Brianna, 8, from Union County, South Carolina, where 1 in 3 children grows up in poverty. Photo by Gary Dowd/Save the Children.

Brianna, 8, from Union County, South Carolina, where 1 in 3 children grows up in poverty. Photo by Gary Dowd/Save the Children.

One quarter of the world’s children are being denied the opportunity to have the childhoods they deserve and grow to their full potential, a new report from Save the Children has revealed.

Launched to coincide with International Children’s Day, June 1, “Stolen Childhoods” has found that at least 700 million children worldwide have had the promise of a full childhood brought to an early end.

The reasons vary from extreme violence and conflict, often driving families from their homes; early marriage and pregnancy; child labor; poor health; malnutrition and food insecurity; and not having the chance to go to school.

The inaugural End of Childhood Report includes an index of 172 countries, ranking the best and worst places in the world for children to have a safe, secure and healthy childhood.

Childhood is least threatened in Europe, with Norway, Slovenia, Finland, the Netherlands, and Sweden ranked at the top, respectively.

Childhood is most threatened in West and Central Africa: Niger is ranked the lowest, followed by Angola, Mali, Central African Republic, and Somalia.

The U.S. ranks 36th, between Bosnia and Russia, well behind other developed nations, including Norway, France and the United Kingdom, and also lagging behind Portugal, Spain, Japan, Lithuania and Greece.

“All around the world, childhoods are at risk. Even here in the U.S., the most vulnerable children are being robbed of their chance to learn, grow, play and be safe,” said Carolyn Miles, president & CEO of Save the Children. “Save the Children is committed to ensuring that every last child has the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

In line with its Every Last Child Campaign, Save the Children is calling on governments to properly count, include and invest in all children, so they have access to essential services.

The organization’s global call to action is to ensure that no child dies from preventable or treatable causes or is subjected to extreme violence; is robbed of a future as a result of malnutrition, early or forced marriage, early pregnancy, or forced labor; and that they have access to a quality education.

To download and read the full report, visit

Photo courtesy: Save the Children

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