. Together with children and communities, we work to change attitudes and social norms, strengthen child protection systems, and ensure all children have access to care and protection.  


Our goal is for Cambodia to have a national child protection system which guarantees care and protection for all children, prioritises family-based care and ensures that violence against children is no longer tolerated.  


Support the Cambodian government to develop a comprehensive, well-functioning care system which can prevent abuse and exploitation and respond to the needs of vulnerable children and families.  

Collaborate with the Royal Government of Cambodia to integrate positive parenting concepts into a national plan of action and legislation, and to increase resources to prevent and respond to violence against children. 

Reduce the number of children living in orphanages or other residential care institutions. 

Increase the capacity of staff and partners to implement large scale, effective Child Protection programmes before, during and after emergencies. 


In 2016, our Child Protection programme reached an estimated 7,232 children and their families. 

• More than 300 children received social work services from Village Volunteers, Community Social Workers and Commune Committees for Women and Children. 

• Almost 6,000 people in target communities received training on Positive Parenting and other child protection concepts. 

• More than 700 parents attended regular positive parenting sessions. 

• More than 1,400 children’s club members received information and advice on how to protect themselves and how to report cases of child abuse to local authorities. 


Recent research suggests that there are more than 49,000 children living in orphanages or other residential care institutions in Cambodia, more than 70% of whom have one or two living parents. This institutionalisation has been driven by poverty, lack of education and a 75% increase in the number of residential care institutions in Cambodia from 2005 - 2010. To address the issue of children living outside of family based care, Save the Children is working with a range of partners to increase the number of children living in safe, nurturing families.  

We are utilising a collective impact approach to develop the child protection system through activities including: developing national social work standards; piloting a family-child vulnerability index; expanding an online case management system across multiple NGOs and local government offices; working at the village and commune level to address family separation; working with residential care institutions to assist them to transition to family based care; developing a donor campaign to encourage a redirection of donations from residential care institutions to family based care; and supporting the placement of children in families including via the establishment of an alternative care panel. Save the Children is also working in partnership with the Cambodian government to increase resource allocation and improve coordination for child protection systems.  


Save the Children is a core member of the government’s Positive Parenting Working Group and the National Steering Committee on Violence against Children and, which is currently developing the National Plan of Action on Violence against Children. We also work with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and other partners to roll out the application of Positive Parenting through targeted training programmes, which aim to ensure that Positive Parenting continues to be increasingly integrated into primary and secondary education, early childhood care and development and the health sector.  


Save the Children co-leads the Child Protection cluster of the Humanitarian Response Forum. This ensures that emergency preparedness and response planning includes child protection standards, comprehensive school safety frameworks, school safety guidelines and that national emergency response strategies and coordination plans are in place. Save the Children works in partnership with UN agencies, key ministries and other emergency response partners to guarantee the implementation of these plans. Our programming approach also ensures inclusion of risk reduction and preparedness planning. 



Cambodia Children’s Trust, Cambodia National Council for Children, Children in Families, First Step Cambodia, Friends International, Gender and Development for Cambodia, Global Alliance for Children, Hagar International, Holt International, International Organisation for Migration, Investment in Children for their Society and Skillful Parenting, M’Lop Tapang, M’Lup Russey, Ministry of Cults and Religion, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, Ministry of Information, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Mother’s Heart, NGOCEDAW, Royal University of Phnom Penh, Social Services of Cambodia, UNDP, UNICEF, UNWOMEN, Women Organisation for Modern Economy and Nursing, World Vision. 


Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through Save the Children Australia, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation through Save the Children Norway, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Save the Children US.

For more information, please find the Factsheet and Brochure below.

Child Protection Factsheet 

Protecting Children through System Strengthening and Evidence