Becoming a Unicef Child Friendly
City or Community

It takes between three to five years for a city or community to be recognised as a UNICEF Child Friendly City or Community.

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The Child Friendly Cities & Communities journey

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A council applies to take part in the UNICEF UK Child Friendly Cities & Communities programme. If successful they launch their three-to-five-year journey with UNICEF UK and become part of a family of cities and communities in close to 50 countries around the world committed to protecting and advancing children’s human rights.

The Child Friendly Cities & Communities team begins to deliver expert training to council staff, politicians and local partners on children’s rights and how to use a child rights-based approach, as well as how to meaningfully engage with children and young people.

The council meets with children and young people, as well as local partners, to decide which six areas (or ‘badges’) to prioritise during their Child Friendly Cities & Communities journey.


The council drafts and presents an Action Plan setting out how it will achieve progress in the city or community’s six priority areas by using a child rights-based approach to weave children’s rights into policy and practice.


The council, local partners and children and young people work together to carry out the Action Plan. The Child Friendly Cities & Communities team continues to run training and offer support at every step of the way.


After a minimum of three years, an independent panel of experts on human rights, child wellbeing and public services – as well as local children and young people – decide whether to recognise the city or community as a UNICEF Child Friendly City or Community. Recognition lasts for up to three years.