Save the Children USA

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Save the Children
Save the Children logo
Founded 1919
Founder Eglantyne Jebb
Dorothy Buxton
Type NGO
  • 501 Kings Highway East, Suite 400, Fairfield, CT 06825
Area served
United States and Worldwide
Slogan "We save children’s lives. We fight for their rights. We help them fulfill their potential."
Mission Save the Children invests in childhood – every day, in times of crisis and for our future. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. By transforming children's lives now, we change the course of their future and ours.

Save the Children Federation, Inc., commonly known as Save the Children USA, is a non-profit organization working to improve the lives of children in the United States of America and around the world. Their headquarters is located in Fairfield, CT.

Save the Children USA was formed in 1932 to help children in the Appalachian mountains during the Great Depression, and modeled on the Save the Children Fund which had been established in Britain in 1919.[1]

Save the Children USA is part of the global Save the Children movement, with operations in over 120 countries around the world. Save the Children has received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for the past 11 years.[2]


Save the Children is an advocate for children's rights and has international programs in the following areas

  • Child Protection
  • Education and Child Development
  • Emergency Response
  • Health and Nutrition
  • Hunger and Livelihoods

In addition, Save the Children USA also runs programs in the US, working with impoverished families in areas such as

  • early childhood development
  • literacy
  • physical activity
  • nutritional programming

Save the Children also responds to domestic emergencies and natural disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, Oklahoma tornadoes, California wildfires and the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. [3]

Programs in the United States[edit]

Save the Children works in the U.S. to ensure that underserved children ready to succeed by the time they begin school, enjoy academic and personal success in school, are healthy and active in learning and life, and are safe and protected when disaster strikes. Programming includes core early childhood, literacy, health and emergency preparedness and disasters response in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Acting as grantor, advocate, content provider and an ongoing source of technical support, Save the Children focuses on building strategic government and community partnerships to yield scalable, replicable, accountable model sites. In 2012, the organization reached 240,000 children.

Response to Oklahoma tornadoes[edit]

Save the Children provided disaster relief and recovery services to children affected by the tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma.Moore[4]

Response to Sandy Hook shootings in Newtown, Connecticut[edit]

According to CNN, "For families from the Newtown area, and even beyond, a pressing problem will be how to help children cope with the aftermath of this tragedy -- and indeed how to give parents space to grieve, knowing their children are being looked after. To that end, Save The Children has opened a "child-friendly space" in Newtown to give kids a place to play and express themselves while parents seek support or counseling. The space is located in Newtown's Reed Intermediate School, where students of Sandy Hook elementary go after graduating. In addition, Save The Children has released 10 tips for parents wondering how to help their children deal with their feelings about such a traumatic event, such as spending extra time with your kids, and limiting TV time."[5]

Response to Hurricane Sandy[edit]

According to Fox News, "Save the Children has deployed emergency relief teams to New Jersey and New York, setting up safe play areas in shelters where hundreds of children can be kids again." [6] Save the Children worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the American Red Cross and others in response to the Superstorm.

International programs[edit]

Save the Children serves impoverished, marginalized and vulnerable children and families in nearly 120 countries. Programs help children, parents, caregivers and community members. They help save children’s lives, protect them from exploitation and assist them in accessing education and health care.

Through disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, rapid humanitarian relief and long-term recovery programs, Save the Children also assists millions of girls and boys at risk of or affected by natural disasters, conflicts and ethnic violence.

Child protection[edit]

Save the Children protects children from abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence in all regions of the world. In the United States, they provide critical services in the aftermath of disasters and emergencies.


Save the Children trains teachers to engage their students through more effective teaching practices; coaches parents and caregivers to help their children learn early on, so they are prepared to enter school; introduce children to drawing, painting, music, drama, dance and more – to help them heal, learn and do better in school; and provides educational opportunities in emergency shelters and refugee camps.

Emergency response[edit]

Save the Children responds to three basic types of emergencies. They are: 1. Sudden-Onset Emergency: earthquakes, floods, landslides, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, cyclones, industrial accidents, and war or political reprisals. 2. Slow-Onset Emergency: drought, desertification, deforestation, pest infestations, epidemics, pandemics, and war or political reprisals. 3. Complex Emergency: internal and external dislocation, famine, war and civil breakdown.

Health and nutrition[edit]

Save the Children works to improve health and nutrition of mothers and children, with special attention to poor and vulnerable communities. In partnership with governmental and nonprofit organizations, Save the Children supports proven programs to improve the quality, availability and use of high impact health services in hard-to-reach and impoverished communities.

HIV and AIDS[edit]

Save the Children takes on a comprehensive approach in addressing HIV and AIDS, focusing on orphans and other vulnerable children; young people most at risk in the epidemic; and efforts to combat Pediatric AIDS including mother-to-child transmission prevention programs.

Hunger and livelihoods[edit]

Save the Children's hunger and livelihoods programs focus on improving the food supply, farming practices and finances of families in need. They provide families with basic food staples following a natural disaster or emergency; teach parents about the importance of providing their child with the right variety of foods to prevent malnutrition; train small-scale farmers on how to prevent the loss of crops or livestock to drought, floods or disease; guide family farmers on how to grow more nutritious foods; help families access basic financial products like savings or insurance; and teach youth financial literacy.[7]


Save the Children has country offices and local staff in sponsorship areas. Each child is identified and offered the opportunity to participate in sponsorship programs in consultation with their family or caregiver. Child sponsorship programs are accredited by InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based international development and humanitarian nongovernmental organizations. Sponsorship helps provide children with nutrition, early childhood and adolescent development, education and school health.

Syrian refugee crisis[edit]

Save the Children is providing support to Syrian refugee Syrian refugees children displaced by the ongoing war. The charity reported to the United Nations Security Council Un security council that nearly 2 million children were in need of aid.


A National Report Card on Protecting Children During Disasters[edit]

In 2008, when Save the Children conducted its initial review of disaster preparedness standards for child care facilities and K–12 schools in all 50 states, Louisiana met none of the standards. Louisiana has since revised its regulations to require that all regulated child care centers and homes have written disaster plans for evacuation and relocation and for parent-child reunification following a disaster as well as specific plans to meet the needs of children with disabilities and those with access and functional needs during emergencies. Louisiana joins a list of only 17 states that meet all four disaster preparedness standards.[8]

State of the World's Mothers[edit]

Save the Children publishes the State of the Worlds' Mothers Report every May to coincide with Mother's day. The report compiles statistics on the health of mothers and children and uses them to produce rankings of nations within three groupings corresponding to varying levels of economic development.[9]

Learning and Equity in Education Post-2015[edit]

In 2000, the world came together to agree the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These represented an ambitious statement of countries’ commitment to build a fairer world and to tackle the worst manifestations of poverty, deprivation and injustice.

Education had a central role in the MDG framework. Its second goal focused on achieving universal primary education, setting the ambition of all children receiving a full course of primary schooling by 2015. And the third goal highlighted the importance of girls accessing primary school on par with boys to ensure broader gender equity. In the run up to the development of the MDGs, the education community themselves instigated the Education for All (EFA) goals and framework. This represented a broader set of ambitions on education that went beyond primary school access and included concerns about older children and school quality.[10]

Declaration of the Rights of the Child[edit]

In 1923, Jebb wrote: "I believe we should claim certain rights for the children and labour for their universal recognition, so that everybody--not merely the small number of people who are in a position to contribute to relief funds, but everybody who in any way comes into contact with children, that is to say the vast majority of mankind--may be in a position to help forward the movement."[11]

Jebb created an initial draft for what would become the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1923. It contained the following five criteria:

  1. The child must be given the means requisite for its normal development, both materially and spiritually.
  2. The child that is hungry must be fed, the child that is sick must be nursed, the child that is backward must be helped, the delinquent child must be reclaimed, and the orphan and the waif must be sheltered and succoured.
  3. The child must be the first to receive relief in times of distress.
  4. The child must be put in a position to earn a livelihood, and must be protected against every form of exploitation.
  5. The child must be brought up in the consciousness that its talents must be devoted to the service of its fellow men.

These five points were adopted by the League of Nations in 1924 and was thus known as the Declaration of Geneva. This was the first important assertion of the rights of children as separate from adults, and began the process that would lead to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the United Nations in 1989.[12]


Sponsorship scandal (1998)[edit]

In March of 1998, Save the Children USA became imbroiled in a scandal that was investigated by the Chicago Tribune. The investigation uncovered two dozen donors were making contributions to dead children.[13] The scandal resulted in the dismissal of an employee that was based in Mali.[14] Three additional employees were reprimanded for allowing these deaths to go unreported.[14] An American family with the surname "Dixon" was sending $20/month to a child by the name of Abdoul Kone who died of a donkey cart accident nearly 3 years earlier.[15]

Mugs with traces of lead (1998)[edit]

In October 1998, Save the Children USA recalled approximately 2,000 mugs when it was revealed that their lead content, while it met Federal guidelines, exceeded the levels in a voluntary standard to be introduced in California the following year.[16]

Somalia famine (2012)[edit]

Save the Children U.S. counterpart, Save the Children in Somalia, scaled up its response in new areas of operation, effectively reaching the vast majority of the targets set in the response strategy of January 2012 and supported 455,833 beneficiaries as of end of May 2012. Of these some beneficiaries are getting benefits of more than one sector.[17] The Islamist rebel group Al Shabaab Al-Shabaab (militant group) threatened the organization with expulsion. [18]

Award to Tony Blair (2014)[edit]

In 2014, Tony Blair was given Save the Children's Global Legacy Award at a gala dinner in New York. A furious protest letter condemning the award was signed by over 500 Save the Children staff, who said it was "morally reprehensible" and jeopardized the organisation's credibility.

Pakistan inquiry and expulsion (2012-2015)[edit]

On September 6, 2012 it was reported that the Pakistani Government had requested Save the Children's foreign staff to leave the country, although the Minister for Interior later said that this request had been suspended.

Newspaper stories claimed that the July 2012 draft report of a Pakistani government inquiry into the conduct of Dr. Shakil Afridi, who is said to have conducted a fake hepatitis B vaccination campaign at the request of the Central Intelligence Agency, includes reference to claims by Dr Afridi that he was working for Save the Children. However, Save the Children has denied that Dr Afridi ever worked for them, or that they had any connection with the fake vacination campaign. The report is also alleged to have included a claim by Dr Afridi that Michael McGrath, who was Save the Children country director in Pakistan until 2009, was the person who recruited him. However, Dr Afridi provided no evidence to support his claim, and as the alleged recruitment happened long after Michael McGrath left Pakistan, the allegation is clearly false. The Government of Pakistan conducted an extensive investigation into these claims by Dr Afridi, but could not find an association between him and Save the Children's programme in Pakistan. The report of the Pakistani Government inquiry has not been released.[19]

Western NGO officials say Pakistani authorities have made it much harder for them to do their jobs, but they also have criticized the CIA for using humanitarian work as a cover for intelligence gathering. In January 2013, the deans of twelve top U.S. schools of public health sent a letter to President Barack Obama protesting the entanglement of intelligence operations in public health campaigns. The letter describes the negative and lasting impacts of the CIA's use of a fake vaccination campaign in Pakistan during the hunt for Osama bin Laden in 2011,[20] which exacerbated the already persistent public mistrust of vaccines in the country.[21] Since 2012, a series of deadly attacks against aid and health workers associated with polio eradication campaigns have killed at least 39 people in Pakistan.[22]

On June 11, 2015, Pakistani authorities ordered all Save the Children workers to leave Pakistan within 15 days, and the organization's office in Islamabad was closed and padlocked.[23]


  1. ^ Hoffman, Marilyn (29 May 1980). "International agency helps fight poverty with handcrafts". Christian Science Monitor. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Help for victims of Sandy Hook Shooting -". CNN. 21 December 2012. 
  6. ^ "Save the Children helps to make Sandy shelters comfortable for kids". Fox News. 3 November 2012. 
  7. ^ Financial literacy
  8. ^
  9. ^ Save the Children State of the World's Mothers report
  10. ^
  11. ^ Hyder, pg. 3 2005
  12. ^
  13. ^ Anderson, Lisa (18 March 1998). "Save The Children Reacts To Probe, Plans Reforms". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  14. ^ a b Anderson, Lisa (31 December 1998). "The Road to Reform". Chicago Tribune. 
  15. ^ Dellios, Hugh (15 March 1998). "Greetings From Grave". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  16. ^ "Recalls Save the Children Mugs". The Miami Herald. 31 October 1998. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ Gettleman, Jeffrey (14 March 2012). "Somalia: Islamist Rebels Vow to Eject Aid Agency". The New York Times. 
  19. ^ "Pakistan evicts Save the Children foreign workers". Los Angeles Times. 6 September 2012. 
  20. ^ "CIA Vaccination Cover in Pakistan (with link to Deans letter)". Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. January 8, 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2014. 
  21. ^ Altaf, Dr Samia (23 May 2014). "Pakistan's polio puzzle". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 29 May 2014. 
  22. ^ Jawaid, Arsla (8 Feb 2014). "Inside the world's largest polio reservoir". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 29 May 2014. 
  23. ^ Boone, Jon (12 June 2015). "Pakistan shuts down Save the Children offices in Islamabad". The Guardian (Islamabad). Retrieved 12 June 2015.