Prince George’s Co. joins UNICEF initiative aiming to help world’s children

Prince George’s County, Maryland, is in the first group of American jurisdictions to join a UNICEF initiative that focuses on the safety and the rights of children.

The county joined UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities Initiative, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks’ office said in a statement Wednesday.

They’re the first American county to join the initiative, and in the first American group, which also includes the cities of Houston, Minneapolis and San Francisco.

Under the initiative, the county will analyze child well-being and “implement an action plan that prioritizes the best interests of children and youth within local policies,” Alsobrooks’ office said in the news release.

The action plan will focus on safety and inclusion; children’s participation; equitable social services; safe living environments, and play and leisure, and will address the impact of the pandemic and systemic racism and discrimination, and “elevate their voices in local governance and decision-making.”

The initiative has been adopted in more than 3,000 jurisdictions in more than 40 countries and is the beginning of a two-year process that officials hope will end in the county being designated a UNICEF Child-Friendly County.

“This year has seen so many challenges that have deeply impacted children and families, and also shown the important role that local governments play in supporting them,” UNICEF USA President and CEO Michael J. Nyenhuis said in the statement.

“Our children represent the future of our county, state and nation, and we are fully committed to elevating their voices and empowering them to help build a brighter future for every resident as we work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Alsobrooks said.

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