Children of the Commonwealth: Commonwealth Children’s Interest Group co-organisation of roundtable on Child Care and Protection Reform

In February, CFAB was proud to have contributed to the Commonwealth Secretariat’s roundtable event: Activating the Kigali Declaration. This follows on from the child safeguarding and advocacy work we have been developing since our co-founding of the Commonwealth Children’s Interest Group (ComCIG) one year ago.  

The event was organised by ComCIG conveners CFAB Trustee David Jones (COSW), CEO Carolyn Housman (CFAB) and Helen Jones (CBWN) joined by Hope and Homes for Children and the Commonwealth Secretariat. It intended to raise awareness and strengthen our commitments to the Kigali Declaration, and encourage inter-agency collaboration at an international Commonwealth stage. Passed in June 2022 at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Rwanda, this far-reaching declaration is seeking to effect change and ensure the social protection and safeguarding of children and young people across the Commonwealth. It proclaimed actions to better protect young people from abuse, violence, exploitation and neglect, and acknowledged the harm of institutionalisation. To read more about this event, take a look at our website page here and the Kigali Declaration here.

We were delighted to be joined by 100 partners at this roundtable event, including High Commissioners, Civil Society Organisations and Commonwealth Accredited Organisations, each drawing on their expertise and experience of care and protection reform for children and young people. Key areas of knowledge and discussion included areas such as child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA), child early and forced marriage (CEFM), FGM, modern slavery, child forced labour, children separated from families including across borders and discrimination of those within LGBTQ+ or disabled communities.

As part of the event, our CEO Carolyn Housman co-facilitated a breakout room exploring the benefits and challenges of data gathering and analysis surrounding childcare and protection reform. We spoke about the use of data as an advocacy tool, effective for monitoring progress and holding governments accountable to their commitments, something CFAB exemplified in our Safe, Secure and Thriving Campaign. This was a display how useful data capturing can be in this field, as our evidence convincingly shows the importance of exploring international kinship care placements for children in the UK as long-term care solutions.  

With 2023 being the Year of Youth, we are delighted by the dedication and encouragement shown by actors and communities within the Commonwealth in advancing the Kigali Declaration and placing families at the centre of child protection policies. We look forward to further discussions and material developments steered by the Commonwealth Secretariat in tangent with ComCIG. It is encouraging to see the potential for a Pan-Commonwealth partnership supporting the implementation of the Kigali Declaration, outlining a roadmap for its best implementation ahead of the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Samoa 2024.