An artichoke?

That's what you see, right? If so, you're correct! 

When it comes to child protection, the child has to be at the center of every decision.

If we do not consider the child's best interest or don't ask for their perspective about the decisions affecting their lives, we are much more likely to unintentionally cause further trauma in the way we 'protect' them. 

An artichoke is the perfect representation of what research shows is best practice in working with vulnerable children. 

At the center, is the 'heart' which represents a child. Above it is the 'choke', representing a mom, dad or immediate family. Beyond that are many layers of leaves. The 'inner leaves' are softer (aka nurturing) and become thicker and stronger as they move from the center as they protect the 'heart' to grow and develop. At the very tip of the outer leaves are tiny 'prickles' which act as a natural defense. 

As Global Child Advocates, we believe the best way to protect a child is by strengthening the layers that surround them. In our work on the Thai-Myanmar border, our team engages impoverished families everyday. Instead of removing a child from a struggling family, we come alongside that family and help them to be best line of defense for their own children. 

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We connect them to local resources for income generation, nutrition support, preschool for their children, counseling and other tools that empower them to stay together.

We engage their community leaders and provide training in children's needs and child protection. We also promote strong child protection policies within organizations and local government and advocate for their response to criminal activity impacting children.

Our end goal for every child and trauma survivor is to be supported and protected within a strong loving family.