Advocating for the children of the world is a priority of the General Board of Church & Society. As people of faith, we are called to care for the least of these. We do so by working toward the elimination of all forms of discrimination and oppression of children, and by affirming positive initiatives that result in an enhancement of the quality of life for children.
Let the children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. — Matthew 19:14
Biblical and theological context
In particular, children must be protected from economic, physical, emotional, and sexual exploitation and abuse.
"Once considered the property of their parents, children are now acknowledged to be full human beings in their own right, but beings to whom adults and society in general have special obligations. Thus, we support the development of school systems and innovative methods of education designed to assist every child toward complete fulfillment as an individual person of worth. All children have the right to quality education, including full sex-education appropriate to their stage of development that utilizes the best educational techniques and insights. Christian parents and guardians and the Church have the responsibility to ensure that children receive sex-education consistent with Christian morality, including faithfulness in marriage and abstinence in singleness. Moreover, children have the rights to food, shelter, clothing, health care, and emotional well-being as do adults, and these rights we affirm as theirs regardless of actions or inactions of their parents or guardians. In particular, children must be protected from economic, physical, emotional, and sexual exploitation and abuse." (Social Principles, ¶162C “Rights of Children”)
Scripture reference: Mark 10:13-16
What GBCS is doing
The General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) supports:
- Health insurance coverage for all children under the State Children's Health Insurance Program;
- Increased funding for HIV/AIDS including money for orphans and vulnerable children; and
- Ratification by the United States of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child Treaty and the Child Marriage Act.
- Strong child-nutrition reauthorization to improve access and participation while maintaining strong nutrition standards: protection of federal safety-net programs including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and others that provide essential support for children and families struggling with poverty.
Our Healthy Families, Healthy Planet initiative strives for a world in which every woman can plan her children, and every family experiences God’s promise of abundant life. Funded by a grant from the United Nations Foundation and housed at the GBCS, this initiative educates and advocates both within and beyond The United Methodist Church for funding, programs, and policies that support access to maternal health and voluntary family planning services around the globe.
GBCS is a co-convener of the interfaith working group to eliminate labor and sex trafficking.
GBCS is a member of the Child Labor Coalition (CLC), a national network for the exchange of information about child labor that provides a forum and a unified voice to protect working minors and end child-labor exploitation. CLC also develops public education to combat child labor abuses and promote progressive initiatives.