Camp management: Integrating child protection


The camp management agency, working in partnership with child protection actors, has a responsibility to make sure children are not exposed to threats in the camp, and that if specific children at risk are identified, their needs are assessed and action is taken to adapt or target help to them.

Standard: Camp management activities address the needs and protection concerns of children affected by forced displacement. (CPMS, 2019).

Download a printable risk assessment  summarising the guidelines below


  • Develop referral mechanisms in partnership with child protection actors
  • Work with protection actors to ensure adequate recreational and education activities and play spaces for children

Keep children safe and avoid causing harm

Understand the context

  • Which child protection issues are affecting children in the community?
  • Be aware of existing land and property tenure arrangements, including statutory/legislative and customary access rights to land when selecting sites

Reduce risks of harm within projects

  • Ensure that the proposed locations for settlements are as free as possible from threats to safety (e.g. flooding, natural disaster, attacks)
  • Provide training for and practise fire procedures and emergency evacuations with affected populations
  • Each household shelter should open onto common space or a screened area, not onto the entrance of another shelter
  • Ensure that camp management workers and others working in the camp have signed up to and been trained in a code of conduct

Reduce risk of exacerbating existing protection risks 

  • Ensure that there are safe and accessible routes to services for children such as schools, child friendly spaces, WASH facilities and health centres
  • Toilets and bathing facilities should be gender specific, lockable and well lit
  • Ensure settlements have good visibility and lighting and adequate security at night

Ensure children’s access to assistance 

Make sure the most at-risk children are accessing services

  • Use population registration exercises, as well as asking parents and the community, to profile children in the camp and to identify children and families with specific vulnerabilities. This may include:
    • child-headed households
    • children who are working
    • children/adults with disabilities
    • single-parent families
    • elderly caregivers
  • Ensure that provision is made for child-headed households
  • Group together families, extended families and groups from similar backgrounds, so long as grouping people together does not increase vulnerability or create unequal access to services

Adapt programming to remove barriers to access

  • Ensure adequate safe spaces for children to play where family members can watch them from the shelter to avoid children playing in remote locations
  • Use a standard measure of space between tents and shelters, so that children have a safe, clear and easy-to-supervise space to play around their shelter
  • Adapt facilities for children with disabilities (e.g. avoiding steps, providing handrails, or using ground floor locations)

Include feedback and participation

  • Display information on children’s rights to safety and where they can seek support in a child-friendly format in public spaces
  • Bring children’s views into decision-making, through age-sensitive participation techniques, appointing a children’s focal point, and setting up a children’s committee if appropriate
  • Set up confidential feedback and complaints mechanisms in easily accessible locations
  • Ensure that local authorities and host communities are informed, consulted and included in decisions on site location and planning in order to reduce possible tensions

Respond effectively and appropriately to incidents of abuse

  • Set up referral systems in partnership with protection actors to provide an appropriate response to incidents of abuse or exploitation of children, and ensure staff are aware of these
  • Establish and support community-based child protection mechanisms

Strengthen systems and help children to claim their rights

  • Staff should know how to promote access to and signpost other services within or accessible from the settlement (e.g. health, education, psychosocial support)

Monitor and evaluate

  • Include the safety of the affected population as a sub-objective of each camp management intervention, making appropriate changes or advocating with authorities for improved safety where risks are identified
  • Confirm that girls and boys have equal access to camp services by carrying out regular spot-checks and observation, and by using disaggregated information from service providers in the camp

Sample objectives and indicators:

  • % of girls, boys and caregivers surveyed who rate the camp as safe
  • % of camp managers and camp management staff who can clearly explain their roles and responsibilities in responding to child protection issues
  • % of basic service access points (such as water points, distribution points, health centres, community centres, toilets) which meet agreed criteria to be considered safe and safely accessible for girls and boys

Key references, standards and guidelines

These guidelines are based on:

And additional guidelines and resources listed here

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