15 May 2014 – Today is the 20th International Day of Families, initiated by the United Nations to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families globally.

This year the theme is: Families matter for the achievement of International development goals. We at Family for Every Child have chosen this annual celebration to launch our new report: Why care matters, highlighting the vital role of families in the positive development of children.

Care matters because it will guarantee our safe future and it will prevent abuse and exploitation.” Abla El-Badry, Hope Village Society, Egypt

The care of children matters to all of us. It affects how we live; influences our capacity to develop, both as individuals and as a society; and it reflects our aspirations for the kind of world we wish to live in. All children, where possible, should be cared for by their own family. Supporting children to grow up in a permanent, safe and caring family is at the heart of adequate care.

Caring is the glue that keeps us connected and makes families, and therefore society, function. Without care we wither and die. The health, education, hopes and lives of millions of children around the world are withering and dying from lack of care.” Alison Lane, Juconi, Mexico

Children themselves consistently express their need for better care when consulted. And when they receive it, they flourish.

The care and support I got from FSCE helped me to care for other children in addition to improving my life in many ways. Now I help other children with their education on a voluntary basis” Fitsum, 15, supported by FSCE, Ethiopia

Children without adequate care are less likely to attend or do well in school, less able to access health and other basic services, more likely to engage in anti-social and criminal behaviours, and in many cases their physical, emotional and cognitive development is compromised. Inadequate care can also be life-threatening and lead to other child protection concerns, such as child exploitation.

We believe that the best place for a child to grow up, regardless of background or circumstance, is in a safe, caring and permanent family. The most vulnerable children in the world – the millions growing up without adequate care – are often invisible in the global development agenda. We think this is wrong. Together, we are driven to create lasting change. Through our different hands-on projects, we work to ensure that adequate care for children is provided for and prioritised. You can read an example on how this is done in Kenya here, one from Rwanda here. and from the UK here.