Civil society organizations (CSOs) can use budget analysis to track government’s commitment to children and youths through the budget cycle from planning and enactment through implementation. By comparing allocations to service delivery, CSOs can assess whether funds intended to benefit children and youths were used effectively.
CSOs that have analyzed budgets for their impact on children and youths have focused on public services critical to their well-being, including education, health, food assistance and other safety net programs, policing, and justice. In addition to evaluating the quality and impact of public spending on children and youths, groups engaging in child-centered budget analysis can identify instances when the government’s policy commitments are not supported by commitments of resources in the budget and use this evidence strengthen their advocacy.
One approach to analyzing how the government’s budget addresses the needs and priorities of young people is to produce a Children’s Budget, an effective tool for focusing attention on how programs throughout the budget affect children. Read more about how CSOs in Peru and Jamaica have engaged in budget work to develop children’s budgets and identify misuse of public funds intended for children and youths.
Advocates can both inform their analysis of how well government budgets are meeting, or could meet, the needs of young people and empower children and youths by involving them directly in the process. For example, IBP partner Institute for Social and Economic Studies (INESC), a civil society organization based in Brasilia, Brazil, organized a project to introduce human rights and public budgets into schools’ curricula. The idea of the project is to strengthen the capacity of children and teenagers to secure their rights and monitor public policies that affect them. The main goals are to ensure that children and teenagers are involved in discussions on rights and citizenship and to observe how these factors relate to the public budget.
Civil society budget analysis focused on children and youths can:
- Raise awareness about their needs and rights
- Inform policy and budget debates
- Identify gaps in spending and problems in service delivery
- Describe trends in spending and assess its impact
Useful Guides and Publications
- Short Take No. 3: Developing Fiscal Analyses and Children’s Budgets to Support ECCS by Project Thrive at Columbia University. This brief looks at how fiscal analyses and children’s budgets can be used to advocate for a stronger public system of early childhood support programs. It includes practical advice on conducting budget analyses and creating Early Childhood Budgets.
- Monitoring government budgets to advance child rights – A guide to NGOs by Judith Streak. This guide from IDASA is about how to monitor government budgets as a means to advance child rights. It provides information on how to analyze budgets for children and how to use budget information in advocacy to advance child rights.
- South African Legal Resources Centre Successfully Advocates for Adequate Education Facilities. This case study examines the work of The Legal Resources Centre in South Africa to ensure that the Eastern Cape Department of Education would follow through with its commitment to introduce a new three-year grant to addresses the infrastructure backlogs of education facilities.
- Children’s Right to Early Education in the City of Buenos Aires: A Case Study on ACIJ’s Class Action. This case study discusses the Civil Association for Equality and Justice’s campaign to pressure the government of Buenos Aires to meet its obligations to to provide access to education for all children over 45 days old.
- Quality of Education Reforms: The Case of HakiElimu’s Campaign of 2005-2007. This case study describes the campaign led by civil society organization Haki Elimu that led to improvements in Tanzania’s schools.
- South Africa: Civil Society Uses Budget Analysis and Advocacy to Improve the Lives of Poor Children. This case study describes how the persistent campaigning of civil society and coalitions has contributed to significant budget and policy changes over the last decade such as the expanded eligibility for the Child Support Grant.
- Youth Budget Review
- Budget Brief No. 159: What benefits will centralisation of social assistance budgeting and delivery bring vulnerable children?
- Union Budget Analysis from a Child Rights Perspective
- Health and Social Welfare Services for Children Under 8 Years Old in South Africa: Access, Barriers and Benefits
- The Children’s Budget Report: A Detailed Analysis on pending on Low-Income Children’s Programs in 13 States
Learn More about Children and Youth-Centered Budget Analysis
- Visit the Imali Ye Mwana (the Children’s Money) section of the IDASA website. Imali Ye Mwana is a children’s rights budget advocacy network in Southern Africa, and this site provides model reports, articles and papers, and toolkits for engaging in budget analysis around children and youths.