CARES: Child-centered and Accessible crisis-Response for an Effective protection System

About the Project

Research Topic & Roadmap

Increased worries about the future, emotional stress, limited physical activities or sleeping disorders – initial studies show that children and juveniles are particularly affected by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in multiple ways. Many young people have already faced disadvantages before, now with exacerbated effects: The loss of parents’ income, tensions within the family, and “home schooling” have increased potentials for conflicts and reinforced existing problematic socioeconomic structures. The above-mentioned factors highlight the relevance of child protection institutions, like child and youth welfare authorities as well as supporting organisations, and their work. However, these actors faced major challenges themselves during lockdowns, e.g. maintaining contact with families and keeping up services and operations in facilities.

CARES will analyse these developments – as well as other current burdens (inflation, consequences of the war in Ukraine) – and focus on children and their experiences. Furthermore, the findings of professionals will be assessed. This dual approach aims at identifying lessons learned for stronger crises response mechanisms in the field of child protection and social services for children.

From September 2022 to August 2023, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights’ “Human Dignity and Public Security” programme line will cooperate with Defence for Children International Belgium (project coordination/ Belgium), General Administration of Youth Welfare of the French-speaking community of Belgium (Belgium), and Habri Telefon (Croatia) to implement the project.

Research Focus

  • Analyse response mechanisms of child protection institutions during/after COVID-19 to gain knowledge for future crisis situations
  • Direct involvement of children in the research process
  • Exchange of identified best practices regarding child protection during the COVID-19 pandemic among partner countries
  • Development of awareness and training schemes for professionals on lessons learned from the pandemic and on children’s rights

Research Method

Outcomes and results will be achieved by conducting national secondary research, but above all through consultations with children (workshops) and professionals (focus groups), as well as by a complementary survey and expert interviews. National reports on lessons learned, handbooks, one synthetic report, training tools on how to enhance respect for children’s rights in crises situations, and a report on child participation (incl. “Voices of the Children” document) are planned as publications.

Project Data


Helmut Sax

Senior Researcher

+43 1 4277-27424