About Foundation Child

The Foundation Child for Study and Research into Childhood and Adolescence was set up in 1998 by the association “S.O.S. Il Telefono Azzurro – National Helpline for the Prevention of Child Abuse”. 

The Foundation Child’s main objective is to promote a child-centered culture through a close examination of the causes and treatments of physical and mental diseases, as well as of behavioral and mood difficulties in children and adolescents.


Today, the spread of mental health disorders in children and adolescents is becoming a vast and urgent problem. In particular, experts are detecting an increasing number of disorders concerning social, emotional and cognitive development, as well as other specific symptoms such as anxiety, behavioral and intellectual difficulties, and problem of adaptation.

The current knowledge of these mental disorders highlights the action of complex interactions between biological and environmental factors in specific timeframe, with a range that starts from the birth and includes every developmental phase. Children are indeed exposed to biological risks that are either congenital or acquired; in addition, children are also subjected to environmental adversities.

Research methodologies currently used in biology, psychology, and behavioral science provide the initial criteria to study mental development in children, as well as causes, courses, and therapies for mental and organic disorders.


Complete information regarding the Foundation Child’s activities and future perspectives is available here



Prof. Ernesto Caffo

He is Senior Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. He is full-time Director of the Department of Pediatrics for the Azienda Ospedaliera-University of Modena, and Director of the 6th edition of the Master “Estimation and Intervention in situations of abuses of childhood and Pedophilia” at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. Ernesto Caffo is founder and President of the S.O.S. Il Telefono Azzurro Onlus, and President of the Foundation Child.

Board Members

Prof. James Leckman

MD, he is the Neison Harris Professor of Child Psychiatry, Psychiatry, Psychology and Pediatrics at Yale. He served as the Director of Research for the Yale Child Study Center from 1983 to 2010. Dr. Leckman is a renowned child psychiatrist and patient-oriented clinical investigator. His peers have regularly selected him as one of the Best Doctors in America. Dr. Leckman is the author or co-author of over 300 original articles published in peer-reviewed journals, seven books, and 120 book chapters.

Mr. Maurizio Milan

President of the Italian Association of Trainers (AIF) since 2017 and Executive Director of Ernst&Young from 2017 to 2021, in the last 20 years he has expressly dedicated himself to the theme of learning and education in Digital Skills, Change Management and Learning Organization.

Prefect Giuseppe Procaccini

In 2008 he received the position of Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Interior, a position he will keep with three different Ministers, until his detachment from the Administration and his career in 2013. He is awarded OMRI honors over the years, up to that of Knight of Grand Cross signed by the President of the Republic Napolitano in December 2010. After detachment from the Administration, he served as Director of the Center for American Studies,of which he is now Board Member and member of the Executive Committee.

Prof. Michele Colajanni

Full Professor of Computer Science at Alma Mater Studiorum of Bologna since 2021. For twenty years he has been Full Professor at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, maturing over the years a series of objectives: Director of the Master Program “ICT Security – Technology and Law; since 2003, Director of the Interdepartmental Research Center on Security and Security and Risk Prevention (CRIS) since 2007 and founder of the Cyber Academy

Amb. Pietro Sebastiani

From 2017 until January 2022, Amb. Pietro Sebastiani served as Italian Ambassador to the Holy See. In previous years he held as many diplomatic posts, including, Ambassador of Italy to Spain and Andorra. Since 2016 he is Director General for Italian Development Cooperation at MAECI.

Dr. Katja Manuela Iuorio

Psychologist, journalist, has worked at Il Telefono Azzurro since its origin dealing with the telephone lines. Afterwards, she started to follow the international activity of the association and moved to New York to coordinate the projects of the Children First Foundation. She then worked at The Walt Disney Company as a professional journalist dealing with the coordination of some editorial projects. In 2014 she started the activity Katja Iuorio Educational Consulting, to support young people who decide to undertake a course of study abroad. Since 1995 she has been the editor in chief of Azzurro Child.


The Foundation Child’s Scientific Committee is composed of seven members who are part of international renowned Universities and institutions.

The main role of the Scientific Committee is to support the Foundation’s research activity and spread the Foundation’s tenets in their respective fields.

The Scientific Committee’s members are listed below:


He is Professor of Molecular Psychiatry, Psychiatry & Human Behavior in the School of Medicine at the University of California, Irvine. He is also Associate Professor at University of Milan. He achieved a Master Degree at the University of Milan and a PhD in Psychiatric Genetics at the University of Catania, Italy.

He is Psychiatrist-in-Chief focused on Developmental Psychopathology at the Department of NeuroSciences, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan. He is also Associate Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and Director of the International PhD Course in Developmental Psychopathology at the Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan.

M.D, is Deputy Director of the of the NY State Office of Mental Health’s Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research. Dr. Leventhal is the Irving B. Harris Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, emeritus, at the University of Chicago and Professor of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois, Chicago.  He is also an adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea

He is Chairman of the Dept. of Pediatrics at the University of Parma, Italy. He published about 253 peer reviewed papers mainly related to Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetology, Growth, and Clinical Genetics. He is member of various scientific organizations – such as the Italian Society of Pediatrics (SIP), the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology (ESPE), and the Italian Society for Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetology (SIEDP), and he is Editor in Chief of the Italian Journal of Pediatrics.

He is Ordinary Professor of Pediatrics at University of Bari, Italy. He is specialized in Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetology. He is Director of the Department of Biomedicine of developmental age. He is also Director of the Pediatric Hospitals B. Trambusti and S. Maggiore within the Policlinics of Bari, Italy.

He is Director of the Pediatric Clinic of Novara and Ordinary Professor of Pediatrics at University of Western Piedmont “A. Avogadro”, Italy. He is ordinary member of the Endocrine Society, the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology (ESPE), and the Italian Society of Pediatrics (SIP). Prof. Bona’s research activity has produced about 630 publications mainly related to Nuclear Medicine, Pediatric Endocrinology, genetics and Social Pediatrics.

He is Director of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Institut Mutualiste Montsouris in Paris. He is also President of the Ecole des Parents et des Educateurs d’Ile de France.


Rome, Italy
3 November 2011

Each child is precious. Each child is endowed by his creator with basic human rights. Yet, the rights of millions of children each year are abused and violated. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child spells out the rights of the world’s children in 54 articles. Among these enumerated rights are:

the obligation for states to act in the best interests of the child (Article 3);
the responsibility to ensure that children’s rights are respected, protected and fulfilled (Article 4);
the right of survival and development (Article 6);
the right to family reunification (Article 10);
the protection against kidnapping (Article 11);
the right to be heard and participate (Article 12);
the protection against all forms of violence (Article 19);
the right to good quality health care (Article 24);

and of special interest and importance to the participants in this forum;

the right to be protected from sexual exploitation (Article 34);
the right to be protected from abduction, sale and trafficking (Article 35); and
the right to rehabilitation for child victims (Article 39).

Articles 34 and 35 are further enhanced by the Convention’s Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.

Yet, in spite of this historic framework there is abundant evidence that the rights of the world’s children are being violated on a daily basis in all parts of the globe.

There are indications that with the advent of the Internet, the abuse and exploitation of children have become even greater problems. For the first time in human history, millions of people have easy, virtually anonymous access to images of the sexual abuse of children online. There is also growing evidence that organized criminals are marketing and selling children as commodities online.

Perhaps most alarming is the fact that child trafficking and child sexual exploitation have become an industry. Why would organized criminals engage in the sale and trade of children? The reasons are obvious. Children are plentiful and easily accessed; this illicit business is easy, low cost, and there is a huge consumer market for the children; it is enormously profitable; and it is low risk, far less risky than the illegal trade in drugs, weapons, tobacco, etc.

Our goal must be to increase the risk and eliminate the profitability of this illicit industry. A key element in achieving this goal is to mobilize world leaders to attack the demand worldwide for sex and other illegal activity involving children.

The attendees of this forum believe that the world is facing a crisis in its efforts to preserve the rights of children and protect all children from abuse and sexual exploitation. This crisis requires new thinking, new approaches, and new global awareness. In much of the world today there is inadequate law, inadequate awareness and knowledge, and inadequate capacity to act effectively to address this problem.

The people of the world look to governments and international bodies to enact and enforce laws, treaties, and protocols to preserve the rights of children and prevent the exploitation of children in all its forms. We look to law enforcement, prosecutors, and the judiciary to enforce such laws fairly and aggressively in order to protect the world’s children. Yet, government alone is not the answer. We must mobilize caring, concerned citizens around the world. We must awaken the public to the toll of abuse and exploitation on our most vulnerable citizens. We must speak together in a strong, loud voice, demanding change and calling upon world leaders to act.

Private corporations must join in this effort, bringing innovation and new solutions to our fight against the traffickers and exploiters. New technologies are dramatically improving the quality of life for millions of people. Yet, these same technologies present new opportunities for exploiters and those who victimize children. The same companies which develop these new technologies must be an integral part of the effort to ensure that the technologies are not misused to harm children.

The fight to protect children is one which can unify citizens in every country, every culture and every religion. The poet Kahlil Gibran wrote, “Keep me away from the wisdom that does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh, and the greatness which does not bow before children.” The attendees of this Roman Forum call upon world leaders and people everywhere to join us in a global campaign to protect the world’s children.

(1) That the attendees of this Roman Forum join in a unified call for greater global awareness and action to eradicate the abuse and exploitation of the world’s children and commit to undertake a global awareness campaign.

(2) That a global summit be convened, involving heads of state, leaders of international bodies, business leaders and other world figures to identify new cooperative actions to eradicate the abuse and exploitation of the world’s children.

(3) That world leaders commit to undertake a concerted effort to dismantle the system of supply and demand that keeps the sale and marketing of children robust across the globe.

(4) That leaders of the world’s great religions become engaged in proactive efforts to inform and mobilize members of every faith to join in a global movement to protect the world’s children.

(5) That parliaments around the world examine their existing laws and enact new, improved laws to better protect children and to hold those accountable who abuse and exploit children.

(6) That leaders of technology companies commit to develop and implement new tools and technologies to attack the proliferation of sex abuse images on the Internet and interdict the redistribution of the images of identified child victims.

(7) That leaders of the financial industry, the information industry and other key industries join together in voluntary coalitions to better attack the problem of abuse and sexual exploitation.

(8) That the attendees of this Roman Forum urge the creation of a global initiative to improve the recognition and identification of child victims, and ensure help for the massive numbers of hidden victims of child abuse and sexual exploitation. 

(9) That physicians and medical institutions around the world enhance training for medical professionals in recognizing the warning signs of abuse and sexual exploitation, and improve the reporting and treatment of such abuse and sexual exploitation.

(10) That physicians, medical institutions and social services agencies ensure that adequate and appropriate treatment and support is provided to the victims of child sexual abuse, and that steps be taken to ensure that these children are not re-victimized during or after their treatment.

(11) That governments and private institutions enhance resources available to psychiatric and other treatment professionals for expanded treatment and rehabilitation services for children who have been trafficked, exploited or abused.

(12) That mental health and criminal justice institutions implement research-based, clinically-proven treatment programs for sex abusers, and that effective systems be developed for measuring the effectiveness of such treatment in order to minimize recidivism.

(13) That public and private institutions place greater emphasis on the role of the family in nurturing and protecting children, and that efforts be undertaken globally to strengthen families in every nation and every culture.

(14) That each individual around the world recognizes a child as a human being with his or her own dignity and rights, as an individual person who has a voice which should be heard. Young people contribute to their own and other children’s safety by taking part in discussions and providing advice to policy-makers, parents and teachers.

(15) That national leaders commit to build national centers in their countries and cooperative regional centers in their geographic regions to focus on creating a better, more effective and coordinated response to cases of child abduction, child trafficking and sexual exploitation.

(16) That all governments should create a senior-level position within their government responsible for children’s rights to advise the head of state, advocate for basic changes domestically and internationally to better protect children, and to serve as the top official in the country charged with defending and protecting the rights of children.

(17) That law enforcement organizations expand regional and global cooperation in order to improve information sharing in investigations and increase collaborative efforts in addressing these crimes against children which cross national boundaries.

(18) That law enforcement institutions around the world enhance training for law enforcement officers in recognizing the warning signs of abuse and sexual exploitation.

(19) That training and education be provided for the world’s judiciary, ensuring that judges everywhere apply and enforce the laws regarding the violation of the basic human rights of children and the sexual exploitation of children seriously and uniformly, and further that such training emphasize that those who victimize children must be held fully accountable under the law.

(20) That citizens in every country be made more alert and aware regarding the abuse and sexual exploitation of children, and that they be urged to report such abuse or exploitation to appropriate authorities if they see it, know about it, or suspect it.