Child Protection Unit: more than a unit, a home

Sanae Benamrane

North Africa


Read the biography


Casablanca has grown from a small port at the beginning of the 20th century to the largest city in the Kingdom of Morocco. A geographical, economic and cultural crossroad, Casablanca has always been a city open to the world, successfully combining tradition and modernity.

Its history, marked by different cultural influences (African, Arab, European and American) and the intermingling of its young population, made up of Moroccans from all over the country and different nationalities, have made it the economic capital of the country, an important African economic hub and a laboratory of innovation in the fields of architecture, culture and technology. 

Participants in a meeting

It was in 2007, in this cosmopolitan city, that the Child Protection Unit (UPE) of Casablanca was created. A pilot project under the auspices of the Ministry of Solidarity, Social Development, Equality and the Family and National Mutual Aid, the UPE has, over time and thanks to its success, pursued its essential mandate of protecting vulnerable children, always under the direction of the Ministry.

It is supported by AAUPE, the Support Association to the Child Protection Unit. The AAUPE works in complete harmony with the UPE and uses the same premises. The UPE Casablanca is currently made up of four people specialised in the fight against violence against children, including a director and social worker, a social worker and a multi-purpose officer who looks after the daily needs of the beneficiary children. 


The main, but not the only, concern of the unit is to put an end to the danger or risk of danger by taking the necessary measures to ensure the child's physical, psychological and emotional safety. Its mission is to inform and raise awareness among children and adults about children's rights. Its mission is also to provide integrated care through reception, listening, diagnosis, orientation, support for children, adults and families, mediation, follow-up, prevention of violence, investigations, awareness-raising and promotion of children's rights. 

 The organisation also intervenes in the different stages of the support of abused and mistreated children in difficult and vulnerable situations. Its intervention is multi-faceted at the level of the child and the family and consists of:

  • Welcoming the child and the accompanying adult;
  • Listening to the child and the person accompanying him/her;  
  • Referring the child within the structure to the legal, social and psychological services;  
  • Accompanying the child and the family throughout the process of care according to the requests and needs towards public and private services, local partners which include: focal points in institutions, associations, hospitals, courts.

The UPE is also a place where children and adolescents can wash, get clothes, have a snack, do yoga, draw, play, "take a break" and is also involved in the distribution of donations to children, adolescents, families of nationals and also migrants. 

My volunteering mandate

My mandate within the unit is to support the UPE in the management and monitoring and evaluation of its ongoing projects. I also provide support in the design of tools and training adapted to the needs of the UPE.

During my first few days at the unit I was able to see that despite a very small team and a high number of beneficiaries. The solidarity, commitment and efforts made day after day ensured that the UPE was able to overcome all the difficulties encountered, and was extremely supportive.

UPE Children

A unit in which everyone instinctively belongs, embraces its values and adopts its culture - staff, volunteers, interns and beneficiaries.

I also had the opportunity to participate in the end of year party organised by the UPE- Casablanca, on 30 December 2021, dedicated to the beneficiary children of the programme and their parents, I had the opportunity to attend a pleasant afternoon, where joy, cheerfulness and sharing were the watchwords of the day. The children were treated to face painting, a reception with snacks, cakes and singing, and a drawing session. The parents participated in an awareness-raising session on parent-child relationships. At the end of the day, the parents present were happy to be able to share the challenges they face in raising their children, but also to learn more about the importance of children's participation within the family, the importance of listening to their children, but also of taking their point of view into consideration, which is a strong point in the development of their autonomy and personality. 

pride presentation

On 19 May, I had my first workshop on child participation and gender equality. This activity with the children of the AAUPE and their mothers and/or guardians allowed them to discover the IBCR and its mission. I was surprised to see that the children knew a lot about the subject! -Their rights and the importance of participation. Indeed, they had heard about it at school and during the AAUPE awareness sessions for parents.

This workshop helped us to build the capacity of the participants in the protocols related to the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, a better respect of children's rights. To strengthen the bonds of trust between parents, children and the AAUPE through socialisation activities. 

During the day, we were also able to conduct face-to-face interviews with children and parents to do an analysis. This will contribute to the development of a guide on the importance of children's rights which is currently being finalised. 

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Volunteer cooperation program funded by Global Affairs Canada.