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Keeping children safe

12-year-old Layza is a sponsored child in Brazil

Keeping children safe

As a child sponsor, you have a unique role to play in keeping the children we work with safe

As a child sponsor, you’re part of something amazing: giving children in some of the world’s poorest communities the chance to transform their lives. You also have a unique role to play in keeping the children we work with safe.

Safeguarding children and young people is at the heart of what we do at Plan International UK, and as the UK’s first child sponsorship charity, we have years of experience in this area.

From our well-established systems and policies to the training we provide for all our staff, we do everything we can to safeguard the children and young people we work with – and we ask you to help us, by following the key principles below.

Enock writes a letter to his sponsor
In Togo, Enock writes a letter to his sponsor. His favourite subject at school is maths and he wants to be a doctor when he grows up.

Writing to your sponsored child

Our sponsors love writing to their sponsored children – and sponsored children love receiving their letters in the post. When you write a letter, we ask that you:

  • Send all correspondence via Plan International UK. This helps keep your sponsored child’s identity secure and safeguards your own address.
  • Don’t include any addresses, websites, emails, social media handles or phone numbers in your correspondence.
  • Avoid writing about any political or religious issues that could inadvertently cause offence.
Mbalu, a sponsored child from Sierra Leone
Mbalu is a sponsored child in Sierra Leone. She's a member of her school's advocacy programme where she talks on the radio about teenage pregnancy, and early marriage and its causes.

Visiting your sponsored child

Did you know that once you’ve sponsored your child for six months, we can help you visit them, so you can see first-hand the impact your support is having? All you need to do is contact our visits team on 0300 777 9779 or email at least two to three months before your trip.

They can talk you through the process, which includes completing a background check and agreeing to our safeguarding rules. On your visit, a Plan International team member will accompany you, to act as a guide and supervisor. We charge a small non-refundable deposit to cover admin costs.

Please note that visits to sponsored children are currently paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Our commitment to keeping children safe

Plan International recognises that violence against children and young people is prevalent throughout the world and in all societies. We are deeply committed to eradicating violence against children and young people, and take seriously our duty to safeguard all children and young people and to promote their welfare.

This also means holding ourselves to account in ensuring that no child or young person is harmed or placed at risk of harm as a result of their association with us. That’s why:

  • We don’t allow any direct contact between a sponsor and their sponsored child.
  • All letters, postcards, drawings and photographs are screened by our trained team and volunteers, to make sure they don’t contain anything that could be a safeguarding concern.
  • We may decline visits to a sponsored child for any reason, including concern for the safety or wellbeing of children or their families.
  • Visits to a sponsored child and their family don’t take place in their home. Plan International staff support and supervise sponsors' visits to an area in the child’s community, for example at their school or youth club.
  • Before going on a visit, we ask sponsors to undergo a background check, read Plan International UK's Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy, and sign a Visit Agreement Form.

We reserve the right to cancel a child sponsorship for child protection or for any other reason. Any incident or suspicion relating to child abuse involving a Plan International UK sponsor will be investigated. Where appropriate, this may include contacting the relevant authorities.

To find out more, read about our approach to safeguarding children and adults >


Meet four inspiring graduates from our child sponsorship programme