Back Build a Career as a Child Protection Officer: Essential Skills, Experience & Tips

Have you ever thought about building your career in the field of children's rights, specifically as a child protection officer?

Today, we'd like to give you some advice on how to make your resume competitive and emphasize the items that should definitely be on it.

What is meant by child protection? Children should be protected from any kind of abuse, exploitation of their labor force, violence, and neglect.

The protection of children's rights is discussed in Article 19 of the UNCRC ( the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child). It says that the use of violence against a child can never be justified or acceptable in society. Every child and adolescent has a legal right to confidentially report that force has been used on them, and the authorities, in turn, have a duty to investigate, ensuring the child's safety.

Most importantly, organizations that seek workers for these positions that involve working with children look for workers who already have similar experience working in other organizations as well as in the public sector. To put it another way, working in the field of children's rights is considered a skill that is transferred internally.

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞 𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐋𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐍𝐨𝐰: 𝐏𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐓𝐞𝐜𝐡𝐧𝐢𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐬 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐨 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐚 𝐣𝐨𝐛 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐔𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐍𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐍𝐎𝐖!

Each of the experts in the field has knowledge not only of developing and promoting of children's rights but also of human rights, international law, and relations, political aspects as well as civil issues.

A Child Protection Officer in the United Nations (UN) is a professional who works to safeguard the rights and well-being of children in various settings, including conflict zones, disaster-affected areas, and vulnerable communities. These officers often work within a UN agency, such as UNICEF or the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), or other humanitarian organizations in partnership with the UN.

The main responsibilities of a Child Protection Officer include:

Developing and implementing child protection programs and strategies that address the needs of vulnerable children, including those affected by conflict, natural disasters, or other challenging situations.

Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of child protection interventions and making recommendations for improvement.

Collaborating with governments, civil society organizations, and other relevant stakeholders to strengthen national child protection systems and policies.

Providing technical assistance and capacity-building support to partners and stakeholders working on child protection issues.

Advocating for the rights of children and raising awareness about child protection concerns in various forums and platforms.

Responding to incidents of child abuse, exploitation, or violence and ensuring appropriate action is taken, including case management, referrals, and support services.

Ensuring that child protection principles and best practices are integrated into humanitarian response plans and programs.

Child Protection Officers are expected to have a strong background in child protection, social work, or a related field, along with relevant experience in humanitarian or development contexts. They should also have excellent communication, advocacy, and project management skills, as well as cultural sensitivity and the ability to work effectively in challenging environments.

Turning to statistics, working in the field of child protection more often attracts female professionals, which is why it is quite not uncommon to see fewer men who want to work in this field. But, there is usually a 50/50 ratio among both male and female representatives.

Successful work in child protection most often requires knowledge of the two main languages - English and French, namely fluency in English at the oral and written levels and in French at the working knowledge level. However, since the work of child protection officers is concentrated in areas of crisis and conflict, a working knowledge of Arabic and Spanish is also desirable.

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞 𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐋𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐍𝐨𝐰: 𝐏𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐓𝐞𝐜𝐡𝐧𝐢𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐬 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐨 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐚 𝐣𝐨𝐛 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐔𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐍𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐍𝐎𝐖!

The impact of having a master's degree

Many organizations, including Unicef for example, require applicants to have a graduate degree in order to be hired for child protection work. On the other hand, NGOs are more receptive and may give you a job if you only have a bachelor's degree.

How important is work experience?

It is worth noting that candidates who have 5 years of experience in a position related to the field have much more employment opportunities. Unfortunately, there is not a wide range of choices for young professionals.

If we talk about NGOs, here you can count on access to a fairly large number of jobs, if you have experience of 3 years. The more professional experience you have, the more likely it is that you will be able to get a good position in the field of child protection.

Child Protection Officers work in places where they are needed most

Conflict zones, refugee camps, areas with humanitarian crises or border control are places where child protection professionals are always needed. In each of the aforementioned zones, you need to know how to act and what decision to make, because sometimes time is limited, which is why experience in these situations plays an important role. As mentioned earlier, in many cases experience is a mandatory requirement for an employee.

There are certain profiles in child protection that are harder to find. Among those areas where there is a great need for staffing:

  • Juvenile Justice
  • Capacity Building/Training on Child Protection.
  • DDR Children and Child Rights (CRC)
  • MHPSS (Mental Health and Psychosocial Support)

What ranks are commonly used for child protection officers?

Years of Experience


1 to 4 years

A junior-level Child Protection Analyst

3 to 7 years

A mid-level Child Protection Officer

8 to 10 years

A senior level Child Protection Officer

Child Protection Officer Interview questions

When interviewing for a Child Protection Officer position in the United Nations, you can expect questions that assess your technical expertise, experience, and soft skills relevant to the role. Here are some sample interview questions you might encounter:

  1. Can you briefly describe your background and experience in child protection, and how it has prepared you for this role?
  2. What are the key principles of child protection in humanitarian contexts, and how do you ensure they are integrated into your work?
  3. Can you provide an example of a challenging child protection case you have dealt with? How did you handle it, and what were the outcomes?
  4. How do you assess the needs and priorities of vulnerable children in a humanitarian crisis? What steps would you take to develop and implement a child protection program in such a context?
  5. In your experience, what are the most common challenges faced by Child Protection Officers in the field, and how do you overcome them?
  6. How do you work with local partners and stakeholders to strengthen national child protection systems? Can you provide an example from your experience?
  7. How do you handle situations where cultural norms and practices may conflict with child protection principles and international standards?
  8. Can you discuss your experience in monitoring and evaluating child protection programs? What indicators do you use to measure the success of such programs?
  9. How do you ensure that the voices and needs of children are incorporated into your work and the decision-making processes of your organization?
  10. As a Child Protection Officer, you may often work in stressful and difficult environments. How do you manage stress and maintain your well-being while working in such contexts?

Remember that the interviewer will be interested in understanding not only your technical knowledge but also your ability to work effectively with others, adapt to different situations, and make sound decisions in challenging circumstances. Be prepared to provide specific examples from your experience to demonstrate your skills and expertise in child protection.

⚠️ Discover how to get a Job in the UN in 2024 even with no experience. Read our NEW Recruitment Guide to the UN with REAL test samples! UN Recruitment Guide 📘💼

Child Protection Trainings

Child protection training courses are essential for professionals working in the field of child protection, as well as for those interested in building a career in this area. These courses can provide you with the knowledge, skills, and best practices needed to effectively protect the rights and well-being of children in various contexts. Here are some child protection training courses and resources, along with their respective links:

  1. UNICEF Child Protection eLearning Courses UNICEF offers a variety of eLearning courses on child protection, including topics such as child rights, violence against children, and child protection in emergencies. Link:
  2. Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action The Alliance offers numerous online courses and resources on child protection in humanitarian contexts, including the Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action (CPMS). Link:
  3. ChildHub Online Courses ChildHub provides a range of online courses on child protection and child rights, covering topics such as child safeguarding, child trafficking, and child protection in emergencies. Link:
  4. Keeping Children Safe This organization offers a range of online child safeguarding courses, including an introduction to child safeguarding, managing safeguarding, and investigating safeguarding concerns. Link:
  5. Save the Children eLearning Save the Children has a variety of eLearning courses related to child protection, child rights, and humanitarian response, available on its eLearning platform. Link:

Please note that some of these courses may require registration or have fees associated with them. It is important to review the specific course requirements and details before enrolling.

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