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Child Frontiers & the International Institute for Child Rights and Development, Royal Roads University:

Graduate Certificate in Transforming Child Protection to Wellbeing

Child Frontiers is pleased to be collaborating with the International Institute for Child Rights and Development and Royal Roads University to develop a new graduate certificate programme, ‘Transforming Child Protection to Wellbeing’. Director Alexander Krueger and Senior Associate Martha Nelems are leading this initiative for Child Frontiers.  Based on the West Coast of British Columbia, Canada, Royal Roads University specialises in education for mid-career professionals from around the world through both online classes and short periods of intensive in-person learning. Its mandate is ‘to connect people, ideas, experiences and cultures to change lives and the world’.


Applying critical inquiry and systems thinking, the graduate certificate offers child rights, welfare and protection professionals an opportunity to critically reflect on theories and practice for creating positive change with children, youth, families, communities, organisations and governments. The advantages and shortcomings of different theories in the practice of child protection and child and family welfare will be explored, as will the validity of the emerging child wellbeing framework which focuses on promoting the wellbeing of girls and boys, in addition to preventing and responding to harm. 


The graduate program is designed for professionals from international and national non-governmental organisations, UNICEF and other United Nations agencies, research organisations and government employees, as well as frontline workers from both the Global South and North.  The course is structured with 9 credits, spread across three courses, including two online courses and one blended course (online, plus a residency component). The three courses are:


  1. THEORY: Reframing Child and Family Wellbeing in Complex Global Realities.

  2. PRACTICE: Understanding and Assessing Children’s Wellbeing in Context.

  3. TOOLS / APPROACHES FOR CHANGE: Engaged Changemaking with Children, Youth, Families, Communities & Nation


While other learning programs exist within Canada and internationally on child and family welfare, including child protection, few are led by experienced professionals who are able both to contextualize the complexities of children’s lives and to look beyond the narrow range of existing ethnocentric models and solutions. The certificate will offer students the space to connect international and local knowledge and capacities, to build the skills needed to strengthen their professional practice and to explore new approaches for better supporting children, youth and their families in a variety of contexts. It will also equip students to promote the reform of existing child and family welfare systems, including child protection.


With sufficient demand, the graduate certificate will be developed into a full Masters program which will leverage pre-existing courses across multiple schools at Royal Roads University, as well as bespoke courses that will be designed for the program. The certificate will be offered in English, but if demand exists, partners may also offer courses in French. Given the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the certificate will be offered fully online in 2021/22.


For more information, visit the Royal Roads University website at or contact Child Frontiers at

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