Social protection is particularly important for children, in view of their higher levels of vulnerability compared to adults, and the role that social protection can play in ensuring adequate nutrition, access to and utilization of social services. While existing evidence shows that social protection programmes successfully address several dimensions of child well-being – often in an indirect way – a move towards a more “child sensitive” approach to social protection has recently been advocated at the highest level in the international development community. Until now, however, the efforts that have been made to analyse the evidence regarding how social protection affects children have been based on wider analyses of the overall impact of social protection on different groups of recipients, or on analyses based on specific outcomes. This paper explores this issue in more detail. Based on an extensive analysis of the existing evidence on the impact of social protection programmes in the developing world, the paper aims to assess what are the channels that have to be taken into account to understand how the benefits of social protection could be maximized with specific regard to the different dimensions of children’s well-being.