New York, 19 August 2023 (TDI): Houston proudly stands as the inaugural UNICEF Child-Friendly City in the United States, marking a monumental stride towards prioritizing the rights and well-being of its youth population.

This achievement comes on the eve of International Youth Day, a global observance dedicated to celebrating the voices of young individuals.

Houston’s collaboration with UNICEF USA underlines its commitment to constructing nurturing communities for children and adolescents.

By embracing the framework set forth by UNICEF’s Child-Friendly Cities Initiative, Houston is not only equitable and inclusive but also actively responsive to the demands of its youthful demographic.

Mayor Sylvester Turner eloquently summed up the significance of this accolade, stating, “Receiving this national distinction is a humbling moment for the City of Houston. We appreciate the robust and comprehensive child rights framework provided by UNICEF USA and their unwavering support throughout the process.

Houston’s Journey to Child-Friendly City Status

The foundation for this recognition lies in UNICEF’s Child-Friendly Cities Initiative (CFCI), which was conceived in 1996.

Houston’s approach has been multifaceted, addressing crucial aspects such as mental health, emergency readiness, resource accessibility, and civic engagement.

Over 700 service providers underwent specialized mental health training, an emergency preparation communication drive was executed, and an upcoming podcast centred on children’s rights is in the pipeline.

The collaboration between UNICEF USA and the City of Houston commenced in 2019 when Mayor Sylvester Turner achieved the distinction of being the first mayor in the United States to endorse UNICEF’s global Child-Friendly Cities manifesto.

This partnership weathered the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and gathered momentum through virtual events, which enhanced the accessibility and visibility of the initiative among the Houston community.

The City of Houston remains steadfast in its resolve to be an inclusive leader on the national stage.

From endorsing the Children’s Bill of Rights in Sports to integrating youth-focused initiatives within the city’s Resilient Houston strategy, Houston is committed to empowering young individuals and amplifying their contributions across various domains.

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Houston’s success story is emblematic of its community’s spirit, where the young and old joined forces to create a truly child-friendly environment.

Houston’s youth have emerged as dynamic catalysts for change, prompting faith leaders, educators, child advocates, and parents to contribute actively to this transformative journey.

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Houston ISD Student Richard, a Houston CFCI Youth Leader, encapsulates this sentiment by stating, “This recognition serves as motivation and empowerment for Houston youth and youth all over the world to stand up for our rights and create a better tomorrow.”