Decatur latest US city hoping to join Child-Friendly Cities Initiative

By Lincolnh - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Decatur is the latest city to announce that it is working towards being formally recognised as a UNICEF USA Child-Friendly City.

Through the Child-Friendly Cities Initiative (CFCI), Decatur, which is in Georgia and has a population of around 20,000, will work with community partners to identify objectives under five key areas that support children and young people. They are: safety and inclusion; children’s participation; equitable social services, safe living environments and play and leisure.

‘Prioritises the best interests of children and youths’

As part of its bid for Child Friendly City status, local government officials and community leaders in Decatur, along with those in the other USA CFCI pilot cohort cities of Houston, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Johnson City, and Prince George’s County, will analyse child well-being in each city.

Based on these findings, the communities will implement an action plan that prioritises the best interests of children and youth within their local policies. CFCI will empower leaders to address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and systemic racism on children, work to combat discrimination and elevate their voices in local governance and decision-making.

Tony Powers, Mayor Pro Tem of Decatur, said: “We are truly excited to enter this partnership and initiative with UNICEF USA. Our children and youth need our support more than ever as we attempt to return to normalcy after a year that left us sheltered and, in many cases, separated from friends and family. The Child Friendly Initiative will put our most vulnerable population at the table where we can be sure to prioritise their needs through a lens of equity and inclusion and social justice.”

‘We are truly excited to enter this partnership’

Originally created in 1996, UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities Initiative uses a child rights-based framework to build a roadmap for establishing safer, more just, equitable, inclusive and child-responsive cities and communities around the world. Since its inception, CFCI has been adopted in over 3,000 municipalities in 56 countries. UNICEF USA said it applauded Decatur for its commitment to using this framework to build a better community for children.

Gail Rothman, Decatur’s Education Foundation Executive Director, said: “We are thrilled to be part of a coalition of agencies working with City of Decatur on the UNICEF Child Friendly City Initiative. DEF’s mission has always put Decatur’s kids at the centre of our work, and we share UNICEF USA’s vision of a more equitable world for every child. Decatur is well-positioned to really embrace this effort, and we look forward to working with the city and community partners on this exciting endeavour.”

Jeremy Cole, Managing Director for the south east region of UNICEF USA, added: “As a resident of Decatur, I am proud of our city’s commitment toward recognition as a UNICEF Child Friendly City. In partnership with the City of Decatur, we are dedicated to ensuring that every child has the right to grow up in a safe and secure environment where their voices are heard.”

For more information about Decatur’s CFCI involvement please email

Author: Simon Weedy

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