The Child Friendly Cities Initiative (CFCI) was launched by UNICEF nearly 25 years ago to respond to the challenges of realizing the rights of children at a municipal level. The CFCI framework assists cities to become more child focused in all aspects of governance and services through the implementation of systematic procedures and the meaningful involvement from children. By 2018, more than 3,000 Child Friendly Cities existed around the globe. However, there were none in the United States.
MNAAP Member Charles Oberg, MD, MPH, FAAP, along with Dr. Jeff Goldhagen and Nicholas Spencer, from the International Society of Social Pediatrics and Child Health (ISSOP), met with UNICEF in Geneva in the fall of 2018 to change this situation. Following a workshop in Jacksonville, FL in the spring of 2019, a few selected cities, including Minneapolis, began the effort to make CFCI a reality in the United States.
In collaboration with and under the leadership of the Minneapolis Commissioner of Health, Gretchen Musicant, a strategic planning effort began. On Feb. 14, 2020, the Minneapolis City Council passed and Mayor Jacob Frey signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with UNICEF to launch the first Child Friendly City Initiative in the United States.
Pictured: Child Rights Advocate Rachel Peterson, UNICEF USA Representative Adriana Alejandro Osorio, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, Minneapolis Commissioner of Health Gretchen Musicant, and Dr. Charles Oberg at the MOU signing.