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Nov. 20, 2020

Johnson City joins UNICEF USA’s Child Friendly Cities Initiative

Pilot initiative to create safer, more equitable communities and elevate youth voices    

Today, on World Children's Day, an annual moment ‘for children, by children,’ Johnson City is proud to announce it will embark on its journey toward recognition as a UNICEF Child Friendly City. Through the Child Friendly Cities Initiative (CFCI), Johnson City, in addition to the first cohort of pilot cities and first county, will implement an ambitious, two-year process toward recognition as a UNICEF Child Friendly City.

Originally created in 1996, UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities Initiative uses a child rights-based framework to build a roadmap for establishing safer, more just, equitable, inclusive and child-responsive cities and communities around the world. Since its inception, CFCI has been adopted in over 3,000 municipalities in 40 countries. UNICEF USA applauds Johnson City for its commitment to using this framework to build a better community for children.

“We’re excited to build upon our relationship with Johnson City, and together, we are dedicated to ensuring that every child has the right to grow up in a safe and secure environment where their voices are heard,” said Jeremy Cole, Managing Director, Southeast Region at UNICEF USA.

In its pursuit of recognition as a Child Friendly City, government officials and community leaders in Johnson City along with pilot cohort cities and county Houston, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Prince George’s County will conduct a situational analysis of child well-being in each city. Based on these findings, the cities will implement an action plan that prioritizes the best interests of children and youth within their local policies. CFCI will empower leaders to address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and systemic racism on children, work to combat discrimination and elevate their voices in local governance and decision-making.

“Johnson City is honored to be just the fifth municipality in the United States pursuing Child Friendly City designation,” said Johnson City Mayor Jenny Brock. “Our children are our most precious resource for they are our future, and partnering with UNICEF USA to create a safer, more inclusive and more promising future for them is something we can all take great pride and comfort in.

Through the CFCI Framework for Action, Johnson City will identify objectives under five goal areas focusing on supporting children and young people, including: safety and inclusion, children’s participation, equitable social services, safe living environments and play and leisure.

“Together with our partners – ETSU, Ballad Health, Frontier Health, Johnson City Schools and Johnson City Public Library – we will have a tangible, measurable work plan to ensure an optimum environment for Johnson City’s youth,” Brock said.

Residents are encouraged to send messages directly to Mayor Brock letting her know how Johnson City can help families thrive via this website: or text: CFCI JC to 52886.

For more information about Child Friendly Cities Initiative in the Unites States, visit

To take action and encourage cities across the United States to become more child friendly, visit