Photo by Sara Fajardo/CRS


Coordinating Comprehensive Care for Children, or 4Children, is a USAID-funded project improving the health and well-being of vulnerable children affected by HIV and AIDS and other adversities. 4Children draws on global evidence that illustrates that HIV and other hardships are best prevented and addressed when people have access to both high-quality health and social welfare services. 4Children helps countries identify practical and appropriate policies, programs and services that reduce the risk of HIV and maltreatment, and promote children’s well-being. Its approach addresses the unique needs of each child and family, including strengthening the frontline social service workforce and case management systems.


Download a PDF of the 4Children Factsheet

Official name of project: Coordinating Comprehensive Care for Children (4Children)

Project years: 2014–2021

Location: Global

Value of the project: $72 million

Donors and consortium partners: Funded by USAID, CRS leads the project with consortium partners: IntraHealth International, Maestral International, Pact, Plan International USA and Westat

Scope of activities: 18 core activities will improve guidance and standards for programs helping vulnerable children; best practices will be applied through work in 13 countries


Tens of millions of children have lost one or both parents to AIDS-related illnesses and other adversities. Additionally, 36.7 million people are living with HIV, and millions more children face the effects of HIV on their family. While progress has been made in reducing death from AIDS, children still need protection and strong social systems to prevent the transmission of HIV and to mitigate the effects of HIV in their lives.

4Children and its partners improve the quality of life of these children by building the technical and organizational capacity—at all levels and relevant sectors—of government and civil society. The project strengthens essential components of countries’ social service system, and improves connections between health and other sectors. As a result, government and civil society actors can better perform their functions and scale-up their work with proven outcomes for communities, families and children.


Strengthening Social Service Systems

At its core, 4Children builds the capacity of systems supporting vulnerable children. It develops and supports strong collaboration across all sectors to promote cohesive, strong national and subnational social service systems. By defining a shared vision, we ensure our assistance is demand-driven, context-specific and results-oriented. 4Children also engages children, families and communities to provide input throughout the project, so that programs respond to needs. The project addresses a wide spectrum of technical and organizational areas—such as strengthening case management and referral mechanisms—to enable governments and civil society organizations to better provide for and protect children.

Providing Comprehensive Services

4Children’s holistic approach assures integrated, comprehensive services. It develops technical guidance on areas like mental health, early childhood development and preventing and responding to violence against children. It draws on a country’s existing services to offer guidance and apply quality case management practices, ensuring children and their families can access all they need to be healthy, safe, stable and educated.

Building the Evidence

4Children builds the evidence base for effective care and protection interventions through rigorous operations research and evaluations of past and current interventions. Research is ongoing in areas such as parenting interventions, social protection, and case management, 4Children uses evidence to document what works. This is then used to inform national policies for vulnerable children, and influence the design of future interventions.

Sharing What Works

4Children is uniquely positioned to build evidence on what works, to apply our learnings directly to our program, and to help develop guidelines and policies for organizations and governments working with children. The project informs next-generation programming by managing platforms like ovcsupport.org, and by collaborating with global networks like the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance and the Better Care Network.


Click on the highlighted areas of the map below to explore where 4Children works, what we do and more.


Important Acronyms

  • AGYW = Adolescent girls and young women
  • HES = Household Economic Strengthening
  • ALHIV = Adolescents living with HIV
  • SWSS = Social Welfare System Strengthening
  • ECD = Early Childhood Development


Success Stories

Teen Finds Tailor-made Solution for Independence

Photo by Michael Stulman/CRS

4Children assists orphans and vulnerable children by building technical and organizational capacity, strengthening essential components of the social service system, and improving linkages with health and other sectors. In one young woman’s case, connecting her with vocational training gave her the opportunity to build her capacity to support herself.


The Multiplication Effect: Girls’ Support Session Leads to Serving a Neighbor

Lesotho woman

Photo by David Snyder/CRS

In a small village in Lesotho called Ha Mosekeseke a group of 15 girls, ages 10-14, are receiving financial literacy and social support through the Coordinating Comprehensive Care for Children (4Children) DREAMS program. The financial education that empowers girls and improves social assets is just part of a comprehensive package to protect and prevent young women from engaging in risky behavior.


Wheelchair Opens Prospects of Mobility, Education and Inclusion

Malawi classroom chalkboard

Photo by David Snyder/CRS

Identifying a community’s vulnerable children and providing services that open doors to a fuller more productive life is, with 4Children, a vital but in a sense short-term goal. Strengthening a community’s capacity to continue to serve its children, their caregivers and families means sustained support long after the project’s end.


An Invitation and an Opportunity Lead to a Better Future

Photo by Michael Stulman/CRS

Brigitte’s story illustrates that holistic health and well-being requires coordinated comprehensive care. Brigitte is a mother of four children living in Masina 2. After her husband died of AIDS-related causes, and she and her 15-year old son shared that they are also living with HIV, they were rejected by her family and left without support.


Taste of Success Inspires Teen’s ‘New Life’

Photo by Nancy McNally/CRS

In Lesotho, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief DREAMS program that focuses on young women, 4Children’s work make it possible for vulnerable young people to overcome what often seem insurmountable odds. Some of them, like 17-year-old Kelibone, flourish and become leaders themselves, further strengthening a community’s ability to support its members


Standing Against Child Abuse in Lesotho

Photo by David Snyder/CRS

With recent large-scale studies, the scope of violence against children around the world has started to come into light. The Coordinating comprehensive Care for Children project (4Children) is strengthening social systems to sustainably prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect. But as this story from the 4Children project in Lesotho illustrates, the best response can come by empowering children themselves.


Holistic Care Covers Health, Family and Finances

Photo by Philip Laubner/CRS

Because a key focus of 4Children is building local capacity to serve those in need, many families who benefit from our work will never be counted by us. They will instead be served by a sustainable system of government and civil society organizations that will continue meeting 4Children goals long after our primary work is done.


Promoting Child Protection Through Stronger Parenting Communication

Photo by CRS Staff

In a context of chronic poverty or illness, where resources are always in short supply, learning new skills for communicating with children may not seem like the top priority. But caregivers have found social support, communication and positive parenting can safeguard children for a brighter future.


Improving Physical & Financial Health Through Positive Parenting Classes in DRC

Photo by Sam Phelps for CRS

Improving parenting skills of caregivers affected by HIV is having lifelong effects for the caregivers and their children. Even in contexts of chronic need, caregivers are testifying to the value of positive parenting in bringing harmony and health to their families.


Harmony=Health: Using Positive Parenting Classes to Grow Emotional & Financial Health

Photo by David Snyder for CRS

Positive parenting programs are helping caregivers communicate better with their children. Maisaka and her granddaughter, Mpolokeng, are sharing their story.


To learn more, contact the 4Children team at: [email protected].