With 30 years since the adoption of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, this article discusses how the Charter has contributed to understanding and addressing children’s rights to protection. Looking back, the article examines the impetus for the Charter in the context of an emerging field of child protection on the continent. Next, the article charts the paradigm shift in the child protection sector that occurred after the adoption of the Charter and the gradual development of African jurisprudence on child protection and safeguarding. This analysis is based on a comprehensive review of Concluding Observations and Recommendations by the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and relevant documents, including General Comment 5 on State Party Obligations under the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (article 1) and Systems Strengthening for Child Protection. Looking ahead, the article posits future directions for child protection and safeguarding, including addressing new risks and harms enabled by digital technology. In conclusion, the article underscores the importance of the Children’s Committee in articulating African perspectives and catalysing state party action to realise children’s rights to protection in accordance with the Charter. Through the state party reporting process and with reference to General Comment 5 and forthcoming guidance, the Committee can continue meaningful dialogue with state parties to address persistent and new challenges to child protection taking a systemic approach.