Civil Registration for Child Protection

Recording life events like birth or marriage is a key way for government to protect children and girls from abuse.

It is critical for governments to record and document life events such as birth, marriage, divorce, adoption, and death, to plan, provide key services and protect children and girls from harmful practices like child labour and child marriage.

Civil Registration and Vital Statistic (CRVS) systems are essential to enable this. But these systems can be expensive to develop and maintain.

Plan International developed Open CRVS to reduce these costs and help more governments establish an effective CRVS deliver services and provide social protections, in particular for women and children.

Birth registration provides protection for children

Birth registration gives children important protections from child marriage and child labour, and also provides the recognition necessary to access health and education.

Birth registration is a fundamental right of every child, but registration levels remain critically low around the world. Globally, the births of over 230 million children under the age of five have never been recorded – making these children vulnerable.

The importance of marriage registration

Marriage registration is another key part of an effective CRVS and provides women and children with important social protections by:

  • reducing child marriage – having a registration system can help validate ages and prevent children from marrying
  • helping to prevent bigamy
  • providing protection during divorce – a married couple that has registered their marriage is more likely to achieve fair compensation during divorce.
  • legitimation of children – marriage registration helps grant parental rights to a child such as custody and child support, and prove a legal claim to inheritance.

A pathway to protection in Bangladesh

In January 2020, OpenCRVS was successfully demonstrated to the Government of Bangladesh and is now being rolled out across an entire district as part of a pilot, with a view to scale in the future. The system is seen as an important tool in combatting child marriage. Learn more in Marriage registration: a pathway to protection and empowerment.

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