Chapin Hall international network of child policy centres

“Children make up thirty percent of the world’s population but are a silent constituency in the world of social policy and research. Only recently have issues such as child poverty, child abuse and neglect … and children’s rights gained cross-national interest, and … a growing demand for quality research to inform effective policy and practice. For more than a decade, Chapin Hall’s network of Child Policy Research centres has addressed this ... need by fostering co-ordinated … cross national exchange.”

Extract from a brochure of the Chapin Hall Children’s Centre, University of Chicago

The Children’s Institute has been an active member of the Chapin Hall Network for the past eight years, along with similar child policy centres from South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The centres share the goal of generating knowledge through research to improve policies and practices for children.

Every 18 months Chapin Hall convenes a plenary meeting that provides opportunities for network members to work through issues of common concern, and to discuss topics that may lead to useful cross-national research. In May 2008, the plenary meeting gathered at the University of Seoul in South Korea. The host was Bong Joo Lee of the Institute of Social Welfare Research.

The three-day meeting included sessions on family; child welfare; transitions to adulthood; globalisation; the strategic relationship between policy and research; and evaluating complex community initiatives.

Shirley Pendlebury represented the Children’s Institute at the meeting, where she chaired a roundtable on the role of international conventions and inter-governmental organisations (IGOs) in shaping policy for children. A rapid assessment of IGOs and UN Convention on the Rights of the Child influences on the countries represented at the meeting showed that national policies for children in India, Brazil and South Africa were much more strongly influenced by IGOs and international conventions than, for example, national policy in the UK and USA.

Belonging to the Chapin Hall network is immensely valuable for the CI. The network is a supportive community for thinking through organisational issues and sharing strategies for getting research into policy and practice. Membership has also enhanced the Institute’s international profile.




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