WHO Status for University of Birmingham Centre on Child Care and Protection

Posted on Friday 13th October 2006

As the UN Secretary General’s Report on Violence to Children is released today, the University of Birmingham is celebrating the establishment of the first ever World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Child Care and Protection.

The work carried out by Professor Kevin Browne, expert on childcare and protection in the Centre for Forensic and Family Psychology at the University of Birmingham, has been recognised by the WHO which influenced the choice to establish its first ever Collaborating Centre on Child Care and Protection at the University of Birmingham.

Professor Kevin Browne and his team at the newly created Centre were invited to contribute to the section on violence to children in the family in the Secretary General’s report.

“The UN Secretary General’s Report gives recognition to the many child victims of violence around the world and their need for protection,” said Professor Browne.

UN agencies consider violence to children as a public health issue and the Centre’s new status will result in a number of projects and initiatives with UNICEF and WHO, including offering advice and training internationally on child care and protection following the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Other actions in a host of activities include investigating infant abandonment throughout Europe, identifying good practices in preventing such neglect and training and information packs on the deinstitutionalising and transforming services for young children.

Professor Browne has worked extensively in Romania and other Eastern European countries to remove children from care homes, which has included many years working with MEP Baroness Emma Nicholson and more recently JK Rowling.

It is due to the work of Kevin Browne and Emma Nicholson that Romania has become an example of good practice within Europe. In the last four years a total of 22,000 children have been put back into family based care, half of these have been returned to their parents or relatives. In addition the number of foster families has increased from almost none to over 15,000 and, due to a change in legislation, it is now no longer possible to institutionalise children under two years old.

ENDS

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NOTES TO EDITORS

WHO Collaborating Centre for Child Care and Protection is based within the Centre for Forensic and family Psychology at the University of Birmingham.

Professor Kevin D Browne, Child and Family Psychologist, is Head of Centre.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

Please contact Anna Mitchell, Press Officer on 0121 414 6029 / mobile 07920 593946