Eurochild RSS https://www.eurochild.org en_GB Eurochild RSS Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild news-2277 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 European Commission thanks Eurochild for ensuring child participation at the 13th EU Child Forum http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/european-commission-thanks-eurochild-for-ensuring-child-participation-at-the-13th-eu-child-forum/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=2901b00b934f2508fb2ce6f486e3f9fc Valeria Setti, European Commission Coordinator for the Rights of the Child, expressed her great appreciation for our cooperation Eurochild is pleased to announce that we have received a thank you letter from the European Commission Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers, for making sure children participated as active contributors during the 13th European Forum on the rights of the child.

For the first time in the history of this event, children co-designed the content of the Forum, sent us their video contributions, organised and moderated a workshop, spoke and participated in all the sessions of the conference.

Eurochild Children’s Council member Una (16) delivered closing remarks on behalf of the 65 young participants representing 18 countries. You can read her blog here.

Read the full letter

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news-2269 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild shines the light on aftercare for care leavers across Europe http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-shines-the-light-on-aftercare-for-care-leavers-across-europe/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=98a34b24cbe7ec114d603457461605af On 13 October 2020, as part of the CarePath project, Eurochild convened an international online conference, Aftercare for Care Leavers- Learning lessons across Europe to raise aftercare for children and young people ageing out of alternative care on the European agenda.

The conference welcomed 300+ participants from Europe and beyond to listen and engage with our 20+ speakers, whose inspiring interventions offered perspectives across policy, research, practice and, most importantly, lived-experiences of leaving care. We welcomed experts both at national level and those working in the heart of the European Union to improve the lives of children young people in care. 

Our keynote speaker, Professor Mike Stein, surmised well the key message for decision makers at the conference: “The EU has a critical role in ‘levelling up’ standards of aftercare across Europe by offering opportunities for exchange and learning, and channelling EU resources towards policy reform and service development through its funding programmes.” 

Key and long-standing allies from across the European Union spoke and supported the key messages from the conference:

From the European Parliament, MEP Dragoș Pîslaru remarked that “Children in vulnerable position becomes youth in vulnerable position. We need to break the vicious circle and turning it into a virtuous cycle…For a better future in Europe we need to invest in children today.”

Valeria Setti, the European Commission’s Coordinator for the Rights of the Child informed attendees that the upcoming Child Guarantee initiative and the new Strategy on the Rights of the Child will look at the situation of children in care and leaving care. 

Our long-standing ally in our work to end institutional care of children, Katarina Ivanković-Knežević from DG EMPL, thanked Eurochild for its continued strong advocacy for children in alternative care. Ms Ivanković-Knežević also confirmed that there will be a Council Recommendation on the Child Guarantee in 2021, which will trigger policy action in EU Member States and guarantee that children in need have access to quality services.

Astrid Podsiadlowski from the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), called for the active participation of children in individual care decision not only when entering but also when leaving care. The EU can play a critical role here by sharing best practices and legislation that should be ‘levelled up’ to provide children leaving care with a strong base for independent living.

Alongside our key allies and partners, five Eurochild members and a foundation partner also provided valuable insights: 

Terry Dignan from Ireland’s Empowering People in Care

Richard Pichler from SOS Children’s Villages International

Andreeas Novacovici and Napoleon Valentin Alexandru of the Institutionalised Youth Council in Romania

Ioanna Georgouli and Panagiotis Sofios from Ergo Academy in Greece

Ian Thomas from our foundation partner the Martin James Foundation

Their interventions ranged from local, national and international perspectives, as well as powerful testimonies of lived experiences of growing up in and leaving care. We are hugely grateful to all of our members and our other speakers for their empowering stories!

Did you miss the conference? You can visit our Facebook page to view both the morning session and the afternoon session. You can find the Conference Presentations here. Our speakers have also provided answers to participants’ questions. View these answers here.

Finally, we welcome you to explore further the project’s tools and resources that will be available on the CarePath website in the coming weeks. This includes the CarePath Memorandum of Understanding – a valuable resource to demonstrate support for mainstreaming trauma-informed aftercare for care leavers across Europe. Please email Ciaran.odonnell@eurochild.org for more information.

For background information on the CarePath Conference, read its press release here.

For any additional information, please contact Ciaran O’Donnell, Policy and Project Assistant from the Eurochild Secretariat at Ciaran.odonnell@eurochild.org. 

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news-2258 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Implementing the European Child Guarantee in Ireland http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/implementing-the-european-child-guarantee-in-ireland/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=ac633ba130b6f0cd76fb42d00b5a339a The event proved to be an engaging and encouraging discussion on how children's rights can be furthered through the Guarantee, especially now given the disproportionate effect that Covid-19 will have on children across the EU.

The Children’s Rights Alliance Ireland gathered experts and decision-makers from both European and national levels for a webinar on Implementing the European Child Guarantee in Ireland. Eurochild supported this event to ensure timeline considerations by civil society of this future initiative which is planned to be included in the next EU budget (2021-2027).

The ambition of the Child Guarantee is that every child in Europe has access to the following key services: free healthcare, free childcare, decent housing and adequate nutrition. It will particularly focus on vulnerable children and those experiencing poverty, including refugee children. The event focused on how Ireland can implement the Child Guarantee to reduce the levels of child poverty in Ireland which ranks 8th highest in the EU for its rate of child poverty (16%)

In Ireland, child poverty tends to affect more those households where parents are not in employment, lone parent households, households with significant illness, Traveller and Roma households, children in Direct Provision.

The event proved to be an engaging and encouraging discussion on how children's rights can be furthered through the Guarantee, especially now given the disproportionate effect that Covid-19 will have on children across the EU. Keynote speakers included Prof. Hugh Frazer, Maynooth University and Prof. Mary Daly, University of Oxford.

Prof. Frazer who is edited the feasibility study for the European Child Guarantee initiative opened the webinar by giving an overview of the Child Guarantee and the current state of play in Europe: “Evidence from EU level can be powerful, it can show what policies are performing better in different countries. It can be used as a lever in the national context.

Prof. Mary Daly focused on the challenges and opportunities for Ireland to reduce child poverty: "What would the Child Guarantee look like for the most vulnerable families? I discussed this with EU colleagues and we came to the conclusion that it would look like wraparound support or service.” 

This was followed by a panel session on the various policy areas of the Child Guarantee. The panel comprised:  Frances Fitzgerald, MEP, Tricia Keilthy, Head of Social Justice Ireland, Society of St. Vincent de Paul,  John O'Toole, Principal Officer, Families and Low Pay Commission, the Department of Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands, Reka Tunyogi, Head of Advocacy, Eurochild, and Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of Children's Rights Alliance. 

Frances Fitzgerald, Irish member of the European Parliament reminded the audience of the moral imperative of investing in children and families: "We [Ireland] are only as good as our most vulnerable families."

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news-2257 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Slovenia celebrates 30th anniversary of its Children’s Parliament http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/slovenia-celebrates-30th-anniversary-of-its-childrens-parliament/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=08c8cfe33591925d952a0e620fdb5432 The Children’s Parliaments programme started in 1990 and since then it has been running continuously. At the end of September, Eurochild member Slovenian Association of Friends of Youth (SAFY) organised a symposium on the 30th anniversary of the Children’s Parliaments programme.

The Children’s Parliaments programme started in 1990 and since then it has been running continuously, giving its opinions and recommendations on key issues affecting children in the country. Their sessions have been attended by dignitaries such as UN Special Representative on Violence against Children, the Slovenian Prime Minister and many others. The programme aims to educate children about democracy and active citizenship. Around 3000 students from more than 200 primary schools from all over Slovenia participate in the programme each year. To implement this valuable programme, SAFY closely cooperates with regional coordinators and mentors of the programme.

The purpose of the event was to acknowledge their efforts and provide further training in the field of children’s participation. Participants engaged with SAFY’s White Paper on the implementation of children's right to participate and learnt about the plans for the second half of 2021, when Slovenia will take over the Presidency of the Council of the EU. SAFY envisions this presidency to be an opportunity to highlight children's rights with an emphasis on their right to participate. Participants also shared their opinions and proposals on the “future” of Children's Parliaments and discussed the implementation of the program in covid-19 situation.

Attendees also celebrated the dedicated work of mentors and regional coordinators in the past 30 years: they were awarded with recognitions for their decades of work with children within the Children’s Parliament programme.

 

 

 

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news-2247 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Children to take over 13th European gathering on child rights http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/children-to-take-over-13th-european-gathering-on-child-rights/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=8d2ae615cb5123f95275f019811da8df Owing to its expertise, Eurochild has been invited to ensure children are involved in shaping the European Forum on the Rights of the Child. From 29 September to 1 October, the European Commission is organising its 13th Forum on the Rights of the Child. With high-level participants from international institutions, governments and civil society, the annual conference has become one of the most important platforms for developing policies on the rights of the child in the EU and beyond.

Whilst the Forum has previously been attended primarily by adults, this year the European Commission has made exceptional efforts to actively involve children as participants and contributors. Through previous collaborations, the European Commission is well aware of Eurochild’s expertise in child participation. As a result, Eurochild will take a leading role on ensuring that children are part of shaping the Forum and the future EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child.

Together with the European Commission Coordinator for the Rights of the Child and her team, we have been able to secure representation from the Eurochild Children’s Council on the opening panel with Commissioner Reynders and on a high-level panel with Vice-President Šuica. Additionally, the Eurochild Children’s Council will organise and facilitate a child-led workshop and give concluding remarks on the final day of the Forum. Eurochild will be supporting the participation of 50 children from the Eurochild network and ensuring the host and participants are well prepared to ensure meaningful interactions in a safe space.

Due to current circumstances, the Forum will be taking place online which brings with it new challenges but also opportunities. In recent months, the Eurochild Children’s Council have demonstrated an incredible ability to learn, improvise and adapt to the new circumstances. Eurochild has strived to rapidly expand its capacity and competencies in order to facilitate meaningful child participation online. We are therefore confident that the Forum will be an important platform for children to centre themselves in the discussion on children’s rights, while exhibiting the importance and value of child participation. This is a vital step towards establishing sustainable structures for meaningful child participation at European level.

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news-2246 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Child protection reform in Greece gets new impetus thanks to Eurochild and Martin James Foundation support http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/child-protection-reform-in-greece-gets-new-impetus-thanks-to-eurochild-and-martin-james-foundation-s/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=a261cfa7ef0cd8bc3434952169138ed9 Despite Greece enacting a breakthrough law on foster care in 2018, most children in out of home care remain in institutions. Following its flagship campaign to reform child protection and develop family and community based care for children in alternative care under the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign, Eurochild continues to drive reforms with the support of Martin James Foundation. Recognising the potential for reforms in the Greek child protection system, Eurochild will provide technical assistance to Roots Research Centre as part of a 14 month-long technical assistance programme offered through the MJF partnership to Poland, Croatia and Greece.

Situation in country

The national legislation regarding alternative care for children in Greece (Act 4538/2018 titled “Measures for the promotion of the institutions of foster care and adoption and other provisions” adopted in 2018 was a breakthrough promising development of family-based care in Greece. Family-based care is considered the best care option for children in out-home care. Roots Research Center was founded in 1999 in Athens and originally focused on the rights of adult adoptees and supported their search for their biological roots. The experience gained in this field led the organisation to expand the scope of its work towards functions that support deinstitutionalisation in Greece.

More legal entities can decide about placements in foster care for children and adolescents instead of issuing placements in residential care. Moreover, more types of family structures can now be eligible for foster parenting equally with the traditional family (e.g. single parent family, same-sex parents provided they have signed a civil partnership agreement). Additionally, a national database system has been created in order to register potential foster parents and adopters and with a view to collecting the figures of children in institutions of all legal types (public, private, NGOs, religious, municipal etc).

Yet the deficiencies pertaining to the Greek child care system remain: most of children in out-of-home care still grow up in institutions. In 2014, there were 2,850 children in Greek institutions, out of whom 900 were children with disabilities and 150 children under the age of three. Furthermore, they remain in residential care far longer (6 years) than the recommended average time (6 months). Set schedules and time plans for every child in institutional care are not in practice. Moreover, there is a lack of policy protocols, codes of ethics, organisational charters and uniform procedures and practices for all children placed in institutional care and most child settings continue to be understaffed. A further lack of focused and targeted training for all professionals involved in alternative child care puts the interests of children in out-of-home care at risk. Also, the lack of overall mapping of children in institutional care, of child victims of abuse and neglect, of foster care placements and the subsequent adoptions has created a child care system with no sustainability and limited safety for vulnerable children. 

A new drive to child protection reform

Technical assistance from Eurochild in partnership with MJF helps Roots Research Centre to be actively involved in co-drafting a deinstitutionalisation strategy that focuses on children with and without disabilities, adults with disabilities, and elderly.  Roots Research Center will carry out an assessment of needs of parents interested in, or already fostering children with trauma and provide them with the consultancy via online meetings and trainings. They will organise training sessions for minors’ prosecutors and social workers on deinstitutionalisation. Learning from others and sharing good practices such as supported lodging will inform also emerging programmes for care leavers who struggle the most after ageing-out from alternative care in Greece.

The partnership with MJF and Eurochild support will push for reforms across Europe through a three-pronged approach. Apart from technical assistance in Greece, Eurochild will support CSOs in Croatia and Poland. Additionally, it will assess broader trends to identify gaps in child protection systems across Europe and propose tested solutions, and build the capacity of member organisations working on children in alternative care through a cycle of webinars / peer learning sessions responding to their specific needs. Eurochild members will exchange good practices to respond to the needs of foster families, providers of residential care and care leavers.

About Roots Research Center Greece

Since 2004 they have been promoting foster care, deliver speeches around the country, raising public awareness on the benefits of foster care and why community based care is better for children. They have been involved in private foster care cases of children with disabilities, supporting and consulting the foster parents. They run training seminars for social workers and University students promoting foster care and community based care. They also realise seminars for potential or ongoing foster parents and for families who want to adopt. Their aim is to fulfil the right of every vulnerable child to live in a supportive and loving family.

Roots Research Center cooperates with the Ombudsman for Children's rights, other child rights NGOs such as Iliachtida, NGO Federation Greece, Network for Children’s Rights; and other informal groups such as foster parents’ groups, disability forums, unaccompanied minors’ groups. 

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news-2245 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild and Martin James Foundation partnership to tackle slow deinstitutionalisation reforms in Croatia http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-and-martin-james-foundation-partnership-to-tackle-slow-deinstitutionalisation-reforms-in-c/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=763244a16bd54725c511c37349825cae Eurochild will provide technical assistance to FICE Croatia as part of a 14 month-long technical assistance programme offered through the MJF partnership to Poland, Croatia and Greece. Following its flagship campaign to reform child protection and develop family and community based care for children in alternative care under the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign, Eurochild continues to drive reforms with the support of Martin James Foundation. Recognising the potential for reforms in the Croatian child protection system, Eurochild will provide technical assistance to FICE Croatia as part of a 14 month-long technical assistance programme offered through the MJF partnership to Poland, Croatia and Greece.

Situation in country

The reforms process started in Croatia in 2011 when the State endorsed the deinstitutionalisation plan for transformation of social welfare homes and other legal bodies providing social services in Croatia 2011-2016. Overall transition from institutional to family-based and community-based forms of care shows slow signs of progress. Of the 6,256 children, 5,437 are children with disabilities who were still growing up in institutional care in 2018 in Croatia. This is mainly due to a lack of commitment from the State, a lack of know-how in the area of community- based social services by the state providers, prejudices against foster care and inefficient use of EU funding to support reform.

The long expected law on foster care came into force in January 2019 with ambition to promote development of family based-care including increasing a number of family-based care placements. In 2018 there were 2,276 children living in foster families compared to 2017 when 2,263 children were placed in foster care. Unfortunately, neither the legislation nor the UNICEF campaign promoting foster parenting (which ran in August 2018) have increased number of foster parents. It requires more coordinated and efficient approach at national level with leverage of international players such the EU and others.

Tackling slow deinstitutionalisation

Eurochild technical assistance in partnership with Martin James Foundation is meant to leverage the influence of the EU as well as to connect and learn from others to push for deinstitutionalisation reform in Croatia. FICE Croatia will conduct an assessment of needs of the institutions and individuals involved. They will also conduct peer-reviews and meet foster families to understand challenges and opportunities of being and becoming a foster parent, which will be further utilised in recruitment strategies. Nation-wide training for social workers and relevant ministries representatives will take place online in September.

The partnership with MJF and Eurochild support will push for reforms across Europe through a three-pronged approach. Apart from technical assistance in Croatia, Eurochild will support CSOs in Greece and Poland. Additionally, it will assess broader trends to identify gaps in child protection systems across Europe and propose tested solutions, and build the capacity of member organisations working on children in alternative care through a cycle of webinars / peer learning sessions responding to their specific needs. Eurochild members will exchange good practices to respond to the needs of foster families, providers of residential care and care leavers.

 

About FICE Croatia

FICE Croatia aims to improve the quality of life for children, youth, families but also professionals and communities. Special focus of its work is on children and youth at risk, as well as children and youth in alternative care. Through activities of support, experience and knowledge exchange, networking and advocating, FICE Croatia tries to strengthen and improve social services.

To increase impact FICE Croatia works in coalition with other civil society organisations: Forum for quality foster care (Forum za kvalitetno udomiteljstvo djece) and Igra and cooperates with the Social Work Department of Zagreb University.  

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news-2244 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild and Martin James Foundation partnership to push for child protection reforms in Poland http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-and-martin-james-foundation-partnership-to-push-for-child-protection-reforms-in-poland/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=8bbadc2b825a22341db38e03d2f31e87 Eurochild will provide technical assistance to Polish Foster Care Coalition to enable civil society to advocate for a strong deinstitutionalisation strategy launched earlier this year by the Polish government. Following its flagship campaign to reform child protection and develop family and community based care for children in alternative care under the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign, Eurochild continues to drive reforms with the support of Martin James Foundation. Recognising the potential for reforms in the Polish child protection system, Eurochild will provide technical assistance to Polish Foster Care Coalition (hereinafter, PFCC) to enable civil society to advocate for a strong deinstitutionalisation strategy launched earlier this year by the Polish government. This is part of a 14 month-long technical assistance programme offered through the MJF partnership to Poland, Croatia and Greece.

Situation in Poland

Since 2012 Poland has an Act on family support and alternative care system but there has been weak progress towards deinstitutionalisation. While an estimated 50,000 children live in family-based care,  a major proportion of children 21,362 still remain in institutional care (Maly rocznik statystyczny polski 2020, Statistical office, Warsaw 2020). Children need individualised care, which institutions cannot provide.

Moreover, re-institutionalisation has been promoted. There has been an increase in the number of residential care facilities from 779 in 2010 to 1,166 in 2019. There are different types of institutional care facilities: the new facilities that can accommodate up to 14 children, institutions for infants up to 1 year old and for children with disabilities up to 45 children (Source). Many children with disabilities are placed in so called DPS (Dom Pomocy Spolecznej) or Social Welfare Facilities that run 24h/7 days a week. These institutions host 50 or even up to 200 residents, with different ages & types of disabilities. These practices go against the UN Guidelines for Children in Alternative Care which elaborates the rare situations when separation of children from their parents is necessary, and the ways in which the choice of the care setting and the period spent in care must be tailored to each child and promote stability and permanence.

Some positive outcomes have been recorded in strengthening families via various social programmes and social assistants. More than 140,000 families in need received support in 2019. In February 2020 Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy established a cross-sectoral group to develop a national strategy of deinstitutionalisation for Poland until 2040, creating an opportunity to address some of the challenging practices.

Pushing for child protection reform

Polish Foster Care Coalition as a member of children, youth and family sub-group of Ministry of Labour is participating in the drafting of a deinstitutionalisation strategy. With the technical assistance they will be able to learn from European peers in the Eurochild membership, share their needs and catalyse EU-level opportunities in the form of funding and policy mechanisms. They will also gather evidence on the current situation regarding child protection and advocate for stronger measures. Furthermore, PFFC will develop four local projects to promote family-based alternative care in different districts of Poland. In December 2020 they will organise an online Family Fostering National Conference that will summarise the local projects and further promote realisation of deinstitutionalisation in Poland. The speakers will include recognised international scientists and practitioners as well as relevant politicians and decision-makers. Selected for their expertise in the area, their ability to coordinate with other civil society organisations and gain the most from this technical assistance, PFFC will benefit from access to training & expertise in different practice areas, as well as capacity building to leverage EU policy and funding influence.

The partnership with MJF and Eurochild support will push for reforms across Europe through a three-pronged approach. Apart from technical assistance in Poland, Eurochild will support CSOs in Croatia and Greece. Additionally, it will assess broader trends to identify gaps in child protection systems across Europe and propose tested solutions, and build the capacity of member organisations working on children in alternative care through a cycle of webinars / peer learning sessions responding to their specific needs. Eurochild members will exchange good practices to respond to the needs of foster families, providers of residential care and care leavers.

About Polish Foster Care Coalition

Polish Foster Care Coalition, established in 2010, is an advocacy umbrella organisation that gathers NGOs focused on child rights based on UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, especially the child’s right to grow up in a family environment. Their efforts are focused on deinstitutionalisation of alternative care for children. PFFC represents 17 NGOs in Poland. Its members include SOS Children’s Villages Poland, Polki Moga Wszystko Foundation, and Dialog Foundation among others. PFCC also engages a group of experts who participate in social committees of Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy and contribute their expertise to the European Commission DG for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.

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news-2243 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 German civil society discusses future EU child rights strategy http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/german-civil-society-discusses-future-eu-child-rights-strategy/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=f1a9a116e284701c0f15207dc0d3be68 Importance of child participation and alignment with Sustainable Development Goals, the UNCRC and EU policies raised by German child rights organisations. The National Coalition Germany , a national partner network of Eurochild, teamed up with its German members UNICEF, Save the Children, Terre des Hommes, World Vision, SOS-Kinderdorf and War Child to present the Joint Position Paper on a Comprehensive Child Rights Strategy to civil society organisations in an online meeting with 60 members on 26 August 2020. The Joint Position Paper, co-written by Eurochild, lays out the vision for a child rights strategy aligned with the priorities of the European Commission 2019-2024. Each topic, be it the fight against poverty, the Green Deal, EU fundamental rights, digitalisation, democratic values or Europe´s role in the world and a new push for European democracy has a distinct child rights perspective which needs to be laid out in the upcoming EU child rights strategy.

This initiative for an EU Child Rights Strategy comes at a crucial time for children worldwide being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and represents an important step to strengthen children's rights during the current Germany's EU Council Presidency.

From a German perspective, members of the coalition emphasised the importance of a holistic framework on child rights aligned with the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the Sustainable Development Goals and harmonizing EU strategies regarding vulnerable groups like migrant children in and beyond Europe. Improvements that are made through rights-based approaches, like the upcoming child rights strategy, should not be impeded by contradicting EU initiatives, for example in the area of displacement and migration. Further, the participation of children and youth on all political levels could not be emphasised enough, particularly regarding the right to a healthy environment. 

In this peer-to-peer learning process, members of the National Coalition Germany also shared knowledge on the planned consultation process with civil society, including children and youth (please find details in the EC’s Roadmap). As highlighted during a previous event in June regarding the German EU-presidency, co-organised with the Child and Youth Welfare Association - AGJ, developing policies and legislation that affect children and youth needs their involvement. All children's rights organisations members of the National Coalition Germany play their part in facilitating such involvement and implementing this principle of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

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news-2241 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Care Leavers amidst COVID-19: Eurochild endorses the global declaration http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/care-leavers-amidst-covid-19-eurochild-endorses-the-global-declaration/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=6e67c5b3f22694146f488bfc7ddd59cd The declaration contains 11 recommendations, from housing to inclusion and social protection. This declaration has been supported and signed by over 100 young people with care experience from about 25 countries at the 1st International Care Leavers Convention that took place earlier this summer in June.

Read the declaration

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news-2237 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 CarePath Mechanism offers one stop shop for care leavers and professionals http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/carepath-mechanism-offers-one-stop-shop-for-care-leavers-and-professionals/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=c55a38f41bb265b848b8f81431c688e3 The objective of the project is to develop a sustainable mechanism for providing integrated psycho-social support services based on trauma-informed interventions. CarePath project is an EU Rights, Equality and Citizenship Program (2014-2020) which aims to ensure that children leaving care have access to adequate trauma-informed aftercare support and increase the capacity of professionals in child protection systems to support traumatised children. The objective of the project is to develop a sustainable mechanism for providing integrated psycho-social support services based on trauma-informed interventions.

In this context, CarePath partners have developed an on-line integrated service provision mechanism that seeks to facilitate relevant stakeholders and professionals to have access to organizations that are relevant to their work with children leaving care. CarePath integrated mechanism embeds organizations, including public authorities, NGOs, social services, child protection agencies, psychotherapists and healthcare services from Italy, Belgium, Hungary and Greece.The "CarePath Mechanism" is now available! It is a user-friendly tool that offers a one-stop shop for care leavers and the professionals who work with them to access supports for the leaving care process in four EU countries - Belgium, Greece, Hungary and Italy. 

The CarePath integrated service provision mechanism is a web-based system to bring together relevant stakeholders and professionals working with children leaving care (e.g. public authorities, NGOs, social services, child protection agencies and psychotherapists, healthcare), and make available processes to cover a range of multi-dimensional interventions based on trauma screening and assessment. The system is used initially by the public authorities of the partnership as a basis for the provision of one-stop shop services to children ageing out of care and care leavers.

Read more here.

The list of organisations for Belgium was kindly supported by Eurochild’s own Belgian members – a huge thank you to Children’s Rights Knowledge Centre (KeKi), An Rommel from Opgroeien, the Centre for Innovation in the Early Years, Francesca Stuer and Maud Stiernet. 

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news-2236 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 EU Recovery Package: a landmark agreement for the EU, a missed opportunity to tackle child poverty http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eu-recovery-package-a-landmark-agreement-for-the-eu-a-missed-opportunity-to-tackle-child-poverty/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=1a9fd6a4415aa0f8d1ed448e0758415a After five days of tense and arduous negotiations, EU leaders have finally reached an agreement on the EU Recovery Fund and the next EU long-term budget. Regrettably, the agreed text does not require EU Member States to invest at least 5% of ESF+ resources for tackling child poverty, as previously demanded by both European Parliament and Commission. The European Parliament now has a possibility to make sure that this pivotal earmarking will be included in the future ESF+ Regulation.

On Tuesday 21 July, EU leaders reached an agreement on an unprecedented plan on the European Recovery Fund and the next EU long-term budget (the so-called Multiannual Financial Framework - MFF). After five days of intense negotiations, EU leaders agreed to jointly borrow €750 billion to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and set up the EU’s new recovery fund. The fund will be composed of €390 billion in grants (down from €500 billion in the original proposal) and €360 billion in loans (up from €250 billion). This instrument will be attached to a new €1.074 MFF, on which heads of state and government also reached a unanimous agreement — bringing the total financial package to €1.82 trillion. All this goes alongside the three safety nets endorsed by the European Council on 23 April 2020. The safety nets aim to support workers, businesses and sovereigns with a package worth €540 billion. Most of the COVID-19 recovery fund — €312.5 billion in grants and €360 billion in loans — will be spent through a new Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) to help countries get their economies through the crisis. The grant portion is linked to national recovery plans: this means that countries will get pay-outs based on their progress toward certain targets.

On a less positive note, EU national leaders ended up making what the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, defined as "regrettable" cuts to the budget in important fields such as health, climate, research and migration. The seven year budget is smaller than what the Commission had wanted. The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) is also less than initially proposed in 2018, but at €87.9 billion did not suffer too big a loss.

Moreover, the agreement does not require Member States to allocate at least 5% of their ESF+ resources to implement measures that reduce child poverty, as previously demanded by the European Parliament, European Commission, and the EU Alliance for investing in Children (EU Alliance). The document approved by EU leaders merely states that “the ESF+ will provide comprehensive support to (…) social inclusion and poverty reduction, including child poverty”. 

"While we welcome our EU leaders coming together to forge a deal on a recovery package, no one should be left behind as we build Europe back from the crisis. The impact of school closures, reduced social interaction and increased risk of poverty put children's development at risk.

If not properly addressed, we will see the effects of the pandemic last a generation. Children's needs must be at the forefront of the EU budget and recovery plans. This injection of investment needs to be directed at building a better future. Protecting children from the fallout of COVID-19 pandemic is the most efficient way of securing more prosperous and inclusive societies.
"
- Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild.

Eurochild and the EU Alliance partners have promptly reacted expressing their disappointment for this missed opportunity and urging the European Parliament to tackle child poverty and champion children’s rights. Indeed, the Parliament will play a crucial role in the next months; not only will it have to give its consent to the Council agreement, but it will also have to negotiate with the Council the way in which the ESF+ and other 36 EU programmes are spent (in what is commonly defined as trilogue). This negotiation will be a crucial occasion to make sure that the 5% earmarking will be part of the final ESF+ Regulation. Specifically, we asked the European Parliament to:

  • Support the mandate adopted by the European Parliament in April 2019 on the European Social Fund Plus, in particular as regards the requirement that every Member State invests at least 5% of ESF+ resources under shared management for tackling child poverty.
  • Include in the European Parliament’s Resolution on the European Council Conclusions of 21 July 2020 the need to invest in children, to increase the protection of those in vulnerable situations and to eradicate poverty and in particular child poverty via the European Child Guarantee.

Several political groups have tabled a motion for a resolution confirming Parliament’s readiness to enter into negotiations immediately and setting out the conditions for its consent to the MFF. This resolution mentions the Child Guarantee as a priority needing attention in the budget. With regards to the MFF, Parliament’s negotiators welcomed the fact that the European Council eventually reached a common position, as well as the launch of a recovery instrument financed through borrowing. However, they were critical of essential elements of the compromise, such as cuts to the core MFF long-term investments, and warned that Parliament’s consent should not be taken for granted. They noted that if Parliament’s conditions are not met sufficiently, the recovery instrument could be launched while programmes could be adopted on the basis of the current MFF.

Eurochild is firmly committed to monitor and influence this process and to urge European Institutions to efficiently tackle child poverty.
In the next months, we will continue to call for the 5% earmarking in the ESF+ Regulation and to make sure that children’s rights will be at the heart of European policy-making. 

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news-2230 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Make child poverty history http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/make-child-poverty-history/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=c88549fb427b6a7112bebf4b8fc19243 Statement: EU leaders urged to tackle child poverty in EU recovery plan and budget When EU leaders meet on 17-18 July to discuss the EU Recovery Plan and the future long-term EU budget, their decisions will greatly impact the lives of our children – today and in the future. Eurochild urges EU leaders to put the best interests of children at the heart of their decision-making by providing, at least 5% of the European Social Fund Plus resources to reducing child poverty in all EU Member States. 

Eurochild is a pan-European network of almost 200 member organisations united by the recognition of children as rights holders. Our work is grounded in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

We welcome this European Commission’s commitment to develop a comprehensive EU strategy on the rights of the child and a European Child Guarantee. Despite this important show of leadership at EU level, the picture is more worrying across EU Member States.

  • 23 million children in the EU are at risk of poverty or social exclusion. (Eurostat, 2018) That means, 1 in 4 children either do not receive adequate nutrition, have a safe and comfortable home to study or resources to thrive.
  • Children continue to be at higher risk of poverty (24.3%) than the general population (21.9%) in the EU. (Eurostat, 2018)
  • More than 1 in 5 children (0-17 years) live in an overcrowded household in European OECD countries.

Unfortunately, the pandemic and the lockdown has exacerbated social inequalities. School closures, social distancing and confinement have increased, among others, the risk of poor nutrition among children, the risk of domestic violence and reduced access to vital family and care services. Children already disadvantaged before the crisis by poverty, migration status or difficult home environments have suffered most during lockdown. 

Significant efforts will be needed to bridge the educational divide, support vulnerable families and boost child protection systems if we are to avoid the long-term consequences of failing our children.  We need more resources and efforts, to tackle and to overcome the challenges raised by the pandemic, to ensure that no child in Europe is left behind.

According to a recent study, the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic could increase household poverty by the end of 2020 by 15% worldwide. (UNICEF and Save the Children, May 2020). The alarm on poverty has again been raised. We now urge the European Union, as one of the wealthiest regions in the world, to take action to put child poverty to history.


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Children are at risk of becoming invisible victims of the pandemic.  It is the duty of our leaders to leave them with a better today and tomorrow. Protecting children’s rights is not only a question of values, principles and legal obligations.  It is also the foundation on which all children thrive and develop their full potential.

Eurochild, on behalf of the children’s rights community in Europe, is expecting EU leaders to support the proposal in the 2021-27 EU budget that each Member State allocates at least 5% of the European Social Fund Plus to address child poverty, in line with a Council Recommendation on the Child Guarantee.

The allocation of these resources will help to implement the necessary reforms to ensure all children and families receive the services and support they need to thrive. We at Eurochild, together with all the children in Europe, stand ready to contribute to the building of a more inclusive and sustainable future for all.

We at Eurochild, together with all the children in Europe, stand ready to contribute to the building of a more inclusive and sustainable future for all.
ENDS

Download the statement as a PDF

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news-2223 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Children’s rights community gathers online for annual Eurochild General Assembly http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/childrens-rights-community-gathers-online-for-annual-eurochild-general-assembly/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=a0b88c5e55815aea7f5fc035e4118552 Highlights from the 2020 Eurochild General Assembly and Member's Day

Eurochild hosted its annual General Assembly online this year on 15-16 June 2020 owing to the COVID-19 related lockdown. Almost 200 participants including the entire Eurochild Children’s Council joined the two –day online event which was chaired by H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Eurochild. This event was an occasion for the children’s rights professionals to share their challenges of continuing to run their programmes and activities during the lockdown, discuss opportunities to promote children’s rights and assess the potential of EU developments on the lives of children. 

European Commission Vice-President Dubravka Suica spoke at the General Assembly sharing her vision for the upcoming EU strategy on the rights of the child. She confirmed the importance of involving children themselves in the consultation. “Great pleasure to address the Eurochild General Assembly and present our ideas about the new comprehensive EU strategy for the rights of the child. The COVID19 pandemic has not left children unharmed. We need to include them in our recovery efforts.” (Twitter)

European Commissioner Nicolas Schmit also attended a webinar the following day as part of the Members Day to discuss the European Child Guarantee. Commissioner Schmit recognised that “COVID-19 crisis has revealed and deepened existing inequalities. It has shown that investing in children is extremely valuable. The Child Guarantee will aim to ensure equal opportunities for children.” Members and the Eurochild Children’s Council were delighted to have the opportunity to speak directly with EU decision-makers and policy officials in the run up to these significant initiatives impacting children’s rights and child poverty. 

New members welcomed totalling 185 Eurochild members in 35 countries

Catriona Williams OBE who is the Founding President of Eurochild and recently retired as CEO of Children in Wales, was conferred Honorary Membership for her invaluable contribution to children’s rights locally and internationally. See list of new members below: 

  • The Children's Human Rights Centre Albania –CRCA (Albania)
  • Alliance for the Rights of the Child - ADP (Czechia)
  • FICE Croatia
  • Kindermitte association for social enterpreneurship and quality in early education – KINDERMITTE (Germany)
  • Childproof NGO – CIPOF (Kosovo)
  • Council of Institutionalised Youth – CTI (Romania)
  • International Non-Governmental Organisation “International Leadership and Development Center” – ILDC (Ukraine)
  • Charity Fund EDUKIDS (Ukraine)
  • “Auto moto group” non-governmental organisation (Lithuania)
  • Serena Virdis – Individual (Italy)
  • Giovanni Giulio Valtolina – Individual (Italy)
  • Fabio Cruccu – Individual (Italy)
  • Florence Koenderink – Individual (United Kingdom)
  • Gareth Williams-James – Individual (United Kingdom)

Following the General Assembly, Eurochild hosted a number of webinars addressing the advocacy and organisational needs and demands of the children’s rights sector. From preparing for the future EU child rights strategy and the European Child Guarantee to discussing the Childonomics methodology and early childhood development, the topics covered vast array of upcoming areas for progressing children’s rights. The Eurochild Children’s Council also hosted its own webinar on the topic of education. 

Children from the Eurochild Children’s Council participated actively throughout the event. They also presented their activities over the year – including their involvement in the network’s governance meetings and participating in recruitment processes.

Eurochild members can watch the recordings of the webinars and download presentations and others resources in the members room.

Read more 

You can see the visual notes created by Drawnalism, highlighting key discussions from three of these webinars on future-proofing child rights advocacy, the EU child rights strategy and the European Child Guarantee here. 

Read the Annual Report for 2019 launched at the General Assembly for stories and highlights of Eurochild’s work and accomplishments.

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news-2219 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Taking stock of Europe’s children’s rights sector http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/taking-stock-of-europes-childrens-rights-sector/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=edbc0626a799ca5b2234e8601acb79d4 Launch of Eurochild Annual Report 2019 Eurochild’s Annual Report of 2019 reflects on the key activities and achievements of the network, which spans 34 countries with its almost 200 members.

In 2019, Eurochild played a formative role in campaigning during the change-over in the EU institutions. There is a strong children’s rights intergroup in the European Parliament; the European Commission has charged Vice-President Suica to lead on the design of an EU Child Rights Strategy while Commissioner Schmit is leading on the European Child Guarantee initiative. Additionally, Eurochild led by example on listening to children by engaging them in the design of events and advocacy, including the development of the Bucharest EU Children’s Declaration delivered to EU leaders under the EU Romanian Presidency.

The report, divided in two sections based on Eurochild’s strategic plan of 2019-2021, showcases the work and achievements aimed towards ‘The change Eurochild wants to see’ and ‘How Eurochild contributes to making that change happen’.

In her introduction to the Annual Report, H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Eurochild, recognises the new challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ever-increasing importance of putting children at the heart of Europe: “The recovery will be long and hard…if efforts to rebuild Europe are built on a full understanding of children’s rights, our continent will be fairer and more resilient to shocks in the future.”

The Annual Report will be launched at the General Assembly of Eurochild on 15 June 2020. The General Assembly this year will take place online due to the COVID-19 related lockdown. Members from across Europe will gather along with children representing the Eurochild Children’s Council to share developments since the last year, officially welcome new members and discuss key challenges and opportunities for the children’s rights sector. A number of webinars will be hosted on 15-16 June following the General Assembly to invite the Eurochild community to discuss new and continuing areas of work in policy and advocacy and organisational development.

Stay tuned to Eurochild’s social media for latest insights.

Read the Eurochild Annual Report of 2019 here

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news-2218 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Call for Action for a comprehensive, sustainable Europe 2030 strategy with a strong social dimension http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/call-for-action-for-a-comprehensive-sustainable-europe-2030-strategy-with-a-strong-social-dimension/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=e3bf0051b42a08db46ed4bb18347b2ec Together with the other partners of the Alliance on investing in children Eurochild is calling for a strategy that will look at issues related to poverty reduction and social inclusion In 2018, well before the COVID-19 pandemic, there were 110 million Europeans at risk of poverty, of whom 23 million were children. The European Union as well as the entire world are on the verge of a new economic crisis, which is expected to be even more severe than in 2008. The COVID19 crisis will directly contribute to growing health and socio-economic inequalities between and within EU Member States.

In 2010, the European Union adopted the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The European Commission, has not presented until today any adequate successor to the Europe strategy, that would set the European Union’s vision and steer the EU’s priorities in the long term.

The EU Alliance for Investing in Children, with the support of the Social Platform and SDG Watch Europe, call the European Commission to launch a proposal for a Europe 2030 strategy that will combine the promotion of:

– Equality and wellbeing, poverty reduction and social inclusion,
– inclusive and sustainable economic recovery, stability and growth,
– environmental protection by implementing the European Green Deal
– digital transformation

We call the EU institutions to:


a) Propose and adopt a comprehensive, sustainable Europe 2030 strategy with a strong social dimension
b) Set an ambitious target to tackle poverty and child poverty in the EU with a mid-term review
c) Strengthen social and economic policy coordination and monitoring of the Europe 2030 Strategy
d) Allocate EU funding for the implementation of the Europe 2030 Strategy
e) Meaningfully engage civil society and social partners in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the Europe 2030 Strategy.

Read the full call here

Download the call as a PDF



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news-2215 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Call to action to protect vulnerable families and children in alternative care http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/call-to-action-to-protect-vulnerable-families-and-children-in-alternative-care/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=4acc4452f0410df6ab2fd29cd69da9e3 We call on European governments and European Union institutions to reinforce actions to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable children and families

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the accompanying measures put in place to control it, are having a dramatic impact on some of Europe’s most vulnerable children, families and communities, compounding structural weaknesses in child protection and welfare systems. 

In the long-term, the socio-economic impact of the crisis, coupled with strained government services, will test the capacity of vulnerable families to care for their children. It is feared that the number of children at risk of separation, in need of additional support, or in alternative care is likely to increase. As older adults are particularly at risk from the virus, grandparents will be less available to step in to care for their grandchildren. In some cases, parents and other primary caregivers may be able to rely on other family members and relatives to care for their children; in other cases, alternative care arrangements will be needed. 

In this context, it is essential to pre-emptively scale up the capacity of quality family-based care and social protection systems to enhance family resilience and prevent unnecessary family separation and recourse to residential care. 

Read our call to action developed jointly by 15 child rights organisations to urge European governments and EU institutions to protect the most vulnerable children and families.  

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news-2213 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 #CovidUnder19: Life Under Coronavirus survey for children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/covidunder19-life-under-coronavirus-survey-for-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=bf5efee7f2f8b6b09cb1a57c9a89590c Eurochild Children’s Council joins 270 other children to develop a survey for children aged 8-17 years old. How are children experiencing the #Covid19 pandemic? How can they be involved in building the post-COVID-19 world?

Whether they are under lockdown and out of school, in refugee camps or in crowded villages, detained, or living on the streets, institutionalized or on the move, children and young people have the right to be heard. But their views are hardly ever sought out by decision-makers and their ideas are rarely listened to. The #CovidUnder19 initiative aims to change that.

The #CovidUnder19 initiative is led by children, supported by child rights activists, experts and other key stakeholders to work together in understanding what children are experiencing due to COVID-19 and by involving children in responding to these issues. Children aged 8-17 years are invited to respond to the survey. Child protection practitioners as well as parents and caregivers are encouraged to facilitate the participation of children with the help of a facilitator’s guide.

Eurochild has contributed to the development of the content of the survey, as well as to the ethical concerns and safeguarding working group of the initiative. Our 12 Eurochild Children’s Council members and former Children’s Council members, together with 270 children from 26 countries have been actively involved in developing and shaping this survey for children and young people as well as the campaign to ensure children’s opinions are heard. 

The #CovidUnder19 initiative has been a co-creation of child and teenage human rights defenders, child rights organisations active across the world and academics. Terre des Hommes and The Centre for Children’s Rights of Queen’s University Belfast are leading this consultation with a coalition of partners.

Based on the results of the consultations with children, the initiative will accelerate the design of responses to the pandemic in the short and long term, while increasing opportunities for children to interact with each other to collectively create and innovate.
Currently, the survey is available in English but it will be soon available in other languages.

Deadline extended: the survey is open until 31 July!

Respond to the survey in English
Respond to the survey in French
Respond to the survey in Spanish
Respond to the survey in Arabic
Respond to the survey in Hindi
Respond to the survey in Bengali
Respond to the survey in Hebrew
Respond to the survey in Urdu
Respond to the survey in Italian
Respond to the survey in Dutch
Respond to the survey in Hungarian
Respond to the survey in Romanian
Respond to the survey in Nepali
Respond to the survey in Thai
Respond to the survey in Portugese
Respond to the survey in Russian
Respond to the survey in Filipino
Respond to the survey in Khmer
Respond to the survey in Japanese
Respond to the survey in Greek
Respond to the survey in Korean
Respond to the survey in Malay

Download the Facilitator’s guide for frontline professionals working with children who require support

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news-2205 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 COVID19 crisis. People living in institutions must not be written off http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/covid19-crisis-people-living-in-institutions-must-not-be-written-off/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=e1ae80cbc81f3fb0852e0adca96f85f9 Children who are segregated in short or long term residential care are now more vulnerable than ever to human rights violations Whilst governments have focused on addressing the health and economic aspects of the crisis, the social care sector is being left behind, with drastic consequences on service availability. Support services are adapting to respond to new needs; however the lack of flexibility in funding is putting many community-based services at risk of closure. Some services, including homeless shelters, are forced to stay open but lack public support for protective materials, and extra staff to compensate for sick staff and more users. Residential services are often the last receiving hygienic and personal protection equipment.

Children, older people, persons experiencing homelessness, persons with disabilities and mental health problems who are segregated in short-term and long-term residential institutions are now more vulnerable to human rights violations than ever.

The European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care (EEG) and Eurochild calls on EU leaders to ensure its response to COVID-19 takes into consideration persons living in institutions in Europe as they face increased risks of abuse, neglect, health issues and mental distress. Adequate funding to social and care sector is needed, as well as support to families and carers. This can prevent an increase in institutionalisation and a worsening of the conditions of those who are living in residential segregating settings.

Read the full statement here, including recommendations for the EU’s Coronavirus Response Initiative and Solidarity Fund.

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news-2204 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Childrens participation in shaping responses to COVID19 http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/childrens-participation-in-shaping-responses-to-covid19/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=13ca035bc6c98f9dae11579fb0ca5b19 Results from the survey "COVID-19: Children’s Participation in shaping responses" have been published As the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has recently stated, underlining various longstanding national and European laws and recommendations, children’s views should be taken into account in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Children’s participation in decision making is not a luxury, it is a protective measure and children have shown many times that they make valuable contributions in responding to disasters and risk reduction. By enabling children to help shape responses to COVID-19 we can ensure that rules and services take proper account of their rights and needs. This will help increase safety and efficiency, promote health and well being and generate constructive long-term solutions to the personal, health, education, social care, community and economic challenges that lie ahead in the period of recovery.   

This rapid evidence report report led by Prof Cath Larkins, University of Central Lancashire, contains findings from a survey conducted (in one week, April 2020) with 95 professionals contacted through children’s participation and rights networks in 20 countries, including their reports of children’s perspectives. This evidence, from across Europe, illustrates:  

 

  • Difficult conditions experienced by children in all countries, related to health, communication barriers, information shortages and digital reliance. Plus, additional challenges in many countries, related to accessing education, basic essentials, care and safety, mental health and well-being, involvement in decision making; and arising from exposure to violence, changes in family life, falling family and personal income and employment, inaccessible services and ongoing discrimination.
  • Additional exposure to these challenges faced by children in alternative care, care leavers, young Roma, migrant children, children with experience of vulnerable family situations, poverty and disabilities.
  • Response measures at national, local and organisational levels, introduced to try to address these challenges and mitigate risks, showing the value of and need for children’s participation, identifying experiences, concerns and solutions, including with children in vulnerable situations. 

The report features details of the participatory activities and a list of recommendations on how to improve participatory practice to help shape responses to COVID-19 while protecting children’s rights. 

Read the full publication here.

Eurochild was involved in disseminating the survey through its network and will aim to make use of the findings in its work.

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news-2203 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild calls for attention to Roma children during COVID-19 pandemic http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-calls-for-attention-to-roma-children-during-covid-19-pandemic/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=eed0b9289d22fd3832ed91a57e3fbb54 In this joint statement we call for urgent response to the vulnerable position of Roma communities in light of COVID-19 Eurochild has joined as signatory on the Roma Education Fund statement calling on EU leaders to protect vulnerable Roma communities in times of COVID-19.

Emergency measures in many European countries are limiting children’s rights in Roma communities – most Roma children and their families have no access to Internet, computers and in some cases, live in absence of electricity.

Read the full statement here.

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news-2202 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild’s CarePath project – trauma-informed care for Europe’s children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochilds-carepath-project-trauma-informed-care-for-europes-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=3fb003a3dbcbfa20ce18088cfb5509cb Capacity building for European professionals working with children who have experienced trauma

Eurochild is a key partner in the CarePath project, which advocates for more trauma-informed care to support children leaving care in Europe. With the ongoing pandemic resulting in heightened risk for children in vulnerable circumstances, the need for children to receive adapted and effective care is as strong as ever. To support this essential work, CarePath has developed an online training for professionals working with children in care. This online training is free to access and was originally open until May when the project was due to end. 

We are pleased to announce that our free online training on trauma-informed care is now available until September 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The course is available in 5 languages – English, French, Greek, Hungarian and Italian. 


Sign up for the free online training on trauma-informed care here or contact Ciaran from the Secretariat for any additional questions.

Additional updates related to the CarePath project:

  • Our final conference in Brussels will be rescheduled to Autumn.
  • The CarePath project’s second newsletter was recently released – read it here online. 
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news-2200 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Meet Eurochild’s new Director of Programmes http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/meet-eurochilds-new-director-of-programmes/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=9a58d5c58beb91e3b658dc1d9b8f1fa4 Valeria Santostefano joins the Eurochild secretariat

Valeria Santostefano started as the new Director of Programmes at Eurochild this week. She will be responsible for overseeing our programmatic work, including activities linked to the funded partnerships on early childhood development and children in alternative care. Valeria will support Eurochild in developing relationships with funding partners and will facilitate generating project ideas to further strengthen the network and our work to achieve our strategic goals.

Valeria has a long-lasting professional experience in support of human rights, equality and on LGBTI issues in the European region. She has a specific expertise in project cycle management, re-granting programmes and organisational development processes. She has consistently piloted new areas of work in organisations she has engaged with. 

Over the years she spent at ILGA-Europe, Valeria has provided strategic advises to NGOs facing crisis, threats or opportunities and has developed capacity building and peer learning programmes for the LGBTI movement across Europe. In this context, she has largely focused on strategic communications, community organising and intersectionality in human rights work. 

She loves being in nature, listens to all kind of music and finds strength in meditation. 

You can reach out to her here!

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news-2196 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Joint statement on protecting children and their families during and after the COVID19 crisis http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/joint-statement-on-protecting-children-and-their-families-during-and-after-the-covid19-crisis/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=6bfe6fb37dc97a442c8760de7344c8d0 As partner of the EU Alliance in Investing in Children, Eurochild joins as signatory on statement calling for EU Member States and European Commission to support children and families at risk of poverty As COVID-19 continues to spread across Europe, it is bringing havoc and devastation to people’s lives, exposing weaknesses of European healthcare systems, and intensifying social inequalities. Although children are considered as a low-risk group, they will be hit hard by this public health crisis. The widening of already existing inequalities means that those who need most support – such as access to adequate healthcare and education – are not receiving it and will struggle most to deal with the catastrophic economic consequences of the pandemic.

Along with our 20 partners in the EU Alliance for Investing in Children, Eurochild is calling for measures to support children and families in the short and long term.

Find the full statement on protecting children and their families during and after the COVID-19 crisis here

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news-2181 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Ranya's appeal for children in Slovenia http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/ranyas-appeal-for-children-in-slovenia/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=16dd9744b779db8dc4d3128b7505397a Listen to our Eurochild Children's Council member Ranya send a message on COVID-19 in Slovenia

Ranya, a member of Eurochild Children's Council has sent a video message to children and adults, governments and local authorities in her country, Slovenia to support children from socially disadvantaged families.

Hi Slovenia,

I'm Ranya, I'm 12 years old and I come from Kranj.

We are all at home these days and distance learning is taking place. Children from socially disadvantaged families are also at home. Many of them receive free meals at school, both, snack and warm lunch, and for many children this is the only daily warm meal.

However, now there are no lessons at school and that means also no daily warm meals at school. Will parents be able to provide these children with adequate nutrition?

I believe that in certain places, people have already organized themselves and help such families. I warmly welcome this and I can only say: Keep it on!

I appeal on municipalities and their mayors not to forget about socially disadvantaged families at this time. I urge you to contact schools that know which children are those that need help. Municipalities, you can prepare food packages or vouchers for such families, and arrange with the schools to provide you a space where parents could pick up these help. 

Funds for this assistance may come from the municipality, but the municipality may also organize an account where donations would be collected. In that way everyone can help. And NGOs, you can help too. 

It is important, however, that in these days we don’t forget about these children and that we do something. At the local level and at the level of Slovenia. 

As you already know: Together we are strong and we will overcome also the current crisis.

And the last, I wish you to stay healthy, to stay at home and thus help to overcome the spread of this bad (infamous, horrible) virus!

Watch her share her message from the couch in Slovenian

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news-2177 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Protecting children now and in the future - Eurochild public statement on COVID-19 http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/protecting-children-now-and-in-the-future-eurochild-public-statement-on-covid-19/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=cfd21c006fcfba57500176e99972637f Children infected by COVID-19 are likely to only have mild symptoms. Nonetheless this crisis is having, and will continue to have, an enormous impact on their lives. The challenges of staying home are compounded for children living in poor housing, and for those for whom school lunches were the only hot meal a day.  Many families will struggle to provide a home learning environment. We are also particularly concerned for children in the child protection system and how COVID-19 impacts vital social care and family support services.

As Eurochild adjusts to this new reality, we asked members to keep us updated on how the pandemic and the resulting government responses are impacting children, how civil society is responding, and what policies might help protect children’s rights in the immediate, short and longer term. It is work in progress, as we try to track the rapidly changing situation across Europe, but we can already detect some key areas of concern.

With schools closing across Europe, their capacity to support children’s on-going learning at home varies enormously both within and between countries. We will, unfortunately, see existing inequity in our education systems exacerbated by the crisis. Some schools offer excellent on-line learning, and families will adapt their schedules to support their children. Some families don’t even have internet access. The crisis is likely to lay bare deep cracks in our public education system, where quality has become increasingly dependent on parents’ agency.

We know the importance of a child’s first months and years in determining their later emotional, physical and cognitive development. Kindergartens, family centres, health visitors can all provide a lifeline for families with very young children. Again it will be those most in need who are less able to cope without access to such services. We will be stepping up our efforts to ensure early childhood development remains a priority for governments throughout Europe. Effective public investment during this critical period is key to breaking cycles of disadvantage. We cannot afford to lose sight of this as we eventually transition from crisis response to envisioning a future post COVID-19.

Children in alternative care are a cohort that are particularly vulnerable at this time. These children rely on care professionals and social workers for their well-being.  Whilst, understandably, health workers are in the spotlight during this crisis, we must not forget caregivers or social workers providing this essential service, sometimes putting their own health or that of their families at risk.

The crisis and its aftermath will put extra strain on child protection systems, which, in many countries across Europe, are still in desperate need of reform. The risks of domestic violence may increase as the period of confinement drags on. Helplines and online counselling are essential. But beyond the immediate crisis, well-designed and comprehensive family support can help reduce risks of child neglect and abuse. It will be important to accelerate efforts to end institutional care. Children in public care need individualised care and support, which is best provided in families. 

Meanwhile, as COVID-19 monopolises the media and infiltrates every aspect of our daily lives, the migration and refugee crisis does not go away. We are supporting calls to urgently evacuate refugee camps on the Greek islands, where appalling overcrowding coupled with the COVID-19 could provoke a humanitarian disaster.

If there is anything this crisis can teach us, it is our shared vulnerability.  We draw hope from the surge in solidarity in our communities. Many of our members are involved in organising delivery of food and hygiene equipment to families in need, creating resources to help adults stuck at home with young children, or advising governments on how emergency measures impact families and children.

At the level of the European Union, we’re witnessing the critical importance of coordination and cooperation among Member States’ public health responses. As we emerge from this crisis and take stock of its far-reaching social and economic consequences, we believe the EU’s role in building a fair and sustainable recovery will be more important than ever.  That’s why we will continue to push for a European Child Guarantee – an initiative that can help guide and support Member States to ensure all children grow up with equal chances.

We also take inspiration from the few global leaders that took the initiative to communicate directly with children and young people as part of their crisis response (Jacinda Ardern – New Zealand, Nicola Sturgeon - Scotland, Erna Solberg - Norway).  Children are not just ‘adults in the making’, they are fully-fledged citizens now. If we treat them as such by sharing information, encouraging their opinions and involving them in decisions, we will be much more resilient as a society in the future.  We draw enormous strength from involving children directly in our activities.

As a pan-European umbrella network, Eurochild intends to play its part in shaping the Europe that emerges from this devastating pandemic. There will be many lessons to be drawn about how our social, education and health care systems respond to the needs of the most vulnerable in society.  We will use this time wisely to reflect, to exchange and to learn from one another, drawing strength from our members’ vast experience, knowledge and shared commitment to realise children’s rights.

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news-2172 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Meet Cruccu and Valtolina, two candidate members from Italy http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/meet-cruccu-and-valtolina-two-candidate-members-from-italy/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=308bd9b7ade582a985cb1f4d490a22b2 The two individual members from Italy will have to be approved at the 2020 General Assembly Fabio Cruccu - Individual

Fabio Cruccu is a Sardinia based, experienced Child Protection and Children’s Rights Expert with legal background. Besides having extensive experience in raising awareness on children’s rights, Fabio is the founder of the cultural association F4CR network (Fight for Children's Rights). F4CR is active in the promotion of children's and adolescent rights organising seminars, conferences, activities in collaboration with the 'juvenile penal institution, with the regional guarantor for children and in active citizenship projects involving other associations. Fabio is working with children also directly and served as the contact person for Refugees Welcome Italy (RWI) to manage activities and volunteering of the organisation. His first collection of short-stories for children has been published in 2018, which is a great tool in human rights education at schools.

Giovanni Giulio Valtolina - Individual

Giovanni Giulio Valtolina is an Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology at the School of Political Sciences of the Catholic University Milan. Giovanni is also the Head of the Child and Family Department at the ISMU Foundation since 2000. The foundation is devoted to promoting studies, initiatives and interventions on the various aspects presented by a multi-ethnic society. Additionally, he was an honorary judge at the Juvenile Court in Milan from 2011 to 2016. Giovanni’s main research interest is focusing on the acculturation processes of migrant children and families.


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news-2169 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Is The Irish Government keeping its promises to children? http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/is-the-irish-government-keeping-its-promises-to-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=a00474b7ad3e66d6fb9b573b12cc35f0 Eurochild Irish member Children’s Rights Alliance releases its Report Card 2020 This Report Card is the 12th and the final under “A Programme for a Partnership Government” in which an independent panel of experts graded the Irish Government’s performance. The Government is awarded an overall ‘C+’ grade for living up to its promises to children, an increase on last year’s ‘C’.

The highest individual grade in Report Card 2020 is a ‘B+’ which was awarded to ‘Physical Health'.
The lowest grade was awarded to ‘Child and Family Homelessness’, which received an F for the second year in a row. Two sections received a ‘D’ grade, which indicates barely acceptable performance, with little or no positive impact on children: ‘Traveller and Roma Children’ and ‘Mental Health’.

“The next Programme for Government will need to work even harder to ensure that every child can reach their full potential and that families are supported through the significant social crises we are now living in like health, homelessness, climate change and the economic uncertainty of Brexit.” - Tanya Ward, Chief Executive, Children’s Rights Alliance

Read the full report

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news-2166 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Launch of the State of Children's Right Report Scotland http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/launch-of-the-state-of-childrens-right-report-scotland/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=854618245695cfa488040241871a65b2 In Edinburgh, Scotland, Eurochild member Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights) launched their annual report the State of Children’s Rights in Scotland. At the same event, the Observatory for Children’s Human Rights Scotland - a collaborative of Scottish organisations working to drive implementation of children’s human rights in Scotland, with local impact and global learning – was launched.

Achievements were celebrated and solid plans for progress made at the double launch of Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights) State of Children’s Rights in Scotland report and the Observatory for Children’s Human Rights Scotland

Scotland has, for many years, been exemplary for both political and non-governmental commitment to the implementation of children’s rights. Scotland has not only a Minister for Children and Young People (Scottish National Party MSP Maree Todd), but a Children and Young People’s Commissioner: Bruce Adamson. These roles, created to ensure children have a voice in political decision-making, show a government-level commitment to children’s rights in Scotland. 2019 proved no different: The Scottish government has committed to fully and directly incorporate the UNCRC and Optional Protocols into Scottish law by early 2021. This ground-breaking measure highlights the positive attitude of the Scottish government towards human rights as a whole. Before Together could even publish their recommendation for free public transport for children, the Scottish Government announced a scheme for free bus travel for under 19s. 

However, Director of Together Juliet Harris noted that caution must be taken to ensure real change happens for children in Scotland. ‘Whilst there have been many legislative and policy developments – and high-level political commitments,’ she noted, ‘these have not always translated into real change in children and young people’s experience of their rights.’ In particular, child poverty remained a key issue that Together called on the Scottish government to tackle as a priority, with Juliet Harris noting that ‘the fact this is happening in Scotland today just isn’t good enough’. The potential loss of EU funding through Brexit added to these concerns. 

Yet, commitments to ensure real change for the situation of children in Scotland are occurring. Speaker Maree Todd, Member of the Scottish Parliament and Minister for Children and Young People, celebrated the implementation of the UNCRC in Scottish law, as well as ‘our commitment to eradicate child poverty in Scotland, outlining concrete actions to make progress. Our plan to give £10 a week to families (the Scottish Child Payment) in most need will lift 30,000 children out of poverty. That is outstanding.’

Children participating in the event were proud of the notable achievements Scotland has made. Child participation was a particular highlight: Jack, 16, a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament, noted that the SYP not only allows children to directly participate at a decision-making level, but is run by children, for children. ‘‘The SYP is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people. We are youth led, including our Board of Trustees. No other youth organisation exists like this across the UK, and possibly Europe.’ Emily and Arden, 11, from the Children’s Parliament, added that ‘the Children’s Parliament has given me the opportunity to actually understand my own rights, instead of just reading about them in class.’ 

Following the launch of the State of Children’s Rights in Scotland report, Eurochild asked the speakers about Brexit, political representation for children, and child poverty. The opportunity to talk to high-level politicians and decision-makers directly showed Scotland’s commitment to children’s rights as a whole. Brexit was a concern for all: Maree Todd, MSP, noted that it is why ‘we are choosing to incorporate the UNCRC at this time.’ Juliet Harris, Director of Together, noted that a ‘real push is required to make sure Brexit doesn’t affect us.’ Additionally, child poverty is one of the issues that Maree Todd states ‘causes the most concern’. ‘We have action plans in place,’ she noted, ‘by 2022, 30,000 children will be lifted out of poverty by the Scottish Child Payment.’ Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner, stated that ‘poverty is a political choice. Poverty is one of the biggest human rights issues facing children in Scotland. We need a rights-based approach to budgeting.’ 

However, Scotland’s exemplary political representation for children provides a concrete way for these issues to be tackled. Bruce Adamson sees his role as Commissioner as necessary: ‘it’s incumbent upon those in power to address the views of children and ensure full participation in decision-making.’ Maree Todd is confident in her current government’s ability to ‘future-proof’ policy and legislation for children: ‘In Scotland, children and young people are at the heart of our government. This may not always be the case: this is why legislation is so important.’ 

Read the full State of Children’s Rights Scotland report here (and a child-friendly version here). 

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news-2162 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Prioritise Deinstitutionalisation 2021-27: Briefing for Members http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/prioritise-deinstitutionalisation-2021-27-briefing-for-members/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=ef485a95fe9f52ad176b9776285ee643 This memo aims to provide members with more and targeted information on how to influence the programming of post-2020 programming period.

The Operational Programmes are the main tools how the European Structural and Investment Funds are implemented in Member States. Although the new Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027 has not been adopted yet, the programming has been running in parallel. The next months constitute a unique opportunity to influence the shape of the Operational Programmes for next seven years! In many cases the EU funds are conditional on national co-financing (varies by category of region). National strategies and action plans should be developed too. 

Read the full briefing here

More information on the upcoming webinar, including how to register your availablity, is available here

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news-2161 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Success at the Closing Conference on Child Guarantee http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/success-at-the-closing-conference-on-child-guarantee/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=d9d44c7ac02a338ec5442672ad9e7eef The Closing Conference on the first phase of the feasibility study for a Child Guarantee revealed a number of successes, in a positive sign of commitment to children's rights on a European level.

On 17 February the European Commission held the closing conference on the first phase of the feasibility study for a Child Guarantee.

The event attracted a broad audience - national policy makers, EU officials, Members of Parliament, civil society representatives, academics, practitioners. Eurochild’s delegation included member organisations from six countries: 

  • Mária Herczog, Family, Child, Youth Association Hungary - Hungary
  • Ricardo Ibarra, Plataforma de la Infancia – Spain
  • Mary Nicholson, Children’s Rights Alliance Ireland – Ireland
  • Nina Ohlmeier, German Children’s Fund – Germany
  • George Bogdanov, National Network for Children – Bulgaria
  • Hanna Heinonen, Central Union for Child Welfare, Finland

The event was opened by European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit who said “In all EU Member States there are children living in poverty, including in the richer countries, some of them even experienced increases recently. This is unacceptable. My mandate which is also all ours based on the Pillar of Social Rights is to guarantee children the right to protection from poverty.”

Success! Commission agrees to draft a Council Recommendation to push for national support

The European Commission confirmed at the event that it will propose a governance framework on the Child Guarantee, in the form of a Council Recommendation. This will correspond to the implementation of the Pillar of Social Rights. It will also secure more national level engagement than a Commission Recommendation, and have a strong monitoring and follow-up, targets and indicators. This commitment reflects the calls made by Eurochild together with the EU Alliance for Investing in Children. The European Commission will make its proposal before the second phase of the feasibility study is completed.

Jana Hainsworth, Eurochild Secretary General, spoke in the panel of civil society representatives on behalf of the EU Alliance for Investing in Children, and announced the launch of the statement calling for the Child Guarantee Council Recommendation to be launched as soon as possible in 2020 to keep the timeline of EU budget negotiations. The Commissioner addressed this call with a plea for time and capacity to take learnings from the first phase and the suggestion to link the Child Guarantee to a broader poverty strategy. 

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news-2160 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 'Friends of Cohesion' http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/friends-of-cohesion/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=1c24d6dc394fed75a33aa94d8fd80b52 15 EU Member States call for a sufficient level of financing to Cohesion Policy in the next MFF. On 2nd February 2020, a group of 15 EU member states called ‘Friends of Cohesion’ gathered in Portugal to discuss about the next EU's long-term budget, i.e. the so-called Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). This group of countries includes Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. The aim of the event was to ensure that the next MFF provides a sufficient level of financing to Cohesion Policy, defined by the participants as a crucial instrument ‘in the context of important challenges such as climate change, demographic trends, innovation, job creation and sustainable growth’. (Joint Declaration) These countries also emphasised that ‘any cuts in the investment capacity of this fund would be unacceptable, acknowledging that existing disparities in the level of development among regions and member states are still substantial and that the impact of the crisis is still present’. (Joint Declaration)

It is crucial to underline that social inclusion is one of the eleven priorities for Cohesion Policy in 2014-2020. In particular, the Cohesion Policy supports the social inclusion of people with disabilities, younger and older workers, migrants and ethnic minorities, people who live in deprived areas and women in the labour market. (Commission) Moreover, Cohesion Policy is strongly committed to address the issue of child poverty, inclusive growth and the fight against social exclusion. (European Parliament Research Service) In doing so, it supports the Europe 2020 Strategy, which aims to lift at least 20 million people out of the risk of poverty. (Commission

On the other side, another group of countries called ‘frugal states’ is demanding to the EU to do more with less limiting its overall spending. This group is led by the Netherlands and includes Austria, Denmark and Sweden. This latter faction is less vocal of the first but better positioned; they are all rich countries – both financially and politically – who can afford to take time to advocate for their goal. (POLITICO)

The Joint Declaration: 

The ‘Friends of cohesion’ gathering took place in order to influence the ongoing negotiations on the MFF. In order to do so, they issued a Joint Declaration that states:

  • Since the core objectives of Cohesion Policy are still valid, ‘the funding for Cohesion Policy for the 2021-2027 period should maintain the level of the 2014-2020 MFF in real terms. No Member State should suffer a sharp and disproportional decrease of its Cohesion allocation’ (Joint Declaration)
  • The co-financing must be kept at current rates and pre-financing must be maintained at sufficiently high-levels (Joint Declaration)
  • It is necessary to guarantee ‘increased flexibility, namely on thematic concentration at regional and national level’ and that the creation of new necessary instruments, such as the Just Transition Fund, should not be made ‘at the expense of Cohesion Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy’  (Joint Declaration)
  • The EU institutions must reach an ambitious, balanced and fair agreement, on the MFF ensuring the timely start of the next generation program. (Joint Declaration)

Interestingly, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, whose country is currently holding the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, attended the session but did not sign up to declaration. The same can be said for the Italian Minister of European Affairs Vincenzo Amendola.

With regard to children’s rights, Pedro Sanchez (President of the Spanish Government) pointed out the necessity to establish a European Child Guarantee (La Moncloa – Spain News) echoing what stated in his own speech at the European Parliament in January 2019 (European Parliament). Moreover, after having highlighted the essential role played by Cohesion Policy in the survival of the rural world, Sanchez declared that Cohesion Policy must also support an effective application of the European Pillar of Social Rights. 

On the other hand, it is crucial to underline that the Joint Declaration is in stark contrast with the existing budget proposals. In May 2018, the European Commission proposed to cut cohesion funding by 10% in 2021-2027 compared to the 2014-2020 period. In particular, under the European Commission’s proposal France, Croatia, Portugal, Slovenia, Ireland, Latvia Germany, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic would receive less cohesion funding, while Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, Finland, Spain and Cyprus would gain more funding. In December 2019, the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU proposed an even bigger reduction of 12% (POLITICO). On 14 February 2020, Charles Michel has finally unveiled his proposal for the next MFF. The Council blueprint was quickly met with stark criticism; it bears important similarities with the Finnish Presidency Proposal and includes a significant reduction of the budget. (POLITICO) In particular, it proposes a total budget of EUR 1 094 827 million (-15,36% compared to the Commission’s proposal and -19,80% compared to the Parliament’s one) and allocates EUR 313 181 million to Cohesion and Values funds (-17,55% compared to the Commission’s proposal and -29,36% compared to the Parliament’s one).  

What now: 

Today (20 February 2020) the EU leaders will meet in Brussels to try to hammer out the new MFF. In doing so, they will base their negotiations on the 14 February Council Proposal. Given that any further delay might jeopardise both current and new programmes and policies, EU leaders will have to negotiate and reach difficult compromises over this delicate issue. If reached, the agreement will have to be finally ratified by the European Parliament. These negotiations will thus determine to what extent EU Cohesion Fund will help EU’s traditionally poorer southern and eastern areas to raise their economic and social standards to the higher western levels. 

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news-2159 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Meet Fanni! http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/meet-fanni/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=8f17b00fddc3c2acb3d75f9a0308354b Meet Fanni, our new Membership and Network Development Officer.

Fanni started as the new Membership and Network Development Officer at Eurochild on Monday. She will be responsible for communicating, networking and organizing events with all Eurochild members. She will also be in charge of membership engagement, administration and recruitment. In addition she will support our work with the National Partner Networks.

Fanni has a background in law and human rights. In recent years, she has been working with different NGOs, IOs and EU institutions in the area of the rights of the child in Europe and beyond. Besides that, she is passionate about working with children, she has several years of experience teaching literature, children’s rights and holding human rights workshops for them. Originally she is from Hungary but in the last years, she lived in Finland, Cyprus, Austria, Cambodia and in the USA. Besides being a globetrotter, she likes to spend her free time outdoors with her friends or to go to theaters and art exhibitions. Please feel free to contact her on her email address: fanni.matyok(at)eurochild(dot)org.

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news-2157 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 New legal framework aims to boost foster care development in Portugal http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/new-legal-framework-aims-to-boost-foster-care-development-in-portugal/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=bbecc8261015b868c1c582be911eb4fd The key recommendations and discussions from the 4th International Congress on Childhood and Adolescence in Lisbon, Portugal.

On 23-25 January 2020, the 4th edition of the International Congress on Childhood and Adolescence was held in Lisbon, Portugal. Eurochild member Sérgio Costa Araújo facilitated a panel at the event on deinstitutionalization, and how Portugal’s new legal framework – introduced at the end of 2019 – aims to give a boost to foster care families. 

The panel aimed to discuss the historical momentum behind Portugal’s new regime for implementing family care, as well as provide international expert perspectives on the new legal framework. Sérgio Costa Araújo began the panel with a talk entitled ‘Deinstitutionalisation: comments on the new regime for implementing family care in Portugal – an international perspective’. He highlighted the successes of the Opening Doors final report, and called on the need for the Portuguese government to make use of the coming European Union Budget (the MFF). Sérgio highlighted the need for the Portuguese government to commit to the new decree law they have introduced (number 139/2019), which establishes community-based care as preferential to the placement of children in residential/institutional settings. 

Researcher Ana Santos first explained Portugal’s failings towards the transition from institutional to family-based care in the period 2006-2017, explaining that there are presently only 177 foster families in the North of Portugal. In the Lisbon district, Portugal’s capital, there are none. The reason why the number of foster families dropped from 4,069 in 2006 to 177 in 2017 was a lack of political will to prioritize family-based care. Instead residential placements received the support as well as funding. She called on the expansion of the foster care system as an essential step in ensuring that Portugal’s new legal framework can be implemented. 

A graph showing the number of foster families in Portugal from 2006-2017

Véronique Lerch, an independent human rights consultant, presented a speech on ‘New foster care legislation in Portugal through the lenses of international human rights law’. She emphasized that while the new legal framework is a step in the right direction, an implementation plan and outcomes framework must be created. The plan must be written with the consideration of the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, and stressed the importance of adequate financing of community forms of care, the involvement of children and young people in all decisions concerning them, as well as their participation in the reforms themselves. 

Vânia Pinto, a researcher from Oxford University, presented her findings on the challenges of being a foster carer, and how these barriers may hinder potential foster carers from joining the system. She questioned whether the system adequately explains the worries of potential carers, including: 

  • If Portugal provides enough financial support for foster carers;
  • The re-integration of the fostered child into the family of origin, 
  • Whether the fostered child will have a sense of belonging and normality in their lives, 
  • The continuation of contact at the end of the placement, 
  • And how to adequately respect and promote the competences of children in the placement. 

Learn more about the situation of children in Portugal in Eurochild’s annual report on the European Semester ‘New opportunities for investing in children’.  

The 5th International Congress on Childhood and Adolescence will be held on January 27-29 2021 in Porto, Portugal. Find out more here

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news-2155 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Tragic Care Home Incident Highlights Need for Community Based Care http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/tragic-care-home-incident-highlights-need-for-community-based-care/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=4c4d733bbc4b974cd7f67d2115e3bd31 The European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care, of which Eurochild is a member of, have released a statement on the tragic incident in Czechia which claimed the lives of eight people and injured another thirty.

The European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care (EEG) has been shaken by the news of a devastating fire in a care home for persons with disabilities in Vejprty in the Czech republic, which has claimed the lives of eight people and injured another thirty.

We express our sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims.

We wish the survivors a swift recovery and hope that they are able to overcome this traumatic experience. 

Just two weeks ago the Czech Ombudsman, Anna Šabatová, called on the Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs to support independent living of people with intellectual disabilities after her visit to 9 institutions. 

The evidence including EEG report  has shown that institutions are harmful for both children and adults and illustrates the urgencies to move people out of institutions into family-and community-based care. 

EU leadership is critically important for ensuring this transition. It is vital the EU invest in measures that help Member States to change their care policies, procedures and practices to launch or speed up reforms. At a national level, the focus must be on changing the social protection and welfare systems and creating incentives so that good practices become the norm, not the exception. Reforms must put individuals’ needs at the centre, strengthening social connections, and ensuring those receiving support are fully included and integrated in society.

We call on the EU to ensure that:

  • EU funds are not spent on institutions;
  • EU resources improve the availability and the quality of family- and community-based support whilst also ensuring that the services can be sustained through domestic resources once EU funding ends;
  • EU funding supports reforms that are designed and implemented with the direct involvement of those concerned and effectively monitors spending;
  • Reforms go hand-in-hand with investment in accessible housing with quality public services which include early child education and care, education, employment, leisure and cultural activities.
  • Ending institutionalisation is not only a human rights obligation. For those locked behind the walls of institutions it means having choice; it means life. 

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The European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care (EEG) is a broad coalition gathering stakeholders representing people with care or support needs and their families, including children, people with disabilities, homeless people, and people experiencing mental health problems; as well as service providers, public authorities and UN organisations. The Group has as its mission the promotion of person-centred, quality and empowering models of services and formal and informal care that fully respect the human rights of all people with care or support needs. The Group supports national efforts to implement the necessary reforms, in compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (in particular with Article 19), the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. 

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news-2153 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Why the Child Guarantee Council Recommendation is best launched in 2020 http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/why-the-child-guarantee-council-recommendation-is-best-launched-in-2020/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=19f2d1bb259ea1d84fb6b82381a431a7 The EU Alliance for Investing in Children has released a statement calling on the EU to eradicate child poverty with the help of the Child Guarantee.

Today, 23 million children grow up at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU. At particularly higher risk of social exclusion, are children in vulnerable situations and disadvantaged groups such as Roma children, children in migration, children with disabilities, children living in institutional care, and children of single-parent or large families. This is unacceptably high for one of the most prosperous regions in the world.  

The EU has committed to supporting the eradication of child poverty by developing a Child Guarantee that ensures children in the most vulnerable situations have access to key social rights.  

The EU Alliance for Investing in Children welcomes the EU’s prioritisation for the Child Guarantee and is calling on the EU to ensure that the Child Guarantee Council Recommendation is launched in 2020. This will ensure actions are in line with the next EU long-term budget and the programming of these financial resources by the EU Member States.

Read the full statement, including specific recommendations, here.  

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news-2152 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Investing in Children in Italy http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/investing-in-children-in-italy/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=442a1d3200aed34d0a78540ecd180f87 Key messages from the 29 January 2020 high-level conference organised by the Alliance for Investing in Children Italia.

On 29th January 2020, Eurochild was invited to take part in a high-level Conference organised in Rome by the Alliance for investing in Children Italia. The aim of the event was twofold. On one hand, the conference wanted to celebrate the first year of activities of the Italian Alliance, which fully mirror the mission, goals and structure of the EU Alliance for investing in Children (of which Eurochild is one of the founding members). On the other hand, the conference provided an important platform of dialogue to crucial local, national and international actors. Eurochild was invited to take part in the first panel together with Ms Elena Bonetti (Italian Minister for Equal Opportunities and Family), Mr Brando Benifei, (Member of the European Parliament and Rapporteur for the European Social Fund Plus) and Mr Ivano Abruzzi (president of Albero della Vita – Eurochild member - and spokesperson of the Italian Alliance). 

Child Poverty in Italy: 

In the last few years, the issue of poverty has gained importance in  Italian political debates. Indeed, the sharp increase in the number of people and families experiencing situations of poverty and social exclusion has compelled Italian institutions, politicians, civil society, and the media to discuss it further. Child poverty in Italy is a growing emergency, with 1.2 million children currently experiencing a situation of poverty or social exclusion. In the last 10 years, child poverty rates have increased from 3.9% to 12.1%. It is crucial to underline that child poverty and social exclusion can have lifelong effects on children’s lives, leading to further poverty in adulthood. Children who grow up in poverty often have fewer opportunities than their peers to access quality education (starting from early childhood education until higher education), and are more likely to experience social exclusion and health problems in the future. They are also less likely to reach their full potential later in life.

Traditionally, the Italian welfare system had been based on the family being seen as the principal responsible of the wellbeing of its members. The role of the State was merely to provide generic public services. Furthermore, the fight against poverty had usually been delegated to local authorities, causing serious disparities among regions. National income support strategies were thus mainly focused on elderly and disabled people. As a result, Italy had to deal with the economic crisis of 2008 without an adequate system of social protection. In 2016 a National Fund Against Poverty (Fondo Nazionale di Contrasto alla Poverta) was finally set up together with a Support of Active Inclusion (Sostegno di Inclusione Attiva): the first national measure focused on families with children under the age of 18 or disabled. This measure was then followed by the first national measure of universal minimum income, the so-called Inclusion Income (Reddito di Inclusione) that was then replaced by the controversial Citizens’ Income (Reddito di Cittadinanza). On one hand, the Citizens’ Income represents a crucial step forward in terms of the amount of fund allocated (around 7 billion euros). On the other hand, it is not envisaged as an instrument to combat poverty, but it is mainly structured as an employment policy instrument. Italy is thus experiencing an extremely delicate political phase that will play a major role in the protection of children’s rights.  

Elena Bonetti – Italian Minister for Equal Opportunities and Family:

Elena Bonetti became the Italian Minister for Equal Opportunities and Family on 5 September 2019. During her speech, the Minister underlined the urgency to tackle child poverty and highlighted a number of issues that perfectly match with Eurochild’s priorities. She stated that: 

o Italy must establish a comprehensive national plan on social services for children 

o The value of children cannot only be linked with the future of our society: children are crucial actors of our present. For this reason, every child has the right to be recognized as such and listened to. The Italian Government must thus establish an intergenerational alliance among children and adults and guarantee ensure child participation in the process

o Italy must act and put an end to child poverty, otherwise it will trigger an irreversible process of impoverishment 

o The Italian Government believes in the universal right of education since the very first year of life and believes that it is a right that the community must ensure. For this reason it wants to invest more in kindergartens (to bolster early childhood development)

o The Italian Government recognizes that there are specific categories of vulnerable children that have special needs and require additional assistance 

Brando Benifei – Member of the European Parliament and Rapporteur for the European Social Fund Plus:

After having underlined the crucial role played by the EU Alliance for Investing in Children at the European level, MEP Brando Benifei warmly welcomed the setting up of the Italian Alliance. He then underlined the necessity to support the Child Guarantee both at national and European level, and stressed the importance that such an instrument plays in the fight against child poverty: it is necessary to compel EU Member States to allocate more fund on this field. He finally concluded his intervention by praising the new positive attitude of the European Commission towards children’s rights, and emphasised that it that mirrors a new political momentum in Europe of which we must take advantage. 

Eurochild Position:

Eurochild participated in the discussion by pointing out the necessary future actions that must be undertaken to deal with child poverty in an efficient and comprehensive way. In doing so, Eurochild echoed the points included in the Call for Action for an Investing in Children Council Recommendation, by calling on the European Union and its Member States to take  responsibility and act now to ensure that no child grows up in poverty in the years to come. In particular, it underlined:

1. The necessity to obtain a new EU Commitment in the form of a Council Recommendation on Investing in Children: the EU needs to update and upgrade its policy framework to guide Member States in their efforts to protect children’s rights by means of an integrated and holistic approach. 

2. The necessity for EU Member States to develop child poverty reduction plans to realise the Investing in Children Council Recommendation. EU Member States should define the universal policy measures they have/aim to put in place; as well as the targeted measures to take to prevent and tackle child poverty at national, regional and local levels. They should ensure that parents have access to quality employment and child/family benefits, that all children have access to free health care, free education, free childcare, decent housing, and adequate nutrition, irrespective of their residence status, and that children should meaningfully participate in the decisions made for their lives. Moreover, these plans should include a list and timeline of actions that are to be supported by national budgets and EU funding instruments, including the Child Guarantee.

3. The necessity for the EU to monitor the implementation of the future Investing in Children Council Recommendation at a national level through the European Semester

4. The necessity for more systematic engagement of civil society at EU and national levels. In particular, Eurochild stressed the pivotal role played by local and civil societies in the fight against poverty and called on the EU to support them to implement projects that will feed into the Investing in Children Council Recommendation.

For more key messages and recommendations, including on child participation, advocacy, and wellbeing, click here. 

To watch highlights of the conference (in Italian), including Eurochild's contribution, click here. 

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news-2151 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Ensuring Children's Rights in the UK's Future Relationship with the EU http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/ensuring-childrens-rights-in-the-uks-future-relationship-with-the-eu/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=6830705d6da3d978194d328f711972ea Eurochild and our UK members reflect on how we can ensure children's rights remain a priority in the UK's Brexit transition.

After almost 4 years of negotiations, the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020. Despite Brexit, our UK members remain central to our efforts to put children at the heart of Europe. We stay united in our common cause for protecting and promoting children’s rights across Europe. 

Concerns have been raised by British civil society organisations, NGOs, and charities in response to the yet-to-be-negotiated deal between the UK and the EU. UNICEF have noted that whilst the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child will continue to apply to the UK, ‘every effort should be made to see that children’s rights aren’t weakened as a result of the UK’s exit from the EU.’ 

Eurochild members in the UK are reminding the government of its commitment to children’s rights as it prepares to negotiate its future relationship with the EU. Children in Wales have emphasized that ‘children and young people were denied an opportunity to take part in the EU Referendum which determined that the UK will withdraw from the European Union, yet will be most affected by the decision to leave.’ In response to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, they have outlined a list of guiding overarching principles for their work, including no roll back on the existing rights of children in both the negotiation process and departure, that children have mechanisms in place for their voices to be heard, that opportunities remain for engagement in the children’s workforce, and that the UK remains fully compliant with the UNCRC throughout the process. 

Scottish Eurochild members Children in Scotland and Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights) have called for young people’s voices to be included in discussions on the UK’s future relationship with Europe, including in negotiations about rights, trade, and EU funding. Over the next six months, the organisations will be sharing children and young people’s views on Brexit from their landmark participation project the Children and Young People’s Panel on Europe.

Amy Woodhouse, Children in Scotland’s Head of Policy, Projects and Participation, said:

“Although the UK leaves Europe today there is still an 11-month transition period, during which the UK Government will try to agree a trade deal. We will be using that time to ensure that those most affected by Brexit in the years to come – and the least involved in the decision to leave the EU – are heard.

“The children and young people we’re working with on the Panel still have an important opportunity to positively influence the shape Brexit takes and how it impacts them in Scotland. They’ve already told us what they think about some of the fundamental issues likely to be covered in the trade talks, and we’re looking forward to hearing more from them in this second phase of the project. “

Juliet Harris, director of Together Scotland, said:

“Children and young people on the Panel are clear that Brexit must not have a negative impact on human protections. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights contains strong protections for children’s human rights and yet it will no longer apply after the UK leaves the EU. “

All of our UK members remain at the heart of our efforts to ensure children’s rights across Europe: we support our UK members as they play an additional, yet vital, role in ensuring that the rights of children are upheld and respected throughout this time of political uncertainty. 

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news-2150 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Welsh Parliament Votes to Ban Corporal Punishment of Children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/welsh-parliament-votes-to-ban-corporal-punishment-of-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=aaf9e1a3a7b1de6571a95901937ea167 The Welsh Parliament has voted to outlaw the corporal punishment of children in Wales.

On 28 January 2020 a landmark vote was held in the Welsh National Assembly, in which Assembly Members voted 36 to 14 to approve the Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Bill. The Welsh Senedd, or Welsh Parliament, is the main decision-making body of Wales, with the power to make legislation, vary taxes, and scrutinize the Welsh Government.  

The new law will come into force in 2022, after extensive awareness campaigns across Wales to ensure parents know and understand the changes under the new law.

Catriona Williams OBE, a founding member and first president of Eurochild (and now retired Chief Executive of Children in Wales) said “The Children Wales Bill is another milestone in implementing children’s human rights in Wales. I’m so proud to be part of an historic moment in Wales.”

First Minister Mark Drakeford, said “I’m proud Wales has taken this step and once again put children’s rights at the heart of what we do here in Wales.”

Professor Sally Holland, Children’s Commissioner for Wales, said: “I’m so pleased, delighted and proud that Wales has joined dozens of other countries around the world to give children the same protection from physical punishment that adults enjoy. It’s never ok to hit a child – congratulations to the Welsh Government and to members of the Senedd who have prioritised children’s rights by passing this legislation.”

The number of countries that have banned corporal punishment has grown significantly since the 1989 adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Committee on the Rights of the Child, the monitoring body of the UNCRC, has emphasised that effective protection of human rights requires the elimination of all corporal punishment and all cruel or degrading treatment of children. As of September 2018, corporal punishment is completely banned (both in the public and at home) in 58 countries, with 25 of these countries in Europe, according to the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children.  

To read more about the initiatives in place in Wales and the new corporal punishment ban, visit Children in Wales here. 

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news-2149 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 A Strong Social Europe Must Target Child Poverty http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/a-strong-social-europe-must-target-child-poverty/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=38d6c87195ae00466d0abe64ebf8bc6e Eurochild calls on the EU to set targets that will half child poverty by 2030.

As the EU looks towards the future with its European Green Deal, Eurochild calls for a long-term strategy that equally sets targets to reduce child poverty, which remains unacceptably high across Europe (over 24% EU average). While the European Green Deal, looks to prioritise tackling the burning of fossil fuels & Europe’s carbon footprint, it does not sufficiently or ambitiously outline how to address the continent’s burning social issues, including child poverty and rising social inequality. In the meantime, the global Sustainable Development Goals are slowly making their way into the EU’s long-term thinking, but it is not clear how fundamental they will be for steering it. Simply put, unless a new Europe 2030 strategy combines its green ambitions with the social, the EU runs the risk of ignoring core issues for the people of Europe in its next long-term strategy, including children.

Children at risk of poverty or social exclusion in Europe – an overview

On 27 January 2020, Eurochild presented to the European Union’s Social Protection and Employment Committees. Alongside other civil society members, Eurochild’s Head of Advocacy Réka Tunyogi presented our reaction to the 2020 Semester Autumn Package and our findings from Eurochild’s 2019 report on the Semester:

Children continue to be at higher risk of poverty or social exclusion than the general population (24.3% vs 21.9%)

Children in vulnerable situations, such as children with a migrant background, from ethnic minorities and children with disabilities, are experiencing persisting inequalities of opportunities

Child poverty is multidimensional, and there is no silver bullet. What we do need are comprehensive national strategies across all Member States for reducing child poverty. They will not only deliver more sustainable results for children but will be essential for putting in place the upcoming EU Child Guarantee, an ambitious initiative that aims to guarantee key services to all children in the EU.

Greater social investment in areas such as inclusive services, including healthcare, early childhood development and education

The transition from institutional to family- and community-based care, and the participation of children in decision-making need to become more prominent in the European Semester process to realise the rights of all children in Europe. 

Recommendations for the EU to put children at the heart of Europe

With these challenges in mind, Eurochild recommends the following to strengthen social policies through the European Semester process:

1. Incorporate the Sustainable Development Goals into EU policy. This should include SDG 1’s target of halving poverty for all populations, children included, by 2030. The European Pillar of Social Rights and Social Scoreboard are the drivers for social EU targets in line with the SDGs. 

2. Improve the social dimension of the next long-term EU growth strategy. Europe 2020 pulled together different dimensions in one long-term strategy with accompanying targets. However, not all targets were prioritised equally. Poverty reduction is falling far short of the 20 million target. The next EU growth strategy, or “Europe 2030” needs to be more ambitious in these targets and hold the EU and Member States accountable on social progress through the Semester.

3. The European Semester should help assess impact of social investment from national and EU budgets. Due to the nature of its regularity, the Semester has the potential to play a monitoring role of the national action plans to address social challenges in the new multi-annual financial framework and the use of EU cohesion policy. 

4. Civil society has a key role to play in this transitional period, and Eurochild welcomes that the EU is improving its engagement with civil society. During the meeting of the Social Protection and Employment Committees, Social Platform, that Eurochild is part of, was invited to listen to the reactions of each EU Member State and social partners to the Autumn Package for the first time.

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news-2146 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Civil Society Reflects on Deinstitutionalisation Progress Over the Past 10 Years http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/civil-society-reflects-on-deinstitutionalisation-progress-over-the-past-10-years/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=c3f8e3451294f8135d6b68c185b55c18 The Opening Doors Pan-European De-institutionalisation campaign came to an end after seven years of dedicated and passionate work.

Last week, Eurochild was involved in organising two important events on deinstitutionalisation in Brussels. The Opening Doors Pan-European De-Institutionalisation Campaign came to an end after 7 years (2013-2019) of dedicated and passionate work, and marked a good occasion to celebrate its achievements. The closing event took place on 15 January in the European Commission. The day  after (16 January), a high-level conference titled Towards Inclusion 2020 marked the 10 years that have passed since the release of the Špidla report (the Report of the Ad-hoc Expert Group on the transition from institutional to community-based care).

Both events provided a summary of what has been achieved regarding the transition from institutional to family- and community-based care across the Member States, what is the current state of play, and what remains to be done. They also brought very powerful testimonies from people who lived in institutions, such as care leavers, people with disabilities, and homeless people. The European Commission was acknowledged as a champion in promoting deinstitutionalisation by the introduction of policies and the allocation of substantial funding. Despite the efforts made, there are still 1 million people living in institutions and between 345,000 - 360,000 children. The work is not finished. As Katarina Ivankovic Knezevic, Director for Social Affairs, DG Employment, European Commission pointed out: ‘we need to continue even if there is one child left in institution’.  

Both events noted a series of recommendations to end institutionalisation permanently. There is a need for a more strategic approach of the use of the EU funds as well as support and development for preventative services. Member States should take more ownership and responsibility in delivering both policies and funding. Marie - Anne Paraskevas, Senior Policy Officer, European Commission said: ‘Progress in deinstitutionalization is uneven across the EU. There is a lack of political commitment in many member states, and this has an impact on the level of sustainability of financing.’

There is also the lack of recent quantitative data on people in institutions including children that is one of the major obstacle towards implementation of national DI strategies. . Most significantly, we need to work together national authorities, EU institutions, civil society and all with lived experience of institutionalisation. 

For more information about the achievements and recommendations of the Opening Doors Campaign read Lessons Learned and Recommendations to Strengthen Families and End Institutionalisation for Children in Europe.

More information about the Towards Inclusion 2020 Conference, including speakers, can be found here.  

Eurochild will continue to prioritise deinstitutionalisation in 2020 by: 

• Mapping data collection systems on child protection across the 27 EU Member States

• Build capacity of civil society to be able to leverage EU policy and funding as well as to promote family based care

• Ensure supportive EU budget 2021-2027 including ESF plus new provision childguarantee recognises children in alternative care

• Continuation of EU – national level advocacy

• Engaging and strengthen care leavers associations and networks in the work 

‘We are committed to continuing that work together in a collaborative way.’ We need powerful advocacy, we need the voices of young children who are in care and have left care, the voices of families who have been separated… these are part of the solution of ending institutional care.’ said Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild. 

The Opening Doors campaign can look back at many achievements. Many campaign countries, such as Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine, are increasingly prioritising child protection and deinstitutionalisation. It is particularly encouraging to observe the number of children living in family-based foster care slowly exceeding the number of children living in institutions.

On a European level, the European Semester Process now analyses deinstitutionalisation in a more comprehensive way. All EU campaign countries country Reports prioritise the transition from institutional to family and community-based care or inclusive education for the 2021-27 programming period. The new EU budget 2021-2027, prioritises the transition from institutional to family-and community-based care, promote social inclusion, and strive to improve policy coherence and protection of children’s rights, especially those at risk or in care.

But the work is not over. Much more needs to be done to ensure that no child grows up in an institution, to prevent separation of children from their families for reasons of poverty, disability or other discriminatory practices, and to build strong child protection systems to ensure children are not harmed. 

Click here to receive updates on Deinstitutionalisation and other policy areas in which we work.

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news-2145 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Bulgarian civil society demands action against hate campaigns http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/bulgarian-civil-society-demands-action-against-hate-campaigns/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=c7982764531b63bf4a19803891bc12e0 In a letter addressed to six EU Commissioners, over 60 Bulgarian civil society organisations call on representatives of EU institutions to call out attack against civil society organisations. They urge the EU institutional leaders to urge the Bulgarian government to protect civic space and act against hate campaigns questioning the need for civil society organisations.

In the latest of a series of aggressive attacks conducted by informal movements on social media, the Social Services Act is being tarnished to prevent it from entering into force. The progressive law, developed after almost 10 years of discussions, services, including reforms for deinstitutionalisation, provided by organisations that receive support from the EEA Financial Mechanism. 

False claims have been published across social media to bring the law into disrepute and thereby, target the civil society organisations providing much needed services. The false claims used include suggestions that CSOs advocate on behalf of foreign interests; that CSOs will destruct Bulgarian families and take away children. This is far from the ambitions of organisations working to end use of institutions and to prevent children being separated from families. 

The attack campaigns also have a clear anti-EU feature, as they target provisions in the Social Service Act which allow EU-based providers to deliver services in Bulgaria. 

Similar attacks in the past two years have seen the Bulgarian government refusing to support the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence; freezing the adoption of the National Child Strategy and denying access to schools for CSOs implementing school-related projects. 

The letter, dated 15 January 2020, was signed by a range of Bulgarian civil society organisations, including children’s rights organisations like National Network for Children (a national partner network of Eurochild), SOS Children’s Villages Bulgaria Association, Hope and Homes for Children Bulgaria and Lumos, among others. 

Eurochild supports this letter and urges action from EU institutions and the Bulgarian government to discuss concerns of the civil society, protect civic space and reaffirm core EU values. 

Read the full letter here

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news-2143 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 We Are Here: A Child Participation Toolbox http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/we-are-here-a-child-participation-toolbox/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=9fe8d57e94a9f06d619ae550f58b2345 Eurochild strives to put children’s voices at the heart of decision making and wants to help give others the tools to do the same. Our latest publication, co-produced in collaboration with our member the Learning for Well-being Foundation, ’We Are Here. A Child Participation Toolbox’, offers a practical set of tools to implement meaningful children’s participation and encourage collaboration between generations.

The Toolbox builds on a children’s rights perspective to provide the tools needed to implement meaningful child participation in a variety of settings and to prepare children to play leading roles in participatory events. It builds on an understanding that participation can come in many forms, and through a variety of engaging activities helps prepare children for these different situations. Uniquely, this Toolbox also offers tools to help find meaningful ways for children and adults to work together. 

So how does it work? Throughout the 6 modules, the user is guided on how to run sessions with children and adults on topics including participation, representation, facilitation and evaluation, whilst also giving explanations of different aspects of child participation. Activities in the Toolbox use a creative approach to help answer questions children might ask themselves as they prepare to play a role in a project and explain the important conditions for children to participate meaningfully and safely. It is by no means designed to be a rigid set of instructions but rather a flexible and practical set of tools, aimed at guiding, inspiring and encouraging the user to implement meaningful child participation in a way that is tailored to them, their needs and their context. We hope users will take the Toolbox and use their unique perspective, experience and creativity to make it their own.  

We have big plans for the Toolbox and hope that it will contribute towards building a culture of child participation across Europe as well as greater understanding and collaboration between generations. To do that we hope to encourage as many people and organisations to use the Toolbox as possible, and we will also be collaborating with Learning for Well-being Foundation and the Act2Gether initiative to hold training sessions across Europe to build up a pool of ‘master trainers’ who can help guide adults and children amongst our membership and beyond on child participation practices. 

We Are Here: A Child Participation Toolbox is for anyone and everyone looking to implement and strengthen child participation in their contexts. NGOs and civil society organisations working with and for children as well as national and European public institutions that plan to consult with children or to co-create projects are especially encouraged to use the Toolbox. It is for children and adults alike. We also hope that it will become a valuable resource for our members, as well as anyone else who would like to build their capacity to ensure children are directly and meaningfully involved in their work. 

If you are interested in using the Toolbox or you have specific questions about it please do not hesitate to get in contact with alice.hagger-vaughan(at)eurochild(dot)org or mieke.schuurman(at)eurochild(dot)org.

Download the toolbox here

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news-2142 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild echoes call for greater participation of adolescent girls http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-echoes-call-for-greater-participation-of-adolescent-girls/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=9e070bafd9fae2f294d32a94e3f54832 On the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, Eurochild signs a joint letter urging leaders to respond to inequalities faced by young girls and adolescents.

Eurochild has signed a joint letter addressed to Generation Equality Forum, a civil society-centred gathering convened by the UN Women, calling for standalone action on, and participation of, adolescent girls in the global conversations aimed to achieve gender equality.

The open letter, addressed to Marle Schiappa (Secretary of State for Gender Equality of France), Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (Executive Director, UN Women), Martha Delgado (Deputy Secretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of Mexico), and Nadine Gasman Zylbermann (President of INMUJERES), celebrates recent achievements made on gender equality for girls and women, and urges these leaders to commit to eradicating problems that still exist. 

The letter calls for leaders to address ‘continued gaps in realizing accountability to girls, and the continued urgent need to address the distinct rights violations and experiences of all girls of all ages, in particular adolescent girls’. 

The letter comes on the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action: a commitment made to ‘advance the goals of equality, development, and peace for all women everywhere in the interest of all humanity’. However, whilst the letter celebrates the steps taken after the declaration to ensure equality, it notes a number of issues as key to hindering equality for adolescent girls, including: 

- Discriminatory social norms within the home and family

- Access to, and quality of, education 

- Lack of decision-making power

- Risks associated with adolescent pregnancy and gender-based violence

- Child marriage

- FGM (female genital mutilation) and other harmful practices

The letter proposes a standalone coalition focused specifically on girls and adolescents that includes the resourced and supported participation of girls themselves as key stakeholders. The goals of the coalition include ensuring that girls do not continue to fall behind in policy and data gaps, providing much needed accountability to girls including their meaningful engagement in the process, and a holistic and tailored approach to address their specific needs over the next 5 years. 

You can read the full letter here

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news-2141 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Child Rights Networks Launch Talks with Re-Established European Parliament Intergroup http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/child-rights-networks-launch-talks-with-re-established-european-parliament-intergroup/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=efcb86d77b7d5e44b502441f6a45a7ad

On 22 January the European Parliament Intergroup on Children's Rights met for the first time with the leaders of networks in the Child Rights Action Group in Brussels. The meeting was hosted by Members of European Parliament who are co- and vice-chairs of the Intergroup, including Caterina Chinnici (S&D), David Lega (EPP), Dragos Pislaru (Renew Europe), Saskia Bricmont (Greens), Alexandra Geese (Greens), Michaela Sojdrova (EPP).

In her intervention, H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Eurochild, stressed the value of a re-established Intergroup, especially with the new European Commission having committed to promote children’s rights. “The comprehensive strategy on the rights of the child is an initiative we are looking forward to, welcoming that the issue is in the portfolio of a Commission Vice President. Child poverty remains one of Eurochild’s top priorities, and to trigger national reforms to end child poverty in Europe, the EU institutions need to ensure that the Child Guarantee is realised, as a priority.” 

“Investing early in life is essential for breaking the cycle of poverty. Early childhood development is an increasingly important priority for Eurochild. Eurochild will be launching a campaign focusing on children and families from vulnerable backgrounds with the aim to reduce inequalities in society”, she added.

Finally, Her Excellency raised the importance of listening to children’s aspirations and to take them into account in the EU’s work. “Children and young people have a key stake in Europe’s future, and their involvement in decision-making is our duty. For this reason, we look forward for the European Parliament to help put into practice what is stated in the 2019 Bucharest EU Children’s Declaration.” 

Background resources:

Meet the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights here

Read the 2019 Bucharest EU Children’s Declaration here

Learn more about the European Child Guarantee

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news-2137 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Wealthy Ireland sets its Sights on Tackling Poverty Among Children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/wealthy-ireland-sets-its-sights-on-tackling-poverty-among-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=3baa0e054ddc489823a12e8063277467 Despite being one of Europe’s wealthiest countries, 23.9% of children in Ireland (Eurostat, 2019) are at risk of poverty or social exclusion (decrease from 25.2% in 2017). Almost 4,000 children were homeless as of April 2019. Single-parent families are five times more likely to be at risk of poverty. Ireland ranked 20th among EU countries in dealing with child poverty. Last year in mid-December, the Irish Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr Katherine Zappone stated that “after too many years of indifference, we are finally seeing a rise of awareness on child poverty.” Comments like this from Ireland’s political leaders are welcomed and warranted.

The Minister, one of Europe’s only Ministers for Children, was speaking at an Open Policy Debate on child poverty, co-organised by her Department with Eurochild member Children’s Rights Alliance Ireland. The debate was the latest chapter in the Alliance’s NoChild2020 campaign, which has successfully brought political attention on child poverty over the past 12 months. The campaign collaborated with one of Ireland’s largest news media The Irish Times, and sought to provide a sustained focus on child welfare and children’s issues over 2019. The NoChild 2020 campaign had called on the Irish government to ensure that no child should be: 

• hungry

• homeless

• be without timely, affordable healthcare

• be blocked from having an education

• be excluded from society

Thanks in part to NoChild 2020’s campaign, Ireland’s Budget 2020 included budgetary commitments on each of these five goals, and indicates a step in the right direction (although issues like child homelessness worsened in 2019). The campaign now calls for a national action plan  on child poverty that provides a roadmap to make healthcare free for all children, makes hot school meals part of every child’s day and breaks down the barriers in education. Such an action plan could take inspiration from the EU’s policy initiative on the European Child Guarantee which proposes that all children in Europe should have access to key services relating to housing, care, education, healthcare & nutrition.

Most recently, the Irish government released its new Roadmap for Social Inclusion 2020-2025. One of the seven goals directly addresses child poverty, setting a new target of reducing child poverty to 16% by EU measurements - it is currently at 23.9% as of 2018 data released in Dec 2019. 

"No Child 2020 was ultimately a battle against hopelessness and indifference. Its long-term success will depend on whether the shameful news stories continue to drift by on the fringes of consciousness or break through into anger, shame and a collective determination to end child poverty." - Fintan O'Toole, Irish Times.

With Ireland’s general elections around the corner, it is once again up to civil society to keep the focus of candidates on the commitments and urge the future government to prioritise its attention on children, especially those at risk of poverty and exclusion.  

For more information about the NoChild2020 campaign, click here

For more information on Children’s Rights Alliance’s Open Policy Debate, click here.  

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news-2138 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Bringing children’s rights perspective to the digital environment http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/bringing-childrens-rights-perspective-to-the-digital-environment/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=3e86214c0ffb371716be47956b7c96d2 A gathering in Brussels focused on children's rights to privacy in the face of rapidly expanding technology.

There is much debate on the impact of technology and in particular, social media on children. Intergovernmental organisations, including the UN and the Council of Europe are in midst of determining guidelines on children's rights in relation to the digital environment. As technology evolves faster than ever before, digital rights activists gathered in Brussels earlier this week for a Privacy Camp on technology and activism.

This year, the Privacy Camp, a gathering organised by European Digital Rights association in Brussels brought attention to children’s right to privacy, not only as users of digital services but as activists of today.

Sharing their stories of activism, two young volunteer activists from Fridays for Future Germany shared their approaches to gather children’s support for their strikes to demand government action against climate change. The Fridays for Future young activists raised the challenges of moderating chat groups, removing hate speech, pornography and other dangerous content for children to focus on mobilising and activism. Whatsapp, often used by such groups, does not allow filtering of content before it is posted. The activists also raised the concern of police not taking their concerns seriously when reaching out to them for support. 

The Fridays for Future movement uses social media, in particular Instagram, to raise awareness and mobilise young people to come onto the streets every Friday. Their use of social media channels raised concerns among present digital activists, who pointed out the limited privacy protections and ignorance of specific needs of children’s rights concerns on such channels. 

Surveillance of children 

Every child is a potential extremist under school surveillance measures. Police are monitoring #FridaysForFuture climate protests. Children’s data is massively being collected and used for profiling purposes. Climate activists are being put in preventive detention. In this context, the panel offered examples of situations where children’s surveillance is leaving chilling effects on children and families. In the UK, a programme set to counter violent extremism was use of keywords by children in schools and reporting them to authorities. Over 20,000 keywords could alert authorities, despite children and families having no such awareness of this programme of surveillance. As a result, children searching for toy guns were being brought to authorities. Or another child searching for ‘black rhinos’ was believed to be interested in gangs. The data gathered on these children were even registered in the criminal intelligence database.

In another instance, the data on the UK national register of pupils were being shared with the Home Office to identify foreign families and undocumented families. Liberty, a UK based human rights organisation ran an awareness campaign among students and families to empower them to refuse to complete such surveys, something they were not made aware of. The lack of definitions and transparency around such programmes showed the illegality of such actions and the dangers of how children’s data can be misused to great disadvantage to them and their families. Jen Persson, Director of DefendDigitalMe urges civil society actors to start questioning schools on the collection, storage, processing of children’s data. She also pointed out the commercial interests of software companies gathering such data and using it to monitor and assess behaviour.

Gloria Gonzalez Fuster, Research Professor at VUB Brussels, reminded the digital activists in the room that they cannot claim to be activists for privacy and data rights for all, if they don’t also fight for children’s rights as data subjects. Right to ask for your own data as a child must be simpler, she added. The urge to protect children as a result of their vulnerability should not lead to greater surveillance. 

Article 8 of the EU General Data Protection Regulation addresses the rules of processing data when children are data subjects and the need for parental consent. Professor Fuster pointed out that companies are avoiding engagement with these rules by claiming that their originally child focused products are meant for adults. 

With video cameras being installed in schools (eg. in Italy, UK and other countries) and growing interests in use of facial recognition, there is often no or limited consideration of children’s rights as data subjects and implications on their mental health (peer shaming, etc.). For this reason, more research is needed in this field to ensure technology is regulated to ensure children’s rights are upheld. 

Digital resilience of civil society

There were other panel discussions on topics ranging from digital resilience of civil society in the face of attacks from individuals and authoritarian governments to the situation of journalism in south east Europe. These sessions raised the need to prioritise sharing knowledge and tools among civil society to be prepared to deal with digital restrictions, attacks and slowdowns aimed to limit civil society. The gender dimension was also raised, as women and girls are seen to be more at risk of online attacks. 

Background resources:

Council of Europe developed guidelines to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of the child in the digital environment.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child is reflecting on a draft General Comment on children's rights in relation to digital environment

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news-2134 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Kosovan and Bulgarian civil society collaborate to prioritise Early Childhood Development http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/kosovan-and-bulgarian-civil-society-collaborate-to-prioritise-early-childhood-development/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=393324bc3e3d1a26c800681ffc390e87 Kosovan and Bulgarian civil society members have collaborated in a series of workshops, assessments, and events contributing to the prioritisation of Early Childhood Development.

Kosovan Eurochild member KOMF – the Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection in Kosovo – and Karim Dom Foundation of Bulgaria, have collaborated to build expertise of civil society and urge authorities to improve policies on early Childhood Development. A draft law on early childhood education is now to be considered for adoption by Kosovo government. 

The two organisations, in partnership with other civil society actors organized number of workshops to share understanding of the needs of civil society. In a positive sign of commitment on a governmental level and international cooperation, the workshop was financed by the Republic of Bulgaria, and managed by the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in Kosovo. Bulgarian organisation, Karin Dom Foundation co-managed the event with KOMF. 

KOMF then held a three-day training event for member organisations of KOMF and partners working in the field of early childhood development, on the basis of the needs identified by civil society in previous workshops. The aim of the training was to build capacity and support those working on ECD in Kosovo and Bulgaria. Experts from Karin Dom also shared information on policies, legislation, systems and services regarding early childhood intervention. 

KOMF met with a number of invested local and national parties in order to strategically identify challenges and problems in the field of early childhood, including Kosovo Education Center – KEC, SOS Children’s Villages in Kosovo, Organization on Education Childproof/CIPOF, Center for Advanced Studies FIT, Education Comes First, Play International, The Ideas Partnership, SOS Kopshti and POLIS. 

With an official position, the needs of civil society noted, assessment workshops, and a successful training event under their belt, KOMF and Karin Dom published a manual on the methodology and intervention on early childhood development. The report details best practices from countries around the world including Canada and the US, as well as a definitive and thorough explanation of the state of child services in Bulgaria and Kosovo. The report then lists a series of recommendations for Early Childhood Intervention, including a family-centered approach and the creation of a legal framework, Strategic Plan, and Action Plan for the development and implementation of an ECI system. 

KOMF has also been central to harmonizing a common position among authorities and civil society on the Law on Social and Family Services, in partnership with the Organisation for Children without Parental Care. 

The Manual on Methodology and Intervention on Early Childhood Development, as well as more information on the workshops and assessments that lead to the creation of the report, can be read here

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news-2133 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Joint Statement: 10 Years Towards Inclusion http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/joint-statement-10-years-towards-inclusion/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=9ede0591fe985d60e873cfcdec715b8d European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care issues statement taking stock of past achievements and setting a common vision for the future. The “Towards Inclusion” conference celebrates 10 years of coordinated EU action on deinstitutionalisation.  It aims to take stock of past achievements and set a common vision for the future.

The event is organised jointly by the European Commission and the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based care (EEG), which was set up in 2009, thanks to the initiative of the then EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Vladimír Špidla. Since then, the EEG advocates for replacing institutions with family- and community-based support, promoting person-centred, quality and empowering models of services and formal and informal care that fully comply with the human rights of children and adults with care and/or support needs.

Over the last ten years the EU has significantly contributed to moving away from institutionalisation by supporting community- and family-based care and services in its Member States. 

EU officials and national governments are now far more aware of the problem of institutionalisation and of how European funds can be used to support the transition. EU funding has been instrumental in improving peoples’ lives by changing the way care and support is provided to children and adults.  Much of this impact can be traced back to the Špidla Report, the EEG Guidelines and Toolkit, the change in the ESIF Regulations and the European Union’s efforts to facilitate access to expertise and resources.

Looking ahead, there is still a long way to go in order to reach fully inclusive societies. EU policies and funding have not always been aligned and institutionalisation remains a problem in Europe. 

Over 1 million people in the EU still live in institutions, which segregate them from society and deny them control over their lives. Many more are at risk of being institutionalised as a result of lack of adequate preventative measures and family- and community-based support. 

Additionally, the EU and its Member States continue to finance institutions, including by building new ones under the name of “deinstitutionalisation” reforms contravening their own policy objectives and legal obligations such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

When reforms are taking place, decisions on their design, financing and implementation are still too ‘top-down’.  Governments fail to adequately involve those responsible for delivering the reforms, and, most importantly, the people with care needs directly affected by the transition.

Finally, EU funding too often supports individual projects or “pilots” that represent exceptions in systems still predominantly reliant on institutions. 

The 10th anniversary of the Špidla report, combined with the beginning of a new European cycle and the forthcoming programming period 2021-2027, is a moment for the EU to renew its commitment to the transition from institutional to community- and family-based care and take account of the lessons learnt.

Ending institutionalisation is a human rights obligation and can be achieved with the right mobilisation of expertise and resources.  The EU’s leadership is critically important for the successful completion of this process. 

The EU must invest in measures that help Member States to change their rules, procedures and practices to launch or speed up reforms. At national level, the focus must be on changing the social protection and welfare systems and creating incentives so that good practices become the norm, not the exception. Reforms must put individuals’ needs at the centre, strengthening social connections, and ensuring those receiving support are fully included and integrated in society. 

To translate the EU’s commitment to social inclusion into practice, it is essential that:

• There is no further spending on institutions; 

• EU resources improve the availability and the quality of family- and community-based support whilst also ensuring the services can be sustained through domestic resources once EU funding ends; 

• EU funding helps to ensure reforms are designed and implemented with the direct involvement of those concerned and spending is effectively monitored;

• Reforms go hand-in-hand with investment in an accessible built environment and quality public services including access to housing, early child education and care, education, employment, leisure and cultural activities.

We call on the EU to apply these principles and to support the transition from institutionalisation to family- and community-based support in all of its relevant legislative, policy and funding instruments, including:

• The EU funding Regulations and their implementation; 

• The European Semester;

• The European Pillar of Social Rights;

• The European Child Guarantee;

• The new European Disability Strategy or any other initiatives linked to the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 

The European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care (EEG) is a broad coalition gathering stakeholders representing people with care or support needs and their families, including children, people with disabilities, homeless people, and people experiencing mental health problems; as well as service providers, public authorities and UN organisations. The Group has as its mission the promotion of person-centred, quality and empowering models of services and formal and informal care that fully respect the human rights of all people with care or support needs. The Group supports national efforts to implement the necessary reforms, in compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (in particular with Article 19), the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. 

Eurochild (Jana Hainsworth) together with Inclusion Europe (Milan Sverepa) and European Disability Forum (Nadia Hadad) held co-chairmanship of the EEG from January to December 2019. New co-chairs representing COFACE (Irene Bertana), LUMOS (Irina Papancheva) and UNICEF (Aaron Greenberg) will lead the EEG from January – December 2020. 

For more information: www.deinstitutionalisation.com 

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news-2124 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Europe's new captains: Will they bring children closer to Europe? http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/europes-new-captains-will-they-bring-children-closer-to-europe/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=04671068c5d105088493da065f35e28d A new European Commission is up and running. The UK’s departure from the EU now is cast in stone. As 2019 draws to a close, we reflect on where the European Union is heading and what it means for Europe’s children.

With the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, the EU agreed that the promotion of children’s rights is one of its core objectives. In reality, most of what the EU does ignores children. Even in policy areas directly relevant to children, such as promoting childcare, economic concerns such as increasing parents’ labour market participation take precedence. Since Eurochild’s creation in 2004, we’ve called out governments’ failure to support vulnerable children and families. By bringing children’s perspective into the EU’s policy coordination cycle (see our 2019 analysis of the European Semester here), we’ve shown that that the EU has an essential role to play – in setting priorities, giving policy guidance, monitoring progress and providing financial incentives.  

Perhaps the 2019 institutional change-over is a watershed moment.  Whilst we didn’t get the Commissioner for Children we called for this summer, we have a Vice-President for Democracy and Demography – Dubravka Suica - who is tasked with developing a comprehensive strategy on the rights of the child.  Together with Nicholas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, she will develop a European Child Guarantee, an initiative which has cross-party political support in the European Parliament and increasing backing from Member States.

But achieving a more child-sensitive Europe will be far from plain sailing. As the EU’s priorities take shape, children and families – in particular, those living on the margins of society due to poverty, migration status, disability, or exposure to violence – risk falling out of focus.  

We cannot afford to lose this opportunity. Governments across the world are waking up to the centrality of child well-being to healthy societal development. The European Union – as a global champion of human rights and participatory democracy – should be leading from the front.  And here’s how:-

Tackling the climate crisis has rightly rushed to the top of the political agenda. But Europe’s ‘Green Deal’ will fail if it side-lines the social. We urgently need a European framework that reflects the Sustainable Development Goals which combine social, economic and environmental goals, placing child and youth well-being at the centre. 

Secondly, there is no better way of delivering an ‘economy that works for people’ than supporting families with appropriate income support and access to high-quality early childhood education and care, healthcare, education, housing and nutrition. In fact, Eurochild’s ‘Childonomics’ study clearly shows that when these basic public services function well and are inclusive, there will be less demand for services which to deal with the consequences of social fragmentation. Homelessness, poor mental health, substance abuse, and violence reflect the failure of our social, health and education systems to adequately support children and families.  That’s why the Child Guarantee will send such an important political signal to Member States, as well as offering necessary financial incentives.

Finally, Europe’s democracies are under pressure. Human rights are attacked by disinformation campaigns. Some governments openly undermine agreed rules of law. ‘A new push for European Democracy’ should be among the EU’s top priorities.  But will the EU give due attention to the role of child participation? It is wrong to think that citizenship starts with the vote at 18. Children’s involvement in decision-making needs to start from the earliest age. By participating fully, children develop critical thinking, confidence and self-reliance – essential in any healthy democracy. The next European Commission wants to stimulate a wide debate on the Future of Europe. We trust this will also involve children. 

We remain hopeful the next EU will bring children closer to its heart. We still have a long way to go and there are many challenges ahead. But working together we can make a difference – including with our UK members whose efforts to promote children’s rights in policy and practice has been, and will remain, a key source of inspiration across the continent – whatever happens with Brexit!

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news-2122 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Care Leavers in Romania Advocate for Better Policies http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/care-leavers-in-romania-advocate-for-better-policies/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=cb2ea892e85d9a84375607a30d3d442a Care Leavers in Romania have been participating directly with decision-makers to implement better and more effective guidelines to help those in, and about to leave, care.

The reform of the child protection system has achieved significant progress in Romania over the past decades. Starting from a child protection system with 100,000 children institutionalised in 600 institution at the end of 1989, we are currently at the point where we have 181 institutions with less than 5,843 children in them. While at the end of 1989 the system was relying solely on old-type institutions, with 100% of the institutionalised children confined in impersonal and crowded rooms, in de-personalising environments with no individual attention and no opportunities to develop, we currently have only 35% of the children in residential care in institutions, the rest of them being in alternative family and community-based services, such as small family homes or family type apartments.

This progress has been achieved with the support and experience of the civil society, who had an important input both in terms of services and in terms of practices and implementation. The transfer of expertise from the civil society to the central and local professionals working in the child protection agencies led, in the end, to better quality services for children in care, to increased chances to young care leavers being (re)integrated in society and to more attention paid to the individual needs of children.

While lots of progress has been achieved, there is still a long way to go. The General Directorates for Social Work and Child Protection (GDSWCP - agencies that function under the authority of the County Councils in each of the counties in Romania) and the Social Work Directorates (SWD – agencies that function under the authority of Local Councils in each of the cities, communes and villages of Romania) need to act in a coordinated and integrated manner in order to provide support to the children in the childcare system, to the young care leavers but also to families at risk, avoiding the unnecessary separation of children from their families. In this respect, the SWD are the gatekeepers regarding prevention and early intervention.

Deinstitutionalisation being a complex process needs a constant and consistent input from all stakeholders and one of these stakeholders is children in care or young adults who left the care system. More than ever, their views need to be taken into account both in terms of designing DI strategies and programmes at national and regional/local levels, but also in terms of actually implementing these programmes and strategies, keeping in mind the experience and the first-hand knowledge of the system of those who have been institutionalised.

The representatives of the civil society are and have been aware of the importance of child involvement and there is an increasing number of NGOs active in the field who include the views of children in their work and who incorporate their opinions and solutions and develop programmes based on the specific needs of the children. This input needs to be provided not only at a horizontal level, but also on a vertical level, with a bottom-up approach and with concrete solutions that come from different children’s or young adult’s organisations towards the decision-makers.

The Council of Institutionalised Youth, which reunites young adults who were formerly brought up in institutions organised a summit in October, together with relevant NGOs in the field, and one of the main points was the subject of advocacy and how to maintain and increase the momentum for the reform of the child protection reform nationwide.

A memorandum was voted (unanimously) and presented to the Ministry of National Education, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Youth, to the Romanian Senate and Chamber of Deputies, to the Romanian Government and to the Children’s Ombudsman. The memorandum makes concrete demands to improve policies that affect care leavers, from international adoptions, increased allowances during and after placement, access to social housing and others. The memorandum states: “We are the children and young people of the state, we hope that the future parents will not be step children and will be involved in the process of improving the quality of life of abandoned and institutionalized children in Romania.”

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news-2120 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild and UNICEF to develop a study on children in alternative care across the EU http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-and-unicef-to-develop-a-study-on-children-in-alternative-care-across-the-eu/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=f108eb074194d76d191ec4375f52555e Eurochild is partnering with UNICEF Regional Office for Europe & Central Asia to coordinate a 12-month study aimed at mapping data collection systems on child protection across 27 EU Member States.

There is an unacceptable lack of data on children without or at risk of losing parental care in Europe today. What data is available is typically not disaggregated, for example by age, gender, disability. Where data is available, monitoring continues to be haphazard and often relies on the work of NGOs to fill in the gaps, such as what we have tried to accomplish with our partners in the Opening Doors for Europe’s children campaign country factsheets in recent years.

For over a decade now, Eurochild has been working on addressing these gaps around data for children in alternative care. In 2009, we carried out a survey of the situation of children in alternative care in Europe through its member organisations. 30 European countries participated, including the 4 nations of the UK and Moldova. The survey was not intended to be a scientifically rigorous research exercise but rather to identify what information is readily available and to note some common trends across Europe. However, we are both pleased and worried that this survey remains relevant today. 

In brief, the lack of recent quantitative data on children without or at risk of losing parental care is a major obstacle in the development and implementation of comprehensive deinstitutionalisation strategies. Indeed, the systematic collection of accurate data on the numbers and characteristics of children in care, the root causes of institutionalisation and the function of the child protection system as a whole is crucial and can help ensure better policies, improve the state’s ability to protect and promote children’s rights and lead to sustainable reforms. With these challenges in mind, in 2020 Eurochild, in partnership with UNICEF, will map the child protection data collection systems across 27 EU Member States. 

The study will build on the findings of a feasibility phase, which mapped the systems and corresponding data available in 4 EU countries (Bulgaria, Estonia, France and Ireland). Importantly, this research is expected to take an advantage of the window of opportunity offered by a new EU legislature, as well as the Child Guarantee Initiative, which the incoming European Commission (2020-2024) has identified as one of its political priorities.

As part of this study, Eurochild is recruiting an external Senior Research Coordinator to lead and coordinate the design of the study. This position will work alongside Eurochild’s Policy and Advocacy team to ensure that this study will contribute towards real change across Europe’s data collection systems on child protection. If you are interested in applying for this position, please see the terms of reference.

For more information on this upcoming project, please contact our Senior Project Manager Agata D’Addato at the Secretariat at agata.daddato(at)eurochild(dot)org.

Read the 2019 survey

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news-2118 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 ‘Citizens of the Future’: Slovenian Ministers commit to greater children's participation http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/citizens-of-the-future-slovenian-ministers-commit-to-greater-childrens-participation/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=d7b7f1e790f1d62494c1cdfaceb6c312 Eurochild Member the Slovenian Association of Friends of Youth organised a conference in order to enable child participation and a greater commitment to children's rights, with attendees including Slovenian Ministers and NGOs.

On 27 November 2019, the Slovenian Association of Friends of Youth (SAFY) organised a conference on children's participation entitled ‘Citizens of the Future’, which was supported by Eurochild as a national-level advocacy event. The event was organized to mark the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child and the 30th anniversary of the Children's Parliaments in Slovenia. Elementary and secondary school children were invited to participate at the conference, as well as high-level decision makers including the Slovenian Minister for Education, Science, and Sport, Dr. Jernej Pikalo, Mag. Ksenija Klampfer, the Minister for Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, and Uroš Brezovšek, President of the National Committee for Children's Parliaments. Interested members of the public also attended. As many as 200 participants gathered from all over the country, including 150 young people aged 13-17. 

The event was divided into three parts, each of which included a dialogue between young participants and decision makers. The conference was moderated jointly by former Eurochild Children’s Council member, Edvina, and a journalist. In the first part, child participation and children’s parliaments as a form of exercising a child’s rights to freedom of expression and participation took centre stage.

Representatives of the Eurochild secretariat and the Bulgarian National Network for Children presented good practices on children’s participation. Mieke Schuurman, of Eurochild, presented Eurochild’s Child Participation Strategy, how it was developed jointly with children and adults and how it has been implemented in practice to involve children in the work of Eurochild. The presentation was designed to be interactive – using the direct participation of the audience, including young people in attendance- and sparked a discussion on the role of NGOs in implementing child participation at a national level. 

The final part of the conference focused on a long-term goal: the development of coherent strategic guidelines for enhancing children's participation. 

The key messages of the conference concerned the genuine implementation of children’s ideas into decision making (‘we participate, but are not heard’), the voicing of children’s opinions (‘your opinion counts’), how child participation leads to an environment where children can be heard, involved, and become more responsible. 

In order to realise these messages, and achieve coherent strategic guidelines for enhancing child participation, the decision-makers in attendance have signed a letter of cooperation on children's participation. The letter confirmed their dedication to ensuring ‘the development and implementation of child participation in matters of concern to them and to pursue the objectives of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.’ 

The decision-makers and leaders that signed the letter are: 

- Dr. Jernej Pikalo, Slovenian Minister for Education, Science, and Sport, 

- Mag. Ksenija Klampfer, the Minister for Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, 

- Uroš Brezovšek, President of the National Committee for Children's Parliaments

- Darja Groznik, the President of the Slovenian Association of Friends of Youth

The letter highlighted the importance of enabling children to make decisions: ‘the participation of children in decision making on the individual, family and organizational level as well as in politics and society, is essential for the exercising of children's rights.’ The letter signals a remarkably strong political commitment to the protection of children’s rights. 


The conference was organised with the financial support of the Erasmus + program and with the partial co-financing of Eurochild; City Association of Friends of Youth Ljubljana was the event partner.

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news-2117 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Opening Doors Celebrates Its Achievements Upon Closure http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/opening-doors-celebrates-its-achievements-upon-closure/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b46d77b9d0ae96f210df85179fbabd64 A safe and loving family environment is the best place for a child to thrive. For this reason, 120 organisations from 16 countries worked together in the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign to strengthen families and end institutional care.

Opening Doors brought together 5 major international organisations – Eurochild, Hope and Homes for Children, the International Foster Care Organisation (IFCO), the European branch of the International Federation of Educative Communities (FICE Europe), and SOS Children’s Villages International. Together, Opening Doors aimed to support national efforts to develop child protection systems that strengthen families and ensure high-quality family- and community-based alternative care for children, by leveraging EU funding and policy and building capacity in civil society. The campaign ran in Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Spain, and Ukraine.

After 7 years of dedicated and passionate work, Opening Doors can look back at many achievements. Many campaign countries, such as Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine, are increasingly prioritising child protection and deinstitutionalisation. It is particularly encouraging to observe the number of children living in family-based foster care slowly exceeding the number of children living in institutions.

On a European level, the European Semester Process now analyses deinstitutionalisation in a more comprehensive way. All EU campaign countries country Reports prioritise the transition from institutional to family and community-based care or inclusive education for the 2021-27 programming period. We are also pleased that proposals from the European Commission for the new EU budget 2021-2027 , supported by European Parliament and Council of the European Union, prioritise the transition from institutional to family-and community-based care, promote social inclusion, and strive to improve policy coherence and protection of children’s rights, especially those at risk or in care.

But the work is not over. Much more needs to be done to ensure that no child grows up in an institution, to prevent separation of children from their families for reasons of poverty, disability or other discriminatory practices, and to build strong child protection systems to ensure children are not harmed.

“Children are Europe’s greatest resource. It is Europe’s shame that some of our most vulnerable children are placed in so-called ‘care’ settings that do more harm than good. Important progress has been made but our work is far from over. We must learn lessons from the past and keep the pressure on the EU and national governments until every child gets the individualised care they deserve, and need to thrive.” – Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild.

“The Opening Doors campaign showed what can be achieved when we join efforts. But let’s not forget that many children continue to live in harmful institutions and are at risk of being separated from their families. As the new EU leadership settles in their roles, we all need to step up our efforts to ensure families can stay together and that all children receive the individualised care they need and deserve.” – Michela Costa, Head of Global Advocacy, Hope and Homes for Children.

While the campaign is ending, the work continues. As civil society actors engaged in the protection and promotion of children’s rights, we will continue to advocate for comprehensive reforms of child protection systems and monitor the EU fund support.

More information about Opening Doors and its impact can be read in the final report, which will be released at the Opening Doors closing event on 15 January 2020.

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news-2115 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 How the EU can learn from New Zealand's progressive social wellbeing budget http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/how-the-eu-can-learn-from-new-zealands-progressive-social-wellbeing-budget/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=08ee243418266995422f05382c8beee2 A seminar hosted by Social Platform discussed how the innovative and child-friendly approach to budgeting by the New Zealand government can provide valuable lessons for the EU.

New Zealand is currently pioneering new philosophy and approaches to government, and is actively trying to challenge the ‘growth’ paradigm of current economic budgetary thinking across Western and English speaking countries.

There are several reasons behind why New Zealand has sought to change their approach towards a ‘wellbeing’ budget: inequality levels remain high, homelessness has doubled in recent years, 1 in 5 children live in poverty, approximately 300,000 children experience domestic violence and 50% of children in alternative care experience violence. These figures reflect similar problems present in the EU: 1 in 4 children live at risk of poverty, homelessness increases each year, and children in alternative care are at a higher risk of poverty and violence. 

To tackle these growing problems, New Zealand has overturned their way of thinking and developed a budget that focuses on the economy of wellbeing. The utmost priority is placed on a whole-of-government approach, an intergenerational outcome, and a move beyond macroeconomic indicators for measuring societal wellbeing. 

While the budget actively tackles a number of issues, the dedicated focus on child poverty and wellbeing is groundbreaking: and a potential lesson for future EU budgets. The measures taken by the New Zealand government that focus on children’s wellbeing include: 

- A dedicated child poverty report biannually, reporting on how the New Zealand budget is progressing in 5 areas and 12 indicators of wellbeing. 

- A Government buy-in for reducing child poverty: A serious political investment has been made by the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Adern. She also holds the role for Minister for Child Poverty Reduction, a dedicated central figure for the fight against child poverty. 

- A wellbeing narrative report that focuses on how the new strategy is affecting lives using measures that focus on the wellbeing of people, rather than government figures. 

While the long-term effects of the budget are yet to be seen, the concept of the ‘economy of wellbeing’ has already been introduced in Europe. The current Finnish EU presidency is championing this approach to frame the interplay between economic and social policies. 

‘It is refreshing to see such a shift in the understanding of the economy,’ states Eurochild Head of Advocacy Reka Tunyogi. investing in well-being makes sense in economic terms even in times of economic downturn…we cannot break the cycle of disadvantage without addressing the daily realities of children growing up in poverty.’ 

Responses to the New Zealand budget from a European perspective have also been positive. ‘Hope is on the horizon in the form of the new Commission. There are already positive steps in the right direction: the creation of the ‘Economy that Works for People’ portfolio, a U-turn to reinclude ‘social rights’ as a responsibility for the previously titled ‘jobs’ Commissioner, and the creation of the first ever post of Commissioner for Equality are just three examples.’ stated Kélig Puyet, Director of Social Platform. ‘The von der Leyen Commission has a mountain to climb if it wants to guarantee the wellbeing of all people in the EU and not just the wealthy few. Where there is strong political will, there is a way!’ 

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news-2110 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 New European Parliament takes its First Steps to Protect Children's Rights http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/new-european-parliament-takes-its-first-steps-to-protect-childrens-rights/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=664e1052743c9946f4618bb9ae8f9fa1 Eurochild welcomes the resolution adopted today by the European Parliament (EP) by 495 votes to 58 with 87 abstentions, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The text of the resolution is the result of the cooperation of five political groups, i.e. EPP, S&D, Renew Europe, Greens/EFA and GUE/NGL. The resolution clearly underlines the utmost necessity for the European Union (EU) to act in this field not only because the promotion of children rights is an explicit objective of EU policies and is enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, but also because children account for 20% of the EU population and that 23 million children in the EU are living at risk of poverty or social exclusion. 

Eurochild is pleased to note that many of its key priorities, raised with the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights in cooperation with other international organisations, have been actually integrated in the adopted text. 

o The EP calls on the Commission and Member States to adopt the Bucharest EU Children’s Declaration which highlights that “the culture of child participation can be built at all levels - family, community, local, regional, national and European - and can bring short- and long-term benefits to the society”. It also calls on the Member States to strengthen the participation of children in their legislative processes creating “meaningful mechanisms for child participation, such as children’s councils”.

o With regard to investing in children, the EP calls for the EU and its Member States to step up their efforts to end child poverty and to “consider children as a priority when programming and implementing regional and cohesion policies”. Member States are encouraged to “invest in public services for children including childcare, education and health”. Importantly, the document explicitly “calls on the Member States to support the establishment of a European Child Guarantee with appropriate resources” and underlines the “importance of introducing children’s rights and well-being as parameters of the country specific recommendations in the framework of the European Semester and in line with the European Pillar of Social Rights”. 

The document also stresses the following important points: 

o It states that the best interest of the child must be at the heart of all the EU policies, 

o It calls on the “Member States to treat every child first and foremost as a child”

o It calls for the “appointment of a high-level public figure as the EU representative on children’s rights”

o It condemns all forms of violence against children, including sexual abuse and sexual exploitation

o It calls on the “Member States to guarantee the right to education to every child” 

o It calls on the EU to “support the transition from institutional to community-based services” 

On a less positive note, the resolution only marginally references the value of Early Childhood Development, within the context of improving work-life balance. In this way, it fails to stress that early childhood is a crucial period of life laying the foundation of children’s development and misses the opportunity to highlight the support that should be provided to parents during this paramount period of time. 

Given that the adopted text explicitly reflects many issues Eurochild has been standing up for (such as children’s participation, tackling child poverty and investing in children) and that the motion was supported and drafted by five different political groups, Eurochild considers this a first important step, in this new Parliament, towards a better protection of children’s rights in Europe. 

Based on this Resolution, Eurochild looks forward to working with the Child Rights Champions and a re-established European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights to ensure that children’s rights are at the heart of policy making for the 2019-24 EP mandate.

The adoption of the Resolution follows on from the high level celebrations that took place the previous week on the occasion of the 30th anniversary on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child at the European Parliament in Brussels. Eurochild was represented in the high level panel discussion by members of its Children’s Council and President H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca. 

Would you like to know how your MEP voted on the resolution? Now you can find out exactly who voted for, against, and abstained here

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news-2103 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild Secretariat is Moving http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-secretariat-is-moving/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=097facecb4a4bf343c127fe74cc251b0

The Eurochild secretariat is moving! Having enjoyed a warm stay in the Kind en Gezin building on Avenue de la Porte de Hal 27 over the last 3 years, the secretariat is now moving its office into the heart of the EU quarter in Brussels!

The secretariat will be situated in the Vlaams Overheid building: Rue de Trèves 9, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, starting from 2 December 2019.

Please update your contact info. We look forward to seeing you in the new office!

Find us on Google Maps!

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news-2102 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 New Organisational Structure for Eurochild http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/new-organisational-structure-for-eurochild/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=a13c721afbaf6fda2949aec3e7acbd4d Eurochild’s secretariat gets ready for a more child-friendly Europe!

Dear Members,

At its October meeting, the Eurochild management board agreed a new organisational structure for the Eurochild Secretariat.

The decision takes effect from 1st January 2020.  Most importantly it creates a new executive team supporting the Secretary General comprising the Finance Director (Axelle Stainier), Director of Operations (Andrea Witt) and a new Director of Programmes (see vacancy here). This week, we launch our search for a new colleague. 

Please spread the recruitment notice widely. This person will help build Eurochild’s capacity to better serve its member organisations in terms of advocacy, communications, peer learning and child participation.

Other changes include the recruitment of a Membership and Network Development Officer (see vacancy here) and an EU Affairs Assistant (watch out for the vacancy notice in the coming weeks).

By our 2020 General Assembly (28-29 April 2020) we hope to have a full team in place to ensure Eurochild members can harness the current political momentum at EU level to drive positive change for children.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with Jana if you have questions.

Kind regards,

Jana Hainsworth, Eurochild Secretary General

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news-2101 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Towards No Child Poverty in Europe 2030 http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/towards-no-child-poverty-in-europe-2030/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=4529aa9a0581ba7dab2c86766829e3f2 Growing inequality affects children’s access to healthcare and education; poverty continues to remain persistently high among children (24%), compared to the adult population (22%). Despite this, the European Semester – the European framework for socio-economic coordination – has failed to motivate countries to prioritise children.

These findings from Eurochild’s new report on the 2019 European Semester were launched at the Towards No child poverty in Europe 2030 event on 14-15 November in collaboration with the Bertelsmann Stiftung in the European Parliament in the presence of European policy makers and civil society actors. 

Based on our analysis across the 22 countries that participated in this year’s report, we found the following:

1. Child poverty still not given the attention it deserves

2. Particularly vulnerable groups of children being left behind

3. Welcome attention given to early childhood education and care

4. More effort needed to prevent family separation 

5. Systematic participation of children, a right of all children, is still underdeveloped.

The report New opportunities for investing in children comes at a time when Europe’s next strategic direction is under discussion with the start of the new legislature. Eurochild makes the case for prioritising children, and setting corresponding EU targets in the next policy framework guiding the European Semester. The report also offers its own alternatives to the country specific recommendations in light of assessments made by 29 Eurochild members. It comments furthermore, on the links between policy monitoring and the use of EU funding; and makes recommendations to EU decision-makers for ensuring the overall process is more inclusive and leads to better outcomes for children. Specifically, these recommendations are:

1. Children need to be included in the successor to the Europe 2020 Strategy

2. Link EU funding and the European Semester together to promote the social dimension of policies

3. Make children’s well-being an explicit focus in the 2020 Semester’s Country Reports

4. Make the engagement of civil society in the European Semester a requirement for both Member States and the European Commission.

We were delighted that members who contributed to the report contributed to the discussions in person: Joint Council of Child Issues (Denmark), Central Union for Child Welfare (Finland), CNAPE (France) and German Children’s Fund (Germany). Eurochild member Professor Hugh Frazer from Maynooth University of Ireland moderated the discussion on both days. 

The launch event was co-hosted by MEPs Alexandra Geese (Germany, Greens/EFA), Dragoș Pîslaru (Romania, Renew Europe) and Brando Benifei (Italy, S&D). During the event, the Bertelsmann Stiftung shared findings from their seven-year research ‘Leave No Child Behind’. There were also inputs from the Fundamental Rights Agency, the European Commission and the Permanent Representation of the Federal Republic of Germany to the EU.

With the chapter on this year’s Semester coming to a close, another one is quickly upon us. The first stage of the European Semester 2020 starts soon, with the Annual Growth Survey launching in the coming month. The European Commission sets the policy priorities for the coming year and identifies, based on a scoreboard of indicators, gaps that need addressing in each EU Member State.

Read the full report here

Discover the situation in your country in our interactive map! 

Hover your mouse on a country to see the child poverty rate and the alternative recommendations.

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news-2100 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Council of Europe: Redefining Power and Strengthening the Rights of the Child http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/council-of-europe-redefining-power-and-strengthening-the-rights-of-the-child/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=11f443f58f7cad3325c2c9bbbf8a998b The week before the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Council of Europe held a high-level conference in Strasbourg on 13-14 November 2019 to address the remaining obstacles blocking the full implementation of children’s rights in Europe.

The event addressed a number of systematic challenges for children’s rights: child sexual exploitation, new challenges for media, the breakdown of traditional family structures and new ways of collecting and processing data. 

Eurochild President, H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, saw the conference as a fantastic opportunity to address these challenges and more. “In a continent that leads on numerous fronts, huge challenges for children still remain – 1 in 4 children in the EU are at risk of poverty or social exclusion,” she stated. “Other challenges include early school-leaving, access to early years’ education and mental health challenges.” 

Eurochild, together with Prof. Cath Larkins (Director of The Centre for Children and Young People's Participation at the University of Central Lancashire) and with Themis Association worked with 13 children and young people from 10 European countries to actively participate in the Council of Europe conference.  The children, aged 11-18 years, came from Georgia, Albania, Serbia, Malta, Ukraine, Ireland, UK, France, Germany and Cyprus. Elene (Georgia) and Emma (Northern Ireland, UK) delivered key note speeches in the opening plenary of the conference. The children presented their work at the different Power Talks which were organised around 10 different subjects, ranging from child poverty and social inclusion, to children and the digital environment, children and family law and violence against children. 

A discussion at the heart of the debate was the digital environment and how it affects children and their rights. Andrea (Serbia) addressed the ease of information access in today’s world: “Just by tapping our name in a search window we realize how much information is available about us online. And that opens up doors of mistreatment and manipulation of that information.”

Children challenged experts with their messages, questions and comments. The ability for children to directly participate drove the structure and purpose of the conference. Amadea (Albania) stated that children “…want the right to be heard. There should be mechanisms and improvement to justice for all children. We need more reports by children in all dimensions of life.”

Professor Cath Larkins, joined two young experts, to represent Eurochild at a panel debate organised by the Parliamentary Assembly on “the power of parliamentary action: promoting meaningful and sustainable child participation in the work of national parliaments and the PACE.”

Eurochild and its members have been actively working with the Council of Europe to ensure children’s views are inform the delivery of its five-year strategy for children’s rights. 

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news-2095 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Investing in Children - an Urgent Priority for Europe http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/investing-in-children-an-urgent-priority-for-europe/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=0a693f097c50f00a69d742a84f34ac83 Eurochild releases report on situation of children in 22 European countries.

Growing inequality affects children’s access to healthcare and education; poverty continues to remain persistently high among children (24%), compared to the adult population (22%). Despite this, the European Semester – the European framework for socio-economic coordination  has failed to motivate countries to prioritise children. 

The latest Eurochild report “New opportunities for investing in children”, assesses the European Semester featuring the situation of children in 22 countries with alternative recommendations for 2020.

“Eurochild has engaged with the European Semester since 2011. While there is greater visibility of children, there has been little improvement in children’s lives. Child poverty remains too high across Europe. The next 5-year cycle of the EU offers an opportunity to ramp up investment and political action. We look to the EU to set ambitious targets and to catalyse national action with the European Child Guarantee initiative” – Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild. 

Eurochild’s latest report “New opportunities for investing in children” analyses the impact of the European Semester on children in 22 European countries and offers following five key findings: 

1. Child poverty still not given the attention it deserves

Despite persistent rates of child poverty being a common issue of concern across Europe, ranging from countries with high GDP to lower GDP countries, national and European measures and funding did not provide adequate solutions. Eurochild members collectively call for national strategies to tackle child poverty, boosted by the opportunity of the European Child Guarantee initiative. 

2. Particularly vulnerable groups of children being left behind 

The European Semester process must ensure governments prioritise interests of all children in their socio-economic policies, especially the most vulnerable. For instance in Bulgaria, Hungary, Estonia and Latvia, healthcare services fail to reach children in rural areas. In Germany, where child poverty has been on the rise, children of low skilled parents are even more likely to face poverty.  Eurochild’s Danish member proposes the 2020 European Semester recommendation to address the rising inequality between various groups of society. 

3. Welcome attention given to early childhood education and care

Quality and accessibility of early childhood education and care must be important criteria, alongside participation of children in early education services. 

4.  More effort needed to prevent family separation 

While progress has been made in deinstitutionalisation reforms (in 12 European countries), more efforts are needed to improve family and community-based alternative care provision to prevent family separation. 

5. Systematic participation of children, a right of all children, is still underdeveloped

Voice of children must be heard in decision-making processes to fully realise the rights of children and build a stronger, more cohesive society. 

The report ‘New opportunities for investing in children’ comes at a time when Europe’s next strategic direction is under discussion with the start of the new legislature. Eurochild makes the case for prioritising children, and setting corresponding EU targets in the next policy framework guiding the European Semester. The report also offers its own alternatives to the country specific recommendations in light of assessments by 29 Eurochild members. It comments furthermore, on the links between policy monitoring and the use of EU funding; and makes recommendations to EU decision-makers for ensuring the overall process is more inclusive and leads to better outcomes for children. 

The report will be released at a high-level political round table at the European Parliament later today in collaboration with Bertelsmann Stiftung, in the presence of European policy makers and civil society actors. 

Read the full report and discover the situation of children in your country here

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news-2109 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Call for Comms and Brand Design for ECD Campaign http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/call-for-comms-and-brand-design-for-ecd-campaign/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=aa88cb91c85207ce6639e369027ba7f2 This is a call for Communications and Brand design for a European Campaign on Early Childhood Development.

Deliverables:

- Campaign Identity

- Design, layout and printing

Interested providers should submit their expression of interest by 29 November, giving examples of other similar work, an estimate of the budget expected, and a brief proposal on how you would approach this work.

Timeline: The expected delivery date for the finalised campaign identity is 31 January 2020.


Full terms of reference can be found here.

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news-2073 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild Children's Council Meets in Brussels http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-childrens-council-meets-in-brussels/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=472a9f34b84304525513657f28828c93 The Eurochild Children's Council met this week at the Eurochild office in Brussels to ensure that Eurochild embeds meaningful child participation into all of its work.

This week (7th-8th October), the Eurochild Children’s Council met at the Eurochild Office in Brussels to work on developing the Network’s second Child Participation Strategy and to start planning the next Eurochild conference.

Eurochild’s Child Participation Strategy aims at ensuring that Eurochild embeds meaningful child participation in all of its work to the highest standards. During the meeting, the children worked in collaboration with the child participation reference group (including former members of the previous children’s council) and Eurochild staff to see how to build on the first strategy and strengthen child participation at Eurochild. Following extensive consultation with the Children’s council (former and current) and members of Eurochild that ensure child participation is implemented, the new child participation strategy will be adopted at the Eurochild General Assembly in April 2020.  On the second day of meetings, the Children’s Council and child participation reference group was also joined by a Finnish children’s delegation, to kick of preparations for the next Eurochild Conference that will be held in Hämeenlinna, Finland, in 2020.  Going forward, this group will play a fundamental role in the design and implementation of the conference.

The Children’s Council’s members are aged 11-16 years and represent 12 European countries. They work towards mainstreaming children’s voices and ensure that Eurochild directly includes children in their advocacy, governance, events and strategy planning. They support the Eurochild network in its aims to constantly improve its child participation practices. 

At the meetings, the children also discussed the upcoming activities for the Children’s Council, and continued developing a plan for their participation in the 30th anniversary of the UNCRC event to be held at the European Parliament in November. The Eurochild children’s council is bringing children’s perspectives to governance structures of the Eurochild network – representatives will join the next management board and faciilitate training for Eurochild’s staff.

Explore the event photos here, and read more about Eurochild's first Child Participation Strategy here

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news-2071 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Assessing EU Commissioner – designates on their commitment to children's rights http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/assessing-eu-commissioner-designates-on-their-commitment-to-childrens-rights/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=a79f3c89216eea795c09d1882e3dd2df With a consistent number of Commissioner-Designates openly committing to protecting children's rights if approved by the European Parliament, here are the positive takeaways about the hearings of the most relevant Commissioners for Eurochild's work.

In the last two weeks, the Members of the European Parliament had the occasion to grill the new team of Commissioners-designate in a series of hearings aimed at evaluating whether they are fit for the job. Albeit the confusing and sometimes disappointing job titles of the new commissioners-designate (absence of expressions such as ‘education’, ‘social affairs’ which used to be there before, or ‘children’ which Eurochild had called for); it must be highlighted that a consistent number of Commissioners-designate have openly committed to protecting children’s rights if approved by the European Parliament. Here are the positive takeaways about the hearings of the most relevant Commissioners for Eurochild’s work: 

Ms Dubravka Šuica, Commissioner-designate for Democracy and Demography:

o declared that children have been an utmost priority throughout all her career and that there is nothing more important than investing in children. For this reason, she will coordinate the EU Child Guarantee and a comprehensive child rights strategy

o pointed out that children’s protection is a pivotal part of her portfolio and that she will cooperate with the Commissioner-designate Schmit in order to address the childhood poverty issue

o is supportive of the Parliament’s position to allocate almost 6 billion EUR to finance the Child Guarantee through the European Social Fund Plus 

Mr Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner-designate for Jobs:

o underlined that child poverty is one of the most critical challenges that the EU must address. For this reason, he committed to fight against poverty affecting children through “some kind of recommendation”

o committed to reinforce the youth guarantee and lead the work on the child guarantee – referring to them as legislative work part of the Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights.

o committed to protect and strengthen families

o underlined the necessity to push for social investment in education and childcare

Ms Helena Dalli, Commissioner-designate for Equality:

o underlined the necessity to establish an affordable childcare system

o pointed out that in the case of domestic violence children’s safeguard must be a priority. 

o highlighted the necessity to improve the parental leave system for fathers and mothers 

o underlined that forced marriage and genital mutilation are two pivotal issues that must be addressed through the equality portfolio

o stated to be willing to cooperate with other Commissioners, and in particular with Ms Šuica, in order to address children’s rights in a comprehensive and holistic way.

Ms Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner-designate for Innovation and Youth:

o expressed her will to promote children’s rights in education

o mentioned the importance that sport and new technologies play in reaching a broader number of children

o committed to protecting all those young Europeans that are threatened by poverty and exclusion underlining that youth is the EU’s most beautiful asset

Mr Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President-designate for Protecting our European Way of Life:

o expressed his will to make sure that the European Social Fund + fosters social inclusions, supports the ones most in need and helps enhance labour mobility. The EU needs to equip European youth with the right skills to work in a changing world. 

o committed to make the European Education Area a reality and incentivize the Member States to reform and modernize their education and learning system. 

o stated that, in order to ensure that no child is left behind, the EU shall introduce a European Child Guarantee; children at risk of poverty or exclusion must have access to their rights.

o underlined that society must protect the more vulnerable. Schinas shall use its portfolio to promote a cross-cutting approach to inclusion and integration.

Nonetheless, not all Commission hopefuls gave an equally strong impression, and with many candidates there are outstanding questions of competence. With three Commissioner-designates being rejected by the European Parliament, it appears that we may have to wait longer for a new European Commission to take over the executive function of the EU and move forward on their proposals. 

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news-2064 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Early Years Education - a Forceful Tool for Greater Social Inclusion http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/early-years-education-a-forceful-tool-for-greater-social-inclusion/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=496c7f6ddc6a298f600ca5cea6f28f9d On 27 September 2019, Brussels hosted the second European Education Summit, bringing together 160 teachers, 19 national education ministers and hundreds of experts to discuss how education can impact active future citizens.

Yesterday, on the European Day of Languages, Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, hosted in Brussels the second European Education Summit. The Summit brought together 160 teachers, 19 national education ministers and hundreds of experts to discuss inclusion, high quality education and how to support and empower teachers to shape up active future citizens.

Global Teacher Prize finalist Christoph Schiebold said “I am part of the equation to help children to become creative decision makers, critical thinkers and emphatic and caring global citizens, & to unfold the perfection that every child has in his/her essence”. 

It is exciting to see the European Commission offer spotlight to the topic of education. Education is much more than a transfer of knowledge, as Mario Monti, Senator for Life of the Italian Republic, reminded the audience at the Education Summit. ‘Teachers have a crucial role in contributing to shaping up a society where inclusion, tolerance, justice and non-discrimination prevail’, he said. 

Social justice, fairness and equality are dominant themes of the proposed new Commission. Knowing that the seeds of inequality are sown in the first years of life, addressing inequalities in early years becomes essential. Eurochild is looking forward to the new European Commission strengthening education policies in support of greater social inclusion.

Social inclusion is a thematic focus of the European Commission Education and Training 2020 Working Group on Early Childhood Education and Care, which was set up last year to supporting countries in their reflections and designing policy measures in the area of early childhood education and care. Eurochild engages in this working group, composed of the European Commission and representatives from EU Member States, to exchange experiences and good practices, learn from each other and develop targeted policy guidance and technical guidance on how to implement the EU commitments in this field. 

Among other things, the working group is tasked to develop a toolbox of practical solutions and measures to inspire national policy makers to implement the European Quality Framework as approved in the Council recommendation of Education Ministers in May 2019. In addition, the toolbox will describe good practice in early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings and present useful tools to inspire leaders and staff across Europe to progress towards more inclusive practice.  

A case study from Ireland

The working group which met this week, explored one of the inspiring practices on inclusion from Ireland. Ireland introduced universal free preschool in 2010, but many children with disabilities could not access or participate meaningfully due to physical barriers and lack of resources or staff training. In 2016 the Department of Children and Youth Affairs established the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM), an inter-agency programme to support children with disabilities to participate fully in mainstream preschool. 

AIM involves a tiered model of supports, which move from universal to targeted, with the level of support provided depending on the needs of the child in the context of the pre-school setting, not on diagnosis. 

Supports include: 

● development of an inclusive culture through roll-out of guidelines on diversity, equality and inclusion; and Universal Design Guidelines for the building and design of settings; 

● information for parents and providers;

● training for practitioners, including a leadership programme to train an Inclusion Coordinator in every preschool, with a financial incentive for services that employ a qualified Inclusion Coordinator; 

● a team of 80 specialists, employed nationally, to assess needs and provide advice on strategies for inclusion; 

● provision of equipment, appliances, and grants for minor alterations to buildings; 

● therapy supports where these are necessary for a child’s participation in the ECCE programme; and 

● increased payments for providers to allow a reduction in the adult-child ratio (either through recruitment of additional staff or through reducing the number of children in a room without impacting on the provider’s income).

AIM operates within a context of market provision by private (for-profit and non-profit) providers, who are contracted to deliver universal, free preschool for 3-5 year olds. 

Within two years of AIM’s introduction, the proportion of services with a child with a diagnosed disability rose from 48% to 65%. An initial year-one review found a high level of satisfaction among parents and providers. A full evaluation of AIM will be commissioned by the end of 2019. 

First 5 (Ireland’s 2018-28 national strategy for babies, young children and families) commits - subject to the year-3 evaluation findings - to consider extension of AIM, e.g. to other age groups of children (under-3s or to after-school childcare) and/or to children with additional needs other than a disability. First 5 also commits to consider consolidating or aligning AIM with specialist preschool services, depending on the evaluation findings.

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news-2053 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Irish report shows refugee children need more mental health, integration and education supports http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/irish-report-shows-refugee-children-need-more-mental-health-integration-and-education-supports/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=5e663fee1689406fb9d48080678e523b Refugee children who have fled from Syria experience considerable challenges upon arrival in Ireland and need greater support from schools youth services and communities. That is according to a report published today by Children's Rights Alliance, Eurochild member.

Eurochild’s national partner network in Ireland - the Children’s Rights Alliance - published a report today outlining the mental and educational needs of refugee children in Ireland. 

The report, ‘Safe Haven: A Study on the Needs of Refugee Children Arriving in Ireland through the Irish Refugee Protection Programme’ (IRPP) is based on consultations with 77 people including parents, children, service providers and teachers. Its findings include many forms of trauma, mental health difficulties, limited resources to meet educational needs and other challenges related to health, cultural awareness and integration. 

The report highlighted the lack of routine availability of trauma-awareness training for professionals working with refugee children. Ireland’s education response to child refugees is one of the most significant aspects of the IRPP. Schools may lack the resources they need, leading teachers to self-procure materials due to a lack of school funds. The report insists that schools need far greater capacity to meet the learning, language, and social-emotional needs of young refugees and to support them in their transition to school. 

Commenting on the report, Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said: “Ireland has rightly promised to provide support for people fleeing war and persecution through the Irish Refugee Protection Programme. Our history of mass emigration means that we know in our hearts what it is like to arrive in a new country not knowing what the future holds… many communities have shown remarkable generosity. However, Ireland needs to provide a safe haven to a bigger group of refugee children.”

“Important steps have been taken to respond to the refugee crisis and many communities have shown remarkable generosity. However, Ireland needs to provide a safe haven to a bigger group of refugee children. Many children are waiting in Greece and the Middle East in unsafe conditions and exposed to exploitation and abuse.”

The Children’s Rights Alliance has noted recommendations which are included in the report. 

Download the report here

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news-2042 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Meet the new European Commissioners http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/meet-the-new-european-commissioners/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=22ba2435c4246f6cc71eba0f0640ae4f Ursula von der Leyen revealed her new European Commission on 10th September 2019.

The New European Commission

On 10th September 2019, the President-elect Ursula von der Leyen presented the structure of the next European Commission and its new 26 Commissioners. This new structure aims at reflecting the objectives and priorities pointed out by von der Leyen before being elected by the European Parliament, i.e. a major focus on climate change, equality, and future digital and technological challenges (Political Guidelines for the next commission). According to the President-elect, the main objective is to create a well-balanced, agile and modern Commission focused on the issues at hand and ready to provide efficient answers to its citizens. The new Commission will have to understand Europe and listen to what Europeans want. The President-elect has also committed to working closely with the newly elected European Parliament in order to strengthen democracy and obtain a fair social market economy. 

The New College of Commissioners

The new College of Commissioner will have eight Vice-presidents charged with steering the work of the Commission on the most important overarching issues. Three of these Vice-presidents shall also hold the position of Executive Vice-Presidents. As such, they will be responsible for one of the three core topics of von der Leyen’s new agenda:

1.Executive Vice-President Francis Timmersman (Netherlands) shall coordinate the work on the European Green Deal strengthening EU policies to fight climate change and promote sustainability. The goal for the EU is to become the world’s first climate neutral continent by 2050;

2.Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager (Denmark) shall coordinate an overarching agenda on a Europe ready for the digital age. The goal is to make the European Single Market fit for the digital age;

3.Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis (Latvia) shall coordinate the work on an Economy that Works for People and be the Commissioner for Financial Services.

The five other Vice-presidents are:

1.Josep Borrell (Spain): High-Representative of the Union for Foreign Policy and Security Policy designate for A Stronger Europe in the World;

2.Věra Jourová (Czechia): Values and Transparency;

3.Margaritis Schinas (Greece): Protecting our European Way of Life;

4.Maroš Šefčovič (Slovakia): Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight;

5.Dubravka Šuica (Croatia): Democracy and Demography. She shall also coordinate the work on the Conference on the Future of Europe from the Commission side.

In addition to this, the new college will be formed by 18 other Commissioners. They represent the core of new structure of the European Commission and shall be responsible to manage the expertise provided by the various Directorates-generals.

1.Johannes Hahn (Austria): Budget and Administration; 

2.Didier Reynders (Belgium): Justice (including the issue of rule of law);

3.Mariya Gabriel (Bulgaria): Innovation and Youth; 

4.Stella Kyriakides (Cyprus): Health;

5.Kadri Simson (Estonia): Energy;

6.Jutta Urpilainen (Finland): International Partnerships;

7.Sylvie Goulard (France): Internal Market;

8.László Trócsányi (Hungary): Neighbourhood and Enlargement;

9.Phil Hogan (Ireland): Trade;

10.Paolo Gentiloni (Italy): Economy;

11.Virginijus Sinkevičius (Lithuania): Environment and Oceans;

12.Nicolas Schmit (Luxembourg): Jobs;

13.Helena Dalli (Malta): Equality;

14.Janusz Wojciechowski (Poland): Agriculture;

15.Elisa Ferreira (Portugal): Cohesion and Reforms ;

16.Rovana Plumb (Romania): Transport;

17.Janez Lenarčič (Slovenia): Crisis Management;

18.Ylva Johansson (Sweden): Home Affairs;

More specific information about the new Commissioners can be found at this page.

What this means for Eurochild:

The most relevant Commissioners for Eurochild’s work are the following:

Vice-president Dubravka Šuica (Croatia - Democracy and Demography) will be responsible for coordinating the work on the future Child Guarantee, ensuring that children have access to the services they need and are supported through to their adult lives. She shall also prepare a comprehensive strategy on the rights of the child that should include actions to protect vulnerable children, protect their rights online, foster child-friendly justice and prevent and fight violence (Mission Letter). She will be crucial for ensuring that children’s voices are heard in EU policy-making.

Nicolas Schmit (Luxembourg - Jobs) will be working to strengthen Europe’s social dimension. He will be responsible for reinforcing the Youth Guarantee and leading the work on developing a European Child Guarantee as a tool to fight poverty and ensure children have access to basic services (Mission letter). As a consequence, he shall work directly with the DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, the directorate with which Eurochild has a strategic partnership.

Stella Kyriakides (Cyprus - Health) will steer the European Union towards a solid Child Health Policy;

Didier Reynders (Belgium - Justice) will enforce children’s rights and ensure that every decision shall not to harm children’s best interest;

Helena Dalli (Malta - Equality) will guarantee the EU compliance with children’s right to equality;

Mariya Gabriel (Bulgaria - Innovation and Youth) will proactively engage in creating new perspectives for the young generations;

Next steps: 

In October, after a number of public hearings run by MEPs to evaluate the Commission candidates, the European Parliament shall have to give its consent to the entire College of Commissioners. After the consent, the European Council shall have to formally appoints the new European Commission. As concerns Brexit, it is important to notice that if the UK were to ask for an extension, and if that were granted by the EU, the UK shall be compelled to nominate a European Commissioner.

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news-2040 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 LeaveCareLiveLife project launches in Zagreb http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/leavecarelivelife-project-launches-in-zagreb/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=fef18c28d38d9c618320ad68e689ef2e LeaveCare-LiveLife, a project designed to increase youth participation in decisions made on EU care leaver policies, has launched this week in Zagreb with over 40 care leavers directly participating.

FICE Croatia, Eurochild candidate member (to be endorsed at the next General Assembly), are partners in the “LeaveCare-LiveLife” project, bringing together over 40 young care leavers this week in Zagreb. They will work for five days to develop recommendations for better care services. The Care Leavers are representing Croatia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine.  The recommendations developed through their mutual knowledge of care services will be delivered to European-level decision makers, in preparation for the final conference at the premises of the EU institutions in Brussels in the early months of 2020.

This joint training experience is the third step of the Erasmus Plus Programme funded project titled "LeaveCare-LiveLife: Building the European Care Leavers Network for Youngsters Leaving Foster and Residential Care and Actively Living and Participating in Life”. Launched in December 2017, the project will last 28 months. It is designed to give young care leavers (those who are leaving the community, foster care, or a family home) the tools to be better prepared for their future independent lives. The project partners include Associazione Agevolando from Italy as the project leader, FICE Croatia, Care Leavers Association from the United Kingdom, Care Leavers Network Ireland and TIBERIUS Association from Romania.A

The project has already been agreed and tested with more than 150 youngsters as a good methodology of group participation. The Care Leavers Participation Groups (CLPGs) will provide their recommendations to the decision makers, professionals, and journalists to help improve the situation of care leavers.  We have held training for the associations’ staff in Maynooth, Ireland, and a further training conference for 30 professionals – educators, social workers, and psychologists from the partners’ countries in Bucharest, Romania. The two training sessions were aimed at increasing awareness regarding the issue of youth participation in leaving care and to promote a change in mentality towards the active role of young people in the decisions affecting their lives. 

In addition, the project will create a virtual exchange platform for young people with care experience: offering another level of support (alongside in person, direct exchanges) as a space for their participation and active citizenship. Beyond the project, partners are creating the European Care Leavers Network, a stable organization based in Brussels that will protect the rights of care leavers in every EU country through direct action. Policies and legislation about leaving the care system can significantly differ across Europe.

Using the voices of care leavers, their youth participation, and their direct experience of leaving care, LeaveCare-LiveLife aims to promote a change in mentality towards the role of young people in decisions affecting their lives. The final aim of these promoted activities is to achieve a better situation for care leavers in every EU country and to inform and change legislations and policies at EU and national levels. 

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news-2039 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Former Eurochild Children's Council members nominated for the Children's Peace Prize http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/former-eurochild-childrens-council-members-nominated-for-the-childrens-peace-prize/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=74bfe9dc990226c51f38878a0cc9f587 Konstantinos and Angelina have been nominated for the 2019 Children's Peace Prize for their courageous and committed work towards children's rights.

“Believe in something and do everything to achieve it. Believe in yourselves and the power of your voice because together we can change the world.” 

Konstantinos, 17 years, and one of Eurochild’s former Eurochild Children’s Council Members has been nominated by Eurochild for the 2019 Children’s Peace Prize. He is one of the 111 children from across the world who have been nominated for their actions to fight courageously for children’s rights. 

Konstantinos was born and raised in Greece, facing one of the greatest economic crisis in recent history, which created a lot of anger and hostility towards young people in Greece. He founded his own website, Teens4Greece, creating an online space for Greek children and young people aged 13-18 years to discuss concerns after the Greek economic crisis. Konstantinos has participated in Eurochild’s Children’s Council, contributing to different activities. He spoke on behalf of the Children’s Advisory Team to the DGD as keynote speaker at the UN Human Rights Council at the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. For his full profile click here.

Konstantinos is not the only Eurochild Children’s Council members who has been nominated. Angelina, 16 years old, from Ukraine has also been nominated. 

The winner of the 2019 Kids Peace Prize will be announced on 30 September. 

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news-2005 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 An EU job worth fighting for – European Commissioner for Children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/an-eu-job-worth-fighting-for-european-commissioner-for-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=625b225738e62817560faeda01dbaf9c With the opportunity of a new European Commission, Eurochild has launched a petition to gather signatures supporting a new role at the European Commission – A Commissioner for Children in the next mandate of the European Commission 2019-2024. With a political leader, the EU would prioritise fighting the many challenges faced by children. Did you know that there is an EU Commissioner for Fisheries but no Commissioner for Children? 

European leaders are about to decide on top jobs for the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union. Over the next five years, these European Commissioners are responsible for proposing laws and setting the EU's political and spending priorities.

While children’s rights are guaranteed by law, a lot still remains to be done.

1 in 4 children are at risk of poverty in the European Union (EU); social protection systems are too weak to support families and children in need; strucutural inequalities have locked children and families into a cycle of disadvantage. In December 2009, the EU recognised children's rights. 10 years later, there is no single authority in the EU with the responsibility of child-proofing EU policies to enforce this! 

With the opportunity of a new European Commission, Eurochild has launched a petition to gather signatures supporting a new role at the European Commission – A Commissioner for Children in the next mandate of the European Commission 2019-2024. With a political leader, the EU would prioritise fighting the many challenges faced by children.

The petition letter to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, states that the role of a “European Commissioner for Children would be to champion the rights of children within the EU, accession countries and in its external action. The Commissioner would ensure all policies and EU funds have a positive impact on children’s lives.

Young respondents to the year-long Europe Kids Want survey think that the EU makes their life better and that it can do more. The Bucharest EU Children’s Declaration which was developed with children at the first ever EU Children’s Summit under the Romanian EU Presidency in May this year, also points to children seeking greater participation in public decision-making. Eurochild envisions this role to respond to the demands of children, civil society and other actors seeking greater political attention to children’s rights.

Sign the petition to join the call for a European Commissioner for Children. There is limited time to make our voices heard!

Learn more on www.commissionerforchildren

Read the job description as we imagine it, and sign the petition here!

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news-2009 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Children rights are too serious to be left only to the goodwill of adults http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/children-rights-are-too-serious-to-be-left-only-to-the-goodwill-of-adults/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=ad5b0b579650595e684caaeb9b94c897 This is the view shared by Konstantinos, former member of the Eurochild Children’s Council, who was invited as keynote speaker at University of Geneva Summer School. Konstantinos, former member of the Eurochild Children’s Council, was invited as keynote speaker at University of Geneva Summer School on topic of “Children as Defenders of Human Rights. He was joined on stage with prestigious panel composing of UN Committee on Rights of the Child member Philip Jaffé and other academics.

It was a great honor to be invited as the keynote speaker University of Geneva summer school with the topic of discussion: The Human Rights of children in practice are too serious to be left only to the goodwill of adults. It was a pleasure being in the panel with amazing people such as Philip Jaffé, Stephen Langton, Roberta Ruggiero, and Jean Zermatten who have advocated for children’s rights for years. I had the opportunity to meet inspiring individuals from all over the world that are passionate about human and children’s rights.  I would like to thank the University of Geneva, Eurochild and Child Rights Connect for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts my ideas and my worries for the future.” – Konstantinos launched Teens4Greece at the height of the economic crisis to engage children’s views.

He was recently invited by the UN to speak at the Day of General Discussion in presence of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

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news-2006 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 H.E Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca takes office as Eurochild President http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/he-marie-louise-coleiro-preca-takes-office-as-eurochild-president/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=a0c4395d2d138b35daa96879cc4a1f19 H.E Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President Emeritus, Malta and newly elected Eurochild President took office and chaired her first Eurochild Management Board meeting in Brussels. On 17-18 June H.E Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President Emeritus, Malta and newly elected Eurochild President took office and chaired her first Eurochild Management Board meeting in Brussels.

 

The Management Board also met with the Eurochild secretariat to discuss the next steps for a stronger network that promotes the rights and well-being of children. Eurochild is mid-way in its current  2019-2021 Strategic Plan. Based on on-going feedback from the membership, the Board and Secretariat began planning Eurochild’s work programme for 2020. They evaluated the work done so far, and began planning the future to ensure that children will effectively be at the heart of European policies.

In a recent letter, H.E. Coleiro Preca highlighted the value of the Eurochild network: “One of the beautiful things which distinguishes Eurochild in Brussels, in Europe, and in the world is the sense of togetherness which exists amongst all of our members. I have always been a firm believer of the immense benefits of working together – as working together towards a common goal is the right way to reach the set targets.” 

The Eurochild membership is constantly growing, with almost 200 members across Europe.

 

Meet the full Management Board online

See what Eurochild achieved in the last year.

 

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news-1990 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Child rights under attack in Bulgaria http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/child-rights-under-attack-in-bulgaria/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=f8d32ab22a9c0a3bde73bdc8e69b8a94 Eurochild member, National Network for Children raises concerns around national policies becoming hostage to speculation, disinformation and fake news. The European Parliament elections open a new page in the development of the Old Continent, and today perhaps more than ever it is worth asking: Will we be able to preserve Europe, as we have imagined - a project based on common values, democracy and human rights? Eurochild member National Network for Children illustrates the backlash against children’s rights and raises concerns around national policies becoming hostage to speculation, disinformation and fake news.

The origin is the draft National Strategy for the Child 2019-2030 (the Strategy). When it was submitted for public discussion at the beginning of the year, it triggered heated debates, followed by a wave of public psychosis and protests. Certain parent groups, which are led by extreme right-wing organisations and supporters of evangelical denominations, made negative comments about the Strategy. Following this, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church intervened with an official statement in which it stated that parents have the right to slap their children in order to discipline them. It was also outlined that the Church is against abortion, contraception and sexual education at school, which should be replaced with abstinence. After a negative public reaction, the Holy Synod of the Church announced that this was not their official opinion and came up with a softer and more diplomatic stance.

Initially the debate was dominated by the notion that the Strategy introduces a total ban on corporal punishment (which is already in force in Bulgarian law). Later the strategy was attacked by absolutely false and provocative claims stating that the Strategy is diminishing the rights of the parents and that the state and the social services will be able to take away children from their families "based on the Norwegian model of child protection". Narratives began to dominate the public discourse, arguing that Bulgarian children would be taken away from families for banal reasons, such as a refusal to buy a toy or ice-cream to the child and will be given instead to Norwegian gay couples for adoption. Subsequently, the attacks were not only focused on the Strategy but also targeted the whole child protection system, including foster care and home visits, the national telephone helpline for children 116 111, the activities of non-governmental organisations working with children, health and sexual education at school, and many other topics.

The worst aspect of the whole situation was the silence of the state institutions. The Ministry of Labor and Social Policy and the State Agency for Child Protection failed (or refused) to explain to the citizens what policies are envisaged with the new Strategy and why they are important. Instead, the complete silence was followed by a statement by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov that the Strategy is withdrawn and it will not be adopted. He even said that there was "no strategy" after a group of loud protesters shouted outside the windows of the Council of Ministers in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, – no more than 1,000 people but well-organised and carefully prepared with dozens of posters in the same style that analysts later identified as extremely reminiscent of neo-Nazi propaganda.

The National Network for Children, which brings together 152 civil society organizations working for and with children and families across the country, could not remain impartial. The Network has come up with several positions on the subject, including an open letter to the government and political parties. The letter called for urgent support from the institutions for the Strategy by taking sides in the debate on its content, purpose and adoption process. The Network invoked the state to implement those measures that bring together society and to address the important issues of demography, poverty, parental income, and support for improving the well-being of children.

Bulgaria faces high rates of children in poverty (above 40%). Read more about situation of children in Bulgaria here.

The Network also addressed an open letter to Bulgarian parents, asking them to be critically minded citizens, rather than a passive electorate led by cheap propaganda and fake news. NNC led the public debate with broad media coverage. As the institutions barely took any action, the Network prepared questions and answers to calm people's fears and try to counter the fake news in the social media.
According to many analysts, the Strategy is only a motive and the disinformation plan has longer-term and broader goals.

In his commentary, published by the Bulgarian section of Deutsche Welle, Evgeniy Dainov, a political scientist and professor at the New Bulgarian University, commented on the following: “At the bottom of this theater of absurdity are extremist fundamentalist groups. Well-organized and funded, they want to persecute all who do not live within the "traditional Christian family". They consider in vitro fertilization to be Satan's work, and secular education for something extremely dangerous. In fact, we also know this theater of absurdity from the hysteria along the Istanbul Convention . The aim in both cases is the same: to suggest that Bulgaria has a bad external enemy and that is Europe. Moreover, it is time to look for our "real" friends. Who will they be? So, how? These are the Slavic brothers, the generous liberators, the Orthodox Christians who have long declared Europe as a gang of degenerates ... However, defining these groups and their goals does not solve the big problem. And how is it that such marginal organizations, spreading frankly unimaginable lies, received such sensitive support from Bulgarian society?”

For more information or to organize media interviews, please contact:
Teodora Petrova
Communications Director
National Network for Children      
Phone +359 2 988 82 07
Mobile +359 88 641 3073
E-mail: teodora.petrova@nmd.bg

 

*  In 2018, Bulgaria failed to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence in the midst of similar public and institutional crisis, provoked by false claims that if Bulgaria ratifies the Convention, it will also have to introduce same-sex marriages and a “third gender”.

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news-1980 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Cross-party support in Spain to the European Child Guarantee at Plataforma’s EU election event http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/cross-party-support-in-spain-to-the-european-child-guarantee-at-plataformas-eu-election-event/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=104008df309f788586397b6ba6ccfe21 Spanish candidates for the European elections met with civil society representatives at the roundtable debate organised by Plataforma de Infancia, Eurochild’s National Partner Network in Spain on 14 May in Madrid. Spanish candidates for the European elections met with civil society representatives at the roundtable debate organised by Plataforma de Infancia, Eurochild’s National Partner Network in Spain on 14 May in Madrid. Members of the Plataforma presented the key messages of the Vote for Children campaign, which were initially launched in Spanish the week before. Eurochild was supporting the event and contributed with some highlights for putting children’s rights on the EU institutions’ agenda.

Four political parties were represented by candidate Members of European Parliament (MEP) in the debate that followed - Antonio López Isturiz, EPP; Mónica Silvana, S&D; Patricia Caro, GUE; Susana Solís ALDE. They unanimously agreed that:

  • Reducing child poverty needs to be a policy priority for Spain as well as for Europe as a whole
  • The Child Guarantee needs to be adopted in the co-legislative process on the European Social Fund Plus;
  • Civil society organisations promoting children’s rights will be involved in their legislative work.

Further ideas raised by the candidates included: giving more attention to the rights of children in migration and Roma children; the issues of gender equality; support to single-parent households; child participation; pushing for a European Commissioner position on children and a children’s rights EP committee.

Organisations working within the Plataforma expressed their interest to follow-up with the candidates following their election and hold them to account on their commitments made at the event.

Spain has the second-most Child Rights Champions in the Vote for Children campaign at the time of writing this article. Find out the list of Child Rights Champions from Spain and the rest of the EU: www.childrightsmanifesto.eu

More here (in Spanish) 

Contact: Almudena Escorial ; Reka Tunyogi

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news-1979 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Croatian children convince EU election candidates to become Child Rights Champions http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/croatian-children-convince-eu-election-candidates-to-become-child-rights-champions/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=8e9a0478dd151d52fecd252ec7138970 The Children’s City Council Opatija organised a panel discussion between children and candidates for the European Parliament elections to encourage candidates to become child rights champions. On 14 May 2019 children from Children’s City Council Opatija organised a panel discussion between children and candidates for the European Parliament elections to encourage candidates to become child rights champions. As Child Rights Champions, elected parliamentarians would be expected to invest in children; break the cycle of poverty facing 25 million children and listen to the voices of children.

Eurochild member Society “Our Children” Opatija (SOC) presented the Vote for Children campaign and other international activities of the Children’s City Council. The Vote for Children is seeking commitment from candidates for the European elections to become champions for children’s rights. This event took place at the Villa Antonio, in the framework of the project "Playing we learn about our City", supported by the Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy, under the project activity "Every Voice Matters". The Children's City Council (CCC) Opatija presented the projects they have been included in, on the local, national and EU level.

Among participants, there were elementary school students from Opatija and Lovran who are attending Citizen’s Educational Programs, former members of CCC Opatija and Children’s forum, school and kindergarten principals, Deputy Mayor of the City of Opatija Emil Priskić, Danijela Žagar from the Office of Ombudsman for Children in Rijeka and candidates from the list of candidates for the European Parliament elections in the County Primorsko-goranska: Candidates Romana Jerkovic (SDP), Majda Manjgotić Paravić (Union of Kvarner) and Nebojša Zelić (We Can! - Political Platform) were present at the event.

     

Sanja Škorić, secretary of the SOC Opatija, reminded participants of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted in 1989 which this year is celebrating the 30th anniversary of adoption. The Republic of Croatia ratified the Convention in 1991. The Children’s City Councilors Vedrana and Jan presented the work program of their mandate and Lucija presented results of the "Europe Kids Want" survey. Former Child Mayor, Petra and Jan spoke about the international activities of the CCC and Children’s Forum, their involvement in the European Commission Forum on the Rights of the Child, the Eurochild Children’s Council and Petra’s involvement in the Council for Children of the Republic of Croatia. Vedrana and Raffael presented the Bucharest EU Declaration about active participation of children, following their participation in the International Conference on Children’s Participation in Decision Making and Policy Making in the EU (also knowns as Children’s Summit).

Councilors Romina and Hana presented the Vote for children campaign and how to become a Child Rights Champion. The candidates committed to the promotion of children’s rights and to become promoters of children's rights because children are our future leaders and they are our future. Children asked the candidates to the European Parliament about children's rights, their social rights and environmental protection. All candidates present at the event said that, if they would win the mandate, they would invite students from Opatija to the European Parliament. Following a hearty discussion, each of the candidates signed up to become Child Rights Champions!

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news-1976 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 First ever EU Children’s Summit paves way for future of Europe debate http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/first-ever-eu-childrens-summit-paves-way-for-future-of-europe-debate/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=6c1455a9484c86684df649303860954a The first ever Children’s Summit involving over 60 children from across Europe has kicked off in Bucharest under the leadership of the Romanian EU Presidency. (6 May, Bucharest, Romania). Eurochild recognises this Summit as a critical milestone in the history of the EU and urges future Presidencies to listen to the demands and consult children on issues that matter to them. It takes place a few days in advance of the Future of Europe Summit in Sibiu, Romania. The summit is organised by the National Authority on the Protection of Children's Rights and Adoption in partnership with UNICEF Romania.

The Children’s Summit (officially, Children's Participation in Decision-Making and Policy-Making at EU level) is the first gathering of children, under an EU Presidency, to urge EU leaders to make children’s right to be heard a reality. According to the Europe Kids Want survey, launched by the European Parliament and supported by Eurochild and UNICEF, only 8% of children respondents feel that adults listen to their opinions when making decisions in their community.

“Children are agents of change, in their own lives, the lives of our communities, our countries and our world. The right of children to participate is key to achieving access to all of their rights: such as protection from violence; from poverty and discrimination; and, tackling today’s environmental challenges, amongst others. Therefore, it is essential that the European Union listens to children, and ensures that children can influence decisions that directly affect them, and all of us.” H.E Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Eurochild.

Eurochild, a children’s rights advocacy network with 176 members in 34 countries, has been actively engaged in gathering views of children and experts on children’s participation in public decision-making. The Bucharest EU Children’s Declaration and Experts’ Supporting Document will be adopted on Tuesday 7 May at the Children’s Summit to guide European leaders. Eurochild will engage with decision-makers to ensure structured mechanisms are put in place to allow children to engage with decision-making at local, national and European levels.

“Child participation is a two-way street which benefits not only children but also society at large. I am so pleased that the Romanian Presidency is setting a precedent, which I hope future EU Presidencies will build upon”, concluded H.E Coleiro Preca.

NOTE TO EDITOR:
Read the Bucharest EU Children’s Declaration and the Experts’ Supporting Document ‘Exploring what the EU can do to promote and support the participation of children in decision-making’.

This year is the 30th anniversary of adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which has been ratified by all EU countries. Article 12 of the UNCRC guarantees all children the right to be heard and have their views given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity.

Meet the Romanian children’s board that helped draft the Bucharest EU Children’s Declaration:

<iframe frameborder="0" height="315" width="560" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zsrjWCvc7qk" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture"></iframe>

About Eurochild:
Eurochild is an advocacy network of organisations working with and for children throughout Europe, striving for a society that respects the rights of children. Bringing expertise from its membership, the network of 176 organisations and individuals across 34 countries influences policies, builds internal capacities, facilitates mutual learning and exchanges practice and research to support the children’s rights sector. Eurochild hosted its bi-annual conference in Opatija, Croatia in October 2018 on the topic of children’s participation in public decision-making.

For interviews or questions, please contact:
Prerna Humpal
Head of Communications
T: +32 (0) 2 211 0553
E: prerna.humpal@eurochild.org
W: www.eurochild.org

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news-1920 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Training on foster care for unaccompanied migrant children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/training-on-foster-care-for-unaccompanied-migrant-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=2a8bf31548d34392c22b3b87a5acb1a5 The Master training aims at enabling professionals to have the knowledge base to be able to provide foster care for unaccompanied migrant children. A Master training on Foster care for unaccompanied migrant children was held in Prague on 21-22 January as part of the FORUM Project.

The training has been organised within the FORUM project, co-financed by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme of the European Union and co-ordinated by Fondazione L’Albero della Vita, in partnership with Accem (Spain), CSGYA (Hungary), FICE (Austria), OPU (Czech Republic), Slovenska Filantropija (Slovenia), ISMU (Italy), CORAM (UK) and Eurochild.

The reception of unaccompanied migrant children requires specific competences and adequate services that consider them children first and not as migrants only. A key component of the FORUM project (Foster Care for Unaccompanied Migrant Children) is the capacity building of professionals dealing with migration and child protection to ensure a quality service of foster care.

The Master training aims at enabling professionals to have the knowledge base to be able to provide foster care for unaccompanied migrant children. The participants were selected by all partners. They will transfer the knowledge to professionals in their own countries through workshops to be organised between February and July 2019.  

The main topics tackled during the Master training include drivers of migration; Systems of care for unaccompanied children; Building knowledge and skills to care for unaccompanied children; Identifying networks of support and forms of professional partnership, Recruitment and assessment of foster carers; Matching of foster carers and children; Training, retention and monitoring.

Eurochild is part of the FORUM project and has developed an advocacy toolkit to enable children’s rights advocates to promote better care services for unaccompanied and separated migrant children in the EU.

For more information, go to FORUM project website: https://forum-project.alberodellavita.org/

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news-1919 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Maltese children meet prospective Members of the European Parliament http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/maltese-children-meet-prospective-members-of-the-european-parliament/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=1877b5e754cfb635388572a24f62f705 Eurochild member The President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society organised a roundtable with children and 12 European Parliament election candidates. During a Roundtable organised by the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society (PFWS) on the 18 January 2019, children had the opportunity to voice their opinions and share their priority areas with the people who will be representing them in the European Parliament. The aim of this roundtable was to put children’s rights and child participation high on the agenda both at local and at European level.

A total of 12 prospective MEP candidates accepted the invitation to take part in this event — the first such event being held with EP contenders — and the children were well prepared to ensure their concerns were aired.

The list of issues put forward ranged from accessible healthcare, environmental concerns, and bullying, among many other issues. The Children from the PFWS Children and Young Persons’ Council  questioned the island’s overdevelopment, the felling of trees, single-use plastics, securing safe public spaces, encouraging renewable energy, having less cars on the road, better teaching methods, banning animal cruelty, and addressing immigration.

They also raised the importance of civic education for 16-year-olds who would be voting for the first time, called for a reduction in political partisanship, and stressed the need for better mental health support at a community level.

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news-1914 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 SEED Positive results for social and emotional well-being of children in 5 countries http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/seed-positive-results-for-social-and-emotional-well-being-of-children-in-5-countries/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=32e6f0f7233b8aa890505337b122f693 A study conducted by ICDI in 5 European countries provides evidence that on average 75% of 5 year-old children are doing well in terms of their social and emotional well-being, while there is reason for concern for a cross-country average of 24%. The study is part of the SEED project (Social and Emotional Education and Well-being), coordinated by International Child Development Initiatives – ICDI and co-funded by the European Commission Erasmus+ programme. It was conducted in Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, the Netherlands and Norway and also identified factors in early childhood education and care settings and primary schools that practitioners believe to be significant for the social and emotional well-being of young children.

Things that positively contribute to children’s wellbeing and which practitioners can actively do something about are: respectful relationships between practitioners and children and between children themselves, having indoor and outdoor play opportunities, and working closely and constructively with parents.

On the other hand many of the factors that hinder social and emotional well-being that were identified by practitioners in the study, are ‘out of their control’. These include: large group size, level of diversity amongst children and lack of social cohesion in the community.

While everyone may choose to focus more on the positive or the concerning findings, what we would like to stress is that the social and emotional well-being of young children, their learning and development is crucial for Europe’s future. So too is the need to support the continuing professional development of practitioners working with young children. The SEED project will continue work on these topics in 2019.

Click here to read the full report of the research or the summary, which is available in English, Croatian, Dutch, Hungarian, Latvian and Norwegian.

 

 

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news-1913 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 H.E. President of Malta to attend Eurochild General Assembly http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/he-president-of-malta-to-attend-eurochild-general-assembly/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=ea6a5da04c361eb64a1c6db4e500149d President Coleiro Preca has also been nominated to be an honorary member of Eurochild for her exceptional commitment to children’s rights. President of Malta, H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca met with Eurochild’s first Founding President Catriona Williams OBE of Children in Wales, and former Board member and member of the election committee George Bogdanov of National Network of Children in Bulgaria today at San Anton Palace, in Attard, Malta.

President Coleiro Preca kindly accepted the invitation to attend the Eurochild General Assembly in April this year. She has also been nominated to be an honorary member of Eurochild for her exceptional commitment to children’s rights and we are delighted that she will be attending the General Assembly in April.

During the meeting, the President of Malta expressed her concern at the plight of the 49 children, women and men, who were stranded on two vessels in the Mediterranean Sea for 19 days. President Coleiro Preca spoke of the need to make fundamental human rights, and children’s rights, a priority.  

A number of NGOs and the Maltese Commissioner for Children had also demanded that the vessel be brought ashore. The 49 migrants have now been allowed to disembark.  

About the General Assembly:

Eurochild holds an annual General Assembly to bring together its members. The General Assembly has the power to elect the Management Board, change statutes and approve annual budget and internal rules. The General Assembly will take place on 17-18 April 2019 in Brussels. Click here for further information on the event.

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news-1907 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 TOY for Inclusion seeks expansion - Setup your own Play hub in your country http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/toy-for-inclusion-seeks-expansion-setup-your-own-play-hub-in-your-country/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=a84954a5372ab8627847ff1925df8655 The project TOY for Inclusion aims to improve the transition experience of vulnerable children to schools by offering an innovative response to discrimination. Segregation and discrimination of vulnerable communities is determined by socioeconomic and historical factors, and has a detrimental effect on young children (and their families) in terms of their rights, development, and their future. We believe that all children, no matter what their background is, should have access to high quality and inclusive education. This begins with early childhood education and care (ECEC) services.

The project TOY for Inclusion (co-funded by the European Commission and Open Society Foundations) aims to improve the transition experience of vulnerable children to schools by offering an innovative response to discrimination. It is doing so by creating community based non formal ECEC Play Hubs where relationships between young children from diverse backgrounds and their families are built and interactions in safe play spaces across all generations are supported.

The Play Hubs are the result of the collaborative work of early years services that jointly assess the needs of local young children and families and co-design with them the activities offered in the Hubs.

What is an ECEC Play Hub?

•       a space where children and their families of all ages are welcomed to play games with each other;

•       where they can meet with other (grand)parents with different backgrounds and take part in creative and social activities;

•       where (grand)parents can easily access  information about childrearing, health, early learning and development.

International Child Development Initiatives – ICDI is coordinating the TOY for Inclusion project since 2017 and is happy to share that the project has so far created eight Play Hubs for young children in seven EU countries (Belgium, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Slovenia and Slovakia) which have obtained extraordinary results:

 

•       Challenged the prevailing understanding of ECEC service delivery as only possible in a formal environment

•       Built trust between the families and communities with different backgrounds

•       Increased access of vulnerable families to early years services

•       All generations interacted and learned together

•       Provided an important community safe space for interagency cooperation between early years services.

 

We believe that social inclusion can start with young children and their eagerness to play and learn! If you are also interested in the TOY for Inclusion approach and to set up a Play Hub in the country where you work, please visit our website (www.toy4inclusion.eu)  and download our resources:

-          TOY for Inclusion Toolkit;

-          TOY for Inclusion What Works Guide.

We are happy to announce that TOY for Inclusion has received extra funding from the European Commission that will allow the opening of more Play Hubs in 2019-2021.

We are delighted to hear that TOY for Inclusion’s Play Hubs can continue to bring services to many children and families of disadvantaged communities. These Play Hubs provide much needed opportunities for families to meet, for children and adults to play together and for parents to receive expert advice on how to nurture child development”, says Mathijs Euwema, Director of International Child Development Initiatives (ICDI) which coordinates the project.

 

TOY to Share, Play to Care

For more information, please contact: Giulia Cortellesi, ICDI. 

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news-1905 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 “Putting children at the centre” workshop in Slovenia http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/putting-children-at-the-centre-workshop-in-slovenia/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=51dc4f2789e2488b28e285d515623619 The event presented an opportunity for various national and European stakeholders to discuss key developments, challenges and shortcomings in child rights implementation in Slovenia. In cooperation and with support of Eurochild, Legal-Informational Centre for NGOs in Slovenia held a workshop and discussion event titled “Putting children in the centre” on 13 November 2018 in Ljubljana. The event presented an opportunity for various national and European stakeholders to discuss key developments, challenges and shortcomings in child rights implementation in Slovenia; a capacity-building workshop was also held on the topic of child budgeting and child participation in decision-making.

Situation of children’s rights in Slovenia

Based on the Family Code adopted in 2017, reorganisation of social work centres is currently taking place. In 2019, child participation in Slovenia will be assessed in cooperation with the Council of Europe. The Government is drafting new strategic document on children’s rights, and report on Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) implementation in Slovenia, while the NGOs are drafting an alternative report on CRC implementation. The Social Protection Institute, national research institute on social protection issues, developed a child welfare index in 2017.

Among key challenges discussed were lack of data on child welfare/life quality of children, including lack of data on children in migration; rise of the at-risk-of-poverty rate for children; inequalities in access to quality education; and lack of pediatricians and psychiatrists in the country. Despite initiatives for strengthening child participation, a low interest of children has been identified. Various issues regarding protection and care of migrant, asylum-seeking and refugee children, including unaccompanied children, have been discussed, i.e. lack of strategy and systemic solutions on this issue, lengthy asylum procedures, and lack of adequate protection system for child victims of trafficking.

The event provided a valuable opportunity for exchange on current challenges in child rights implementation in Slovenia, and a learning opportunity based on Eurochild’s experience in child budgeting and child participation. The event comes very timely due to national-level developments, including drafting new strategic document on child rights, reporting on CRC implementation and related alternative reporting,” concludes Adriana Aralica, organizer of the event, and project manager with Legal-Informational Centre for NGOs.

The discussion was followed by a workshop with Mieke Schuurman, Senior Policy and Advocacy Coordinator on Children’s Rights and Child Participation at Eurochild. She introduced Childonomics as a tool to assess long-term social and economic benefits of investing in children, and explained child budgeting as a twofold concept, meaning child participation in budgeting, and child-focused budget analysis. Second part of the workshop focused on child participation, enshrined in the CRC. With child participation, accountability plays the key role – children shall understand the effect of their participation. She outlined the preliminary results of the “Europe kids want” campaign that Eurochild is implementing in partnership with UNICEF.

Mieke Schuurman concluded the workshop by outlining some relevant developments regarding children rights on the EU level, including the European Pillar of Social Rights, European Semester process, new Multi-Annual Financial Framework proposal, and European Parliament elections.

The event was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, national research institute on social protection, International Organization for Migration, and various national NGOs.

 

The event has been co-funded by Eurochild and the US State Department (Julia Taft Grant).

 

Background:

Organiser of the event, Legal-Informational Centre for NGOs, is a legal NGO providing legal assistance to vulnerable groups, including asylum-seekers and refugees and people with disabilities, but active also in advocacy and capacity-building activities on human rights and child rights issues, and environmental protection. The organization joined Eurochild membership in 2018.

 

Legal-Informational Centre for NGOs contributed its assessment of the European Semester and alternative recommendation for Slovenia in the 2018 Eurochild Report on the European Semester. Read more about the situation of children in Slovenia.

 

 

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news-1904 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 2019 European Semester crucial for getting the funding priorities right http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/2019-european-semester-crucial-for-getting-the-funding-priorities-right/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=58cf7921de4228ec83f8f7e16f8784ca The 2019 Annual Growth Survey states that the risk of poverty or social exclusion remains a challenge in particular for children. The 2019 European Semester cycle of economic and social policy coordination has officially been launched with the release of the 2019 Annual Growth Survey (AGS) on 21 November. It sets out the general economic and social priorities for the European Union for the coming year, highlighting major trends and identifying priorities for inclusive and sustainable growth. Among the former, it states that the risk of poverty or social exclusion remains a challenge in particular for children. With regard to the latter, the European Commission wants Europe to take a long-term view and increase its socio-economic resilience.

The AGS mentions children in five instances, looking at the particular risk of poverty and social exclusion for vulnerable groups, and recommending a wider access to high-quality childcare services to enable women to enter or stay in employment – focusing on high quality as a first step towards success in education and employment later in life.

 

The priorities outlined in the 2019 AGS are ensuring:

·        investment in research and innovation, in education, training and skills and infrastructure; 

·        reforms that increase productivity growth, inclusiveness and institutional quality; 

·        macro-financial stability and sound public finances

Assessing and boosting investment in key areas is what the European Semester and the EU budget have in common, which is why the AGS announced that the 2019 cycle will have a strong complementarity to EU cohesion policy beyond 2020. Concretely, the country reports prepared by the European Commission per member state will have a new annex identifying investment needs – perhaps even by sector and region - for the purposes of the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund for the period 2021-27.

  

Background:

The Annual Growth Survey builds on the most recent data of the Autumn 2018 Economic Forecast and the messages emerging from the system which monitors macroeconomic imbalances in Member States called the Alert Mechanism Report (AMR).

 

The AGS also builds on the draft Joint Employment Report (JER) which presents an annual overview of the main employment and social developments in the EU as well as the implementation of the Employment Guidelines. Interestingly, the JER 2019 monitors Member States' performance in relation to the Social Scoreboard accompanying the European Pillar of Social Rights. The final adoption by the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) is foreseen in March 2019.

 

Eurochild monitors the European Semester and produces a yearly report assessing the impact of economic and social policies on children per country. The 2018 Eurochild Report on the European Semester is available here.

 

 

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news-1903 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 European Parliament Committee backs Child Guarantee in European Social Fund Plus http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/european-parliament-committee-backs-child-guarantee-in-european-social-fund-plus/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=d0aff882d2f1675ee493a3286de4b60a Eurochild welcomes this vote which will for the first time recognise reduction of child poverty as one of the objectives of the EU’s future budget. With a vote on the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) for the period 2021-27 on 3 December, the European Parliament Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) voted. to introduce the Child Guarantee with a dedicated budget of €5.9 billion.

The adopted changes to the draft regulation state that Member States will have to allocate at least 5% of ESF+ resources to the European Child Guarantee scheme to contribute to children’s equal access to free healthcare, free education, free childcare, decent housing and adequate nutrition – with the aim to tackle child poverty and social exclusion. These measures will need to be in line with the European Commission Recommendation on Investing in Children.  For the first time the social inclusion of children and the reduction of child poverty feature among the specific objectives of the European Social Fund. The ESF+ will also support the transition from institutional care to family and community-based care.

Other important results include:

  • Increase of the minimum amount that Member States have to spend on social inclusion within the ESF+. Instead of the proposed 25%, at least 27% of ESF+ resources will have to be spent on addressing social inclusion, with a further 3% for social inclusion of the most deprived/material deprivation.
  • Improving access to early childhood education, and improving the inclusiveness of education, have been included as specific objectives.
  • Member States will be asked to allocate at least 2% of resources for the capacity building of social partners and civil society organisations at EU and national level.
  • Children have been included in the definition of “most deprived persons”.
  • The following additions were made to the list of those who will be considered beneficiaries of the fund: children people living in regions of high poverty rates; and people transitioning from institutional to family and community based care. 

Eurochild has been working closely with the Employment and Social Affairs Committee on this file and welcomes the vote results.

The text of this resolution will be considered in the European Parliament plenary session in January 2019, giving Parliament the mandate to start negotiations with the EU Council of Ministers.

UPDATE
: 16 January 2019: European Parliament plenary adopted the ESF+ report of EMP Lope Fontagné which calls for increased investments in social inclusion, tackling child poverty and investing in children. Eurochild now looks toward the European Council to support this report in its negotiations on the future EU Budget.

What is the European Social Fund? Watch the video from the European Parliament

 

<iframe frameborder="0" height="315" width="560" allow="fullscreen" src="https://multimedia.europarl.europa.eu/en/esf-streamlining-the-european-social-fund_N01-PUB-181205-SOCI_ev?p_p_state=pop_up&amp;lang=en"> &amp;amp;amp;lt;p&amp;amp;amp;gt;Read the &amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=&amp;amp;amp;quot;http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/society/20181129STO20519/european-social-fund-fighting-poverty-and-unemployment&amp;amp;amp;quot; target=&amp;amp;amp;quot;_blank&amp;amp;amp;quot; class=&amp;amp;amp;quot;external-link-new-window&amp;amp;amp;quot; title=&amp;amp;amp;quot;Opens external link in new window&amp;amp;amp;quot; data-htmlarea-external=&amp;amp;amp;quot;1&amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;gt;European Parliament's explanation on the vote and the European Social Fund&amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;gt;.&amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt; &amp;amp;amp;lt;p&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;span style=&amp;amp;amp;quot;font-weight: bold;&amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;gt;Background: &amp;amp;amp;lt;/span&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt; &amp;amp;amp;lt;p&amp;amp;amp;gt;Eurochild is part of the consortium that is carrying out a feasibility study of a Child Guarantee for vulnerable children together with a team of researchers and experts.&amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt; &amp;amp;amp;lt;p&amp;amp;amp;gt;Eurochild coordinates the ‘Opening Doors for Europe’s Children’ campaign to end institutional care. You can read detailed facts on situation of children in alternative care and recommendations to address this challenge in the &amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=&amp;amp;amp;quot;https://www.openingdoors.eu/resources/post-2020-eu-budget/&amp;amp;amp;quot; target=&amp;amp;amp;quot;_blank&amp;amp;amp;quot; class=&amp;amp;amp;quot;external-link-new-window&amp;amp;amp;quot; title=&amp;amp;amp;quot;Opens external link in new window&amp;amp;amp;quot; data-htmlarea-external=&amp;amp;amp;quot;1&amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;gt;future EU budget.&amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;</iframe>

You can learn more about the European Social Fund here.

 

Background:

Eurochild is part of the consortium that is carrying out a feasibility study of a Child Guarantee for vulnerable children together with a team of researchers and experts.

Eurochild coordinates the ‘Opening Doors for Europe’s Children’ campaign to end institutional care. You can read detailed facts on situation of children in alternative care and recommendations to address this challenge in the future EU budget.

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news-1902 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Welcoming 2019: What are your hopes and dreams for the new year? http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/welcoming-2019-what-are-your-hopes-and-dreams-for-the-new-year/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=18e521ddf562e6fd74e17991d9a4eb93 My wish for children in 2019 is.... It’s amazing what our collective voice can do, because collective voice, exercised through the network of 171 organisations, is our power. The power to drive change and achieve positive outcomes in the lives of children, families and communities.

With new 2019 year around the corner, we are asking Eurochild members and anyone else to tell us: what are you wishing and hoping for children in the year ahead? Please share your inspiring responses with us and add them onto Great 2019 Eurochild’s Wish List. You can help us make the case of what are our collective priorities to improve the situation of children in Europe and what are the problems that need to be tackled in 2019.

It won’t cost you anything or take much time! Just grab a banner, write your own message, take a photo and send it back to us. Your submission will be featured in the start-of-the year member’s wishlist gallery. We’ll share it in the next infoFlash (member’s newsletter), on Eurochild website, Facebook and Twitter.

How you can help build this gallery

  • Download a template banner “Our wish for children in 2019 is…” here.
  • Add your own message either directly in the fillable pdf file; or print the banner off and use a thick black marker or a felted pen to write so your message appears clearly in the photo.
  • When you’re done, use your phone to take a picture of yourself holding the banner
  • Email the photo to Davide Rambaldi at the Eurochild Secretariat.
  • You can also tweet or share your photo on social media and include our hashtag #Eurochildwishes
  • Voilà! That's it!

Check your inbox on 11 January 2018 to see what other Eurochild members are saying!

We believe that through the union, the engagement of one becomes the power of many —the power to make positive change; the power to act and act collectively. So let’s raise our voices and turn them into a collective power to make difference for children in 2019.

As for our wish? We want to see an end to child poverty & social exclusion in Europe.  We want to see an end to institutional care for all children in Europe. We want to see more recognition & understanding of children’s rights in political discourse.

Take a look at wishes gallery


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news-1900 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild nominated as NGO of the year in The Good Lobby Awards http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-nominated-as-ngo-of-the-year-in-the-good-lobby-awards/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=e12afae76ddd4e3c30c8a5204e1fccc0 Eurochild has been nominated for its work on ‘Building the European Parliament with children, for children’. The Eurochild network is delighted to have been nominated as finalist in the 2018 Good Lobby Awards under the category ‘NGO of the Year’.

Eurochild has been nominated for its work on ‘Building the European Parliament with children, for children’.

Through its membership Eurochild network reaches out directly to children and supports their engagement with European Parliamentarians. On the occasion of Universal Children’s Day, on 20 November every year since 2015, Eurochild has organised children’s delegations to meet with MEPs and debate the critical issues of the day. This year, in 2018, Eurochild co-organised a survey on the ‘Europe Kids Want’ to hear from as many children and young people and bring their views on their lives and Europe’s future right to the doorstep of the European Parliament.

Since 2015, we have seen growing awareness among the elected members of the European Parliament of the need to reach out and listen to the youngest in our societies. Whilst children might not vote, their views and experiences matter. In the next parliamentary term, we expect to see this annual meeting with children as a regular highlight of the European Parliament’s calendar”, said Eurochild Secretary General Jana Hainsworth.

Eurochild thanks The Good Lobby for recognising its initiative to bring children’s views closer to European decision-makers. The ceremony to announce the winners of The Good Lobby Awards takes place on 12 December in Brussels. #TGLawards

 

 

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news-1895 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild becomes a full member of the Keeping Children Safe Child Safeguarding Network http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-becomes-a-full-member-of-the-keeping-children-safe-child-safeguarding-network/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=81068a76844013c11a12856b3b94988e KCS is an international network, open to NGOs and corporate organisations who want to strengthen their child safeguarding measures and to build the capacity of organisations to ensure their staff, programmes and operations are safe for children. Mieke Schuurman, Senior Policy and Advocacy Coordinator: Children’s Rights and Child Participation at Eurochild says: “Eurochild is delighted to be a full-fledged member of the Keeping Children Safe network. Our commitment towards increasing children’s participation in our work is matched with our commitment to safeguarding children. With the support of the KCS network, we aim to create an enabling environment for as many children to engage in our mission of putting children at the heart of Europe.”

Eurochild has been part of the KCS Child Safeguarding Network as an Associate Member since 2017, when it adopted an internal child protection policy aimed to ensure a high standard of child safeguarding in its work directly with children in the different areas of its operations, including working with its members to engage with children and in its strategic planning and governance and advocacy work.

Sarah Blakemore, Chief Executive of KCS said, “Keeping Children Safe is pleased to welcome Eurochild as a Full Member of our global network. We are looking forward to continuing to work with them to champion child safeguarding across Europe”.

The KCS membership scheme is available to organisations of all types and sizes right across the globe. Membership benefits include a range of tools and services ranging from the specialised technical assessment of an organisation’s child safeguarding measures, policy review and the creation and implementation of an action plan to ongoing coaching and mentoring, free auditing of an organisations charity partners and the access to an online Child Safeguarding Community of Practice. KCS stands shoulder to shoulder to support its members in their child safeguarding journey – based on the four International Child Safeguarding Standard –to effectively demonstrate commitment to protecting children from harm and exploitation by achieving two levels of certifications.

For more information about the Keeping Children Safe Child Safeguarding Network please email Maryam Ehsani, Child Safeguarding Network Manager or call +44 (0)20 7250 8325.

Notes to the editor:

•    Keeping Children Safe’s expert team of social workers, law enforcement professionals and safeguarding practitioners has helped more than 4,000 organisations (including Save the Children, Plan International and UNICEF) implement International Child Safeguarding Standards in almost every country in the world.
•    KCS has over 78 charity members working in almost every country of the world, impacting the lives of 134 million children annually.
•    A child dies every 5 minutes because of violence.  
•    An estimated 120 million girls and 73 million boys have been victims of sexual violence.
•    Children with disabilities are three to four times more likely to be victims of violence than their peers without disabilities.
•    One in four girls with disabilities report experiencing sexual violence.
•    If a girl is raped during childhood, she is twice as likely to experience sexual assault after the age of 16.
•    Only 2 per cent of countries report a comprehensive legal framework to prevent incidents of violence. Fewer than one in 10 countries have established effective, child- friendly reporting mechanisms and only one in eight countries provide their children with adequate legal redress, including compensation.
•    230 million children do not have any form of legal identity.

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news-1894 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild joins European Commission’s working group on early childhood http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-joins-european-commissions-working-group-on-early-childhood/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=ae436998c43111361e5177472efabcc3 Eurochild has been accepted to become a member of the European Commission Education and Training 2020 (ET2020) Working Group on Early Childhood Education and Care (under the leadership of DG EAC). This is a great opportunity to contribute to supporting the implementation of the European policy agenda in the field of ECEC, bring national experiences from our membership, exchange expertise and push for a holistic and child rights-based approach to ECEC.

This Working Group gathers representatives from all EU Member States that are involved in policy development in the area of ECEC in their countries, can share policy experiences and are in the position to also disseminate and use the results of the Working Group effectively in their respective Member States. Eurochild is one of the stakeholders, together with ISSA, Alliance for Childhood, EASPD, Eurocities, EPSU, EFEE and ETUCE. Eurofound, OECD and Eurydice are also members of the Working Group. The Working Group will focus primarily on (1) social inclusion and (2) professionalisation of staff as a key element of creating an attractive, sustainable and highly competent profession.

Since 2008, Eurochild has set ECEC as a thematic priority, exploring how it can contribute to breaking the intergenerational transmission of poverty and social exclusion. Eurochild Thematic Working Group on Early Years Education and Care has enabled members to participate in several events and engage in advocacy activities focusing on improving the access and quality of services for young children. Through this thematic group, we have been supporting DG EAC’s work on the development of the European Quality Framework in 2014 and the proposal for a Council Recommendation on Quality in ECEC from May 2018. We influenced, principally through our member organisation in Bulgaria the ‘National Network for Children’, the adoption of Council Conclusions of June 2018 onIntegrated early childhood development policies as a tool for reducing poverty and promoting social inclusion, under the Bulgarian presidency.

Eurochild is stepping up work in early childhood development (ECD) and - in partnership with the European Public Health Alliance, the International Step by Step Association, the Roma Education Fund and the Open Society Foundation ECD Program - we are currently working on a policy briefing to be launched in May next year, which will include case studies of good practices in ECD and policy recommendations.

Europe can do more to prioritise investment in early years and contribute to a wider range of better societal and economic outcomes, catalyse exchange of knowledge and experience across EU member states and strengthen the evidence-based practices.

For more information please get in touch with Agata D’Addato.

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news-1891 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Two out of three children in Europe feel positive about migrants, says UNICEF-Eurochild survey http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/two-out-of-three-children-in-europe-feel-positive-about-migrants-says-unicef-eurochild-survey/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=5e01304a6c5b08c66501dcaa634f0e75 Released on World Children’s Day, ´Europe Kids Want´ online poll provides insight into children’s hopes and concerns BRUSSELS, 20 November 2018 – Sixty-eight per cent of children and adolescents in over 20 European countries feel welcoming and curious towards people from different nationalities living intheir country, according to the findings of an online survey released today by UNICEF and Eurochild.

Tolerance and equal treatment of migrants, regardless of religion, culture or language, featureprominently in the results of the opinion poll. The survey also shows that children and young people aged 10 and above are worried about not finding a job in the future, particularly in Italy, Serbia, Spain, Ireland and Bulgaria. 74 per cent of respondents said that schools are not preparing them well enough for the next stages of their lives.

The ´Europe Kids Want´ online survey was developed by children’s rights experts and tested with children before being launched in June this year. In total, nearly 14,000 children and young people from 23 countries participated in the survey during four months, providing over 38,000 responses to topics such as school safety, climate change, family environment and online behavior. The poll remains open and is available in 29 languages.


There are at least 100 million children and adolescents living in the European Union today whoshould have their voices heard on decisions about their futures,” said UNICEF Deputy Director Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, who is in Brussels for World Children’s Day celebrations at the European Parliament. “The European Parliament is opening its doors today for young people to get that conversation started and help shape the Europe of tomorrow, and we are excited to join this conversation.


The event in Brussels, hosted by President Antonio Tajani at the European Parliament and coorganizedby UNICEF and Eurochild, brings 40 children and young people from around Europe, aswell as high-level influencers and decision makers, to debate the results of the Europe Kids Want survey and agree on a roadmap for future engagement.


Children’s participation in public decision-making is not a ‘nice to have’, it is a necessary contributor to better decisions and to more participatory democracy. While annual meetings are symbolically important for dialogue between our European decision-makers and children, we also need on-going government action at local, national and EU levels to involve children. We must not think of children‘as the future’ but rather ‘as change-makers today”, added Eurochild Interim President Hanna Heinonen.

For more information:

Brochure: Read the first assessment of the responses of 14,000 children to the Europe Kids Want survey 

Photos: Look at the photos from the meetings and celebrations on the occasion of World Children's Day

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news-1890 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 The Europe Kids Want – Sharing views of children to mark World Children’s Day http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/the-europe-kids-want-sharing-views-of-children-to-mark-world-childrens-day/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=cae68240f1ddbcddbea5ba00f98f79b9 European Parliament will host series of events to mark World Children’s Day in Brussels Children and young people have a key stake in Europe’s future. Not only because it is their future that is affected by today’s decisions, but also because their involvement in decision-making helps them to understand democratic values and fundamental freedoms which underpin the European project. They are voters of tomorrow and change-makers of today.

As European leaders debate the future of Europe, UNICEF and Eurochild launched an online survey, inviting children and young people to share their views on the Europe they want. ‘Europe Kids Want’ gathered children’s and young people’s experiences of family-life, school, society and their thoughts on Europe.

On the occasion of World Children’s Day on 20 November 2018, children and high level decision makers from European, national and intergovernmental institutions will engage in a quiz style debate in the European Parliament, Brussels to understand the views of children and commit to taking forward their demands.

 

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The Europe Kids Want Survey
On 1st June 2018 Eurochild and UNICEF launched the ‘Europe Kids Want’ opinion poll for children and young people to express their views on matters that affect them and how they perceive Europe.

For World Children’s Day on 20 November, UNICEF and Eurochild assessed the responses of over 15,000 children and young people from over 23 countries in Europe and will celebrate the day and discuss results.
 
The survey remains open and invites young people to respond to it, in one of the 29 languages.
GO TO THE SURVEY




 

Read the Europe Kids Want Brochure and discover the first impressions!

The World Children’s Day event

A quiz show with children and decision makers will take place at the European Parliament, hosted by Mr Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament, Mr Pier Antonio Panzeri, the Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and by the European Parliament Intergroup on Children's Rights. With participation of children from all over Europe and high-level guests.

Last year, President Tajani had committed to assess progress on children's rights in the European Parliament on a yearly basis. Watch his video statement from 2017 below.

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How to get involved?

On the eve of the World Children’s Day, the children gathered in Brussels will join a ‘Youth Parliament’. Children will many topics including – access to education and health to all children, and an annual Q &A between EU leaders and young people.

You can follow the opening and closing session of the Youth Parliament via live streaming at EP live and on the European Youth Event Facebook page.

Respond to the survey: If you are a young person, share your views by responding to the Europe Kids Want survey. It is available in 29 languages! 

Join the conversation online: #EuropeKidsWant #WorldChildrensDay

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news-1879 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 How can next EU budget support deinstitutionalisation? http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/how-can-next-eu-budget-support-deinstitutionalisation/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=8fca2f66dde982ba425148a996b4d16f Experts on transitioning from institutional to community based care meet Members of European Parliament

On Wednesday, 10 October 2018, the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care (EEG) held a technical meeting entitled “Future of the EU funds for the transition from institutional to community-based care”. The event brought together Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from the REGI and EMPL committees, European Commission officials and civil society to discuss how the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) can support the transition from institutional to community-based care. The meeting was hosted by MEP Brando Benifei on behalf of the European Parliament Intergroup on Child Rights and the Intergroup on Disability Rights.

The meeting started with opening remarks from the event’s host, MEP Brando Benifei and Sabrina Ferraina, co-chair of the EEG. They both mentioned the importance of the topic discussed and acknowledged the existing commitment of the EU towards the transition from institutional to community based care during the 2014 – 2020 funding period.

“During the 2014-2020 funding period, the European Structural and Investment Funds have been a key component in the transition from institutional to community-based care, benefiting children and families, people with disabilities and people with mental health problems,” said Ms Ferraina.  “Yet, more than 1 million children, persons with disabilities, people with mental health problems and homeless people continue to live in the long stay residential institutions, segregated from society in Europe,” she added.

MEP Brando Benifei said that collectively more has to be done to provide community-based care for social inclusion in the EU and that EU funds cannot be allowed to go to institutions or other arrangements not respecting freedom and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD) (source: https://twitter.com/misver/status/1050028053332512769)

When speaking of the European Commission’s proposal on the Common Provision Regulation (CPR) and the significance of EU funds in fostering deinstitutionalisation and supporting the inclusion of persons with disabilities, MEP Helga Stevens (ECR) mentioned that references to non-discrimination and accessibility have been deleted from the proposed regulations, while these principles are included in the article 7 of the current CPR 1303/2013. “The proposed deletion or omission of non-discrimination and accessibility is not acceptable as this goes against CRPD,” MEP Stevens said.

She also noted that accessibility should be applied as a horizontal principle in the use of the Funds that CPR governs. “Accessibility, as well as participation of persons with disabilities, should be part of the criteria when selecting projects eligible for EU funding. Clear and transparent accessibility provisions should be included in the CPR proposal,” she added. “In concrete terms this means that the whole application procedure for EU funding should be transparent and accessible. When a call for projects is launched, this should be widely published so that everyone is aware of it, and so all organisations can have an equal chance of submitting project applications and competing for EU funds. This also means that information about the call for projects should also be provided in sign languages, easy-to-read and braille formats, and compatible with screen-readers,” MEP Stevens concluded.

She continued with demands to insert a specific reference to non-discrimination and accessibility in the Regulation, similar to the way gender equality has been included in Article 67. Furthermore, MEP Stevens stressed that EU funds should not be used to promote or continue institutionalisation or segregation. Proposed projects should be carefully screened to ensure that they actually contribute to inclusion of persons with disabilities in the society. “The best way to find this out is to check whether persons with disabilities themselves are playing an important role in selecting, implementation and monitoring of project proposals,” MEP Stevens said.

Katerina Nanou, EEG member and Policy and Advocacy Officer at Eurochild agreed with MEP Stevens on the importance of re-introducing article 7 on promotion of equality between men and women and non- discrimination. She added that EEG we will continue asking for this reference. She also mentioned that CPR should, indeed, prohibit the use of EU funds for institutionalisation or segregation of people. “The EEG community is glad to see that the ex-ante conditionality 9.1, which played an important role during the 2014-2020 funding period as it prioritised deinstitutionalsiation reforms in 12 Member States, has now been strengthened,” Ms Nanou said. “The EEG community calls on the European Parliament to maintain measures for the transition from institutional to community-based care under enabling condition 4.3 on poverty reduction and social inclusion, which now applies to all EU Member States. In addition, measures indicating participation of civil society and social partners in design and delivery of the national strategies for poverty reduction and social inclusion – which is a great novelty of current enabling condition 4.3 – must be maintained”. With regards to the Partnership Principle, Ms Nanou said that although it is important to have the principle included in the proposed regulations, the European Code of Conduct on Partnership requires further revision, based on the lessons learned in the current funding period.

Read more here 

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news-1868 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Children‘s voices heard at the UN Day of General Discussion http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/childrens-voices-heard-at-the-un-day-of-general-discussion/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=18c8bd88a2b267b0112c5d4a6841b5a3 Konstantinos represented the Eurochild Children’s Council at the UN.

A historical event took place in the United Nations Palais in Geneva on 28 September, where around 80 children from across the world met with a few hundred adults on the Day of the General Discussion to discuss the topic of children as human rights defenders. 

The Day of General Discussion (DGD) is held every other year by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and focused on a specific article of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) or a related subject. Child Rights Connect managed the day this year, after their proposal to focus on “Protecting and empowering children as human rights defenders” and including children not only as participants, but as contributors to the day, won an open call for the event last year. 

Eurochild supported this project by informing and helping our members get involved. Eurochild also took part in Child Rights Connect's DGD Strategic Task Force, their Child Participation Team, and we supported them in their work with the Children‘s Advisory Group and other child participants at the event. 

More importantly, the Eurochild Children's Council (ECC) was represented in the Children's Advisory Group for the event. Konstantinos, a 16-year old member of the ECC, from Greece (invited by Smile of the Child NGO), worked with a team of 19 other children and young people from across the globe since the beginning of this year, to help prepare the event. 

Konstantinos represented Eurochild Children's Council at the event itself in Geneva on 28 September. He took the stage and spoke in a panel discussion on Child-led initiatives & online protection. He explained why he setup his platform Teens4Greece


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Several high-level individuals attended the day, and in addition to some remarkable children from different backgrounds, panelists included Kate Gilmore, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights; Michel Forst, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders; Regina Jensdottir, Head of the Children's Rights Division of the Council of Europe; Catalina Devandas Aguillar, UN Special Rapporteur on persons with disabilities; and Genevieve Avenard, French Children’s Ombudsperson & Chair of the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC), to name a few.

For more information about the UN Day of General Discussion, please follow this link to Child Right Connect‘s website on the event, or follow the #DGD2018 on Twitter. 

You can find further background information here

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news-1855 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Ombudspersons for Children address mental health at annual ENOC conference http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/ombudspersons-for-children-address-mental-health-at-annual-enoc-conference/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=d1a416ad3a889306361a5d125dd81434 The participation of young people offered new perspectives to the expert professionals and policy makers. The European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC) discussed ‘Children’s Rights and wellbeing, promoting mental health’ at its 22nd annual conference on 19-20 September in Paris. ENOC Chair Tuomas Kurttila from Finland stressed the importance for ENOC to cooperate with the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights, the Council of Europe as well as Eurochild.

Various experts discussed the experiences of children and young people affected by mental health issues. Prof Daniel Marcelli, child psychiatrist, said that there is no mental health without self-esteem, which is created by respect of the different potentials of children. What is toxic for children is moral and physical humiliation.

Half of all mental disorders appear before the age of 14 years. Dainius Puras, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, stressed the need to invest sufficient resources in mental health services and in prevention, including in early childhood.

Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Violence against Children and Honorary member of Eurochild referred to the Sustainable Development Goals to eliminate all forms of violence and lead a healthy life for everyone. In 2019 many countries will report on the implementation of the SDGs; offering an opportunity for ENOC to contribute to the UN Global Report to eliminate violence.

 

@GenevieveAvenard, Children’s Rights Defender France stresses that key problem related to mental health is access to children’s rights and respecting their rights: outcome of European Network of Children’s Ombudspersons(ENOC) report on children’s mental health pic.twitter.com/erStujp1Gd

— Mieke Schuurman (@MiekeSchuurman1) September 19, 2018

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Results of a survey carried out among ENOC members were shared in a background report to the conference. Geneviève Avenard, ENOC Chair-elect, Children’s Rights Defender in France, said that the results of the report indicate that the key problem is a lack of access to children’s rights and respect of rights. Another problem is the shortage of information for children as well as the presence of children in adult wards in psychiatric hospitals.

Paul Gilligan, clinical psychologist and chief executive of St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, Ireland, pointed out a range of solutions to address children’s mental health problems. At schools an environment for children’s well-being needs to be created, which includes the need to involve children in decisions on the “whole fabric of the school”. In addition, professionals working with children need to be trained to be open and understand when children need mental health support. Positive parenting was another solution mentioned. His key recommendation was that every country needs to have a children’s strategy, including mental health and with a rights-based approach, co-designed by children.

The European Network of Young Advisors, including children aged 13-18 years from 9 European countries, shared key recommendations to improve the mental health and well-being of children in Europe with a focus on health and education. ENOC members committed to take these recommendations to their governments.

The Statement on Children’s mental health and well-being (as well as a statement on ‘children on the move’ and one on ‘intercountry adoption’) were adopted at the ENOC General Assembly on 21 September.

Further reading: 

Background report on Child and Adolescent Mental Health in Europe 

ENOC Statement on Child Mental Health

ENOC Statement on Intercountry Adoption

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news-1853 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild to support feasibility study of a child guarantee http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-to-support-feasibility-study-of-a-child-guarantee/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=1cdfa34dca0be5b91d1e33e10c2c45c5

Eurochild is part of the consortium that will carry out a feasibility study of a Child Guarantee for vulnerable children together with a team of researchers and experts.

The study aims to examine how a specific funding programme
(i.e. a Child Guarantee as proposed by the European Parliament) could contribute to combating poverty and social exclusion particularly amongst the EU’s most disadvantaged children. The study will focus on how a funding programme can improve children’s access to the five key policy areas identified by the European Parliament (i.e. free healthcare, free education, free ECEC, decent housing and adequate nutrition).

The study will first map the situation of children in each EU Member State focusing in particular on 4 vulnerable groups: children in institutional care; children of recent migrants or refugees; children with disabilities and children living in precarious family situations. It will also lay out a clear picture of the causes of poverty and inequality affecting children. The study will also identify best practices and effective ways of delivering policies and programmes and funding initiatives that can help promote a integrated approach to tackling child poverty. There will also be an online consultation as well as focus group consultations with children.

The child guarantee is expected to be funded within the EU budget - inspired partly by the existing Youth Guarantee – in order to help address the high levels of child poverty and social exclusion in Member States. It should also contribute to the effective implementation of the European Commission Recommendation on Investing in Children.

Eurochild’s role will be to provide guidance on the research and to review the outputs. Two of the four thematic workshops are expected to be hosted by Eurochild members in the first half of next year. A final conference to present the recommendations is scheduled for January/February 2020. Eurochild members will be invited to contribute to the online consultation and maybe contacted by the national researchers responsible for the mapping study (see: European Social Policy Network). 

The voice of the European Parliament

The European Parliament’s calls for preparatory action on a child guarantee has led to agreement on the need for this study. There is a shared consensus on the need to provide a better future for all children in Europe, especially for those most at disadvantage and a widespread political concern at the persistently high levels of child poverty and social exclusion.

Europe must deliver:
- we want free education, accessible healthcare and child friendly housing for all children
- we must overcome internal divides in the EU
- we must strengthen the institutions

Together, we fight for a better and stronger EU.#SOTEU

— Udo Bullmann (@UdoBullmann) September 12, 2018

“Europe must deliver: we want free education, accessible healthcare and child friendly housing for all children.”

The Parliament has stressed that the action should ensure that “every child in Europe at risk of poverty (including refugee children) has access to free healthcare, free education, free ECEC, decent housing and adequate nutrition. By covering these five areas of action through European and national action plans one would ensure that the living conditions and opportunities of millions of children in Europe improve considerably and with a long term perspective”.

Background: 

On 24 November 2015, the European Parliament voted for the proposition to combat child poverty with a Child Guarantee.

The lead applicants for “Study on the Feasibility of a Child Guarantee for Vulnerable Children” are research consultancy Applica and independently-funded research institute LISER - Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research. Eurochild and Save the Children will be sub-contractors.

Read Eurochild’s Working paper on child guarantee

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news-1848 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild and Childhub teamed up for webinar http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-and-childhub-teamed-up-for-webinar/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=6d67ac47f81dda08f4f2db0b8f7a0b5b Learn all about children's participation in public decision-making.

The webinar introduced and discussed the concept of children’s participation in public decision-making. Dissuasions were led by child participation experts and authors of the background report, Mieke Schuurman, Eurochild Senior Policy & Advocacy Coordinator and Anne Corwley, Policy & Research Consultant; Research Associate at Cardiff University. Lessons were shared from practices of children’s participation and successful examples of children influencing public decision-making as well as discussions on the topic in relation to the report. 

Webinar highlights:

Recommendation building blocks to support child participation in decision-making (see 0:32:18 of the video)

Eurochild background paper here  

Examples of best practice with local authorities across EU 

You can watch the full webinar here.  

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news-1844 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Greek member of Eurochild Children’s Council to speak about child human rights defenders http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/greek-member-of-eurochild-childrens-council-to-speak-about-child-human-rights-defenders/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b10946ad2059b7277101994a8f858ab9 The UN Day of General Discussions in Geneva will this year focus on protecting and empowering children as human rights defenders.

The Day of General Discussion (DGD) is held by The Committee on the Rights of the Child (the Committee) in Geneva every two years in September. These meetings are an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the contents and implications of the CRC. A publication produced by Child Rights Connect entitled “The views, Perspectives and Recommendations of Children Across the World” (available in English, French and Spanish), aims to present the direct voices of the children who participated in the world-wide consultations. The publication will be discussed during the DGD in Geneva on 28 September 2018. 

Eurochild will participate in the DGD in September and will be represented by staff, members and 16-year-old Konstantinos Papachristou from the Eurochild Children’s Council. Konstantinos is a representative of both Eurochild Children’s Council and the Child Advisory Team for the DGD. The Child Advisors have worked together since the beginning of the year to support Child Rights Connect in preparation for the event. 

In addition to planning and participating in the event, Konstantinos will also speak in a panel during the event on child-led initiatives and protection online. He will also discuss his role as a Human Rights Defender, through his online platform teens4greece, and his involvement in Eurochild and our Greek member The Smile of the Child

Learn more about the Eurochild Children’s Council here.

Follow DGD discussions on Twitter here

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news-1822 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Laying the ground for greater children’s participation in Cyprus http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/laying-the-ground-for-greater-childrens-participation-in-cyprus/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=61aa8da5dbb48eb91c8bfd80fee73e28 The Pancyprian Coordinating Committee for the Protection and Welfare of Children held their 2018 event aimed at making child participation a reality

The Pancyprian Coordinating Committee for the Protection and Welfare of Children (PCCPWC) organised on 12th July 2018 a training seminar followed by a mini-conference to bring attention to the topic of children’s participation. The day was split into 2 sections: A morning of Workshops and an afternoon with decision makers and competent bodies explaining how they implement children’s participation and how they intend to promote it in the future.

Children’s participation is crucial for democracy as well as for the wellbeing and the development of children to responsible adults. In Cyprus, even though participation has been widely accepted as a “theme”, the host organisation PCCPWC noticed that professionals and especially people dealing with children in their everyday work have little knowledge of and do not really know how to support it. Training professionals, especially people with key posts in their work areas would potentially create a “pool” of people that can train others or, at least, encourage them to support child participation.

Training to make children’s participation a reality

Three workshops were held, targeting three clusters of people working with children directly:  a) professionals in the education system (kindergarten, primary and secondary school Teachers), b) Social Services Officers, Social Workers and Social Work University Students and c) leaders of youth organisations and NGOs working for/with children. A group of 8 members of the Cyprus Children’s Parliament were trained to assist in delivering all workshops. The young representatives participated fully, offering their views and suggestions along with other participants.

A “mini-conference” was held following the training to bring together government officials to explain how they promote child participation. Representatives from the School education department, Ministries of Education and Culture, Labour, Social Insurance and Providence, as well as the Cypriot Parliamentarians participated in the discussions. The Commissioner for the Protection of Children’s Rights Ms Leda Koursoumba was present for these key discussions. The Cyprus Youth Organisation was also represented. 

The training received support and participants requested continued training, to find practical ways of implementing child participation in their work. Almost all of the participants committed to participating in such a continuation and to join the next conference in November 2018 on the occasion of Universal Children’s Day.

This day was sponsored by Eurochild to encourage national discussions and debates on the promotion of children’s rights. 

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news-1816 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Bulgarian institutions graded with Average 2.88 for their childcare policies and practices http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/bulgarian-institutions-graded-with-average-288-for-their-childcare-policies-and-practices/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=afc4b98ab7b6f5082e51ca05c2299ce6 Bulgarian institutions received the lowest grade in 7 years from National Network for Children in its “Report Card: What is the Average Government Score for Childcare?”. This is the lowest grade in the last 7 years in which the National Network for Children Bulgaria has been preparing its monitoring paper. The document evaluates whether the government and administration have fulfilled their commitments to the children in the previous year. This alternative monitoring report critically and independently presents the civil society’s point of view on child policies. It includes recommendations for improving the present policies and practices of the institutions. The state efforts regarding childcare are evaluated through 25 state commitments in 5 areas: General Principals under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Family Environment and Alternative Care, Healthcare, Education and Justice.

According to experts, the most alarming tendencies during last years are: the lack of progress in the efforts for reducing child poverty; systematic problems in the social area and system for child protection; the lack of specific policy supporting families and parents; insufficient coordination between institutions; the slow speed of the reform in the system for juvenile justice and insufficient investments in support of professionals, working with children – social and healthcare workers, teachers, judges, etc.

The lowest grade in the report was received by the area Family Environment and Alternative Care – Average 2,53, followed by General Principals under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child with Average 2,60 and Justice with Average 2,79. On the next place is Education with Average 3,02. The highest grade is for Healthcare with Average 3,19.

Since the last year, National Network for Children has been preparing the so called ‘Little Report Card’ based on the experience and opinion of children, youth, parents and professionals working with children. The most common opinion is that there is a huge gap between people and the state and more people-friendly attitude from the institutions and less bureaucracy are needed.

The 2018 Report Card was presented simultaneously in Sofia and 8 other cities with the participation of local organizations members of the National Network for Children.

Read the 2018 Report Card in English (PDF)

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news-1815 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Three organisations endorsed as candidate members for 2019 http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/three-organisations-endorsed-as-candidate-members-for-2019/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=c11ef68ad9969b7735611ef81d808623 Eurochild Management Board accepted three organisations as candidate members to be officially endorsed by the General Assembly in 2019. Meet the candidate members: 

FARA Foundation

FARA Foundation's mission is to transform the lives of marginalized children and young people from Romania’s poorest communities. It aims at providing a loving family, specialist therapy, access to education and training and preventing homelessness.

 

Children of Prisoners Europe

Children of Prisoners Europe is a European-wide initiative on behalf of children with an imprisoned parent that gathers European partners active within prison-related, children's rights and child welfare. Children of Prisoners Europe aims at acting as a voice for prisoners’ children. Iactive t provides forums to foster the exchange of ideas and good practice and builds a resource centre to provide more accurate statistics on the number of children affected, explores the psychological and social impact of a parent’s incarceration, and highlights the importance of maintaining family ties.

 

Active Citizen Europe

Active Citizen Europe (ACE) fosters the integration of children within society, through innovative and participatory programmes, capacity building, advocacy, intercultural work, digital literacy and the promotion of a multipronged citizenship education. ACE pioneers community-based programmes for young people to encourage integration and prevent marginalization.

 

Read about our criteria and assessment process here

Find list of all members here

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news-1813 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 1500 Maltese children participate in first National Eurochild Forum project http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/1500-maltese-children-participate-in-first-national-eurochild-forum-project/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=69b7d24e71fa89c2eccef57bbcfd996d 30 t-shirts were exhibited in the European Parliament this week, featuring messages of Maltese children highlighting how to improve children’s participation.

In collaboration with Eurochild, the President's Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society began this project by inviting children from all schools in Malta and Gozo to participate in a National participatory discussion organised by children and for children, to celebrate Universal Children’s Day last year.

During this activity, the President’s Foundation invited children to get to know more about the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).  Students were invited to participate in the launch of this National campaign focusing on Article 12 which states that children, have a right to give their opinion, and for adults to listen and take it seriously.

The data shall feed into Eurochild’s child participation strategy to identify appropriate practices for increasing the participation of children and young people on both a National and European level.

At the end of the activity all the schools in Malta and Gozo were presented with a resource pack including literature related to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and a set of tools to help students create and design a t-shirt. 

The guideline questions for this purpose were:

- What makes you feel heard? 

- What stops you from being heard?

Forty-two schools across Malta, involving over 1,500 children, took part in this campaign, resulting in the creation of 80 t-shirts containing messages from the children on what makes them feel heard and what stops them from being heard. 

Thirty of the t-shirts were showcased at the European Parliament in Brussels and presented by two members of the PFWS Children's Council, thanks to the support of MEP Caterina Chinnici and the European Parliament Intergroup on Children's Rights.

At the end of the Exhibition, members of the Children's Hub team of the President’s Foundation, together with 2 children from the President's Children's Council, visited the Eurochild secretariat where they met the team and talked about the 'You Matter No Matter What' project and plans for future events.

Look at the photos of the exhibition

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news-1810 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild will help children access trauma-informed leaving care support http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-will-help-children-access-trauma-informed-leaving-care-support/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=d63c86c80a29d10a58429801d16a715a Eurochild joins the ‘CarePath’ project, a two-year initiative which aims to improve national and regional child protection systems in providing integrated aftercare support to children ageing out of care.

Co-funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme and coordinated by the University of Turin, the project will run in Italy, Greece, Hungary and Belgium. Partners include Calabria Regione and the Person-Centred Approach Institute (IACP) in Italy, ReadLab, E-Trikala and ERGO in Greece and Cordelia in Hungary. Eurochild will be leading on dissemination and ensuring sustainability of the project.

When it comes to children’s participation, only a few EU Member States have ensured that the views of children are reflected in planning for leaving care, according to EU Agency for Fundamental Fights (FRA). Even where child participation takes place, leaving care mechanisms fail to screen and assess children’s trauma to effectively respond to their needs towards independent living.

The UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children highlight the importance of timely and adequate preparation for leaving care and aftercare support to children and young people transitioning out of alternative care. Addressing the gaps in service provision, such as the lack of children’s participation, inappropriate care and therapy arrangements, the lack of psycho-social support or multisectoral collaboration to implement a durable solution is the focus of the ‘CarePath’ project.

The project will aim to ensure that children ageing out of care have access to adequate trauma-informed aftercare support, as part of an integrated child protection system in each participating country. It will build the capacity of professionals in child protection systems to effectively support traumatised children by taking into account their views. The project will strive to develop a sustainable mechanism to enable public authorities and professionals to provide integrated psycho-social support services to children leaving care, based on trauma-informed interventions.

Project activities will focus on:

  •  identification of transferable leaving care mechanisms and trauma-informed interventions;
  • training of professionals working with traumatised children, based on the views of care leavers and adolescents in alternative care;
  • development of an open online course for professionals on leaving care and aftercare support provision;
  • establishment of the CarePath integrated service provision mechanism for cases of traumatised children leaving care, as well as
  • the European conference on trauma-informed child protection systems.

The project will target public authorities, municipalities and bodies responsible for child protection in four European countries. It will also involve professionals such as psychotherapists, arts therapists, social and healthcare workers, counsellors working with children ageing out of care, as well as vocational training providers in the field of psychotherapy, arts therapy, social work, education, healthcare.

Agata D’Addato, Eurochild’s Senior Policy Coordinator and the ‘CarePath’ Project Lead said that the need to prioritise protection of children leaving public care, including unaccompanied and separated children, who experienced violence, grief for lost places and trauma caused by separation, is widely recognised both within the EU and beyond. “Children in alternative care require trained professionals who can help improve their future chances, during and after leaving care,” she said.

Luca Rollè, Assistant Professor of Dynamic Psychology from the Department of Psychology, University of Turin and the ‘CarePath’ Project Coordinator said: “Psychotherapy and other methods such as visual arts, music and drama have proved essential for children’s trauma healing. They can help them to find their identity, create a community and get prepared for self-care.” He added: “We believe that it is essential to apply trauma-informed approaches when preparing children for leaving care or working with adolescents in aftercare support. Public authorities should invest in integrated trauma-informed support programmes and evidence-based policies, guided by the children’s views and their individualised needs for self-care, social inclusion, practical and inter-personal skills, housing and living”. 

For more details about ‘CarePath - Empowering public authorities and professionals towards trauma-informed leaving care support’ please contact Agata D’Addato, Senior Policy Coordinator and/or Tetiana Sykes, Communications and Campaigns Officer, Eurochild.

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news-1808 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild’s take on the post 2020 EU Budget http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochilds-take-on-the-post-2020-eu-budget/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=a319ec94d3389fc205b81038c7434bd7 The European Commission’s proposals for the EU Budget for 2021-2027 offers potential for mobilising efforts to end child poverty and support the transition from institutional to community based care – two issues that have benefitted in the past from EU funds and policy guidance. More support for social inclusion and tackling child poverty

Compared to current funding period, Eurochild sees marked improvement and new conditions for the next 7 years. For instance, to receive EU funds for the purpose of social inclusion, all EU countries must include measures to address child poverty in their national strategies on social inclusion and poverty reduction. This should enable EU countries to focus on measures to break the cycle of disadvantage using the EU funds and the European Social Fund+ in particular; which was not such an explicit possibility under the current framework.

Overall, there is more attention to the social agenda in the proposed future Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF). The regulation on Common Provisions for the Structural Funds prioritises the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights through targeted actions and makes clearer linkages with the European Semester process.

The European Social Fund+ (ESF+) while it has increased requirement for countries to spend 25% of the funds on social inclusion, is still below the 30% mark Eurochild has argued for.

How will the proposed regulations prioritise the transition from institutional to family and community based care?

Institutional care is detrimental to children and the EU has already been supporting Member States to reform child protection systems so that children remain in families or in community based care.

We are glad that the EC has maintained and strengthened its commitment and that the efforts to support the transition from institutional to family and community based care (deinstitutionalisation) received boost in the ESF+ regulations as well as the Common Provisions Regulation. More specifically, the ESF+ regulations have prioritised the need for deinstitutionalisation reforms through several revisions and Article 6 on non-discrimination and prohibited the use of ESF+ for any actions that contribute to the social exclusion or segregation.

In addition, it is of particular importance, that under the enabling condition on poverty reduction and social inclusion all EU Member States will be expected to have measures for the transition from institutional to community-based care and not just countries in the Central or Eastern part of Europe.

This is crucial, as institutionalisation is an issue that concerns all EU countries and is linked to poor social welfare systems. For example, in France, approximately 100,000 children are growing up in segregating institutional care settings and in Belgium more than 13,000 children are excluded from the community, mainly due to their disability.

As a consequence of these regulations, both the European Social Fund + and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) regulations promote access to community-based social services for thousands of children, persons with disabilities, persons with mental health problems and their families, as well as homeless people.

Opportunities and challenges for engagement of civil society

Regular monitoring of these enabling conditions, also in partnership with civil society is necessary and Eurochild is pleased to see that this is explicitly mentioned in the Regulations. There is a potential role for the European Semester mechanism in this sense.

We are, however, concerned that the partnership principle, which promotes wide and meaningful engagement with civil society, social partners and service users has been weakened both in the ESF+ regulations and the ERDF regulations. In addition, the European Code of Conduct on Partnership (ECCP), which has been welcomed by the EU Member States for its vision and offers good practices, needs to be revised and relaunched in the Common Provisions Regulation, according to the Review of the European Code of Conduct on Partnership, developed by the Thematic Network on Partnership.

What about children in neighbouring and pre-accession countries?

With regard to the EU’s foreign relations, we are pleased to see that the proposed regulations for the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument promote the transition from institutional to community based care and more specifically the strengthening of the child protection systems.

In addition, we are pleased to see that the proposed regulations for the Instrument of Pre-Accession III, calls for the promotion of social protection and inclusion and combating poverty. However, and given the commitment of abovementioned internal and external proposed funding instrument regulations, we would welcome that adopted IPA III regulations prioritise the combating of child poverty, and the transition from institutional to family and community based.

The regulations still need to be negotiated with the other two EU bodies, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. Eurochild will continue to monitor and make its demands to ensure children’s rights and well-being are promoted by the EU’s new financial instruments. 


For more, please contact Reka Tunyogi and Katerina Nanou 

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news-1804 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Investing EU Money in a Transformative Way http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/investing-eu-money-in-a-transformative-way/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=8f4d382ec88c096ddc1706598f68dc68 On 6 June 2018, Eurochild and the Learning for Well-Being Foundation hosted an event in Brussels which brought together representatives from the European Commission and civil society to discuss the importance of prevention and cross-sectoral dialogue in the framework of investing EU money in a way that transforms society

Special guest speaker Nancy Mannix, Chair and Patron of the Palix Foundation, opened the event by sharing learnings from the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative (Canada). This initiative focuses on creating alignments between science, policy and practice in the areas of brain development, as there is evidence that there are severe implications on the current and future mental health and well-being of children whose brains are not nurtured properly. 

The scientific evidence which proves that adverse experiences in childhood (neglect, abuse, toxic stress) have serious mental and physical effects later in life is robust and has been available for some time. The innovation of the Palix Foundation is how they framed the scientific process of brain development to make it accessible to the public of Alberta and effectively change the cultural narrative. Nancy stated that it was ‘the best money we ever spent’ to create the Alberta ‘belief system’ through various forms of information sharing.

There were two main reactions to this information: 
1) there was a huge demand to better understand brain development; more research was commissioned and a ‘brain story certification course’ was designed,
2) private professionals, civil society and the government (including policy makers) of Alberta all began to play their part to ensure healthy brain development in their society. Ultimately, the Palix Foundation strategy generated positive changes at an individual, organisational and systems level in Alberta which make the case for investing in children in an integrated and cross-sectoral way. Indeed, Nancy’s story illustrates that knowledge driven change cannot be ignored and creates a domino effect.

Eurochild has released the findings of Childonomics, a research project aimed at developing a tool to determine the long-term social and economic return of investing in children, by comparing the costs of different services and approaches to supporting children and families in vulnerable situations with expected outcomes for children, families, communities and the society. The outputs of this project contribute to Eurochild’s longstanding advocacy on investing in children on an EU and national level based on solid, scientific research and implemented through a holistic policy framework and accompanying budget.

There is a particular moment of opportunity now for the EU to take action to tackle child poverty and promote investing in children in the framework of the European Pillar of Social Rights and the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) negotiations.

Look at the photos on Flickr:
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In this context, two roundtable debates were hosted after Nancy’s presentation. The first was on transformative policies in early childhood and in the community. DG EAC’s proposal for a Council Recommendation on high quality Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) was a primary element of discussion. This proposal mentions key points that are necessary to ensure healthy brain development for children in Europe including evaluation and monitoring of systems and indicators of quality in care and education of children, and the need to involve children themselves in the evaluation of their care.  The European Council is expected to adopt this Recommendation sometime next year; it will be a significant feat in the field of children’s rights because it raises the issue of ECEC to a high political level within Europe.

Civil society panellists were largely enthusiastic about this future Recommendation, pointing to the fact that the EU can and has boosted quality of life for families through legislative and non-legislative measures (eg. the work-life balance directive). The role of the EU should not be under-estimated, it can lead the EU to have a holistic perspective on child development and boost investment to make integrated services available, affordable and inclusive. Unfortunately, to date, the EU does not have a holistic policy on children 0-3, but evidence of the need for this is becoming stronger, momentum is building and can no longer be ignored. 

The cross-cultural and cross-sectoral relevance of brain research was also discussed and, in this context, the need for the provision of quality universal services. Social inclusion is about meeting individual needs; these need to be researched and understood and holistic services created. 

The following round table debate centred around the topic of investing in children in the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). First, the strong points already achieved by the European Commission in this arena within its recently released proposal and regulations were discussed. Participants were pleased that the European Social Fund+ (ESF+) managed to achieve the substantial budget of 101 billion, and that measures to support children and their rights can be found as enabling conditions throughout. For example, ECEC is mentioned under gender equality; creating inclusive education, tackling child poverty and ensuring de-institutionalisation are also conditions.  Furthermore, the health programme is now under the ESF+, which demonstrates its value and an understanding that more investment needs to be made in this area. Despite all these positive developments, concerns were raised, particularly regarding the health programme.

The concern is that the health programme itself is small, with a small share of the budget – it is not enough to achieve tangible change. The goal of the health programme within the MFF should act as a catalyst for strong prevention within Member States, which, ultimately will prevent huge costs in the future. As the findings in Alberta highlighted, chronic and non-communicable diseases are preventable, they can be stopped by ensuring childhood mental/physical health and well-being. Investment in children in a holistic way is not only a moral imperative, it should be seen as prevention from a medical perspective and cost-effective from an economic perspective. 

Ultimately, this was a fruitful and interactive discussion regarding the global relevance of investing in children and which strategies are best used to share this message and implement it effectively. It was clear that on an EU level there is progress but more must be done, especially at this opportune time. The EU must take the lead in transforming European society by pushing for strategic reform on a national level through policy and legislative frameworks which promote prevention and enable integrated services for achieving better outcomes for children. 

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news-1803 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Advocacy Toolkit: Better care services for unaccompanied and separated migrant children in Europe http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/advocacy-toolkit-better-care-services-for-unaccompanied-and-separated-migrant-children-in-europe/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=2e63e622cb1c2a5424e4e30ad6155215 Eurochild has drafted an advocacy toolkit as part of the EU project FORUM FOR Unaccompanied Minors: transfer of knowledge for professionals to increase foster care, coordinated by Fondazione l’Albero della Vita Refugee and migrant children often live in detention centres or in big refugee camps, with no possibility to interact with the local community or attend school. Institutional care is too often used over other forms of care such as family or community-based care, despite the fact that it is recognised as having severe negative effects on children’s physical, cognitive and emotional development, and is not cost effective in the long term.

The provision of appropriate care adapted to the needs of unaccompanied and separated migrant children is essential for their well-being, protection and development. As such, Eurochild has drafted an advocacy toolkit as part of the EU project FORUM FOR Unaccompanied Minors: transfer of knowledge for professionals to increase foster care, coordinated by Fondazione l’Albero della Vita, a member of Eurochild.

The purpose of this toolkit is to assist child rights advocates and other professionals in influencing the governments at national and sub-national level, to promote the development of better care services for unaccompanied and separated migrant children in the EU.

This toolkit aims to:

  • Provide an overview of the EU context, current policies and funding in the area of (children’s) migration

and care services

  • Identify the current state of discussions around the rights of migrant children and key messages
  • Offer tips and tools for building an effective advocacy strategy
  • Promote child participation in advocacy around decisions that affect children

The EU- funded project Forum for Unaccompanied Minors: transfer of knowledge for professionals to increase foster care aims to expand national systems of family-based care for the reception of unaccompanied migrant children, partnering with organisations in Italy, Spain, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

However, this toolkit can be equally used by actors working in the field of children’s rights and migration in other countries.

Download the advocacy toolkit (PDF)

 

 

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news-1802 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 What kind of Europe do children want? UNICEF & Eurochild launch a survey on the Europe Kids Want http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/what-kind-of-europe-do-children-want-unicef-eurochild-launch-a-survey-on-the-europe-kids-want/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=ba5c6db8854350b038f9343540a1e6f4 An online survey designed to capture the views of children and young people on the future of Europe is being launched today, in what will be a rare opportunity for children living in the continent to have their voices heard by the European Union’s top leaders. Brussels, June 6, 2018: An online survey designed to capture the views of children and young people on the future of Europe is being launched today, in what will be a rare opportunity for children living in the continent to have their voices heard by the European Union’s top leaders.

The survey – entitled ‘the Europe Kids Want’ -- is a joint initiative by Eurochild and UNICEF. Topics covered include children’s experience of family-life, school, and society as well as their thoughts on Europe. The survey is written in child-friendly language in order to encourage responses from under 18-year-olds.

The survey results will be announced at a special session of the European Parliament on November 20th -- Universal Children’s Day – attended by a delegation of children and young people.

The ‘Europe Kids Want’ survey will seek out children’s perspectives on migration, the European Union and their hopes and fears for the future. Children are also asked to propose one word that they associate with ‘Europe’.

“Children and young people are important stakeholders in the future of Europe. I congratulate UNICEF and Eurochild for developing such an accessible tool for children to give their feedback on their life today and share their hopes for the future. As decision-makers, we need to listen to children’s views to better design policies that suit their needs.” MEP Caterina Chinnici, Co-Chair of Children’s Rights Intergroup of the European Parliament.

“Listening to and engaging children and young people is the first step towards empowering them to build the Europe they want. I, along with the rest of the Children’s Rights Intergroup in the European Parliament, look forward to discussing the results of the survey with children in the Parliament plenary in November”, added MEP Anna-Maria Corazza Bildt, Chair of the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights.

The survey has been developed by children’s rights experts, and tested with focus groups of children.  After its launch today, it will stay open until 21 September 2018. Schools and other bodies working with children and young people are encouraged to use the guidelines provided online to stimulate in-depth discussions on the questions.

The survey is open to children of all ages. While targeted at children and young people living in the European Union, responses from children outside the EU are also welcome. The survey will be available in at least 19 languages.

NOTE TO EDITOR:

In November 2017, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani committed to host an event in the plenary of the European Parliament to take stock of the work of the European Parliament on children’s rights on an annual basis. See press statement and video from European Parliament event in 2017 here: http://bit.ly/EP2017ChildrensDay

More information on the ‘Europe Kids Want’ survey: http://childrightsmanifesto.eu/europe-kids-want

Go to the survey: http://bit.ly/EuropeKidsWant

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news-1798 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Children of Opatija prepare for Eurochild Conference http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/children-of-opatija-prepare-for-eurochild-conference/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=d8f46ffa4ee0a95ae7cdc147e57a566c The Children's City Council is a legal body that meets regularly with the Mayor of Opatija, Croatia. This week, they uncovered the Eurochild mascots, Max and Laura! The Children's City Council met earlier this week with the Mayor of Opatija, Croatia. They discussed the Eurochild conference, "Building a better Europe with children: All Aboard!", hosted by Society 'Our Children' Opatija and the City of Opatija on 29-31 October 2018. Together, they solved a giant cube puzzle to uncover the visual of Max and Laura, Eurochild's mascots arriving in Croatia! 

What is the Children's City Council?

The Children's City Council was established in March 2001 in the City of Opatija, under its programme of action as a Child-Friendly City. The Children's City Council is a legal body that allows children to present their proposals for the city to consider. They can propose actions on a range of issues, from promoting children's rights, to infrastructure projects of importance to the whole community. A Children's Mayor represents the children of Opatija and presides over their meetings. Opinions of the Children's City Council are submitted to the competent bodies of the city administration and schools, which are obliged to consider and report on the conclusions in writing to the Children's City Council and the City Council of the City of Opatija.

The Children's City Council independently decides on the budget of the Children's Council of Towns, which is provided in the Budget of the City of Opatija. The City Council for Children cooperates with the same or similar bodies of other units of local or regional self-government in the country and abroad.

Petra, the current Children's Mayor, is a student of VIII grade and is getting ready to introduce her work to the rest of the over 300 participants expected at the Eurochild Conference. The conference will demonstrate why involvement of children in decision-making processes brings positive outcomes, both for the children and young people involved, for communities and for society at large, for example by promoting social inclusion and community engagement. 

Watch Petra interviewing Opatija's Mayor:


<iframe frameborder="0" height="315" width="560" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" src="https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/XX0_yXJH3XU?rel=0"></iframe>

Registrations for the Eurochild Conference open on 24 May with early bird rates! 

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news-1796 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Former Eurochild President elected to Child Rights Connect Executive Committee http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/former-eurochild-president-elected-to-child-rights-connect-executive-committee/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=6987086ff72a9f0b57f0f4c826d587fc Maria Herzcog, founding member of Eurochild on behalf of Family, Child, Youth Association (Hungary), and Former President of Eurochild, has been elected for a two-year term in the Child Rights Connect Executive Committee. Eurochild is eager to strengthen its relations with Child Rights Connect and the UN CRC Committee even more, through this positive development! Congratulations Maria!

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news-1793 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Spotlight on the Eurochild Children’s Council: April Update http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/spotlight-on-the-eurochild-childrens-council-april-update/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=2d25f17381ff09c57529e775f417914c Sharon, 13 years from Malta shares updates from this month’s work of the Eurochild Children’s Council – a voluntary group of young people under 18 working to promote children’s rights in Europe.

Hi! My name is Sharon, a 13 year old girl from Malta. I am part of the Eurochild’s Children’s Council. We are a group of 12 children from all around Europe who make sure children are listened to by lobbying their right to active participation.

Eurochild’s goal is for children from all around Europe, and eventually the world, to be happy, healthy, confident and respected. However, what use is it to hold an event discussing elements which may help this goal become reality without the presence and participation of children themselves? That is why, for the second time, Eurochild invited children (the Eurochild’s Children’s Council) to take part in its General Assembly.

We children began preparing for this event 2 days before it happened. During the first day, we got to know each other and our cause (who we were as the Eurochild’s Children’s Council  a bit more because in order to fill others with inspiration, one needs to discover himself, what he is fighting for and truly know why. On the second day, we spoke more about the EU, the General Assembly and our roles in the activities. Please note that all this happened with balanced child-adult collaboration, also known as the key to a glorious future.

On the day of the General Assembly, we were ready, despite our excitement and nervousness, to show adults what children are capable of doing – which is anything, if only given the space. We spoke about our work as a council, engaged in very interesting discussions and tried our best to highlight the weight of our input as children and young people.

I felt more enthusiastic as the event rolled on because I began to see the brilliant results of our hard work, dedication and passion. It was a wonderful experience as we children are all so different and yet could so easily be united as one, strong team when faced with a challenge which could result in our goals being reached – the goals to spread the word on children’s right to be heard.

At the closing of the event, both children and adults had reached ample interesting conclusions and had learnt new things. I shall close this article with the gist:

Children’s voices must be listened to, and what they say must be something adults act on. Adults must sometimes take a step back, and listen. People of all ages are equal and can offer many things, if only given the safe space.

Adults all have an inner child – the honesty, positivity, hopefulness, love, fun, courage and goodwill of their childhood selves, and they must find it within their hearts to be able to fully understand the world and make it a better place!

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news-1792 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 How to equip migrant and refugee children to determine the course of their lives? http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/how-to-equip-migrant-and-refugee-children-to-determine-the-course-of-their-lives/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=f39c1945f443ab3dd0a0557e43ffee70 Eurochild and its member SOS Children’s Villages co-delivered a workshop at Lost in Migration conference, introducing promising practices published late last year. On 11-12 April, Missing Children Europe, the Maltese President’s Foundation for the Well-being of Society, MEPs and the European Parliament Intergroup on the Rights of the Child and the EPIM Foundation, convened the second edition of the Lost in Migration conference on the protection of children in migration. Eurochild and its member SOS Children’s Villages delivered a workshop together introducing promising practices published late last year.

Let Children be Children is a recently launched report by Eurochild and SOS Children’s Villages which documents 16 case studies bringing lessons from the field on the protection and integration of refugee and migrant children in Europe. Building on this wealth of experiences, SOS Children’s Villages and Eurochild run a workshop on strengthening the resilience of children and young people with the aim of discussing how to better equip young migrants to cope with difficulties and unlock their potential so that they can determine the course of their lives and find a place in society.

When children and young people who have fled their countries are not supported in their transition to adulthood and inclusion in society, the consequences are often disastrous. They include dropping out of school, unemployment, poverty, homelessness, isolation, becoming victim of abuse, losing trust in others and hope in the future, and entering a cycle of marginalisation. These consequences are devastating for the individuals affected, a waste of talent for society as a whole and a breeding ground for discrimination and negative attitudes towards migrants. 

Two of the inspiring practices illustrated in the Let Children be Children publication were presented at the workshop to start off the discussion with participants.

-        Centre for asylum-seeking families with children in Italy, Fondazione L’Albero della Vita (FADV), Daria Crimella

A centre in Milan run by FADV provides assistance to families with children seeking asylum in Italy and those eligible for relocation to other EU Member States. It goes beyond accommodation and material support, aiming to provide a foundation for long-term social inclusion. Families living in the centre receive a range of specialised services including psychosocial and pedagogical support, education and healthcare, legal aid and employment counselling.

The project aims to respond to the individual needs of the families and to equip them with the tools to become self-sufficient by ensuring their participation in the preparation of family plans.

FADV operates in strict collaboration with the contractors – the Municipality of Milan and the Prefecture of Milan – and works with CSOs, local school and social services for implementing specific project activities.  The project also implements activities to raise awareness and engage volunteers from the local community.

-        Mentoring programme for unaccompanied children in private living arrangements, SOS Children’s Villages Sweden, Cecilia Bergling Nauclér

The professional mentoring programme, implemented by SOS Children’s Villages Sweden in the Gothenburg district of Angered in partnership with district authorities, works with unaccompanied and separated children who have residence status and live with relatives or family friends in independent housing arrangements.

The services offered by the mentors include activities to build links with local communities and to cope with the challenges of everyday life, participation in social and cultural events and support in the area of education and work. SOS Children’s Villages works with a strong network of partners to provide education and employment opportunities.

The programme complements the services provided by state and local authorities and helps children and young people to integrate into Swedish society. It works with young people up to the age of 23 as they transition to adulthood.

Following the two discussion starters, participants reflected on the main challenges and identified key elements that can make a difference and proposed solutions to overcome remaining obstacles in supporting children and young people to be better equipped to unlock their potential and find their place in society.

Key challenges
  • Funding / sustainability. Many initiatives are run on funding coming from private donors or on a short-term / project basis while social inclusion is a long-term process that requires long-term investment
  • Lack of (legal) information, with children and families unaware of their rights and the opportunities offered by the community. When people have no access to trusted sources of information, they are more prone to rely on information provided by people with other interests, i.e. smugglers
  • Difficulties to ensure high quality standards in (emergency) services
  • Language barriers / isolation. In particular, integration is difficult for children living in neighbourhood with very low presence of local population and few opportunities of interaction
  • Mental health needs
  • Difficulties to work with undocumented people or those who have short-term residence permits as lack of certainty about the future negatively impacts integration efforts
  • Duty to report people to migration authorities hampers opportunities to build relationships of trust with children and families (including families of unaccompanied children who have stayed in the country of origin but who could keep playing a protective role in their guidance to their children)
  • Hostile political landscape – when your work is based on cooperation with municipalities, how to work with those not interested in social inclusion and / or promoting anti-migration sentiment?

 

Solutions / strengths
  • It’s all about TRUST. How to build trust? Take the time, tell them always the truth; be humble: tell them what you can do and what you can’t do; keep your promises; interact knowing that we are all humans, we have a lot in common; treat people with dignity, not like victims
  • Promote an individualised approach to meet children’s individual needs and to enable children to build relationships of trust
  • Manage expectations, also among the people who want to help so that they don’t give up when unrealistic expectations are not realised. In particular, the expectation that “refugees” are one way or another is unrealistic. Like any group of people, they are diverse, and there will be people with whom a particular person finds easier or more difficult to connect
  • Support children in their transition to adulthood
  • Promote integrated systems & services and multi-sectoral partnership
  • Empower children & families
  • Key role of local communities & partnership with local authorities
  • Share good practice & learning opportunities
  • Explore different ways for people to tell their stories in a way that they own them
  • Promote resilience skills and research on the topic of the potential of people who have gone through distressful experiences

 

Recommendations from the discussions will be commonly agreed upon by the participants of the Lost in Migration conference and shared with the EU Institutions and Member States.

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news-1791 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 5 things you need to know about the annual gathering of Eurochild members http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/5-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-annual-gathering-of-eurochild-members/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=40e727fe7ab9b263b2062c137b35d0c6 Discover all the action from the annual gathering of Eurochild members on 18-19 April 2018. 1. 171 Members in 34 countries

Eurochild General Assembly voted to invite 18 new members to the family! Following the votes, we now have 171 members representing 34 countries! The children’s rights community is getting bigger! The induction helped the new members get clearer idea of the composition of the network and identify opportunities for them to get more involved!

Check out the 18 new members, including our very special Honorary member UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Children Marta Santos Pais

2. Biggest turnout ever

160 participants joined the General Assembly in Brussels, making it the biggest turnout ever! This number includes 12 children and young people under 18 years, who form part of the Eurochild Children’s Council which is helping the network embed children’s participation into the network! These young participants brought their own opinions, ideas to each workshop and panel discussion. Check out the photos from the two days!

3. 3 goals for the next 3 years

A new Strategic Plan for 2019-2021 was adopted by the membership after many rounds of consultation with members, external actors in area of children’s rights and children themselves. This new Strategic Plan commits Eurochild network to 3 goals for the upcoming 3 years!
Find out more about our goals

4. 22 National Partner Networks in 18 countries

Plataforma de Infancia, Spain joins the group of national coalitions of children’s rights organisations that represent Eurochild in national advocacy efforts. We are delighted to have a strong presence in Spain thanks to Plataforma and look forward to addressing children’s rights in a country that faces the after-effects of austerity measures.

5. 2 new Management Board members take over

We are delighted to have Mariana Pisarska from National Network for Children Bulgaria and Miia Pitkänen from Central Union for Child Welfare, Finland joining the Management Board!


Want to know more about Eurochild’s work, then check out our Annual Report for 2017, also released last week!

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news-1790 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Children's rights organisations jointly demand Post 2020 EU Budget to work for children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/childrens-rights-organisations-jointly-demand-post-2020-eu-budget-to-work-for-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=52b30017e24214f6c61f5e1a1dc2028e In one week, the EU Commission will release its communication on the post 2020 EU budget. How can the future EU budget help to realise the rights of children?

Children’s rights organisations, working with and for children, have come together to present their recommendations to protect two of the most vulnerable groups of children – children in migration and children at risk of, or living in, poverty. 

The EU Multiannual Financial Framework is an important vehicle for the EU to deliver on its commitment to leave no child behind, as stated in the SDGs. Read the joint recommendations demanding concrete action to make the future EUBudget work for the most vulnerable children. 

Read the two joint statements below, comment and share it online #EU4Children

 

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news-1787 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 An app to empower young newcomers in Europe to find safety http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/an-app-to-empower-young-newcomers-in-europe-to-find-safety/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=1d1876caa70a7775a4601dcdb79870f1 The realisation of the app was made possible by software platform trellyz (creators of the RefAid app) and the H&M Foundation . “The Smile of the Child”, Greek member of Eurochild and Missing Children Europe, is among the key partners of the project along with other organisations from across Europe. At the second edition of the conference 'Lost in Migration' held in Brussels, the Miniila app was launched by Missing Children Europe for young newcomers. 

Miniila which translates to “from…to” in Arabic is a smart mobile phone app that offers information about the rights and local support services available to help children on the move find their way to safety in Europe. The app is the concrete result of some of the recommendations made by child rights experts to the European Commission (signed and supported by Eurochild) and national leaders on the protection of children in migration during last year’s Lost in Migration conference.

The Miniila app, developed in cooperation with children and launched today, will empower children (especially those unaccompanied) to make informed decisions and be better protected, rather than be forced to trust those who profit from their vulnerability.

The Miniila app features real-time and regionally specific information, allowing children to find out more about services available near them on a map in their own language. It guides them towards trustworthy people around them who can help provide shelter, food, health services, legal assistance, guardianship and more.

Eurochild delivered a workshop at the 'Lost in Migration' conference, offering inspiring practices for protection and integration of refugee and migrant children, in partnership with its member SOS Children's Villages International. Eurochild will be involved in drafting recommendations from this conference to decision-makers.  

 

 

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news-1786 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild recommits itself to catalysing EU influence to improve lives of children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-recommits-itself-to-catalysing-eu-influence-to-improve-lives-of-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b7ee0a258b7674dc87783195ef264409 The Strategic Plan of Eurochild for 2019-2021 commits to help bring a children’s rights perspective into policies and legislation in EU member states, accession countries and neighbourhood region, by leveraging EU influence. The representative network of children’s rights organisations in Europe, adopts a new Strategic Plan for the following three years at its annual gathering of members on 18 April 2018. The Strategic Plan of Eurochild for 2019-2021 commits to help bring a children’s rights perspective into policies and legislation in EU member states, accession countries and neighbourhood region, by leveraging EU influence.

In the last year, Eurochild has increased its engagement with its diverse membership of children’s rights organisations across Europe, which now totals 171 members across 34 countries. Having decided to embed child participation into the network last year, Eurochild has already changed how it works, from the way it organises events to advocating for better policies for children –increasing the space for children to be heard and recognised as active agents of change.

The Eurochild Children’s Council, a voluntary group of children aged 13-17 years, succeeded to gather attention and support, in particular from the European Parliament President Tajani, who has agreed to host an annual event in the European Parliament plenary on Universal Children’s Day on 20 November 2018 in Brussels.

Eurochild will continue its efforts to end child poverty, which currently affects more than 1 in 4 children in the EU (Eurostat, 2016). The network will also continue to seek an end to institutional care for all children and to bring greater visibility to children’s rights in political discourse.

“With the recognition of child poverty in the European Pillar of Social Rights, increasing dialogue on children’s rights in the European Semester, we are optimistic about the future. We, the children’s rights community, see great potential at this juncture, as EU institutions and member states prepare to negotiate a new financial framework for the coming years. Investing in children has to be the way forward.” – Jana Hainsworth, Eurochild Secretary General.

Partnership will be the guiding force, as the Eurochild network depends on its continuously growing and diverse membership, peers in the civil society, business and EU institutions and governments.

Background Note:

At its General Assembly on 18 April 2018, Eurochild endorsed 18 new members to join its family, which now totals 171 members (including 22 national coalitions who together represent over 2,000 children’s rights organisations).

 

 

 

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news-1782 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Children to review work of the Council of Europe http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/children-to-review-work-of-the-council-of-europe/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=861403b3a47b1442231987e5ebb8a0a0 The 42 Member States of the Council of Europe are encouraged to use the Toolkit and consult with children for the mid-term Review of the Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child. Eurochild presented the Advocacy Toolkit to engage children in advocacy work developed with support from the Council of Europe at a meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Rights of the Child (CAHENF) of the Council of Europe. A number of national government representatives were present at this meeting on 21-23 March, where they provided updates on their work at national level.

The 42 Member States of the Council of Europe are encouraged to use the Toolkit and consult with children for the mid-term Review of the Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child, resulting in a high-level conference in Paris in June 2019.

Marja Ruotanen, Director of Human Dignity, Equality and Sport Values stressed the importance of children’s rights for the Council of Europe.  The participants, included many government representatives and civil society observers, including Eurochild, discussed a range of children’s rights issues, including child budgeting and a life free from violence for all children, for which a new group of Experts has been set up, which meets on 17 May.

The Campaign ‘Start to Talk’ to combat abuse and violence in sports was presented. It includes a video spot and material to be shared with sports clubs. The CAHENF also discussed the draft guidelines for an effective guardianship for unaccompanied and separated children in migration and various UN and Council of Europe experts stressed the importance of not detaining any migrant children, not even as a last resort. 

Draft guidelines open for comments

An exchange of views on a proposed draft Committee of Ministers Recommendation on Human Rights Principles and implementing guidelines on age assessment for children in migration also took place. Both draft guidelines are open for comments until 14 April. Please share any comments with Mieke Schuurman.

Draft recommendation- Guardianship of children in migration

Draft recommendation - Age assessment for children in migration

The guidelines will be discussed by the Safeguarding drafting Committee on 7-8 June and are expected to be adopted by the CAHENF at its next meeting 16-18 October 2018. 

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news-1780 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 For Our Children Foundation presents research on Early Childhood Development in Bulgaria at a major national conference http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/for-our-children-foundation-presents-research-on-early-childhood-development-in-bulgaria-at-a-major/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=fa5447b18207696bd5d64e9a3e0e3303 Participants united behind the need for adopting a national strategy for early childhood development, which would give impetus to much needed reform in the ECD area. On 15 March 2018, For Our Children Foundation organised the conference "Vision for Early Childhood in Bulgaria", which was attended by more than 150 representatives of national and local authorities, the academic community, international experts, professional and non-governmental organisations. The conference was held under the patronage of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria Maya Manolova, who expressed her conviction that early childhood development is the most important investment that allows us to shape our future and the future of our country. Participants united behind the need for adopting a national strategy for early childhood development, which would give impetus to much needed reform in the ECD area. It is expected that the strategic goals and vision of this strategy would be defined by the end of the year.

At the forum For Our Children Foundation presented the results of a large-scale research study "Early Child Development in Bulgaria", which studies the impact of the health, social and educational systems on early childhood development. The study was carried out in 2017 by a research team from For Our Children Foundation, the Association “Child and Space” and the Institute for Population and Human Studies at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Participants in the conference discussed the key recommendations made by the research team to improve the performance of the systems around the child.

The role of early childhood education and care policies in the European Union was presented in the keynote speech by Nora Milotay, who is a political analyst at the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), working on European social policy issues. Ms Milotay emphasised the importance of ECD for stable, cohesive and more equal societies.

Participants also heard from Professor Veronika Ispanovic on the experience of Serbia in developing integrated early childhood development systems and services. Prof. Ispanovic is a member of the National Council on the Rights of the Child and the working groups that developed the National Program for Promoting Early Childhood Development and the National Strategy on Violence against Children in Serbia.

The conference was also attended by the Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy Rositsa Dimitrova, the Deputy Minister of Education Denitsa Sacheva, the Deputy Minister of Health Dr Boyko Penkov, the UNICEF Representative for Bulgaria Maria Jesus Conde and several Ambassadors to Bulgaria.

“For all of us, it is clear that investing in early childhood development is the present and future of Bulgaria, Europe and the entire international community. With our presence here and the support from our partners - the municipalities, the national and international NGOs, we reaffirm our readiness to put together a national strategy for early childhood development”, Deputy Minister Dimitrova said.

“Investments in early childhood development have a significant impact on the future of children, the present of their parents and the social and economic wellbeing of the whole society”, said Deputy Minister Sacheva.

Read the executive summary of the research report in English

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news-1778 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Gaps in Czechia's protection of children's rights http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/gaps-in-czechias-protection-of-childrens-rights/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=7e3055d5a12f8ec51cce6f960c6ec8d1 Children's rights NGOs have not been consulted by the government in the preparation or implementation of children's rights strategy. Read the conclusions of the seminar. Conclusions of the 22th DCI Seminar on the CRC Implementation in Czechia,
held on the 8th of March, 2018 in the premises of the Old Town Hall in Prague

Participants of a seminar hosted by Czech section of Defence for Children International, expressed concerns that, after harsh criticism of the gaps in implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, expressed by the UN Committee on Rights of the Child in 2011, neither the governmental strategy “The Right for Childhood” (December 2011) nor the National Implementation Plan were fulfilled. NGOs from the field of the Rights of the Child had not been even consulted by the government in the preparatory process of the above-mentioned papers. By this, more recommendations issued by the abovementioned Committee were neglected, unseen the fact that the next periodic report should be submitted to the Committee by the government in 2018.

The participants welcome the efforts of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MŠMT) to improve the quality of participation of pupils and students, as well as its reform of the financing of schools according to the amount of education (no more to the number of pupils) and to raise salaries of teachers and their status in society.

Based on the debate, they disclosed problematic points in the implementation of the CRC.

 

The young participants (children and youths below 26 yrs of age) call for a solution to the following problems with their real participation in the life of the society, especially:

a)     Youth proposals are postponed again and again, they are not considered as a priority in any negotiations.

b)    Youth proposals are not forwarded to higher decision-making bodies.

c)     There is an insufficient support of the involvement of children and young people – mentors to be supported who would encourage them and helped them to get involved.

d)    Adults often discourage young people telling them that they are not able to succeed – we ask for an obligatory education of all personnel of school facilities on the importance and usefulness of children and youth participation on all levels of public life.

e)     Pupils and students should have the right to criticize the methodology of education.

f)     It is necessary to educate young people that their voices are useful and that it is not necessary just to receive information passively.

g)    Communication with authorities is blocked – civil servants and elected representatives do not consider information and proposals from youths as a priority.

h)    Adults do not perceive the importance to put the voices of young people through.

i)      A completely absent legislation which would anchor municipal, regional and national children parliaments, to anchor school student parliaments solely is insufficient.

j)      Authorities themselves do not know whose responsibility is it to support municipal and regional children and youth parliaments – it is necessary to define a single body for the development and support of youth participation.

k)    In some cases, municipal children parliaments are just a populist step of an individual politician – we have to stop such misuse of young people.

l)      Participation of young people is to be accepted as a normal part of the public life.

m)   It is necessary to establish an ombudsman for children.

 

All participants agreed unanimously upon the necessity that all public bodies should fulfil the following measures for the systematic implementation of the rights of the child in the Czech Republic:

1.     To establish and nominate a permanent independent coordinating and monitoring body for the implementation of the CRC. This body has to be equipped with appropriated powers and competences.

2.     To adopt a law on an independent ombudsperson for children, the competences of which will also inhere decision-making processes of municipal and regional authorities.

3.     To initiate in mainstream media and in their supervising councils a dialog on the implementation of the rights of the child, including the right of participation in all issues concerning children directly or indirectly.

4.     To solve systemic gaps by separating the issues of families and children from other dominating ones (employment policies, schools, sports, etc.). To establish a ministry for family, children and youth, according to good practices from abroad.

5.     To initiate a public or parliamentary council or commission for the rights of the child.

6.     To adopt a law committing all public bodies to take the best interest of the child into account in all decisions, as well as defining that notion and indicators for its evaluation. More concretely: to implement children mainstreaming and children budgeting, which means to add an obligation to report how the amendment/budgetary provision fits to the best interest of the child.

7.     It is necessary to adopt a law on protection and support of children and youth, including youth participation in the life of the society. This concerns particularly municipalities and regions, with an obligatory financial support for leisure-time and children’s associations at all levels.

8.     To order obligatory training courses for youth workers on children participation.

9.     To open specific grant programmes for both NGOs and public management bodies supporting participation of children and youths from a different cultural environment and/or living in marginal social conditions on all levels, as well as for NGOs the main field of which is participation and the right of the child in general.

10.  To include organizations and coalitions advocating and lobbying for the rights of the child as consultants for all legislature amendments which have an impact on the rights of the child. To include the right of children to be consulted on internal regulations and codices of ethics of the facilities concerned.

11.  To amend the Civil Code in the sense that corporal punishment on a child can never be considered an appropriate measure of education, even in a family environment.

12.  To propose legislative measures for to improve the protection of children, e.g. to set age limits for unaccompanied children in pubs or streets at evening/night times.

13.  To implement the right of the child to be heard and to have an own solicitor in all court proceedings, according to the rulings of the Constitutional Court of Justice.

14.  To set immediately up a replacing alimentation support for entitled children by the government with the provision that the government would then enforce the obliged parent (who has not paid to the child) to repay the alimentation money to the state.

15.  Children must not be taken away from their families for social reasons, siblings may not be separated from each other.

16.  To swiftly adopt an Act on Social Housing, stating i.e. that children have a right to live in a decent environment.

17.  To enforce advisory and social services at schools and in municipalities, aimed specifically at children in crisis and at prevention measures.

18.  To enhance children participation in health care, including their informed consent.

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news-1777 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Prepare for Leaving Care training in five countries http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/prepare-for-leaving-care-training-in-five-countries/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=6d6f420b4a7ac2cfa37542a1c86c9533 The project delivers training to care workers in collaboration with young people with care experiences. The Prepare for Leaving Care trainings are now taking place in all five partner countries: Spain, Latvia, Lithuania, Italy and Croatia. Young people with care experience are co-delivering the training together with highly qualified Master Trainers. Project Partners are reporting back that trainees are very happy with the training and that they are glad to have the opportunity to focus on the topic of leaving care together with other professionals.

In Croatia, care professionals expressed their appreciation for the input of the two young co-trainers Kruno and Martina: “I see young people as my partners.I don’t see it as ‘us and them,’” says Daniela Vukelja, who heads a youthcommunity living centre in Pula, Croatia. “We build something new togetherand the insights from Kruno and Martina were very valid.”

In spring, the National Steering Groups and Young Expert Groups will be engaged in developing national recommendations and sustainability roadmaps. The national recommendations should help decision-makers and influential key-stakeholders in the national child protection systems to identify the measures to be taken to ensure that all professionals involved in the direct care of children are trained in leaving care and are able to implement the learnings in their places of work.

A new grant for the project Leaving Care has been secured, which will roll-out the above mentioned trainings in five new countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary and Romania) as well as new regions in Italy.

Read more about the training in Croatia here: Young experts help train care professionals

 

About Prepare for Leaving Care

Prepare for Leaving Care – a Child Protection System that Works for Professionals and Young People aims to embed a child rights based culture into child protection systems which improves outcomes for children and young people in particular in the preparation for leaving care. Eurochild is an associate partner in this project which is led by our member SOS Children's Villages. CELCIS has produced a Leaving Care Practice Guidance and Training Manual to deliver the training.

 

 

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news-1776 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Children to be asked views on Brexit by Welsh Government http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/children-to-be-asked-views-on-brexit-by-welsh-government/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=93ab035d3d994b58f4a16511b2078b0e Good news from Wales after concerted efforts by children's rights organisations to bring children's voices to the top of the political agenda. According to media reports, children and young people's views on the Brexit negotiations will be heard by the Government of Wales. 

This is a welcome step from the Government of Wales that has come after many efforts of children's rights organisations in Wales to bring children's voices to the top of the political agenda. 

Children in Wales, a National Partner Network of Eurochild, has been actively reporting children's concerns with the Brexit negotiations. They have held meetings with children, young people and families to gather their views and provide relevant policy recommendations to authorities. 

“Young people’s worries of Brexit is increasing because of uncertainty and not being reassured what will be the action to get young people the best deal possible for future generations”. 

A round table exchange was organised in Cardiff in November 2017, where Eurochild Senior Policy and Advocacy Coordinator Mieke Schurmann also participated. A summary report with key policy recommendations and views of the children and young people has been produced to inform local and regional decision makers. 

Read the report Brexit & Children’s Rights: Implications for Wales – Summary Report of the Round Table Exchange Event

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news-1774 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Six additional candidate members to join Eurochild in 2018 http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/six-additional-candidate-members-to-join-eurochild-in-2018/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=2449cb5d7468985c6d9c3326c5de2d2e Six additional candidate members will be considered for endorsement at the next General Assembly in April.

The candidates are:

Marta Santos Pais – Honorary member
Portugal

Marta Santos Pais was appointed as Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children (SRSG) on May 1, 2009, and took up her position on September 1, 2009. As a high level global independent advocate, Marta Santos Pais promotes the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against children in all settings, including online and offline, the justice setting, in the home, in institutional care, in schools, in the workplace and in the community. She acts as a bridge builder in all regions, and across sectors and settings where violence against children may occur. 

http://www.srsg.violenceagainstchildren.org/srsg/biography 

Children's International Press Centre Foundation 
The Netherlands

Children’s International Press Centre Foundation aims at supporting children in making media campaigns as reporters, by helping them in finding Inspiring topics and people for them to research. The Foundation provides schools, governments and libraries with materials, scenarios and (digital) formats for the start-up of a child press centre and facilitates the exchange of good practices and experience. It also provides a network of publishing and media partners.

http://www.childpresscentre.org/  

The Big Dipper North
Czech Republic

The Big Dipper North is an organisation focusing on the enhancement of social workers, teachers and foster carers’ skills in assisting children and their families by means of interactive training based on model situations followed by feedback, case studies and methods of experiential learning. Besides delivering training, it publishes tools and methodological handbooks for social workers.

http://www.velkyvuz-sever.cz

Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Zagreb
Croatia

Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences at University of Zagreb is the only higher education institution in Croatia that creates and offers university-level programmes in speech-language pathology, educational rehabilitation and social pedagogy in addition to developing and advancing high-quality research as well as clinical best practices in these areas. Its mission is education based on scientific knowledge in these areas with the aim of including vulnerable groups into the community, by influencing individuals and social environments as well as influencing policy making and social benefits, in compliance with the principles of professional ethics and responsibility.

https://www.erf.unizg.hr/en

Maria Corbett – Individual member
Ireland

Maria is a PhD student at the School of Law, National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG). She focuses on child protection, family support and child law. Maria undertakes court reporting for the Child Care Law Reporting Project and she is currently a board member of Kid’s Own Publishing Partnership and the Ark Cultural Centre. Maria has twenty years’ experience as a children’s rights advocate, legal and policy analyst and researcher. For 14 years from 2001, she led the policy work of the Children’s Rights Alliance in Ireland.

Ivana Jedud Boric – Individual member
Croatia

Ivana Jedud Boric is social pedagogue and assistant professor in the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences in the University of Zagreb. Ivana is actively involved in various programmes and interventions for children and youth such as mentoring programmes, education on child’ rights and social skills training. Ivana currently focuses on child participation through research, education, consultation and advocacy. 

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news-1773 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 A lifecycle approach to early childhood development http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/a-lifecycle-approach-to-early-childhood-development/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=9c056a489649ca9a14ba38a9634d4d2d Eurochild was invited to speak during a session on “Development of Practical Knowledge and Skills From an Early Age” at the conference on the Future of Work: A Lifecycle Approach. Eurochild was invited to speak during a session on “Development of Practical Knowledge and Skills From an Early Age” at the conference on the Future of Work: A Lifecycle Approach on 21-22 March 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria. The conference was hosted by the Bulgarian EU Presidency to gather Ministers responsible for Social Affairs and Employment, social partners, UNICEF and World Bank. Eurochild Secretary General Jana Hainsworth spoke to the need for expanding understanding on childcare for an integrated approach to early childhood development. Here is a short summary of the session.

The session on “Development of practical knowledge and skills from an early age”, demonstrated the importance of early childhood development for the development of a skilled, competent and healthy workforce of the future. It highlighted that:

 

  • Skill development starts early and continues throughout the whole life. Evidence from neurosciences shows that early years are critical for healthy human brain development. During the first years of life, including the period of conception, the brain grows at the fastest speed and has a maximum plasticity. Brain architecture and skills are built in a hierarchical ‘bottom-up’ sequence – the neural circuits that support the lower order skills are established first and provide a foundation for the development of the higher order skills. If the lower level circuits are not wired properly (early in life) the development of the higher order skills becomes much more difficult.
  • Early adversities undermine healthy brain development and diminish human potential and future productivity. The brain architecture is sculptured under the influence of the environment. Any adversity in the child’s environment has the potential to have a negative impact on early brain development, and therefore acts as a risk factor for the health and development of the child. Many children exposed to adversities in early years including extreme poverty, maternal depression, chronic neglect, physical and emotional abuse do not acquire a strong foundation for health, learning and development throughout life. Gaps in skills emerge as early as 2-3 years of age and if not addressed they tend to widen.
  • Investments that support families and communities to provide nurturing care for young children including health, adequate nutrition, safety and security, responsive caregiving and opportunities for early learning, can set children on high trajectories of development and address any skills deficits caused by early disadvantage.
  • Today, Europe is facing a large cognitive deficit, exacerbated by the existing social-economic inequalities. The future of Europe, its prosperity and peace, depend on the ability to invest in and nurture its human capital right from the beginning.
  • We learned about the impressive experience of Bulgaria, which has a comprehensive set of policies and services supporting young children and families. The country has achieved remarkable progress in the process of deinstitutionalization and at present is strengthening focus on prevention.
  • Quality early childhood education and care has the potential to improve child development. The adoption of the Quality framework on early childhood education and care by the Ministries of Education this year will put the needs of children at the heart of formal childcare and pre-school settings.
  • However, a more holistic and comprehensive approach going beyond child care and early education is needed across Europe to insure the well-being of young children and lay the foundations for development of competent, skilled and productive workforce.
  • This approach should integrate policies that provide enabling environment for caregivers, families and communities to provide nurturing care. This includes parental health – physical and mental; parental education, nutrition and health during pregnancy, antenatal care, parental leave; delivery, birth spacing, quality early learning opportunities, safe and clean neighborhoods, income, housing, nutritious food. Families experiencing difficulties need to receive adequate support.
  • The EU has already articulated its commitment to the wellbeing of young children in the  EU Pillar of Social Rights. Further efforts are needed to support its implementation by the Member States.
  • The European Commission proposal for a Directive on Work Life Balance needs to set a minimum standard of maternity leave of 24 weeks, coherent with WHO standards on breastfeeding.  Member States are encouraged to develop national early childhood development strategies which take a multi-sectoral approach to ensuring all children have equitable access to health, nutrition, early learning, responsive care-giving and a safe & secure environment. Integration is a challenging task but EU funding may be utilized to catalyze national reforms that lead to integrated, holistic support for early childhood development. It means not only reserving funds for building & staffing crèches, but really looking at developing all the services in the community that serve families in the best possible way to support children in their first months and years.
  • An EU dedicated agency for children may strengthen support to EU Member States to strengthen their national policies on early childhood development.

 

 

 

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news-1771 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Maintain, strengthen and expand EU's pivotal role towards children’s deinstitutionalisation http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/maintain-strengthen-and-expand-eus-pivotal-role-towards-childrens-deinstitutionalisation/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=5135c45b92ef6061bf3540f64fa5d189 Despite EU's efforts in funding reforms in child protection in its current Multi-Annual Financial Framework, we are far from providing children the best care solutions. Today, Europe’s civil society representing over 300 organisations that work with and for children meet key EU level stakeholders in Brussels to discuss how the EU can ensure better outcomes for children and their families through the post-2020 EU budget. Under the platform of the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign, they bring evidence from the ground on how EU funds have been used in the current Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). The publication urges the EU to maintain, strengthen and expand its pivotal role towards children’s deinstitutionalisation and the transformation of child protection systems in Europe.

Hundreds of thousands of children are still growing up in institutional care in Europe. Even though institutions are often funded by public money – intended for the public good – they can have long-lasting damaging consequences not only for the children themselves but also for families and society as a whole.

The EU is at a critical juncture, as it prepares to decide on its priorities for investment post-2020. Despite its efforts in funding reforms in child protection in its current Multi-annual financial framework, we are far from providing children the best care solutions. The negotiations on EU budget and funding programmes beyond 2020 is a unique chance for the EU to end the era of institutional care – unnecessary, outdated and harmful type of care that segregates children from society. The next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) offers a real opportunity to build on lessons learnt and deliver on existing EU promises.

The undoubted EU added value of investing in the social inclusion of the most vulnerable people, catalysing child welfare and child protection reforms and triggering the transition from institutional towards more individualised community-based care (also known as deinstitutionalisation) has been widely acknowledged by Europe’s civil society (see the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children recent recommendations to the EU, Eurochild’s recommendations on investing in children through the post-2020 MFF and the European Expert Group’s position paper on the funding of the European Union post-2020).

To continue this progress, coherent with the EU’s human rights obligations, more has to be done. The EU must reinforce its support towards realisation of common values and objectives, such as respect for human rights, poverty reduction or social inclusion, when negotiating the post-2020 budget and funding programmes over the next 18 months.

To enhance a pan-European debate on the EU budget post-2020, the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign has released a publication which brings evidence from the ground on how EU funds have been used in the current Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). It provides ample examples of why positive elements such as the ex-ante conditionality and the European Code of Conduct on Partnership (ECCP) should be maintained in the future EU budget and expanded to other funding programmes. The report also raises some valid concerns about how regulations have been implemented in practice, making the case for strengthening existing regulations and providing recommendations for the next funding programmes beyond 2020.

Download the publication

View it online

Click to see photos from the event on 20 March.

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news-1762 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Protecting the rights of the child in humanitarian situations http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/protecting-the-rights-of-the-child-in-humanitarian-situations/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=a5f519c1aa17754b6ecb93a2fb122cce The joint oral statement by 25 NGOs will be delivered on 5 March at the 37th session of UN Human Rights Council. Eurochild co-signed a joint oral statement by 25 NGOs calling for the protection of the rights of the child in humanitarian situations. This statement will be delivered at the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council for the Annual meeting on the rights of the child on 5 March 2018. 

The statement, co-ordinated by Child Rights Connect, calls on governments, UN and all humanitarian actors to, among others, ensure children's voices are heard, end discrimination, prioritise access to safe and quality education and play, prioritise violence prevention and protection against sexual exploitation, implementation of the UN Guidelines on Alternative Care and reminds against detaining children. 

The statement will be delivered on 5 March 2018 and can be watched online

Read the joint oral statement here.

 

 

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news-1755 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild joins the European Cohort Development Project http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-joins-the-european-cohort-development-project/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=66f389148f3ed72a622e0cb7d84a4288 The European Cohort Development Project (ECDP), led by Manchester Metropolitan University, and funded by the European Commission’s research programme ‘Horizon2020’, aims to establish the research design for a longitudinal survey of children and young people’s well-being across Europe (from birth until the age of 25).

Currently there is no readily available robust data to assess the child well-being situation across Europe or in comparison to the rest of the world. Existing child data, which have their own limitations, indicate that European countries vary widely in terms of child well-being but there is no comparative data which show the circumstances of how children develop into adults.

A comparative longitudinal survey of child well-being in Europe offers policy-makers at a European and Member State level a number of new possibilities for policy formulation. Longitudinal well-being surveys can help us understand transitions in children and young peoples’ lives (for instance the step from education to the labour market), interruptions and trauma (break up the family unit) as well as turning points that might contribute to the understanding of well-being.

These transitions are inherently longitudinal processes and so longitudinal data are necessary to analyse and understand such life course developments.  Only this type of data is able to inform policies aimed to improve child well-being over time and answer questions about the impact of policy interventions on child and young people’s outcomes.

It aims to make this survey a key European Research Infrastructure (like the European Social Survey).  This project builds upon the MYWEB feasibility study that established that there was a significant demand for such a survey among policy makers, academics and practitioners. In addition it found that this type of survey would be both technically feasible and economically viable. This 18-months project includes partner universities from Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and The Netherlands.

Eurochild is part of the International Advisory Group, which includes representatives from Learning for Well-being Foundation, Jacobs Foundation, ISCI, and UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.

The Eurochild network has an extensive experience working on and advocating for more child-centered and evidence- and child participation based indicators for well-being and more regular monitoring. Better monitoring of outcomes is a clear learning from the Childonomics research study. We have experience liaising with various EU institutions and other stakeholders and successfully disseminating information relevant to our work.

Eurochild can play an important role by:

1) ensuring that the right policy fields are included for well-being – both the material and non-material indicators; 2) raising awareness about a cohort study and gathering the political support at EU level;
3) help mapping the key influencers at national level through our membership to build support. 

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news-1745 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild conference travels to child-friendly Opatija http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-conference-travels-to-child-friendly-opatija/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=2d6a7ee3d27d3f2f953782b3764cc551 Eurochild’s next bi-annual conference takes place in Opatija, Croatia from 29-31 October 2018.

(25 January 2018, Opatija)

The conference entitled ‘Building a better Europe with children: All Aboard!’ will be hosted by Society ‘Our Children’ Opatija in partnership with the City of Opatija, under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.

The host, Secretary of the Society “Our children” Opatija Sanja Škorić and Secretary General of Eurochild Jana Hainsworth announced the Eurochild Conference in Opatija this morning, in the presence of the Mayor of the City of Opatija Ivo Dujmić; Head of UNICEF Croatia office Valentina Otmačić and the Children’s Mayor of the City of Opatija Petra Deranja along with Croatian media, including child journalists who raised pertinent questions to the organisers and hosts.

We are delighted to bring the children’s rights community with us to Opatija this year to discuss why and how to involve children in public decision-making in particular children from disadvantaged backgrounds.  Involving children meaningfully in decisions that affect them impacts other societal outcomes like employment, skills development, democratic participation and civic engagement. The conference will be an opportunity for us to discover how the child-friendly City of Opatija supports children’s participation and share its lessons with other governments, organisations and individuals”, said Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General of Eurochild.

The Eurochild Conference in Opatija will bring positive examples of how public decision-makers at local, national and European levels are respecting the right of children to participate in decisions affecting them. The conference will host an estimated 300 participants including public sector officials, politicians, children’s rights professionals as well as children themselves. By involving under 18 years-olds in the planning, preparation and delivery of the conference, the conference itself will be an example of participation in action.

Click here to see the photos

Click here to know more about the event

Watch the video recording of the press conference:

<iframe width="460" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/gkUfnksXYIk?rel=0" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen=""></iframe>

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news-1744 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Bulgarian EU Presidency begins with criticisms of Istanbul Convention http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/bulgarian-eu-presidency-begins-with-criticisms-of-istanbul-convention/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=9675a640cc52437ca271456e29a0da05 One of the first decisions of the Bulgarian Council of Ministers at the beginning of the EU Presidency was the adoption of a draft proposal to the National Assembly for ratification of Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention).

One of the first decisions of the Bulgarian Council of Ministers at the beginning of the EU Presidency was the adoption of a draft proposal to the National Assembly for ratification of Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention).

The decision was difficult because eight ministers voted against, including the Minister of Education. Some politicians, media, citizens and civic organizations have campaigned against acceding to the Convention, claiming that with the document “Bulgaria would legalize the third gender”, that the state will be obliged to recognize “homosexual marriages” and that the children will have to be educated about “transgender” at school.

In connection with these debates and the campaign against the ratification of the Convention, the National Network for Children, the Alliance for Protection against Domestic Violence, P.U.L.S. Foundation, Animus Association and many other organizations, have come out with positions that refute the misconceptions about the purpose, meaning and the content of the Convention and explain the importance of its signing. These misconceptions are based on ignorance, misunderstanding, misinterpretation or deliberate manipulation of the public opinion.

Here are some questions and answers on the main topics of the debate:

What is the main purpose of the Convention?

  • The document aims, first of all, to “protect women from all forms of violence and to prevent, pursue and abolish violence against women and domestic violence.”
  • Among the other stated objectives of the Convention are “to contribute to the elimination of all forms of discrimination”.
  • The Convention requires for each State to set up a monitoring mechanism and to provide financial and human resources for its implementation.
  • The term “third gender” in the Convention is not mentioned, and the word “third” is mentioned only twice in the document as “third parties”. The Convention aims to break the gender stereotype in terms of social functions rather than biological sex. The Istanbul Convention does not address the issue of gender change or sexual self-determination.
  • The Convention will not oblige Bulgaria to accept gay marriages, as the nationalist circles suggest, and the word “marriage” is used only in the context of “forced” marriages.
  • Children and students will not study “homosexuality and transgenderism”, as alleged by the Convention’s opponents. It states that “The Parties shall, where appropriate, take the necessary steps to incorporate capacities on issues such as gender equality, non-stereotyped roles, mutual respect, non-violent conflict resolution interpersonal relationships, gender-based violence against women, and the right to privacy in formal curricula and at all levels of education. ”
  • The fierce debate in the public space has contradicted the extreme right-wing views of political parties, groups and organizations. Protests in support of the Convention, as well as counter-protests for its rejection, are foreseen. Bulgaria can thus fall among countries that have neither signed nor ratified the Convention, such as Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

What is the real benefit of signing the Convention for Bulgaria?

  • Introducing official state statistics, which is not currently available in Bulgaria, for cases of domestic violence and gender-based violence;
  • Criminalization of “persecution”, rape in marriage, changes in the limitation period of these crimes, which is not yet the case in Bulgaria;
  • Ensure an effective investigation into cases of domestic violence and gender-based violence;
  • Introduction of specialized free services for the protection of women and children victims of violence that are not fully developed in the country and has whole regions where there are no crisis centers for women and children who have experienced violence;
  • Introduction of an obligation for the abuser to visit specialized programs, including social and psychological counseling, and establishment of such programs in Bulgaria.

The National Network for Children, together with a group of experts and organizations in the field of domestic violence and child protection, declare a firm support for the ratification of the Convention and will join the peaceful demonstration supporting the ratification of the Istanbul Convention on 11 January at the National Assembly square in Sofia.

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news-1742 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild Secretary General: An ambassador for European Pillar of Social Rights http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-secretary-general-an-ambassador-for-european-pillar-of-social-rights/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=5cbe910baf7f87a0c4dcba9f47a4a780 Following the Social Summit in Gothenburg in November 2017 where Heads of State and Government exchanged on social challenges and opportunities in Europe and the joint proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, European Commissioner Marianne Thyssen has invited Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General of Eurochild, to act as an ambassador for the European Pillar of Social Rights. Following the Social Summit in Gothenburg in November 2017 where Heads of State and Government exchanged on social challenges and opportunities in Europe and the joint proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, European Commissioner Marianne Thyssen has invited Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General of Eurochild, to act as an ambassador for the European Pillar of Social Rights.

In a letter, Commissioner Thyssen invited Ms Hainsworth’s support: “I encourage you to act as an ambassador for the Pillar at all levels of governance and to every man and woman in the street. I encourage you to remind policymakers and politicians of their commitment to the Pillar regularly and repeatedly. And I encourage you to engage with European, national and local institutions to ensure the implementation of the 20 principles of the Pillar.”

The European Pillar of Social Rights is an initiative that sets out principles and rights for fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems in Europe. It offers an important opportunity to reflect on how investing in children can contribute to a more inclusive and prosperous Europe.

Read the Eurochild position paper on the European Pillar of Social Rights

Watch Jana Hainsworth speak about investing in people through the European Pillar of Social Rights

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news-1741 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild Children's Council nominated for Innovative Development http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-childrens-council-nominated-for-innovative-development/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=8b2160db4cb43d4a9e4b37d47fa9ba6c Eurochild is honoured to be nominated by the European Association Awards for its first ever Children's Council. Eurochild is honoured to be nominated by the European Association Awards under the category of Innovative Development by an Association for its first ever Children's Council. 

As a representative body of children’s rights organisations in Europe, Eurochild has recognised the need to engage the voices of children themselves. Nothing about us, without us, applies equally to children. In April 2017, Eurochild adopted a Child Participation Strategy with the goal of embedding high quality, meaningful child participation in our work and to support members’ participative activities of children & young people.

With the aim of achieving a ‘gold standard in participatory practice’ by 2020, we involve children directly in our activities (advocacy, event planning & delivery, and organisational development) and support more effective participatory practices in our membership.

Every year Eurochild brings children to the European Parliament around Universal Children’s Day on 20th November to meet with elected members. In 2017, our newly established Eurochild Children’s Council raised the profile of children’s participation at the highest level and received the commitment from European Parliament President Tajani to mark Universal Children’s Day every year to assess progress on children’s rights, in the plenary of the European Parliament. This commitment marks a turning point for the recognition of children’s rights.

Additionally, the inclusion and engagement of children and young people in the annual General Assembly as co-creators and workshop participants drives Eurochild network to be as participatory as possible. From communications to logistics and engagement, engaging children makes us as a network, more creative and reflective.

The European Association Awards ceremony will take place on 23 February 2018 in Brussels. 

Watch how the Eurochild Children's Council is taking over (video)

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news-1740 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Children at the intersection of disability and juvenile justice http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/children-at-the-intersection-of-disability-and-juvenile-justice/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=4e84a6291e4900b5e1729996e04e1efe The confluence of disability and juvenile justice has not been effectively investigated so far. Hence, the socio-medical committee of CNAPE, the French federation of associations for children, developed a reflection paper on this theme. The confluence of disability and juvenile justice has not been effectively investigated so far. Hence, the socio-medical committee of CNAPE, the French federation of associations for children, developed a reflection paper on this theme.

Key statistics:

Following a survey, CNAPE discovered some key statistics:

Out of 500 children and young people (14-20 years in the judicial protection):

43 % have health issues;

60 % consume cannabis;

7 % have a physical or mental disability;

40 % have been subjected to physical violence.

CNAPE in its reflection, recognises the dangers of siloed approaches in child protection systems. It appeals for a multi-dimensional and transversal approach to child well-being wherein the best interest of the child are put front and centre by all actors.

In French: Read the synthesis of the contribution of CNAPE here

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news-1726 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Call for Tender: Researcher for Eurochild Conference background report http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/call-for-tender-researcher-for-eurochild-conference-background-report/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=247b7174a1fc8efccd133c90e2bf2209 Looking for researcher/expert to prepare the background report to Eurochild’s 2018 conference provisionally titled: “Building inclusive participatory democracies: Why start in childhood? ” Eurochild’s 2018 conference will be hosted by Society “Our Children” Opatija in Opatija, Croatia on 29-31 October 2018. It will be organised under the high patronage of the President of the Republic of Croatia, in partnership with the city of Opatija.

Tender for Researcher/expert

The contracted expert is expected to prepare a background paper which will frame the conference debate.  The scope and contents of the report will be agreed after selection of the expert based on our combined expertise.  

The applicants will be expected to demonstrate they have:

  • Expert knowledge and experience of children’s participation in public decision-making processes and how this is meaningful, inclusive and accessible to children from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Excellent writing skills as evidenced by examples of past reports which are accessible to a wide audience
  • Capacity to conduct research and access academic and grey literature – ideally in a number of different languages 
  • Good understanding of the advocacy goals of the Eurochild network

NB. Only candidates from EU Member States are eligible to participate in this tender.

 

Please read the full call for tender here

Deadline for application from experts: 19 January 2018

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news-1724 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Transforming Romania’s child protection system in partnership with civil society http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/transforming-romanias-child-protection-system-in-partnership-with-civil-society-1/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=5e571c8118e4f0579c194bf8a846e749 Romania should use its presidency of the EU Council to champion the move from old-style care institutions to community-based child care and show other EU member states it can be done, writes Jana Hainsworth in an opinion piece published in Euractiv. 27 years ago Romania became known internationally as home to over 100,000 orphans growing up abandoned in old-style institutions. Images of row upon row of cots and the vacant stares of infants craving human attention flooded the international press.

Thankfully the situation looks very different today. Romania has undertaken huge reforms to its child protection system, most recently adopting a national strategy for the promotion and protection of children’s rights (2014-2020). Most of the old-style institutions are now closed. Local authorities have the responsibility to provide the necessary community services that support families and prevent children being separated (even if coverage and quality is in reality patchy). A majority of the children who are placed in public care grow up in foster care or kinship care.  Small group homes of up to 12 children are also designed to respond to children’s individual needs and offer a nurturing, family-like environment.

Nonetheless it is fair to say that the deinstitutionalisation process in Romania is far from complete. Over 7,000 children are still living in old-style institutions, roughly half of them children with disabilities.  Most of these children end up institutionalised for life. Romania’s progress in reforming institutional care for adults with disabilities or psycho-social difficulties is notoriously slow-moving. Abuse in these care settings is rife.

Read the rest of the opinion piece published by Euractiv

 

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news-1725 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Transforming Romania’s child protection system in partnership with civil society http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/transforming-romanias-child-protection-system-in-partnership-with-civil-society/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=f16b659cea686c67d332a609a87abd0a Romania should use its presidency of the EU Council to champion the move from old-style care institutions to community-based child care and show other EU member states it can be done, writes Jana Hainsworth in an opinion piece published by Euractiv. 27 years ago Romania became known internationally as home to over 100,000 orphans growing up abandoned in old-style institutions. Images of row upon row of cots and the vacant stares of infants craving human attention flooded the international press.

Thankfully the situation looks very different today. Romania has undertaken huge reforms to its child protection system, most recently adopting a national strategy for the promotion and protection of children’s rights (2014-2020). Most of the old-style institutions are now closed. Local authorities have the responsibility to provide the necessary community services that support families and prevent children being separated (even if coverage and quality is in reality patchy). A majority of the children who are placed in public care grow up in foster care or kinship care.  Small group homes of up to 12 children are also designed to respond to children’s individual needs and offer a nurturing, family-like environment.

Nonetheless it is fair to say that the deinstitutionalisation process in Romania is far from complete. Over 7,000 children are still living in old-style institutions, roughly half of them children with disabilities.  Most of these children end up institutionalised for life. Romania’s progress in reforming institutional care for adults with disabilities or psycho-social difficulties is notoriously slow-moving. Abuse in these care settings is rife.

Read the rest of the opinion piece published by Euractiv

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news-1723 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Make economic policies work for children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/make-economic-policies-work-for-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=55c20bb0951efc85fe1be9e6a7198704 Eurochild releases 2017 Report on the European Semester with a reminder to tackle child poverty Despite improved focus on social concerns this year, the EU’s economic policies offered fewer recommendations to EU Member States to reduce child poverty and promote children’s well-being, as compared to previous years. Eurochild’s latest yearly report on the 2017 European Semester Investing in children in the era of social rights’ details the situation of child poverty and children’s rights in 18 EU countries.

While the EU has improved performance on its economic indices, more than 1 in 4 children continue to be at risk of child poverty or social exclusion. The European Semester, which is the EU’s annual cycle of economic policy coordination, did not make any recommendations to reduce child poverty in the EU Member States. This is a worrying tendency as there were 7 recommendations made in 2014. Additionally, conflicting recommendations have made it difficult for countries to balance their economic and social priorities.

For example, Spain received a recommendation to improve educational outcomes by providing teacher training and individual support to students, which necessitates investment, while at the same time it was urged to ‘undertake a comprehensive expenditure review’ promoting austerity measures.

The recognition of social challenges across the EU has been evident this year with the commitment shown at the release of the European Pillar of Social Rights. The economic policy recommendations and tools offered to help EU Member States must also reflect the social reality. The Social Scoreboard offers potential to strengthen the social dimension of the European Semester. We encourage EU Member States to make economic policies work for children and for the Commission to take forward its social analysis into action.” - Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild.

This year, Eurochild members highlighted some positive examples of stakeholder engagement. In the Netherlands, Defence for Children Netherlands has been able to engage productively in the Semester process. By working with the Semester officers in the country, it has contributed with evidence and recommendations based on a children’s rights perspective. 

The report ‘Investing in children in the era of social rights’, offers alternative recommendations specific to each country to encourage EU Member States to invest in children. 

 

Background:

Eurochild’s report brings together the assessments of 22 contributors from 18 EU Member States.  They looked at the extent to which the European Commission ‘Recommendation on Investing in Children: Breaking the cycle of disad­vantage’ (2013) has been implemented in their country and whether the European Semester process is helping or hindering the achievement of positive outcomes for children.

Read the full report Investing in children in the era of social rights: 2017 Eurochild Report on the European Semester’.

The European Commission Recommendation ‘Investing in Children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage’ (20 February 2013) is available online.

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news-1720 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Thousands of vulnerable children being put in harm’s way by public institutions http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/thousands-of-vulnerable-children-being-put-in-harms-way-by-public-institutions/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=a2455c25db52331a16ed87a630dc1d1e Eurochild National Partner Network, CRAE (Children’s Rights Alliance for England) releases new 'State of Children’s Rights 2017' report

Tasers used on hundreds; thousands housed in unsafe homeless accommodation; hundreds of thousands denied timely treatment for mental illness.

Some of England’s most vulnerable children are being needlessly put in harm’s way because their safety and wellbeing is ignored whilst the Government is focused on Brexit. So says State of Children’s Rights 2017, a new report from the Children’s Rights Alliance for England, which has found that the Government is not doing enough to stop young children being:

  • subjected to the use of Tasers and spit-hoods by the police or locked up alone in police cells for days on end
  • forced to spend months living in squalid and overcrowded homeless accommodation that has not been vetted to make sure it is a safe place for children
  • denied timely access to desperately-needed local mental health care when they reach emotional crisis point

The charity says thousands of England’s most vulnerable children are experiencing dangerous situations whilst political leaders look the other way.

Louise King, Director of the Children’s Rights Alliance says:

Due to Brexit, the political focus is dominated by trade, the economy and our negotiations with the EU. Meanwhile little or no attention is being paid to some of the huge danger experienced by struggling families and ill-protected children who are being failed by our public institutions. Government should ensure that Ministers have a legal obligation to consider how their decisions will affect children.”

The report finds that whilst the number of under-18s being arrested has dropped by more than half in the last six years, the use of hooding, Tasers, stop-and-searches and police-cell detentions, on children under 18 in England is increasing sharply.

  • Tasers are still being used on hundreds of children in England with at least 519 uses in 2016 (an increase of 25% from 2013). Last year, Tasers were discharged or fired in 42 of these uses and the youngest child fired on with a Taser was just twelve years old. (The UN Committee against Torture has said the use of Tasers on children should be banned.)
  • Twenty out of the 40 police forces in England currently use spit-hoods. Fifteen forces provided data indicating that spit-hood use on children is rising. They were used on at least 68 children in the first nine months of 2017 - including a ten-year-old boy - compared to at least 27 in 2016 and twelve in 2015.  Risk assessments drawn up by police forces reference the dangers of “breathing restriction and asphyxia” posed to people wearing them. The Independent Police Complaints Commission has investigated the deaths of several adults following the use of spit hoods.

  • Thirty-three police forces in England admitted that between them they held, at least 22,408 children – including more than forty 10 and 11 year-olds -overnight in police cells during the course of 2016. One child was detained for nearly five days. More than a third (36%) of children, detained overnight in police cells were children from black and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. In London BAME children accounted for nearly two-thirds (64%) of the 8,275 children detained overnight.

The study documents a rise in the number of children in homeless families whose health and wellbeing is put at risk by living in temporary accommodation that has frequently not been inspected and certificated as safe places for young children to reside.

  • Local authorities are not fulfilling their safeguarding duties and inspections are being carried out infrequently. Almost a third of 200+ local authorities, that responded to the charity’s FOI requests, do not have a safeguarding policy that applies when transferring children from local authority accommodation to private rental temporary accommodation. Over half said they did not have one for transferring children to local authority temporary accommodation or B&Bs.
  • Meanwhile there has been a 60% increase in the number of families with children living in temporary homeless accommodation since 2010. And by the end of June this year 2,710 families with dependent or expected children were living in B&B accommodation, nearly four times more than in 2010 (740). Over a third of families (1,200) were living there for more than six weeks, which is against the law.

Eighteen year-old Fowzia, who lived in a B&B for six months said:

The B&B was horrible. There were no cooking facilities or fridge so we had no choice but to buy fast food and my mum was getting very little benefits. We had to all live in two small rooms. It was really squashed and my disabled brother had to share a bed with my mum. It was cold and dirty and when we complained, no one helped us or ever came to inspect it. At one point, someone broke into our room which scared us all."

The charity’s analysis revealed that despite the significant ongoing investment in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) this increased funding is still not reaching the frontline. Access and waiting times continue to be a postcode lottery whilst rates of suicide and self-harm amongst children have increased at alarming rates.

  • In 2016, nearly 3% of 5-17 year olds (200,000 children) received specialist mental health treatment.

  • The Care Quality Commission (CQC) found CAHMS waiting times of between 35 days to 18 months in different areas.
  • Seven out of 10 children with severe mental health problems were admitted to hospitals outside of their local areas in 2016- 2017, an increase of 57% from the previous year placing them far away from their family, friends and local services at a time when they are the most vulnerable.

  • Over a quarter of children referred to specialist mental health services are not accepted for treatment, most often because they do not meet the eligibility criteria for specialist CAMHS.

Read the Report

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news-1716 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Reflecting on 2017 http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/reflecting-on-2017/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=13cb4a16387ff146fd4eab4b93f021bf Every year, we reflect on the work of the network in its efforts of putting children at the heart of Europe

With over 165 members, the Eurochild network drives on its diversity, expertise and ability to connect and share – practices, approaches, challenges and successes! This is a moment in the year, when we focus on the successes!

This year, we saw the first Eurochild Children’s Council take shape. Starting with the General Assembly in April, where children themselves supported the development of the new Child Participation Strategy, to the high level debate marking Universal Children’s Day in the European Parliament, we are making great strides in bringing children’s participation closer to our leaders while embedding it in our own work.

When a child is in need of support, our systems should be attuned to react, with the child’s best interest in mind. This year, we dug deeper into child protection systems in Europe. Following a year of research, with pilot studies in Malta and Romania, our Childonomics project has delivered critical interest among governments to recognize how they can improve spending by looking more closely at the outcomes for children and families. Meanwhile, our national campaign coordinators continue to advocate for better policies and funds for children in alternative care through the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign.

Throughout the year, we produced quality reflections and reactions to policies in the making, with useful input from our members. We offered children’s rights perspective on varied policies, from European Pillar of Social Rights to the Brexit negotiations. With our annual report on the European Semester which will be launched before the end of 2017, we hope to bring useful recommendations for the next cycle of economic policies to help reduce levels of child poverty in Europe.

Share your successes!

Members are invited to share their successes at national or local level with us! Whether it was an event, campaign, report or even a meeting, if it helped you to bring greater recognition or specific change in any area of children’s rights, share it with us! Write to us about your successful moment that you are proud of, in a maximum of 300 words and a photo/video latest by 12 January. We will be sharing these proud moments early next year!

Thanks to members, children and young people, partners, collaborators and all others who supported us this year! We wish you all a rejuvenating break.

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news-1715 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Four new candidate members to join Eurochild http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/four-new-candidate-members-to-join-eurochild/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=736c513ea611125c8dadb89296cfe410 Nexem, Hayat Sende, Refugee Rights Data Projects and Legal-Informational Centre for NGOs – Slovenia will be considered for endorsement at the next General Assembly in April.

The four organisations were approved by the Management Board. Here is a short introduction to them:

Nexem

France

Nexem is an umbrella organisation representing the employers of the non-for-profit social services sector in France (persons with disabilities, older people, child protection, social inclusion and health services). Nexem aims at contributing to the development of public policies to best respond to the changing challenges of the sector. It exchanges with the legislator and government agencies, as well as central and local administrations to support the development of adequate public policies affecting services provision.

http://www.nexem.fr/ 

Hayat Sende Gençlik Akademisi

Turkey

Founded by a group of idealist care leavers in 2007, Hayat Sende Gençlik Akademisi empowers children and young people living in care and care leavers by increasing their human resource and life skills and integrates them into society with equal and strong footing. The children and young people of the Academy can benefit from training and certificate programs that increase their employability, communication, teamwork and leadership skills. The Academy aims at combating negative discrimination affecting these children and youngsters in the media and public. The Academy raises awareness on this issue through different activities (campaigns, workshops, study visits, etc.); it also defends their rights via lobbying and advocacy efforts.

http://hayatsende.org/ 

Refugee Rights Data Projects

UK

Refugee Rights Data Project (RRDP) is a non-governmental human rights organisation which aims to fill information gaps relating to refugees and displaced people in Europe by conducting its own independent field research. RRDP's objective it to provide influencers and policymakers with a powerful tool – enabling them to identify specific problem areas and work towards formulating a sustainable response to the humanitarian crisis and to reach a firm policy action that upholds the human rights of refugees and displaced people.

http://refugeerights.org.uk/ 

Legal-Informational Centre for NGOs (PIC)

Slovenia

PIC provides professional legal support to individuals, vulnerable groups and non-governmental organisations in exercising and protecting their rights and strengthening their position in the society. PIC's activities include legal assistance, advocacy, informing, training, encouraging civil dialogue, national and international projects, involvement in policy-making and decision-making processes. ¬PIC is participating in decision-making processes, working bodies, committees, networks and forums, in order to advance the position of non-governmental organisations in Slovenia and increase their influence on decision-making. It encourages socially responsible and active citizenship.

http://pic.si/about/ 

- Click here if you wish to join the Eurochild network

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news-1714 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Let Children be Children: Lessons from the Field on the Protection and Integration of Refugee and Migrant Children in Europe http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/let-children-be-children-lessons-from-the-field-on-the-protection-and-integration-of-refugee-and-mi-1/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=5209c24ee807369de1c9dfa218b578a0 The new report, produced by Eurochild and SOS Children’s Villages, offers 16 inspiring practices that showcases how the child protection services are responding to the needs of refugee and migrant children in Europe. “[What worries me more] are things about the past… and also the future. How life and school will be in the future. …I would imagine that in five years I will speak Finnish, I will be studying, and I will have a part-time job. This is at least what I imagine and hope for,” – said a 17-year-old unaccompanied boy from Afghanistan living in Finland.

“[Without my guardian] things would not be good, because being alone is not good. He [the guardian] never abandons me. [When I am with my guardian] everything is good [and] I don’t think of my problems,” said a 17-year-old unaccompanied boy living in Germany.

A new report entitled, “Let Children be Children: Lessons from the Field on the Protection and Integration of Refugee and Migrant Children in Europe, produced by Eurochild and SOS Children’s Villages offers 16 inspiring practices that showcases how the child protection services are responding to the needs of refugee and migrant children in Europe.

The 16 case studies feature solutions and promising examples from Austria, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden, The Netherlands and United Kingdom.

A range of services and programmes running across Europe for unaccompanied and separated children and families are highlighted in the report, including quality family and community-based alternative care to unaccompanied and separated children; support to young people in their transition to adulthood; the promotion of alternatives to detention; afterschool programmes and guardianship services to empower children and young people as they go through migration procedures and integrate into a new society.

The report acts as a resource to support practitioners and national and EU level advocacy towards policy makers.

Field experts who have contributed to the report will be present at a panel debate with EU institutional and civil society actors on 4th December at the Committee of the Regions, Brussels hosted by the Mayor of Athens, Georgios Kaminis.

Read the report here: Let Children be Children: Lessons from the Field on the Protection and Integration of Refugee and Migrant Children in Europe

Look at the photos taken at the launch event

Background:

In 2016, approximately 1.2 million people applied for asylum in the EU Member States, 25 percent of the applications were from children. Out of these approximately 63,000 unaccompanied children applied for asylum, a figure which represents a threefold increase from 2014 (23,000), but about a third less than in 2015 (95,000).  (Source: Eurostat)

 

 

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news-1712 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 New EU economic cycle offers opportunities for greater social investment http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/new-eu-economic-cycle-offers-opportunities-for-greater-social-investment/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=94ee16607d5ab42fbccbb09bbf9249a0 Eurochild welcomes the recognition of social priorities in the new annual cycle of policy guidance launched under the umbrella of the EU Semester for 2018. Eurochild welcomes the recognition of social priorities in the new annual cycle of policy guidance launched under the umbrella of the EU Semester for 2018. The Annual Growth Survey released last week, shows first signs of the European Pillar of Social Rights being integrated into economic policy coordination across EU member states. It remains to be seen how recommendations for social policy reforms will be supported with tools, funding and coherent guidance.

With the endorsement of the European Pillar of Social Rights, we expect that economic policies are better connected to the needs of people and society. The pressure is high on EU and Member States to reflect that in the 2018 Semester. As child poverty continues to remain unacceptably high in the EU, we will be monitoring progress on protecting children in particular from disadvantaged backgrounds and providing access to quality early childhood education and care – one of the 20 principles in the Pillar”, said Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild.

In 2016, the risk of poverty among children (age 0-17) stood at 26.4%, down from 27.1% in 2015. The risk of child poverty is particularly high in Romania (49.2%), Bulgaria (45.6%) and Greece (37.5%), while Finland and Denmark report the lowest levels, below 15%.

Whilst the stronger links to the new social agenda are welcome, it is disappointing that the “life-cycle approach”, which promotes investment in people from an early age throughout their life is missing. Reference to social investment is still only limited to “working lives”, failing to see members of our societies as more than human resources on the labour market.

The new annual cycle of economic policy has also launched a ‘Social scoreboard’ to compare and contrast Member States’ performance on certain headline indicators. The scoreboard measures performance of EU Member States ranging from income inequality; the risk of poverty or social exclusion; young people not in education, employment or training; the impact of social transfers on poverty reduction; to the number of children aged less than 3 years in formal childcare. 

Eurochild believes that this social scoreboard must be given equal weight to the macroeconomic scoreboard to encourage EU countries to design more child-centred investment policies.While the social scoreboard does not cover all aspects relevant to tackling child poverty, it can nonetheless, incentivise EU countries to invest more in making quality services accessible and affordable for all, including childcare and housing, and providing minimum income and work-life balance”, added Jana Hainsworth.

Background:

On 22 November the European Commission launched the 2018 European Semester by publishing priorities for national policies to promote growth, job creation, social inclusion and protection in the Annual Growth Survey.

The Annual Growth Survey (AGS) gives policy guidance to Member States for 2018 around 3 dimensions: investment, structural reforms, and fiscal consolidation. It represents the start of the annual cycle of economic policy coordination across the EU.

Eurochild publishes a yearly report on the European Semester based on national developments reported by its members, and a set of alternative recommendations for the following year. Read the 2016 report on the European Semester featuring 20 country profiles online.

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news-1710 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Children in care have the right to wellbeing http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/children-in-care-have-the-right-to-wellbeing/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=e1cbb94ba021b8f67f8868207b6cb825 French federation CNAPE aims to promote the right to well-being as an ambition for all children in care and those who come into contact with child protection systems. On the occasion of Universal Children’s Day, CNAPE, the federation of associations for child protection in France, which is Eurochild national partner network in France, appeals for children’s right to well-being. The federation aims to promote the right to well-being as an ambition for all children in care and those who come into contact with child protection systems.

Reforms in child protection legislation have put a spotlight on the fundamental needs to ensure well-being of children in care.

Having identified the practices in child protection centres and services, CNAPE led a study which delivered a number of recommendations. The report identifies various factors that determine well-being: living conditions; rights and obligations; society and social relations; education and training; recognition and representation of childhood; broader environment including political, governmental arena.

Evolution of child protection must be met with improvements of the systems. Perceptions in society and their focus on childhood must change through positive communication, and must engage all actors – parents, families, civil society and public authorities. 

Read the full report in French (PDF)

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news-1705 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Effect of harmful alchohol consumption on children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/effect-of-harmful-alchohol-consumption-on-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=e05f2b3ce1d9661ebd76f203588a4d11 It's Anti-Alchohol Awareness Week. Do you know that many children state that after 2 glasses of alcohol, adults are unpleasant, embarrassing and even scary. Some adults think that that is only the start of the evening. Children of parents who are heavy drinkers are at a much bigger risk of developing their own difficulties. A British study states that compared to other children, children of alcoholics are:
- twice as likely to experience difficulties at school
- three times more likely to consider suicide 
- five times more likely to develop eating disorders
- four times more likely to become alcoholics themselves

Therefore it is important to find these children and give them support. When they meet safe and trusted adults and get the right help, their childhood difficulties can be turned into strengths.

Since 2004 the Swedish children’s organisation and Eurochild member, Junis has published an annual report about the support local communities offer children in families with addiction. The goal with the report is to raise awareness on the issue and to help local authorities find ways to improve their work. Junis educate and arrange seminars about the report, where professionals from different fields meet. The communities themselves report that their biggest challenge is to find the children who need support.

So what can we all do to improve the situation for these children?

-          Firstly, all adults who meet children and young people need education about alcohol, not so much focusing on what alcohol does to the drinker, but what it does to those close to him or her.

-          Secondly, we should all dare to talk about alcohol with kids, we should talk a lot about it, and in ways that do not stigmatize neither the adults with addiction, nor their children.

-          And thirdly, we need to cooperate to be able to see children in need of support: school, social authorities, health care, voluntary organisations and many more.

And, beyond and above this, we have to address the real problem and work in a long term way to reduce the number of children in this situation. The root of the problem is that too many adults drink too much alcohol, and working on reducing the overall drinking will definitely help future children! 

Find out more: www.junis.org

Read latest report from IOGT on Alcohol and Violence

See the infographic on the effects of harmful alchohol consumption

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news-1682 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 European Parliament marks World Children's Day by launching dialogue with children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/european-parliament-marks-world-childrens-day-by-launching-dialogue-with-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=f5a6572052a3d6b6d53b0169f384a55c “The Europe We Want” at centre of today's debate* between children and young people, MEPs, European Commissioner and other high-level representatives Brussels, 20 November, 2017: Children and young people from across Europe will today join members of the European Parliament under the auspices of its President, Mr. Antonio Tajani for a debate on the theme of “the Europe We Want.”

The event – in which President of Malta, HE Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca and other senior officials will participate – is organised by the Parliament's Intergroup on Children's Rights with support from Eurochild and UNICEF.

Marking the 28th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the event has been prepared and will be run with the direct involvement of a delegation of children from Eurochild and UNICEF.

The debate is part of a day of global action marking World Children's Day, withchildren “taking over” key roles in media, politics, business, sport and entertainment to speak up against discrimination and injustice, and to voice support for children who are unschooled, unprotected and uprooted.

“The European Parliament is firmly committed to the promotion of children's rights,” said Mr Tajani. “Next year, and on each World Children's Day thereafter we will assess the progress made and what still needs to be done.”

<iframe width="400" height="250" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/d08NI_YcD24" frameborder="0" gesture="media" allowfullscreen=""></iframe>

Children and young people are a key constituency in the European Union: many 15-24 year olds (who make up 11% of the EU population) will be able to vote for the first time in the 2019 European elections. Children aged 0-15 years make up nearly 16 per cent of the EU population.

“Europe needs to strive to get closer to children,” said 13 year old Sharon from Malta, one of 18 children and young people taking part in today's debate. “It needs to find new ways to get in touch with the reality of children coming from diverse backgrounds. No child is voiceless- it's just a matter of whether that child is given the chance to use that voice.”

“On World Children's Day, the European Parliament reaches out to children across Europe, to involve them in an open and meaningful dialogue on our shared values,” said Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Co-Chair of the EP Intergroup on Children's Rights.

“Children should be given a chance to be informed on the role of the EU and children's rights. We want to empower children to have a say with decision-makers on the Europe they want. The Intergroup of Children Rights is committed to make their voice heard.”

See behind the scenes photos from the day here
Watch a short video of the event, produced by EuroparlTV

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news-1680 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Seminar on Children’s Mental Health and Child-Friendly Justice http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/seminar-on-childrens-mental-health-and-child-friendly-justice/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=4e4ae186cf943bf5f4c3881dfbce8431 On 6-7 November Eurochild participated in a seminar on children’s mental health and child-friendly justice which was organised by the UK Parliament in cooperation with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

Under the chairmanship of Baroness Doreen Massey and Stella Kyriakides, President of PACE, interactive discussions took place involving members of national parliaments, NGO representatives and children and young people themselves.  “We need to listen and learn from children. It is important to do so, if we really want to come up with effective and comprehensive solutions”, stated the PACE President. 

Key outcomes of the seminar included agreement on the need for a separate legal and court system for children. There is a need for a multi-disciplinary angle to deal with mental health issues to ensure all actors in mental health care cooperate and there is a single designated person for the child to liaise with. 

Children and young people should be at the centre of decision-making.   The children and young people urged for better training of professionals working with children to be aware of mental health symptoms and how to deal with them. Training needs to be given by young people who have experienced mental health problems. 

Regina Jensdottir, director of the children’s rights programme at the Council of Europe reacted by stating that children’s mental health will be a key priority for the Council of Europe. 

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news-1673 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Childonomics Introduction to the conceptual framework and methodology http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/childonomics-introduction-to-the-conceptual-framework-and-methodology/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=38a862f58540cb40905367f6098ead6b The Childonomics project has developed an instrument that can help to reflect on the long-term social and economic return of investing in children and families. The Childonomics project has developed an instrument that can help to reflect on the long-term social and economic return of investing in children and families. The instrument provides an approach to economic modelling that can be used in a number of ways to inform decision-making. It enables consideration of the different types of costs of services and approaches that support children and families (particularly those in vulnerable situations) and links them to the expected outcomes of using these services.

The introduction to the conceptual framework and methodology is published as a preliminary output on the occasion of the 2017 World Biennial Conference 2017 of the International Foster Care Organisation taking place in Malta on 1 – 4 November 2017. The paper outlines the methodology, conceptual framework, outcomes and indicators and some preliminary reflections based on the testing in Malta and Romania.

The draft methodology has been developed building on elements of social return on investment methods and models for appraising economic return on investment. It has been tested as far as possible in Malta and Romania. The countries were selected by Eurochild because both recently embarked on policy reforms, which emphasize the need to invest in prevention and early intervention.

The project uses a rights-based foundation and has a particular focus on supporting children, families and communities in order to prevent and reduce any form of developmental delay, harm and, especially, the unnecessary separation of children from their parents.

It is anticipated that governments and/or nongovernmental organisations can use the instruments developed through the Childonomics project in a variety of ways as part of wider policy and strategic planning processes. Applying this methodology also raises awareness of the knowledge gaps and can help inform future data collection. 

 

 

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news-1665 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Children’s rights in Brexit – Letter to MEP Guy Verhofstadt http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/childrens-rights-in-brexit-letter-to-mep-guy-verhofstadt/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=311636b511394c170d244ec3e48f3bf3 Eurochild co-signs letter to MEP Guy Verhofstadt, raising the importance of children’s rights in the Brexit negotiations process

The letter dated 10 October 2017, seeking a meeting with MEP Guy Verhofstadt, was co-signed by Children in Scotland, Together, Children and Young people’s Commissioner Scotland, Eurochild, Child Rights Alliance for England and Children in Wales. 

Dear Mr Verhofstadt,

Children in Scotland, the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland and Together (Scottish Alliance for Child Rights) were delighted to read in The National newspaper on 14 September that you endorse our campaign to ensure children’s voices are heard in the process of the UK withdrawal from the EU.

Our three organisations have been working together with our partners throughout the rest of the UK and Europe to encourage all those with responsibility for the negotiation process to take action in this vital area….


On Thursday this week Together will release a report that finds there is a significant number of children born to families in Scotland who are at risk of losing protections of their rights in relation to cross-border family law (more than 10% of all babies born in Scotland in 2016). 

This is just one example of the consequences of Brexit in the context of the EU having enacted more than 80 legal instruments that confer direct entitlement for children.

Specifically, the partners named in this letter are calling for:

  • The development of a mechanism to listen to children and young people as part of the Brexit negotiation process

  • Assurances that there will be no roll-back on the existing rights of children and young people in the UK and across the EU

  • Ensuring future positive children's rights developments will be recognised by all parties in negotiations

Read the full letter to the European Parliament's representative in the Brexit negotiations 

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news-1658 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild gets ready for Bulgarian EU Presidency http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-gets-ready-for-bulgarian-eu-presidency/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=093655eec7b995ec234452b4d424bf87 Less than 3% of the budget is spent on the children of Bulgaria, alerted Eurochild and National Network for Children during a meeting at the National Assembly. On October 4 and 5, the Eurochild Board was invited by its member National Network for Children to attend a series of meetings with key Bulgarian institutions to improve the partnership with the legislative and executive authorities in the context of the forthcoming Presidency of the Council of the EU which Sofia will take over in January 2018.

The Eurochild Board members were invited to participate in a plenary session of the Parliamentary Committee on Children, Youth and Sports. The topic of the discussion was "The children, the state budget and the long-term investment in the human capital of the nation". The meeting was attended by MPs, members of the Committee, and representatives of several ministries – the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the State Agency for Child Protection, the Institution of the Ombudsman and others.

Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General of Eurochild, presented on the topic of investing in children. She presented the European experience and a model, Childonomics, which has been successfully tested in Romania and Malta, to help governments plan and optimize spending so as to maximize the impact for children and for the entire economy of the country.

"Unfortunately, 50% of children in Bulgaria live at risk of poverty and social exclusion and the cycle of poverty continues generation after generation," she said. Mrs. Hainsworth also shared ideas on how Bulgarian institutions could make the utmost out of EU support and coordinate different institutions and experts to optimize budget planning and spending.

Only 2-3% of  Bulgarian state expenses in the budget relate to children; all of us know it is extremely insufficient”, the Executive Director of the National Network for Children, Mr. Georgi Bogdanov, shared during the meeting at the Parliament.

Investments in early childhood development have the highest return, Bogdanov said. He pointed out that investment in the hotel business, for example, is returned after 30-40 years, while investment in children brings much faster returns along with more sustainable results, many of which are immeasurable and bring additional benefits to the whole society, not just to the individual. These include building a more productive population with higher values.

Bogdanov pointed out that if for example, the state covered a kindergarten fee for one child, which amounts to BGN 600 per year. This can be measured in time and could be returned as an investment. After the 40th year of the person, the return from this investment amounts to BGN 14,261 per year. "The more we slow down on investment for children, the more difficult and costly it will be for us to repair the damage to our economy and society," Bogdanov added.

We need to invest more in healthcare, education and in the so-called universal services instead of investing in targeted services such as foster care, small-group homes, explained the representatives of the National Network for Children. They are more expensive and less efficient as an expense. According to Georgi Bogdanov, institutions need to concentrate their efforts on the rational use of money.

Earlier the same day the Eurochild delegation met with Ms. Zornica Rusinova, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy, and discussed upcoming steps and strategic priorities in view of the forthcoming Presidency of the Council of the EU. 

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news-1652 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 We are looking ahead! http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/we-are-looking-ahead/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=171abd1a7994a6bec32fd1e95e6948ba The September eNews Bulletin, Eurochild's monthly newsletter, is out!

Europe is looking ahead! Or at least that's the impression we get from our leaders – from the annual State of the Union speech by European Commission President Juncker to French President Macron's lively address to Sorbonne University students; we however, missed the European Pillar of Social Rights in President Macron's vision for Europe. Read below how we are responding to the EU's aim to be more social through its European Pillar of Social Rights and our views on EU's future finances. Investing in children must be more than words! 

Yesterday, we supported the Freedom Drive in which children and adults marched together on the streets of Brussels to demand independent living for all. Dedicated to disabled children and young people, the march showed that disability should not lead to segregation from society. For example, 9-year old Wilma who has a muscular disease and uses her wheelchair, spoke about living with her parents and going to school in Sweden with her friends. 

Coming up in this quarter! We are getting ready to share the first results of Childonomics in November at the International Foster Care Organisation's conference in Malta. We will also be reporting on how EU countries are investing in children through their economic policies and finally, we will be sharing examples of integration of children in migrant/refugee situations from across Europe.

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the news and opportunities from across our membership! In this newsletter, we also invite you to read Edel Quinn's blog on the upcoming EU data protection act which is raising more eyebrows than expected; our Maltese and Baltic members have been surveying children's well-being in relation to different aspects of their lives.

Continue to read the full newsletter here.

Click here if you want to receive the eNews Bulletin every month.

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news-1649 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Wellbeing and Welfare of Children in Baltic Countries http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/wellbeing-and-welfare-of-children-in-baltic-countries/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=541909f47a9c1c160262620316b2b157 The study focuses on material wellbeing, education and school, housing and living environment, family and peers, and health and risk behaviour.

The Latvian Child Welfare Network, a Eurochild member, in collaboration with NGO partners Ziburio Fondas (Lighthouse Foundation Lithuania) from Lithuania, Lapse Huvikaitse Koda (Child Advocacy Chamber) from Estonia and Stiftelsen Fyrljuset from Sweden implemented a joint project on ‘Well–being of Children in Baltic countries’. 

The data on the children’s subjective self–assessments indicate that children feel most positive in relation to family environment as well as housing and living environment, while the evaluation of their school and family’s material well–being is relatively lower. The biggest differences between Baltic countries are observed in regard to family’s material well–being and relationships with peers and friends.

It can also be observed that the children’s subjective personal welfare is significantly different in each country. Children in Lithuania feel worried, depressed, angry and lonely markedly more often than children in Latvia and Estonia. Children in Estonia feel happy, inspired and self–confident more often than children in Latvia and Lithuania.

Some of the findings include:

-Transnational comparisons show that the well–being of children in Lithuania is substantially lower than that in Latvia and Estonia

-One in five children in Latvia lives at the poverty line, while more than 1/3 of households have “difficulties to make ends meet”. Single–parent households are particularly disadvantaged: more than half of them struggle to “make ends meet”.

- There are several aspects where negative indicators can be observed in Latvia: 33% of the children often feel worried, 25% – depressed, 40% – bored, 23% – angry 23% – lonely and 22% – sad. 9% of the children are faced with violence at school (the figure among 15–year–olds is as many as 18%).

The study was aimed at developing a model of children’s well–being indicators that would allow for carrying out regular and comparable measurements of children’s well–being in Baltic countries. In turn, the results of such a study would provide an opportunity to establish an evidence–based child and family support policy. 

Read the full summary of the report.

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news-1644 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Fundamental Rights Charter must be part of EU Withdrawal Bill, say children’s rights NGOs http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/fundamental-rights-charter-must-be-part-of-eu-withdrawal-bill-say-childrens-rights-ngos/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=a2ecf3364c341bd2037bcfcad316f1ed An update from Sean O’Neill, Children in Wales and Eurochild Board Member

Eurochild national partner network members Children in Wales, Children’s Rights Alliance for England, Children in Scotland and Children’s Rights Alliance (Ireland) joined Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights) and representatives from the Children’s Commissioner’s offices for an event on ‘Children’s Rights following Brexit’ which took place in Westminster on 13th September.

The seminar was organised by the European Children’s Rights Unit (University of Liverpool) in partnership with a number of non-governmental organisations, and provided an opportunity to hear directly from child rights advocates from across the UK, alongside Members of Parliament and representatives from the devolved administrations.

The outcome of UK withdrawal from the European Union (EU) will have lasting implications and consequences for children living in the EU and the UK, including the devolved nations. This seminar set out some of the key priorities which will affect those under 18 and considered what actions needed to be taken to ensure that they receive appropriate exposure in the broader Brexit negotiations.

As the EU (Withdrawal) Bill progresses through Parliament, the seminar provided a timely opportunity to consider possible amendments which could be submitted to help ensure that the human rights of children are not lost or forgotten when existing EU laws are transferred from Brussels to the UK in March 2019.

The Seminar focused on 5 key priorities

· The Status of EU national children in the UK

· The Potential implications for Child Protection and Safeguarding

· Children and Young people living in Poverty

· The transportation of EU law and children’s rights

· That the views of children and young people are heard and taken seriously

Drawing on the National Networks Statement and Call to Action, members drew attention to the distinct challenges which will confront children and young people in the devolved nations of the UK and Ireland, including the need to safeguard the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland and meaningfully engage the Welsh and Scottish Governments as part the Brexit negotiations.

Eurochild members also raised concerns over the UK Government’s rejection of calls to fully incorporate the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights into law, believing that this was not necessary as a number of the Charter rights were already located in UN treaties which the UK Government have ratified.

Yet the repeated reluctance of successive UK Governments to fully incorporate UN human rights treaties, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into domestic law, in spite of successive UN Committee recommendations, has resulted in children not having an equivalent legislative protection under UK law.
In the absence of the UNCRC being brought fully into UK law, the Charter must now be transposed fully through the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.

National Network members in UK and Ireland will continue to work closely with Eurochild secretariat and their members to champion the rights of children and young people as negotiations and dialogue continues.

The forthcoming meeting of National Partner Networks of Eurochild in Belgrade in October will provide an opportunity to update the rest of the national networks.

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news-1643 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Czech daily monitors deinstitutionalisation http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/czech-daily-monitors-deinstitutionalisation/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=19474345062164fae5f59d38f4179d51 Czech daily paper Hospodářské noviny covered the political issues affecting deinstitutionalisation process. An estimated 9,000 children in Czech Republic are stuck in institutional care; some in prison-like conditions. The Czech daily newspaper Hospodářské noviny covered the political issues affecting deinstitutionalisation process. Former Eurochild President Maria Herczog is featured in this news report. 

 

 

 

 

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news-1642 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Discover a children's rights board game http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/discover-a-childrens-rights-board-game/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=4ccd0629ca8a9bdf1cf1579bc9fb9b85 Inspired by snakes and ladders, our French member has produced a board game on children's rights. Discover a board game on children's rights in France and rest of the world! 

'Sur le chemin des droits de l'enfant' is a board game inspired by Snakes and Ladders. It allows educational actors to engage with children and young people around children's rights. The game uses entertainment to inform and educate. 

In a team or individually, the children and young people discover their rights. They must go through challenges and win maximum of activities without forgetting to show their solidarity. The game involves quizzes, mime, sketching, acting and debating. 

This game is a pedagogical tool to educate on citizenship and solidarity. 

The game is developed under the umbrella of activities of Solidarite Laique and its partners. 

Find out more on the website of Solidarite Laique (in French). 

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news-1641 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Focus on children to improve the State of the European Union http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/focus-on-children-to-improve-the-state-of-the-european-union/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=dbfc34b5333e9b910fe369dfd6ea181b The EU has done a lot of good for children. Yet, there is so much more. The annual State of the European Union address by President Juncker of the European Commission is an opportune moment to reflect and consider what the EU has done for children.

Earlier this year, as European leaders descended in Rome to celebrate 60 years of community and shared values, we reminded them about their impact in progressing children's rights. From putting children's rights in the Lisbon treaty to having a children's rights coordinator sitting in the European Commission; from offering funds to ensure children are placed in community based care rather than institutions to putting child poverty to providing concrete regulations to protect children from harmful toys to online environment, there is much to celebrate.

Discover the 10 reasons why the EU has been good for children - Read the opinion piece published in Euractiv

And yet, there is much more that ought to be done. 1 in 4 children are at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU; disproportionately higher risk than the risk faced by adults. Hundreds of thousands of children are stuck in institutional care, far from personal attention or care; some in prison-like conditions. Children in migrant and refugee situations are at risk of being abused or put in detention.

So, what can President Juncker offer as a vision for children in Europe? 

A European Pillar of Social Rights - will it be fit for children? 

Now, with a proposal to prioritise a set of social rights, the EU Commission has attemped to put 'social' back on the agenda. Eurochild is pleased to see that protection from child poverty has been given special prominence. Additionally, the proposal recommends governments to develop national child participation strategies. But what will make this European Pillar of Social Rights real? We support the adoption of a joint proclamation by the European Parliament and the Council; but what happens after the political endorsement? Without an implementation plan and funds to support it, we remain skeptical of its impact. Will President Juncker's State of the European Union address this gap and promise real action? 

Read our response to the European Pillar of Social Rights

Future of EU finances - will it lead to investment in children?

“Deinstitutionalisation – or reform of the child protection system in a holistic way – is probably the best example where the EU has and can have an enormous positive impact on strengthening national reforms and catalysing change in a way that supports the best interests of the child.” - Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild

In the current Multi-annual Financial Framework, the EU prioritised deinstitutionalisation through a Cohesion Policy which aims, among other things, to lift people out of poverty and social exclusion, and through the introduction of the ex-ante conditionalities, which help ensuring that EU funds support the transition from institutional to community-based services.

For example, in some Member States, children and adults with disabilities were helped to leave institutions through the use of the European Structural and Investment Funds, which financed the development of community-based alternatives. Thanks to these funds, some of the children who were previously housed in institutions and orphanages, were supported to return to their families or placed in family-based care; or were supported to access education, all of which allowed them to develop to their full potential.

As Europe prepares for a new Multiannual financial framework beyond 2020, we remind our leaders of the impact of EU funds and policies on improving child protection systems.

Read our Call to Action Ending the Era of Institutional Care in Europe

Read our joint response to the reflection paper on future of EU finances

President Juncker, we hope you are listening.  

Share your comments and thoughts with us. We will be active on Twitter #SOTEU #InvestinginChildren

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news-1640 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Future of EU finances: Continue to invest in deinstitutionalisation http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/future-of-eu-finances-continue-to-invest-in-deinstitutionalisation/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=203f43ee71f8eb7b7475e16070ea115f Together with the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care, Eurochild calls for continued investment in policies and funds to support community based care systems.

As the EU reflects on its future and its finances, the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care (EEG), has prepared a response to ensure that the Post-2020 EU Budget continues to provide opportunities to improve the lives of over one million adults and children still living in long-stay residential institutions across Europe.

Eurochild, together with other organisations in the EEG, calls for investment in the deinstitutionalisation process and for the transformation towards innovative, personcentred family- and community-based support, health and housing services.

In the last Multi-annual Financial Framework, the EU prioritised deinstitutionalisation through a Cohesion Policy which aims, among other things, to lift people out of poverty and social exclusion, and through the introduction of the ex-ante conditionalities, which help ensuring that EU funds support the transition from institutional to community-based services.

For example, in some Member States, children and adults with disabilities were helped to leave institutions through the use of the European Structural and Investment Funds, which financed the development of community-based alternatives. Thanks to these funds, some of the children who were previously housed in institutions and orphanages, were supported to return to their families or placed in family-based care; or were supported to access education, all of which allowed them to develop to their full potential.

Similarly, Member States such as Bulgaria, Romania and Latvia have been supported to reform their child protection systems, allowing children to grow up in family and community-based care.

These are good examples of how the EU can make a real difference in the lives of people who are among the most socially excluded, however there is still a strong need for investment in the deinstitutionalisation process and for the transformation towards innovative, person-centred family- and community-based support, health and housing services.


Considering the great potential that Cohesion Policy has in changing lives and supporting deinstitutionalisation, the EEG strongly encourages the EU to assume a leading role in social issues by renewing and increasing the Cohesion Policy budget in the next Multi-annual Financial Framework and invest in the transition from institutions to high-quality community-based services that promote social inclusion in all EU Member States.

The EEG believes the EU can do even more to support and calls for:

  • Further investment into Cohesion Policy in the next Multi-annual Financial Framework;
  • Strengthening, extending, and ensuring the efficient monitoring of the ex-ante conditionalities on the transition from institutions to community based care and services;
  • Reform and simplification of the funding processes.
More information can be found on the EEG response to the reflection paper on the future of EU finances.

 

Background:

The European Expert Group on the transition from institutional to community-based care is a broad coalition gathering stakeholders representing people with care or support needs including children, people with disabilities, people experiencing mental health problems, families, people experiencing homelessness ; as well as service providers, public authorities and intergovernmental organisations.

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news-1638 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 The Prevalence of Problematic Internet Use in Malta Among Young Persons http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/the-prevalence-of-problematic-internet-use-in-malta-among-young-persons/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=f0646b740a700cdfc5018dd44b6265eb Over 20% of young people in Malta are at risk of, or face dangers of Internet use.

This is according to a new study from The President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, a Eurochild member from Malta.  

The results identified four types of Internet for entertainment users: occasional users (13.9%), habitual users (65.5%), at risk users (15.4%) and problematic users (5.2%). 

While more female users show attachment to video games and social media, more male users are at risk of becoming problematic users. The problematic users identified in this study reported forgetfulness and lack of sleep in relation to their use of Internet for entertainment purposes. They also declared experiences of withdrawal, pre-occupation, and loss of control.

Similarities between Malta, Spain and Britain show that Internet’s presence and use for entertainment transcends cultural contexts.

The study also informs the debate concerning recognition of problematic Internet use and broader behavioural addiction as official disorders.

Findings from this study support policy development of targeted adult education and lifelong learning, as well as enhanced media literacy

The study recommends investment in community-based non-formal educational interventions that combine online and offline interactions.

‘‘The prevalence of Problematic Internet Use in Malta among young persons aged 13–16 years: A quantitative research study’’ was prepared by the National Centre for Freedom from Addictions, within the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society (Malta).

Read the full study

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news-1636 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 How to embed children’s rights approaches in policymaking http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/how-to-embed-childrens-rights-approaches-in-policymaking/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=857f2161dec5c033b1927c310166f071 Children's Rights Alliance for England (CRAE), a Eurochild National Partner Network, produced a briefing on embedding a children’s rights approach in policymaking following a research on existing barriers and solutions.

The research found that only organisations consisting of children’s rights experts who had children’s rights as part of their core ethos or aims were currently using an explicit children’s rights approach to policy. 

This meant that other organisations felt they did not always need to take a children’s rights based approach, particularly in a difficult external context. 

They were however, more likely to use the CRC (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) in legal casework, strategic litigation, or for lobbying on a piece of legislation. The CRC is a uniquely powerful tool as it sets out a binding, universal minimum standard and framework for accountability for how children should be protected and treated. 

The barriers 

The most common complaint from participants was that the CRC was too legalistic and technical and that it did not necessarily add value in policy work as it can over complicate matters. This was combined with a lack of understanding of the CRC.

The fact that the CRC is not incorporated into UK law and England also does not have a public sector statutory duty to have due regard to the CRC, as in Scotland and Wales, was seen as a key barrier to using the CRC as a lobbying tool. Organisations were unclear how to make effective use of it in their lobbying.

The biggest barrier to taking a children’s or human rights approach was seen to be the pervasive anti-human rights agenda and narrative, common amongst some politicians and media

Anti-international rhetoric and a feeling that ‘why do we need international organisations telling us what to do?’ was also seen to be common amongst the public as well.

The fact that children’s rights approaches were more commonly used in certain sectors such as the refugee or criminal justice sectors concerned interviewees as they felt this served to perpetuate the myths spread by the press that human rights and children’s rights are only for certain groups of “undeserving people” rather than for everyone.

The benefits 

Interviewees said that a clear benefit was being able to use human rights to frame children’s rights. This was particularly because the courts use the CRC to interpret the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in cases concerning children. 

For further information:

- Download the full briefing, which contains 19 recommendations on how to embed a children’s rights approach to policy making and two practical examples. 

- For more details: NWilliams(at)crae.org(dot)uk

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news-1634 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Dear President Juncker, EU Health Collaboration is crucial for Europe’s future http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/dear-president-juncker-eu-health-collaboration-is-crucial-for-europes-future/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=79df7d437e1015256ab1c7da67917a81 Eurochild endorses a petition seeking greater health collaboration at the EU level. The petition, signed by over 180 organisations, supports a letter sent to European Commission President Juncker to step up coordinated EU action to tackle cross-border health challenges. This comes at a time when we reflect on the “five scenarios” on the future of Europe.

Eurochild supports European Public Health Alliance and the broader coalition of signatories in seeking continued EU support to address the health challenges faced by children and adults in the EU.

Read the petition letter to President Juncker.

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news-1616 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Social Pillar under the microscope! http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/social-pillar-under-the-microscope/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=99c0589a1aa5d338114da471b53913c2 We've broken down the EU Commission's proposal to assess its offer for children.

The EU's plan to have a ‘social Triple A' rating is under the microscope! We've broken down the EU Commission's proposal to assess its offer for children, along with recommendations to national governments and the EU institutions. Read our freshly published policy position paper on the European Pillar of Social Rights.

Brexit negotiations are heating up! Our UK and Irish members are working hard to put children's rights at the centre of these negotiations. Thanks to their efforts, a number of politicians raised the issue at the recent session in the Parliament. Read about it here!

What's coming up after the summer break?

We can't wait to share the results of our Childonomics research project at the International Foster Care Organisation's Conference in early November this year. Meanwhile, catch up on the discussions at our recent seminar where we gave a glimpse of how this research can help governments spend better on child protection systems!

With the support of the Estonian EU Presidency which began at the start of this month, we will be raising the issue of deinstitutionalisation through our Opening Doors for Europe's Children campaign.

Have you heard about the General Data Protection Regulation for the EU? Well, the children's rights community is raising concerns about how its implementation could affect children's access to internet and potentially create challenges for their protection. We are keeping an eye on it, with our active members in this area!

And there is so much more. We hope you will stay tuned in September!

Continue to read the full newsletter here.

Click here if you want to receive the eNews Bulletin every month.

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news-1614 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Urban Poverty Public feedback invited http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/urban-poverty-public-feedback-invited/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=59f9be95027c831440536df79fd8d2d5 The Urban Agenda for the EU initiative has set up multi-sectoral partnerships to develop actions that shall be implemented in the following 3 years and will lead to active inclusion of the poor and regeneration of deprived neighbourhoods. Most EU citizens live in cities that are hubs of opportunity but also places where socio-economic challenges such as poverty are more concentrated and affect more people. Nearly a quarter of the EU population, 120 million people, are at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2014. 27% of these people are actually children.

The majority of EU policies have a direct impact on urban areas and cities so there is a clear need to consider the urban dimension in policy making at all levels of governance. This can be achieved by better involving cities in the design and implementation of new policies. The Urban Agenda for the EU initiative has set up multi-sectoral partnerships to develop actions that shall be implemented in the following 3 years and will lead to active inclusion of the poor and regeneration of deprived neighbourhoods.

One of the key areas for the partnership is the fight against child poverty. Eurochild is therefore engaged in this Partnership on the Urban Agenda for the EU. 

Amonst others, the actions specifically related to child poverty are: 

Action 3: Further development of EU-SILC to incorporate comprehensive and specific indicators related to child poverty at the local level and to harmonise data collection on homelessness

Action 5: Adoption of a European Child Guarantee

Action 6: Progress towards a directive on investing in children based on the Recommendation Investing in Children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage

The initiative is now inviting public feedback.

 

The Partnership on Urban Poverty brings together Member States: France, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Greece; Cities: Lille (FR), Kortrijk (BE), Birmingham (UK), Łódź (PL), Timisoara (RO), Daugavpils (LV), Keratsini (GR); Regions: Brussels-Capital Region (BE) and Ile-de-France (FR)

European Commission: DG REGIO and DG EMPL and Organisations: full members: URBACT, EUKN, EAPN; observers: Eurochild, FEANTSA and UN Habitat.

 

The four priority areas of the partnership are:
  • The fight against child poverty
  • Regeneration of deprived neighbourhoods
  • Ending homelessness
  • The vulnerability of Roma

Find out more here

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news-1613 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild facilitates child participation at the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights Symposium http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-facilitates-child-participation-at-the-eu-agency-for-fundamental-rights-symposium/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=3df01b9754d007d59ccbb7f8c6b9c999 #rightsreport17: Is Europe doing enough to protect fundamental rights?

Eurochild was invited by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights to involve children in the discussions on fundamental rights in Europe, with a specific focus on poverty and migration. The event took place on 28 June at the Council of the European Union in Brussels and was hosted in cooperation with the Maltese EU Presidency.

We worked with 17 children from 9 different EU countries to work together before and after the high-level symposium in Brussels. Two videos, one on Poverty and one on Migration, were co-produced by Eurochild and EU Agency as a starting point for the panel discussions.  

According to Eurostat, a third of all asylum seekers coming to the EU in 2015 and 2016 were children with their families or unaccompanied. Children are disproportionately more at risk of poverty than adults, with over one in four children are at risk in Europe. The videos featured the children and young people’s inputs, suggestions and critiques on how Europe is tackling child poverty and dealing with the protection of rights of children refugees and migrants. 

The children participating at the event addressed the panel with their solutions: ‘’An adult-child cooperation system would bring fresh new creative ideas from the children’s perspective and adults’ know-how about laws and finance. It would be a perfect balance: Each helps each other in a win-win situation’’ said Sharon, 12, from Malta and Junior, 17, from Ireland

Linda, 15, from Estonia, asked for free and compulsory education for all children in Europe and underlined that ‘’children are not only the future, we are the present’’. Adamantia, 16, from Greece asked to “create or implement in every EU Member State initiatives so that children and young people meet and help refugee children to integrate.” 

The children’s participation was very well received and left some participants “stunned at how intelligent children are”.  The EU Agency released a Report with the children’s perspective that can be downloaded here as a PDF.

We thank all the organisations and individuals that collaborated with us to make sure that what happened at the Symposium was inspiring and meaningful child participation!

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/A11XMKIdCxg?list=PLBARku7olJdXEw5MuyfvT_7kzgi_mL0C4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe>

- Interviews for both videos were conducted by: 

The Cyprus Children's Parliament, Matz TV Germany, President's Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society Malta, The Youth Netherlands, Estonian Union of Child Welfare.

- The organisations that helped bring the children’s delegations to Brussels were: 

Estonian Union of Child Welfare, President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society Malta, BFPA – Bulgaria, FSWS (Foundation for Social Welfare Services) Malta, Don Bosco Care Drumcondra, The Smile of the Child Greece, UNICEF Slovakia and Society "Our Children" Opatija, Croatia.


For further info:

Click here to watch the video on poverty and here for the one on migration.

Click here you can to see the photos from the event.

Click here for a video with a summary from the event. 

Click here you can find the live stream of the whole event.

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news-1612 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Children’s rights discussed in UK Parliament session on Brexit http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/childrens-rights-discussed-in-uk-parliament-session-on-brexit/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=1cc076772cf3f691766470176b39fc9f "There is a very real danger that if the great repeal Bill is not enacted properly, with due attention to the position of children, both UK and other EU nationals, the children who are most vulnerable will fall through the safety net." Eurochild is working closely with its National Partner Networks in the UK and Ireland to ensure that children’s rights are taken into account in the process of the UK exiting the EU (hereafter Brexit). Eurochild published a call to action to coincide with the start of the negotiations between the UK and the EU and, following the UK State Opening of Parliament, we provided briefings for members of the House of Lords for the Queen’s Speech debates. This included a debate on the announcement of the Repeal Bill for this parliamentary session (part of the UK’s exit from the European Union).  Several peers spoke about issues raised in Eurochild’s briefing including, the former First Minister of Scotland, Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale and Baroness Massey of Darwin.

Lord McConnell said: “In all these areas there is a very real danger that if the great repeal Bill is not enacted properly, with due attention to the position of children, both UK and other EU nationals, the children who are most vulnerable will fall through the safety net… the Government… should enact at all times the principle of acting in the best interests of the child whenever any aspect of the law affecting children is being considered, whether that is to transfer an existing EU law into British law or whether to ensure that the appropriate procedures are in place to protect children when their family relationships…”

Thanking Eurochild for the briefing, Baroness Massey said the main purpose of her speech was “to call on the Government to set up a special investigation into the effect of Brexit on children…”  She went on “We must now ensure that the calls for action are heard—calls to listen to children and young people, providing assurances that the existing rights of children are protected, not just in the UK but across Europe, and that the peace process in Northern Ireland is respected…”

The spokesperson for the Government in the House of Lords, Lord Keen of Elie responded positively: “…on the welfare of children, all the rights and obligations with regard to children will transfer into United Kingdom law. They are recognised as such. We will continue to engage with child and youth advocacy groups in the coming months as part of our strategy to ensure that a wide range of stakeholder perspectives are factored into our negotiations for exit.

The Government has also agreed to meet with Baroness Massey to discuss issues concerning Brexit and children’s rights further. Eurochild will be continuing to work hard to ensure children’s rights are high on the political agenda as the Brexit negotiations proceed. 

 

Read Eurochild’s Statement and Call to Action on the Impact of Brexit on Children and Young People

 

 

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news-1606 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Child asylum seekers in Ireland paint distressing and unsafe picture http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/child-asylum-seekers-in-ireland-paint-distressing-and-unsafe-picture/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=7cbf6cf27228792a6d684fb681730b52 This report is unique because it is generally rare for Governments to consult with children in the asylum process within Europe. The Children’s Rights Alliance in Ireland, a member and National Partner Network of Eurochild, welcomes the publication by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, of a consultation report undertaken by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs with children and young people living in Direct Provision (state provisions for asylum seekers). This report is unique because it is generally rare for Governments to consult with children in the asylum process within Europe.

Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance: “While we are pleased that this report has finally been published, its findings are stark and shocking. Children have been hugely critical of their lives in Direct Provision and this does not make for easy reading. It is clear from the report that the children and young people have plenty to say and welcomed the opportunity to have their voice heard. It is important that we listen to them. It is alarming that children struggled to identify things they liked about their lives and yet could easily discuss about what they did not like.

Of deep concern is that children and families report feeling unsafe in Direct Provision, notably when sharing space with single men. Children reported “men look creepy at you” and “There are loads of men bothering us”. The safety and welfare of children in Direct Provision cannot be compromised any longer. A dedicated child protection and welfare strategy needs to be developed and implemented immediately as the Children’s Rights Alliance has been calling for some time.

Food emerged as a key issue. Children noted that they could not cook their own food and the food that they are provided with is poor quality or unhealthy food. “The food is not good – we eat Irish food and drink – they should cook African food or let us do it ourselves.” It is crucial that the number of self-catering facilities for families with children is increased and a nutritional audit undertaken. National Standards for the direct provision system are urgently needed and an independent inspectorate must also be established to ensure the quality of these standards are maintained.

Children talked about the poverty they experience in Direct Provision “We need to buy every day something for school and how we buy with this money?” In Direct Provision, children lose out on childhood norms like going to birthday parties because they cannot afford it. Despite a small increase last month to the Direct Provision payment, we are calling for this payment to be increased in full to the Working Group recommendation of €29.80.

Children and young people also talked about sharing confined living accommodation and sometimes beds even with their parents. While some young people talked about a positive relationship with centre staff, the vast majority found centre staff uncaring, unfair, rude and mean. This is the kind of treatment that we have come to expect with institutionalisation.

We call for this important report to be debated by both Houses of the Oireachtas and for the outstanding recommendations of the Working Group report to be implemented without delay”.

 

More information:

Read the Irish DCYA report on consultation with children and young people living in Direct Provision.

Eurochild is part of the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care (EEG), a coalition that recently wrote to the European Commission demanding greater oversight to avoid use of EU funds in the creation of institutional care settings for migrant and refugee children. Read the recommendations contained in the letter here.

 

 

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news-1605 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Children’s participation at the highest levels is possible! http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/childrens-participation-at-the-highest-levels-is-possible/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=34e7a84ab07acf8689fca37a260cdd74 June 2017 eNews Bulletin: Editorial

To showcase this, we supported the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights this week to involve children in their symposium on fundamental rights in Europe. Participants were confronted with tough questions and novel viewpoints of children on how Europe is addressing poverty and migration.
We invite you to watch the videos featuring children’s viewpoints.

At the start of the Brexit negotiations earlier this month, over 2,000 European children’s rights organisations signed a statement supporting UK and Irish children’s rights coalitions’ demand for greater space for children’s voices to be heard and children’s rights to be brought to the negotiating table.

And finally, we are delighted to introduce you to our new member! Read our interview with Ricardo Ibarra, Director of Plataforma de Infancia which is the Spanish coalition for children’s rights! Ricardo speaks about the participatory approaches they have and how they monitor political developments and their impact on children.


- Click here to read the full June eNews Bulletin.

- Watch the videos with the children's views on Poverty and Migration.

- Click here for the recordings from the FRA Symposium live streaming.

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news-1604 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Social spending and return on investment - The case for investing in children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/social-spending-and-return-on-investment-the-case-for-investing-in-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b70b33855804bf31e51a3966871e0020 Update from meeting of Advisory Group for Childonomics and discussion on how the EU can catalyse reform in public spending Childonomics Meeting of Advisory Group

On 20 June, the Advisory Group for the Childonomics project met in Brussels for its final meeting. Childonomics is a research project aimed at developing a tool to determine the long-term social and economic return of investing in children, by comparing the costs of different services and approaches to supporting children and families in vulnerable situations with expected outcomes for children, families, communities and the society.

During the meeting, the research team provided an update on the project, particularly focusing on presenting how Childonomics’ methodological approach was applied in practice in the two pilot countries, Malta and Romania. The final output of the project will include a conceptual framework, a working paper on the methodological approach, accompanied by a toolkit on data collection, and reports on the two pilot countries, Malta and Romania, including a results matrix for each country. The results of the project will be presented at the International Foster Care Organisations (IFCO) World Conference, which will take place in Malta in November 2017. Furthermore, another launch event will be organised in Brussels in early 2018.

The output of the Childonomics project aims to support civil society organisations and governments working in partnership in order to review public spending and outcomes for children; as well as to complement existing instruments, such as the upcoming Tracking Progress Tool on Alternative Care elaborated by the Better Care Network, monitoring States’ compliance with the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children.

Projects such as Childonomics can help investigate if and to what extent economic and financial resources are making a difference in the lives of children and their families. In order to explore current and upcoming challenges and opportunities for social investment, Childonomics’ Advisory Group meeting was followed by a high-level panel discussion on how the EU can be a catalyst in supporting reform at national level, better public spending and long-term prevention and intervention.

Panel discussion with Experts

The European Union is undergoing a period of transition: the economic crisis, the Brexit negotiations, and the debate around the “future of Europe” pose many challenges to be addressed in the coming months and years. However, recent initiatives, such as the European Pillar of Social Rights, and upcoming work around the next EU budget offer opportunities to foster social investment and investing in children in particular.

Despite good policy guidance, such as the 2013 Recommendation on ‘Investing in Children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage’, in recent years, the EU has seen an average of 20% decrease in social investment. To address this, we need to focus on lessons learnt from the past: on the one hand, resources allocated to social policies should be defined as “investments” and not as “expenditures”; on the other hand, EU financial instruments should be better designed to support social investment.

 

While the current programming period (2014-2020) of the EU funds introduced new tools to increase their effectiveness, such as the much welcomed ex-ante conditionalities and the Code of Conduct on Partnership, which institutionalised the role of social partners in designing and evaluating operational programmes; more is needed to ensure that, in the next programming period, the EU funds system is less complicated and more result oriented.

At the high-level meeting, experts agreed that, as highlighted in a recent call for action launched by the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign, in order to achieve this, not only should ex-ante conditionalities be strengthened, but the meaningful involvement of civil society organisations and service users should be ensured during the programming, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programmes. The active participation of civil society and communities of beneficiaries would also foster accountability.

Lastly, experts participating in the meeting highlighted the need to gather purposeful data to inform and shape policies and budgets: the latter should not only be based on reliable data, but should be driven by it. Old instruments such as the Rome Declaration and new initiatives such as the European Pillar of Social Rights offer an opportunity to show how the economic and social dimension of Europe can reinforce each other; however, there is a pressing need for the EU to move beyond the rhetoric and provide real, practical guidance to support social spending to EU Member States.

 

Find out more about Childonomics

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news-1601 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 A Fundamentally Different Approach is Needed http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/a-fundamentally-different-approach-is-needed/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=e80e2c2065e2be59376e1a60101e80b4 Joint Statement to the European Committee on Legal Co-Operation of the Council of Europe on the codification of European Rules for the Conditions of Administrative Detention of Migrants

Eurochild joins a collective of 53 organizations raising concerns over Council of Europe rules for Administrative Detention of Migrants and asking for a different approach to the detention of migrants in Europe.

In advance of a consultation with key civil society stakeholders from 22-23 June 2017 at the Council of Europe Headquarters in Strasbourg, over 30 national, regional and international civil society organisations have drafted a joint statement, which will be presented to the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) who is carrying out a codifying exercise on a detailed set of immigration detention rules based on existing international and regional human rights standards relating to the conditions of detention of migrants.

The statement is divided in 5 main points:

- Envision a fundamentally different regime

- Reinforce a broader set of fundamental human rights

- Clarify that administrative immigration detention is never acceptable for migrants in situations of particular        
  vulnerability

- Call for the priority application of alternative measures to detention

- Strengthen safeguards regarding access to and monitoring of places of immigration detention

Click here to read the statement as a PDF

For further info: info@eurochild.org

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news-1600 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Statement and Call to Action on the Impact of Brexit on Children and Young People http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/statement-and-call-to-action-on-the-impact-of-brexit-on-children-and-young-people/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=8b6710de5d6306907cf2cf52ccb56ecd The Brexit process has, thus far, ignored the voices of children and young people. The Brexit process has, thus far, ignored the voices of children and young people.

We, the undersigned, represent over 1800 children’s rights organisations across Europe and believe the rights of children and young people must be protected and championed as part of the process.

Children and young people in the United Kingdom and across the EU will be the most impacted in the long term by the Brexit vote, yet they have had no opportunity to have their opinions heard on this issue by decision-makers.

Together the UK, EU institutions and all EU Governments have a role to play in ensuring the rights of children are prioritised at the negotiating table.

We are calling for action to be taken to bring children into the heart of negotiations on Brexit by:

  • Developing a mechanism to listen to children and young people as part of the Brexit negotiation process;
  • Providing assurances that there will be no roll back on the existing rights of children and young people in the UK and across the EU;
  • Ensuring that future positive children’s rights developments will be recognised by all parties to negotiations;
  • Continuing to recognise the importance of the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process. Its prioritisation in the current negotiating guidelines of the EU is welcome as it is essential to minimise the potential harm caused to children from Brexit, in particular in Northern Ireland.

Crucially, we are seeking a dialogue with key EU and UK negotiators, Mr Michel Barnier of the European Commission, Mr Guy Verhofstadt of the European Parliament and The Rt. hon. David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, to discuss these recommendations in order to ensure that children’s rights are safeguarded and their voices heard in the Brexit negotiations process.

To inform this process, a number of children's rights academics and civil society organisations across the UK, including the European Children's Rights Unit (Liverpool), The Centre for Children and Young People’s Participation (UCLan), CORAM (London), the Children's Legal Centre (Belfast), the Centre for Children's Rights (Belfast) and the Wales Observatory for the Human Rights of Children and Young People (Swansea) are developing a range of briefing papers and holding workshops to draw attention to the key priorities affecting children across different parts of the UK.  

This Statement was drafted by five national partner networks of Eurochild (Children in Northern Ireland, Children in Scotland, Children in Wales, Children’s Rights Alliance England and Children’s Rights Alliance, Ireland) and is supported by Eurochild and by the following national partner networks and other organisations in the membership of Eurochild below:

Supported by:



List of supporters (in alphabetical order of country): 


National Coalition for the Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Children in Austria

Child Rights Coalition, Flanders, Belgium

National Network for Children, Bulgaria

Coordination of Associations for Children, Croatia

Pancyprian Coordinating Committee for the Protection and Welfare of Children, Cyprus

Defence for Children, Czech Republic

Joint Council for Child Issues, Denmark

Estonian Union for Child Welfare, Estonia

Central Union for Child Welfare, Finland

Federation of associations for child protection, France

Child and Youth Welfare Association, Germany

Family, Child, Youth Association, Hungary

Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection, Kosovo

Dutch Coalition on Children’s Rights, Netherlands

Romanian NGO Federation for Children, Romania

Network of Organizations for Children of Serbia 

Slovenian Association of Friends of Youth, Slovenia

Spanish Children’s Rights Coalition, Spain

Children England, United Kingdom

 

 Read the latest update from the UK Parliament discussion on Brexit here.
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news-1598 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Capacity building on children’s rights in the European Parliament http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/capacity-building-on-childrens-rights-in-the-european-parliament/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=977b16e6703b65b3638184e4ea1bfcf2 Eurochild contributed to a training session of the Fundamental Rights Agency and the Intergroup on Children’s Rights, targeting MEPs and their staff.

On 7 June, the European Parliament’s Intergroup on children’s rights in cooperation with the Fundamental Rights Agency, organised a one-day training on key issues concerning children’s rights.

The training aimed at building the capacity of MEPs and their staff to advocate for children’s rights and include a child rights perspective in their day-to-day work in the Parliament. The sessions focused on several topics: from children in the context of migration to juvenile justice, and vulnerable groups of children and young people.

Eurochild was invited to present on the situation of children living in poverty in the EU, particularly providing an overview of the key legislative and policy instruments at EU level, such as the 2013 European Commission Recommendation on ‘Investing in Children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage’, as well as current and upcoming opportunities to advocate for more child-centred social investment, as the newly published European Pillar of Social Rights package.

Eurochild’s input stressed that tackling child poverty requires thinking beyond silos, investing in holistic and integrated approaches, and ensuring that children are involved in decision making as active agents of change. While addressing child poverty falls within the competences of Member States, the EU plays a key role in providing guidance and putting pressure on national authorities to tackle child poverty and promote child well-being.

Eurochild commends the training event organised by the European Parliament’s intergroup on children’s rights and the Fundamental Rights Agency and believes opportunities like this contribute to increasing political will and fostering meaningful policy reform at all levels, EU and national.

Learn more about the intergroup here.

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news-1596 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Digital Festival hosts panel on children online http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/digital-festival-hosts-panel-on-children-online/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=3e87814d9dbba0aea578be49d7223317 Eurochild participated in a panel about children in the online environment at the Digital Festival in Brussels on 1 June

Tinna Rós Steinsdóttir from Eurochild was in good company in the panel with Marco Marsella, Head of Unit: Learning Multilingualism and Accessibility at the European Commission, Martin Schmalzried, Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer, COFACE – Families Europe, Janice Richardson, International Advisor on Literacy, Rights and Democracy, and Gilles, a 17-year old student from Brussels.

The panel discussion addressed the opportunities and threats that the online environment offers to children, and ways to find the balance between participation and protection online. The discussion raised the importance of learning from our children when it comes to the digital environment, to better understand their online reality; the importance of informing them about the dangers and risks; and the importance of parents and other adults constantly updating themselves on the ever changing digital world to be better able to inform, protect and empower the children around us.

Click here for further info on the event.

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news-1595 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Young Carers: Every child has the right to http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/young-carers-every-child-has-the-right-to/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=5be51ab2d4fa7393ae808cede6db5072

The 2nd International Young Carers Conference was held in Malmö, Sweden, on 29-31 May. Over 600 participants from around the world participated in the conference entitled “Every Child has the Right to….” and focused on the issues of children as next of kin.

The number of children and young carers in Europe are much higher than people often realise. An estimated 1 child in every 10 provides care for a family member. These children are often excluded from participating in their own lives; they often grow up in poverty and they often are in a situation where their wellbeing is not considered. The issue of young carers brings forth various children’s rights issues and a conference of this nature is essential to raise awareness.

Eurochild was present at the conference and delivered a presentation on the rights of the child, highlighting the three P’s of children’s rights: Provision, Protection and Participation, adding the fourth P, Play, to the mix. We also spoke about the work being done for children’s rights by both the European Union and the Council of Europe and explored ways for collaboration with other organisations, such as Eurocarers, to include young carers in our work at the European level.

For those interested, all key note speeches will be published online in the coming weeks.

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news-1590 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 When will children facing poverty have their day? http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/when-will-children-facing-poverty-have-their-day-1/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=d565a74667b420c881277d5a903e8dc8 On the occasion of children’s day celebrated in numerous countries today, Eurochild calls on the EU to align its economic policies with its social objectives. Children at risk of poverty were completely overlooked by the economic policy recommendations offered by the European Commission last week. Of the 78 recommendations offered to EU Member States as part of the European Semester, not a single one addressed the situation of children at risk of poverty and social exclusion. This comes at a time when the Commission claims to be seeking a “social triple A” for Europe. On an average 27% of children in the EU are at risk of poverty or social exclusion; in some EU countries poverty rates are closer to 40% among children.

Earlier this week, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency called on the EU to “place more emphasis on comprehensively addressing child poverty and social exclusion in the European Semester”.

The European Semester process is the major tool for helping EU Member States review their economic and social policies. If we do not address child poverty as a priority our societies will continue to experience unacceptable levels of inequality. Aside from the human cost, this also damages our economy, democracy and social cohesion”, said Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild. 

Eurochild does however welcome the European Commission’s recommendations in other policy areas that affect children’s rights. For example Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia received recommendations on inclusive and quality education specifically for Roma children. Austria and Bulgaria were advised to improve access to education for people with a migrant background. Improving the provision of quality childcare was identified as key priorities for Austria, Ireland, Slovakia and Spain.

Read the Eurochild summary assessment of the 2017 Country Specific Recommendations for further details.

Note to editor:

 

  • In its 2017 Fundamental Rights report released on 30 May, the EU agency states: “The EU should place more emphasis on comprehensively addressing child poverty and social exclusion in the European Semester – making better use of the 2013 European Commission recommendation – as well as in upcoming initiatives, such as the European Pillar of Social Rights. This could include focusing attention in the European Semester on those EU Member States where child poverty rates remain high and unchanged in recent years.”
  • The Europe 2020 target of lifting 20 million people out of poverty and social exclusion remains unreachable according to the 2017 Fundamental Rights Report.
  • Eurochild publishes a yearly report on the European Semester based on national developments reported by its members, and a set of alternative recommendations for the following year. Read the 2016 report on the European Semester featuring 20 country profiles online.

 

 

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news-1589 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 When will children facing poverty have their day? http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/when-will-children-facing-poverty-have-their-day/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=343a61a0d8c45a303fecf2ceb930e66b On the occasion of children’s day celebrated in numerous countries today, Eurochild calls on the EU to align its economic policies with its social objectives. Children at risk of poverty were completely overlooked by the economic policy recommendations offered by the European Commission last week. Of the 78 recommendations offered to EU Member States as part of the European Semester, not a single one addressed the situation of children at risk of poverty and social exclusion. This comes at a time when the Commission claims to be seeking a “social triple A” for Europe. On an average 27% of children in the EU are at risk of poverty or social exclusion; in some EU countries poverty rates are closer to 40% among children.

Earlier this week, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency called on the EU to “place more emphasis on comprehensively addressing child poverty and social exclusion in the European Semester”.

The European Semester process is the major tool for helping EU Member States review their economic and social policies. If we do not address child poverty as a priority our societies will continue to experience unacceptable levels of inequality. Aside from the human cost, this also damages our economy, democracy and social cohesion”, said Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild. 

Eurochild does however welcome the European Commission’s recommendations in other policy areas that affect children’s rights. For example Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia received recommendations on inclusive and quality education specifically for Roma children. Austria and Bulgaria were advised to improve access to education for people with a migrant background. Improving the provision of quality childcare was identified as key priorities for Austria, Ireland, Slovakia and Spain.

Read the Eurochild summary assessment of the 2017 Country Specific Recommendations for further details.

 

Note to editor:

 

  • In its 2017 Fundamental Rights report released on 30 May, the EU agency states: “The EU should place more emphasis on comprehensively addressing child poverty and social exclusion in the European Semester – making better use of the 2013 European Commission recommendation – as well as in upcoming initiatives, such as the European Pillar of Social Rights. This could include focusing attention in the European Semester on those EU Member States where child poverty rates remain high and unchanged in recent years.”
  • The Europe 2020 target of lifting 20 million people out of poverty and social exclusion remains unreachable according to the 2017 Fundamental Rights Report.
  • Eurochild publishes a yearly report on the European Semester based on national developments reported by its members, and a set of alternative recommendations for the following year. Read the 2016 report on the European Semester featuring 20 country profiles online.

 

 

 

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news-1588 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Will social Europe be good for children? http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/will-social-europe-be-good-for-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=c90d115bcbdada33a06e6402834701fc May eNews Bulletin

The European Pillar of Social Rights was touted as the roadmap to a social ‘triple-A' for Europe. Offering minimum standards in the areas of child poverty, early childhood education and care and family support, the Social Pillar is a reminder that the EU is a social project. Will this recognition translate into greater investment into social policies that support children and young people?

Click below to read our reactions to the proposed Social Pillar, which includes a review of the European Commission recommendation on investing in children and the legislative proposal for work-life balance.

Sharing the challenges faced by children's rights community

Earlier this month, over 2,000 children's rights organisations in Europe were represented at the meeting of Eurochild's National Partner Networks in Brussels. Their viewpoints from Serbia to Spain, from Italy to Ireland showcased how the landscape of children's rights is a reflection of society at large. The Brexit negotiations, the challenge of protecting rights of refugee and migrant children, the struggle to demand greater investment in children – these are common challenges, with multiple faces, that affect our children's rights community across Europe.

Working and learning together as national networks helps us tremendously. We are better able to know what works, and what doesn't, and share evidence and convince local, national and European regional policymakers to improve the standards for children's rights across the board.

Opening Doors on Children's Day

On Thursday 1 June this week, a number of central and eastern European countries will observe the International Day for Protection of Children as Children's Day. We will mark this day by sharing new recommendations for how Europe can change the lives of hundreds of thousands of children living in institutional care.

Click here to read the full May 2017 eNews Bulletin 

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news-1587 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 International Journal for Equity in Health: Paper on early child development published http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/international-journal-for-equity-in-health-paper-on-early-child-development-published/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=1ef86e44f2c52fb5e88a7eb71391145d Five early years programmes from across Europe featured in a paper that was published in the International Journal for Equity in Health.

The study on early childhood development identified case studies from Romania, Hungary, Austria and the UK. The paper “Interventions to reduce inequalities in health and early child development in Europe from a qualitative perspective” is a result of the DRIVERS project.

Early years interventions are designed to reduce inequalities in health and development and their social determinants. The case studies in the four countries offered insights into the impact of early child initiatives on different domains of early child development, namely; cognitive, communication and language, social and emotional and physical. 

The objective of this study was to identify early years interventions in different European country contexts and assess their effectiveness in reducing inequalities in health and development through action on the social determinants of health.

DRIVERS is a three-year research project funded by the 7th Framework Programme and coordinated by Eurochild and EuroHealthNet. It aimed to promote health equity through policy and practice in early childhood development, employment & working conditions, and income & social protection. 

Read the paper here

Find out more about DRIVERS here

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news-1583 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Defend the futures of children and young people across Europe! http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/defend-the-futures-of-children-and-young-people-across-europe/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=af6f3ed20b3907f507446d1b420f1554 Eurochild member from Germany, Child and Youth Welfare Association (AGJ) adops a European position paper which calls for a renewed youth and education policy agenda.

The paper was addressed at the German Child and Youth Welfare Congress in March 2017 with 30,000 participants. AGJ is an alliance of approximately 100 German child and youth services organisations and institutions at the federal level; it is also a national partner network of Eurochild. 

Europe is at a crossroads - hardly a surprising statement given the severity of the crisis that has beset Europe since 2010. What is surprising, however, is that this insight has yet to have a sufficient impact on the decisions taken by politicians in Germany and Europe at large

Seven years after the commencement of the public debt, banking and economic crisis, the rapid political tailspin of the European project appears to be far from over. On the contrary: 2016, which brought us the Brexit referendum, marked a new low point. The Britons’ decision to have their country leave the European Union is symptomatic of the dwindling capacity of the European project to create political unity, of the rise in populism and nationalism, and of the decline in EU citizens’ willingness to embrace the EU. 

The European idea is in danger of becoming ever weaker. And yet: many political circles and large parts of civil society continue to respond with indifference and reserve to the developments in Europe and their (potential) consequences. 

With this statement, the Child and Youth Welfare Association (AGJ) wishes to counteract this indifference and take an unequivocal stand for a strong, social Europe. Besides policymakers and administrators, civil society too has a major responsibility to bear for the continued existence and evolution of the European project. 

The German child and youth services community hence needs to take a much more forceful position in the European policy debate and to fight for the European idea if it wishes to prevent the futures of all children and young people, which are inextricably linked to Europe, from being put into serious jeopardy.

Read the full position paper here.

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news-1581 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Youth and social inclusion take centre stage at Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/youth-and-social-inclusion-take-centre-stage-at-annual-convention-for-inclusive-growth/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=aaccbcda3c7eb32604f614d71a123858 The focus of this year’s Annual Convention was on a topic very close to the work of Eurochild: youth and social inclusion. On 24 April, Eurochild participated in the 2017 Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth, organised by the European Commission and opened by Ms. Marianne Thyssen, the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs Skills and Labour Mobility. The one-day event brought together policy makers and civil society representatives to reflect on how to strengthen the social dimension of the European Union by tackling poverty and improving employment, social cohesion and inclusion for all.

In particular, the focus of this year’s Annual Convention was on a topic very close to the work of Eurochild: youth and social inclusion. Preceding the publication of the European Pillar of Social Rights with two days, the discussions were not able to flesh out the proposals, but it was an opportunity to reiterate the life cycle approach for inclusion policies.

Eurochild’s members, Pien Klieverik (Dutch Children’s Rights Coalition - DCI Netherlands), Linda Zaiane (National Children’s Rights Coalition - Germany) and Zuzana Konradova (Coalition for Children – Slovakia), attended the Convention and participated in a workshop on investing in children. Despite the main focus of the workshop being on balancing parental roles and work responsibilities, through childcare and support to single mothers, broader issues such as tackling child poverty and promoting children’s well-being were raised.

 

  • For more on our work on tackling child poverty, click here.
  • For further information, please contact Réka Tunyogi, Head of Advocacy at Eurochild.

 

 

 

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news-1580 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Swedish civil society gathering discusses rights of children in migration http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/swedish-civil-society-gathering-discusses-rights-of-children-in-migration/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=8b2b79ca603df0831c3dc1a4e48f3976 Eurochild took part in Sweden’s largest gathering of its children’s rights community – the Barnrättsdagarna – last week in Örebro.  Over 1,200 people attended – NGOs, public authorities, researchers, and health, education & social care professionals. The main topic was children in migration. It was impressive to see how the community is coming together to put children’s rights as a top priority in their response to migration inflows to Sweden.  Eurochild delivered a workshop on the role and importance of the EU, in particular with regards migration and asylum policy and legislation.  We were joined by our Finnish members – the Central Union for Child Welfare – and EU expert in the office of the Swedish Children’s Ombudsperon, Karin Fagerholm.

The event followed a high-level meeting of European experts organized by the Swedish Ombudsman for Children, which among other things discussed the recently adopted Communication on protection of the rights of children in migration. Family reunification, legal routes of migration, registration, resettlement, integration, age assessment, protecting the child’s best interest in returns – were among the many challenges discussed. A central theme was how to give primacy to the voice of the child and ensure he or she feels listened to. A key concern was the time children and young people are expected to wait during asylum or regularization procedures, with no certainty about their future.  “Waiting kills all hope” expressed George Moschos, Children’s ombudsman in Greece.

Several ENOC members are active on the issue of child rights in migration. Its dedicated task force published a report in January 2016 on the safety and fundamental rights of children on the move. 

Eurochild collaborates with other NGOs in Brussels to bring a children’s rights perspective into the migration agenda. Our upcoming meeting of national partner networks will focus on how to support national advocacy towards implementation of the recently adopted Communication. We will also be publishing a compendium of inspiring practices later this year.  Last week’s meetings brought to the fore the wealth of good practices that exist, but also the uphill battle of changing the narrative at the highest political level where increasing security and migration control remain the dominant discourse.

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news-1579 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Children’s voices help build EU Child-friendly justice http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/childrens-voices-help-build-eu-child-friendly-justice/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=c45f18ad27684e863570ebddcb403288

At the beginning of the interview the psychologist told me he would make me realise I was lying.”

People interviewing me didn't trust my opinion and tried to change my words.”

These are some of the experiences shared by children and young people at an event organised by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) aimed to improve the justice system. Eurochild was invited to support the participation of children and young people at the launch of its second child-friendly justice report in Vienna last week. 

With 40 stakeholders in attendance and five children and young people, the event was aimed to impact policy and improve the EU justice system to make it safe and appropriate for children. The event started with a panel in the morning, where three young people (aged 16-19 years) shared very powerful and brave testimonies of their personal experience with the justice system. Eurochild Secretary General, Jana Hainsworth, gave a closing statement at the panel, highlighting the need for raising awareness about the importance of adults meaningfully engaging with children.

The children shared their experiences during a Q&A session before heading to workshops with other participants in the afternoon. The three children that had spoken in the morning took part in a workshop about the next steps towards making the justice system more child-friendly, while the other two attended a workshop on child participation on social media and in events.

Eurochild staff worked with the young participants online before the event, and met with them for a preparation day in Vienna on the day before the event. This collaboration will continue in preparation for the upcoming FRA high-level conference in Brussels, where the Eurochild network will bring 11 other children from across its membership to discuss the FRA Report on Fundamental Rights 2007-2017, with a specific focus on poverty and migration with a child rights perspective.

Read the FRA child-friendly justice report 

Download a checklist for professionals for child-friendly justice

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news-1575 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 There is no doubt, the world is shifting http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/there-is-no-doubt-the-world-is-shifting/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=acbffb99eff29a5ac5d20ca5248882fd April 2017 eNews Bulletin: Editorial

Most mainstream concepts are being rejected, be it political parties or news sources. While this may be ruffling many feathers, it is helping us all reconsider our roles, including our role as civil society actors who demand action at the highest levels.

As Europe continues its reflection on its future, we are beginning to see how roles of the EU institutions are adapting during this phase of transition. In the last two weeks, we have seen the Commission deliver comprehensive guiding frameworks in two areas that affect children in Europe – first being a Communication on how to protect children in migration. It is the first ever comprehensive document that addresses the entire journey of a child on the move.

Then, most recently, the Commission released a significant package aimed to rebalance economic and social policies in recognition of the changing ways in which we live and work. We are delighted that this package of 20 principles recognises children’s right to protection from poverty and access to early education and care. So, what does this all mean for children in reality?

Impact and action can at the end, only be measured at the national level; closer to the children whose lives we are seeking to improve. Hence, it is now up to us all, to ensure that national governments, by their own choice, take up these challenges of protecting children and holding themselves to account, using the available tools and resources offered by the European Commission. Let’s see how successful this new approach is in moving action and impact closer to the people!

Meanwhile, I invite you to also meet our new members who have joined the Eurochild family at the General Assembly earlier this month and read our newly endorsed Child Participation Strategy – which will help us work not only for children, but with children. And next month, we will be back with a new Member Spotlight!

Click here to read the full eNews Bulletin newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to our monthly newsletter and discover how to get involved!

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news-1574 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Protection from child poverty recognised by European Pillar of Social Rights http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/protection-from-child-poverty-recognised-by-european-pillar-of-social-rights/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=2a7a35aece5347fb3537cbd9c1125aeb Eurochild welcomes the European Commission’s proposal for a European Pillar of Social Rights which has recognised “children’s right to protection from poverty”, among others. Children in the EU face a higher risk of poverty compared with adults. As such, the recognition of children’s rights to protection from poverty and access to early education and care is a welcome step. The Commission’s proposal sets Europe on a good path towards rebalancing of social and economic agenda and we are eager to support implementing its recommendations.”– Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild.

The European Pillar of Social Rights, which sets forth 20 principles, serves as a reference framework for employment and social policy at national and European level. With this, the Commission has also proposed legislation to ensure greater rights to parental leave, which Eurochild welcomed earlier today in a separate joint statement with other NGOs.

Eurochild also welcomes the recommendation to EU Member States to develop “national strategies on child participation” to involve children in all actions and decisions that concern them. A social scoreboard introduced today, will measure child poverty, early childhood education and care and impact of social transfers. Such a scoreboard must have equal weight as the EU’s macroeconomic scoreboard if we want to see change in the lives of children.

We look forward to support from the European Parliament and the Council so that these principles can be translated into action. In an otherwise uncertain future, investing in children is a certain way to build resilience and more inclusive societies”, concludes Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild.

 

Background:

 

  • Children are at higher risk of poverty compared with adults. In 2015, 26.9% of children in the EU were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, compared with 24.7 % of adults according to Eurostat (2015)
  • Eurochild contribution to the consultation on the European Pillar of Social Rights and key messages on our expectations are available here.
  • Read our joint statement on the Work-life balance package
  • Read the European Commission’s press release and access all documents relating to the European Pillar of Social Rights here

 

 

 

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news-1573 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Europe sides with people http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/europe-sides-with-people/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=5c20f2937e52c6c4e1cac356cac6430a Eurochild welcomes the European Commission’s Work-Life Balance Package in a joint statement with other European NGOs.

Brussels, 26 April 2017: Today, the European Commission has put forward an ambitious and comprehensive proposal on “Work-Life balance for working parents and carers”. We are pleased to see it reflects our demands for a life-cycle and transversal approach, and contains many of the elements we called for in the past. We are convinced that this initiative has the potential to bring real change in the lives of many Europeans.

We are a Coalition of European networks of NGOs working since 2012 in order to put work-life balance high on the EU agenda and, while regretting the withdrawal of the maternity leave directive proposal in 2015, we warmly welcome today the work-life balance initiative proposed by the European Commission.

First, we welcome the mix of legislative and non-legislative initiatives covering leave schemes as well as provisions of quality, affordable and accessible care services and flexible working arrangements. We believe that this is the right direction. This is what the EU is about, putting the European project into the lives of women, men and children in Europe, showing that Europe does care. The Package must be followed up with serious enforcement and real monitoring across the EU.

We would stress that some of the measures included are particularly helpful, notably the introduction of a paid paternity leave of ten days and a minimum payment at sick leave level of a non-transferable parental leave. Payment, increased flexibility and non-transferability have been proven crucial to increase take- up among fathers. The Directive introduces also a new carers’ leave of 5 days per year paid also at sick pay level. This is a welcome step. However, it is regrettable that no legislative measures have been taken to extend protection against dismissal of women returning to work from a period of leave, beyond a better enforcement of existing legislation.

Backing from Member States and monitoring progress will be fundamental. We are reassured to see that the use of EU funds as well as the EU Semester process is linked to realising the work-life balance policies. On childcare, we are surprised to see a revision of the Education and Training 2020 targets instead of the more known Barcelona objectives, however, we would welcome any revision that would align the Education and Training targets to the Barcelona objectives and to the European Quality Framework on ECEC.

This revision should include the recognition that investing in quality Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services will have a positive impact on women’s labour market participation as much as on children’s development. We also welcome the inclusion in the Directive of home care services and we will work to ensure that in its implementation there will be a stronger focus on individualised support services which will improve the quality of life and access to the labour market of all European citizens and families irrespective their age, background or assistance needs.

Throughout our work to inform and support the development of this initiative, we strongly felt this was the “last chance for Europe”. We therefore endorse and welcome this initiative as a real step forward. We now urge the two co-legislators, the European Parliament and Council of the EU, to seize this opportunity and prove to women, men, children and families that the EU works with and for them, by adopting this Work-Life Balance Package without watering it down.

To this end, we, as an NGO Coalition, will provide decision makers with more detailed analysis of this initiative in the coming weeks. We will continue being critically constructive, exercise our watchdog function and also our role of bridge between the EU and our constituencies, comprised of millions of children, adults, women, men and families in the EU. The European Commission has delivered, it is now up to the European Parliament and Council of the EU to do their share. We will make sure Europeans will be informed at every step of the process.

Click here to watch the video by the European Commission explaining the Work-life Balance package, which will extend existing rights for working parents and carers.

Click here to know more about the European Pillar of Social Rights which has recognised “children’s right to protection from poverty”, among others.

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news-1569 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Children in migration: European Commission releases framework for protection http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/children-in-migration-european-commission-releases-framework-for-protection/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b3094262322a7a75cab458412bc45d6c This communication offers recommendations for all children in migration, whether unaccompanied or with families; it calls for protecting children's best interests throughout their journey, from their arrival in Europe to integration.

The European Commission released its first ever, comprehensive framework for protection of children in migration. The Communication offers a useful set of cross-cutting principles and recommendations aiming to protect the rights of all children in migration, whether they arrive separated or with families; it addresses the challenges faced by children throughout their  journey from arrival in Europe to integration. 

This is a very welcome and long overdue Communication from the Commission.  Now it’s time for EU Member States to take note and implement the policy guidelines.  The main disappointment is that the Commission fell short of banning child detention. In our view, detention is not compliant with children’s rights and should never be used, not even as a ‘last resort’.” – Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General of Eurochild.

Eurochild welcomes this communication and urges national, local and regional authorities and civil society actors to work together to implement the recommendations so that children arriving in Europe are assured a safe and nurturing space. 

Children are first and foremost children and their rights should not be dependant on their status. Eurochild particularly welcomes the fact that this communication emphasises the principles of non-discrimination and the best interests of the child which must be the primary consideration in all actions or decisions concerning children.

We are glad to see that the Communication clearly calls on EU Member States to “ensure that a range of alternative care options for unaccompanied children, including foster/family-based care are provided”. Eurochild advocates for alternatives to institutional care for children in migration. Our joint Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign with four other international partners, Hope and Homes for Children, SOS Children’s Villages International, FICE Europe, IFCO, calls upon all States to ban the use of institutional care as a means to meeting the basic needs of children in migration. The types and quality of care should be the same for all children regardless of their migration status. Care options provided to migrant, unaccompanied  and separated children should meet their individual needs. 

We also welcome that the Communication foresees the training of professionals working with children, including communicating with children in a gender, age- and context- appropriate manner. However, we urge that such training focuses on educating children about their own rights, including their right to participate in decisions that affect their lives.

Short term emergency responses need to keep long term consequences in mind” was the message of our last year’s roundtable on the care of children in migration. We welcome the guidelines highlighting the importance of durable solutions and sharing of good practices. Eurochild is working together with SOS Children’s Villages International to compile good practices on integration of children in migration. The publication, to be launched by autumn of 2017, will function as source of inspiration for government and civil society actors.  

Last but certainly not least, Eurochild welcomes the provision of EU funds for implementing the recommendations. However, to ensure that EU funds are not used for detention or to create segregated neighborhoods, the European Commission should work together with the Member States in order to monitor how EU funds are spent in line with the EU policy and the guiding principles of human rights law.   

Eurochild and its membership looks forward to the next European Child Rights Forum in November 2017 to address the issue of alternatives to detention.

Read the European Commission Communication on the protection of children in migration

Read about the varied challenges faced by children on the move, from the perspective of child rights professionals, “Turning the tide”

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news-1567 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Take a peek into the child rights sector http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/take-a-peek-into-the-child-rights-sector/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=eec12187ba7032fdebe76ddf29a35838 2016 was a year of major changes that are testing the EU’s capacity to its limit, be it the Brexit vote, or the refugee and migrant children being failed by politicians. Eurochild released its Annual Report 2016 last week at its General Assembly. The children’s rights network has taken its first steps to establish itself as a participatory network, that works for and with children. A section of the report is dedicated to the conference ‘Children’s Rights Matter: Why Europe needs to invest in children’, which involved children in the design, delivery and follow-up and was organised with the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium.

2016 was a year of major changes that are testing the EU’s capacity to its limit, be it the Brexit vote, or the refugee and migrant children being failed by politicians. We showed a way to change the status quo by involving and giving a voice to children and young people themselves”, said Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild.

The Annual Report highlights how Eurochild and its members are improving children’s rights in Europe, by coordinated actions at national and European levels. For instance, national events in Ireland and Northern Ireland drew attention to child poverty and how EU policy and funds can support national efforts. We also worked with the Dutch EU Presidency to secure strong EU-wide policy recommendations calling for integrated approaches to reduce child poverty.

The Eurochild network continues to grow. At the 2016 General Assembly 17 new members joined the network, and the national coalition for children’s rights in Germany was appointed as a National Partner Network. At last week’s 2017 General Assembly, 15 new members were endorsed as well as three new National Partner Networks (England, Latvia and Estonia).  Eurochild now counts 165 members from across 33 European countries.

Find out more about what happened at the GA 2017.

 

A strategy to embed children’s participation into the work of the network was also endorsed last week by the Eurochild membership. Read the Child Participation Strategy.

 

Read the Eurochild Annual Report 2016

 

 

 

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news-1561 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Child Participation Strategy endorsed http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/child-participation-strategy-endorsed/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=8dc5c0a356827c5205135700c194f851 For the first time, children and young people facilitated discussions at the Eurochild Members’ Day to gather views on the Child Participation Strategy, which was formally endorsed the following day at the General Assembly in Brussels. The Child Participation Strategy aims to engage children and young people directly to put children’s rights at the heart of Europe; give them a voice and build a community of child rights advocates. The Eurochild network has adopted this strategy which will see the development of national and European fora for children and young people to influence decisions that affect their lives and help organise events.

The strategy goes hand in hand with a Child Protection Policy ensuring all staff, members and partners fully embrace their responsibilities to protect children from harm.  Eurochild members will, in the future, be expected to demonstrate compliance with Eurochild’s policy or to have in place their own child protection policy respecting national legislation.

The Eurochild child participation strategy is going to be piloted via three National European Fora in Malta, Estonia and Bulgaria through which children can get directly involved.

At the General Assembly and Members’ Day, a group of children and young people advised the membership on the provision of child-friendly spaces and making sure that views are gathered from disadvantaged groups.

Eurochild believes that children’s participation is crucial for promotion and protection of children’s rights. As we demand participatory approaches from governments, we, as civil society, must lead the way, by embedding children’s participation into our own working structures.

Watch the video on the endorsement of the strategy and listen to the voices of the children and young people who took part in it.

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news-1560 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Updates from General Assembly 2017 http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/updates-from-general-assembly-2017/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=ea9d79962e1624fe96bc354729fb2401 This week, the Eurochild membership gathered in Brussels for the annual General Assembly. New members were welcomed to the network and a new Management Board member was elected from the membership. This week, the Eurochild membership gathered in Brussels for the annual General Assembly where a children’s participation strategy was endorsed following discussions facilitated by children and young persons themselves. For the first time, children and young people are engaged in developing and implementing a strategy for the children’s rights network which represents 165 members.

Discover the General Assembly in photos 
New Management Board Member

Additionally, a new member of the Management Board was elected. Sean O’Neill of Children in Wales, UK, takes over from George Bogdanov of National Network for Children Bulgaria who completed two terms of three years in the Management Board. Sean has been involved with Eurochild since 2008, representing the network at various events. He co-chaired the thematic working group on participation. He was part of the UK delegation to Geneva to inform the UN Child Rights Committee hearing and is active in the work around the Universal Periodic Review.

Europe and the world is changing and Eurochild has had to adapt to the changing landscape to help ensure that children remain at the heart of Europe. I am delighted to be elected to the Board and would like to thank the membership for their support and encouragement.”- Sean O’Neill.

The Eurochild network thanked George Bogdanov for his generous efforts as a board member. The National Network for Children, Bulgaria will continue to hold a strong connection to Eurochild as a member; it is also coordinating the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign in Bulgaria.

Three National coalitions appointed as official networks

Three new National Partner Networks were also appointed by the General Assembly this year. National partner networks are the ‘go-to’ organisations in each country and are expected to support the national level advocacy efforts for the Eurochild network. 

  • Estonian Union for Child Welfare was founded in 1988 and coordinates the work of 34 regional societies for child welfare, which include child welfare unions, societies or clubs.

  •  Latvian Child Welfare Network was founded in 2014 by 8 international and national NGOs, representing child development and well-being relevant fields, such as education, social welfare and health. In 2016 the Network had 11 NGO members and 3 private members, including the key Latvian NGOs.
  • Founded in 1991, Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) has over 150 organisational and individual members aiming to promote children’s rights and includes the key English children’s rights NGOs. CRAE will take over the NPN membership from Children England. 

In addition, 15 new organisations were appointed as members. With the new tally, Eurochild now has 165 members in 33 countries.

We welcome the new Eurochild members:


Full Members:

AUSTRIA

CONCORDIA Sozialprojekte International

CZECH REPUBLIC

Defence for Children International - Czech DCI/CZ

KOSOVO

Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection-KOMF

LATVIA

Latvian Protect the Children

SPAIN

Plataforma de Organizaciones de Infancia

UNITED KINGDOM

The Centre for Applied Childhood Youth and Family Research (University of Huddersfield)

 

Associate Members:

BELGIUM

Mrs. Janine Renier

Mrs. Margareta Kovacova

DENMARK

Fairstart Foundation

GREECE

ERGO-LEARNING4LIFE

EYSEKT - ESF Actions Coordination and Monitoring Authority

THE NETHERLANDS

Mrs. Veronica Smits

Mr. Robert Van Pagée 

UKRAINE

Mrs. Antonina Slipchenko

UNITED KINGDOM

Mr. Jeffrey Coleman

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news-1559 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Article 50 response: Which generation is shaping a brighter future? http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/article-50-response-which-generation-is-shaping-a-brighter-future/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=5ec81493ae6dbdfe361fc0c5f088a8b2 Eurochild member Children in Scotland responds to the triggering of Article 50 which starts the withdrawing process of the UK from the European Union.

Responding to the triggering of Article 50 today, Children in Scotland Chief Executive Jackie Brock said:

“Children in Scotland believes the voices of children and young people must be central in shaping our future relationship with Europe, whatever form it takes.

“But this process must be in marked contrast to the EU referendum campaign and vote, where young people’s views were discounted, and the current debate about Brexit, in which children’s rights are marginalised.

“Mrs May spoke about leaving the EU representing ‘this generation’s chance to shape a brighter future’“In this context it is important to ask which generation she refers to, given that 71% of 18-24 year-olds in the UK voted to Remain in last year’s referendum and it is young people who will be most exposed to Brexit’s impact.

“We know that the result of the referendum would likely have been different if 16 and 17 year olds across the UK had been allowed to vote.

“The current disparity in voting rights between England and Scotland, as illustrated by the fact that 16 and 17 year olds in Scotland were able to vote in the 2014 independence referendum but blocked from having their say on membership of the EU in 2016, is untenable and inconsistent with young people’s right to participate. 



“In the spirit of Mrs May’s call today to ‘come together and work together’, Children in Scotland would fully support a coherent UK-wide agreement on voting rights for young people – one based on principles about participation not political strategising.



“There is compelling evidence that withdrawal from the EU could have a punitive effect on children.

“As Together, the Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights, and the Children’s Rights Alliance for England have argued, EU funding has brought tangible benefits to children and young people living in Scotland, and more widely across the UK. 



“One example is the European Structural Funds programme, which saw an estimated £350 million being distributed across Scotland to strengthen 800 projects that improved employment and training opportunities for young people, and supported children and young people with mental health problems, children affected by substance abuse problems, and children involved in the juvenile justice system. “Access to this type of funding, which directly benefits children, will be lost as a result of Brexit.



“Finally, it is important to remember that our relationship with Europe has not been a 'one-way street': over the past five decades we have benefited from the EU and the EU has gained from us. 



Scotland and the other UK nations have led the way in areas of child policy – particularly child protection – that have been emulated by many other European nations. We are dismayed by the threat Brexit poses to our ability to share with the EU the best, evidence-led approaches to supporting better childhoods.

“If Theresa May is serious about building ‘relationships with old friends and new allies around the world’ then she should move to discredit the toxic and chauvinistic rhetoric surrounding Brexit in her party and in the UK media. 

 

“It contradicts the consensus-building spirit she aspires to, risks further damaging our standing in Europe, and excludes the children and young people who must be our priority.”

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news-1557 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 10 reasons why the EU has been good for children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/10-reasons-why-the-eu-has-been-good-for-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=687269ec982fca5e092ac75129230b4c Whatever decisions the EU makes about its future at the Rome summit and beyond, it should recognise the improvements to the lives of children as one if its great achievements and make this a foundation for future action, writes Jana Hainsworth for Euractiv. ...As civil society actors, we often focus on the limitations and the work not yet done to progress the rights of children. On this occasion, we must also celebrate the achievements of the collective, transnational power of the EU. As the UK prepares to move away from this Union, we explicitly hope that it does not break away from its shared commitments in the area of children’s rights.

Discover the 10 reasons why the EU has been good for children on the Euractiv Opinion page

For more: 

Read our analysis of the White Paper on the Future of Europe

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news-1556 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Putting children’s rights at the heart of French presidential elections http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/putting-childrens-rights-at-the-heart-of-french-presidential-elections/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=f48552c6925ece8808ec64b2e353edac The French presidential election will be held on 23 April 2017.

With slightly more than 30 days till the first round of the French presidential elections, civil society organisations, including Eurochild member Solidarité Laique, have reunited as part of a collective ‘Agir ensemble pour les droits de l’enfant (AEDE) to put children’s rights at the heart of the electoral debate in the presidential campaign race. 

In a white book entitled ‘For a Republic that guarantees children’s rights’, these organisations put forward their recommendations to the candidates and future members of the government and parliament to ensure that France becomes more respectful towards the rights of all children. Children and young people themselves have been engaged in this work through national consultation. 

A document featuring 12 recommendations from the AEDE has also been shared, along with a document explaining what the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child prohibits, to put a spotlight on the non-conformity of certain proposals of candidates

You can follow the work of this collective on their website, or their Facebook or Twitter

Download the ‘White Book’ or “Livre Blanc” (in French) here.

Download the 12 recommendations of AEDE (in French) here

Download the document ‘Ce que la CIDE prohibe” here.

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news-1555 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 The Europe we want http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/the-europe-we-want/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=be2528eee2132fec536bfd3d377defe3 Just, Sustainable, Democratic and Inclusive. Common appeal to European leaders by European civil society organisations and trade unions. This statement was signed by 233 organisations. 

As we mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, we have a momentous opportunity to take stock of how far Europe has come – and how far we still have to go in order to offer a sustainable and prosperous future to everyone in Europe. It is an opportunity that we call on you, the leaders of Europe, to seize with both hands. We call on you to show leadership, vision and courage to set Europe on the path to a sustainable future which realises the rights of all people and respects planetary boundaries.



We must not fail to appreciate how far Europe has come since 1957, when we were a handful of nations determined to emerge from the ashes of World War II and to move towards a peaceful and united common future. Today, the European Union is the largest and most successful peace initiative of our time, a place where Europeans find richness in cultural differences and strength in common values and aspirations, enjoying greater stability, safety and prosperity than in many other places in the world.


But we cannot afford to be complacent: much still needs to be done to construct a sustainable world for current and future generations. While we have seen much progress, the promise of those early days has still not been fully achieved and we have entered an era in which the values at the very heart of Europe – democracy and participation, equality and social justice, solidarity and sustainability, respect for the rule of law and human rights – are being undermined. Citizens are questioning the raison d’être of the European Union, the legitimacy of governments and mainstream politics, and the ability of existing governance structures to respond to society’s most pressing challenges. As a result, trust in public institutions is in decline.


In these uncertain times, European citizens seek a stronger focus on those core ‘European values’, not a reduced oneThey seek economic, social and environmental well-being.  Economic well-being in the form of prosperity for all and the redistribution of wealth. Social well-being in the provision of quality, affordable services for all and a reinforcing of the social fabric which binds us together. Environmental well-being residing in a healthy natural environment that sustains all life on Earth and protects our clean water and air.

We therefore call on you, leaders of Europe, to move away from an economic model which has widened inequalities and rather to invest in a ‘social market economy’ that works for the benefit of all people. With poverty and social exclusion at unacceptably high levels, we must return to more inclusive economic policies which ensure that Europe’s prosperity is shared, without harming the planet.


We call on you to uphold our core values and invest in employment and education based on critical thinking in order to defend our open, democratic societies and  to address the sense of insecurity felt by many. We call on you, leaders of Europe, to ensure that gender equality, human rights, freedom of religion, democracy and the rule of law are fully implemented and upheld, both at EU and national level. We want to see a more hospitable Europe where everyone’s contribution is welcome and migration is recognised as a boon to society, not a drain.


Europe also needs to play its part in tackling global challenges. Climate change in particular is an existential risk to our world and it must be tackled not only for environmental reasons, but also to prevent the escalation of conflict, hunger, and forced migration.


Building on our call for ‘A New Europe for People, Planet and Prosperity for All’ (September 2016), we are seizing the opportunity of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome to reaffirm our belief in European integration and to offer concrete proposals for the EU Heads of State and Government as they consider the future of Europe.


United, we call for:

  • A Europe that promotes and protects the civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights of everyone and supports those beyond its borders to realise their rights;
  • The delivery of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, by putting the Sustainable Development Goals and the principles that underpin it at the core of EU and national policy-making;
  • The full implementation of the Paris Agreement by enhancing energy efficiency and accelerating the just and sustainable transition to clean and affordable renewable energy in order to keep global warming well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to keep it to 1.5°C;
  • A strengthening of our representative and participatory democracy, with distinct space for people’s participation beyond elections, enabling a diverse civil society to flourish;
  • A strengthening of education as a public responsibility that offers lifelong learning for all in order to develop active citizenship, critical thinking, social inclusion and an awareness of sustainable development and human rights;
  • A just transition for workers and industrial regions from the current economic model to a modern, vibrant, green and socially just economy in which our human and natural capital is cherished;
  • A European Social Model that provides full protection to all workers, all consumers and all people living in the EU; one that reverses the wealth gap and reduces poverty and social exclusion;
  • A European Union with a strong social rights pillar, which ensures quality employment and fair pay, and addresses inequalities between women and men, discrimination against children and youth or based on race, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic status, age, disability, minority or other status. 

In the face of a world that is changing faster than ever before, European unity and solidarity are just as important now as they were 60 years ago. Solidarity brought us together and solidarity is the only way forward.  None of the current challenges can be solved by one nation or one group of people alone.



However, there is an urgent need for the European Union and its institutions to reconnect with the realities, dreams and hopes of its citizens if the long-term relevance and survival of our Union are to be secured. Now is the time to rethink the direction in which we are travelling, build on our achievements and lay the foundations for the next 60 years of European integration.


We expect you, as the leaders of Europe, to do just that: to have the courage and the vision to lead the transition to a just, sustainable, democratic and inclusive Europe. We expect you to listen to the people of Europe and to use the occasion of the Rome Summit to make a strong, joint commitment to a better, more sustainable future. 

 

 

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news-1550 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Eurochild’s summary of the White Paper on the Future of Europe http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochilds-summary-of-the-white-paper-on-the-future-of-europe/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=cdfeeb13dac13d8d2dca0da2158d8550 Quo vadis, EU27?

On March 1st, Jean Claude Juncker presented the European Commission’s White Paper on the Future of Europe to the European Parliament, ahead of the Summit which will be held on 25 March to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Rome treaties. 

Challenges and opportunities: Five scenarios for EU27

The White Paper provides a general overview of the main challenges the EU is facing, such as the rising of new economies potentially undermining Europe’s economic power; the development of new technologies and their impact on jobs and society as a whole; the economic and migrant crisis; terrorism; and a growing sense of mistrust towards the European project, which has fuelled the rise of populist and Eurosceptic movements across the EU. Such challenges, however, are presented as opportunities to be seized to reflect on how to move forward as EU27, and better deliver for Europe’s citizens.

The White Paper presents five scenarios for the future of Europe as EU27: the Commission, however, does not express any preference and presents all options as equally possible, not mutually exclusive nor exhaustive. They are intended to trigger a debate on which combination of features would represent the best option for the European project to continue and improve. 

1. Carrying On: In this scenario, the EU27 sticks to its course, implementing and upgrading its current agenda, in line with the 2016 Bratislava Declaration. The focus is on jobs, growth and investment by strengthening the single market/single currency; and on the fight against terrorism. The speed of decision-making relies on Member States’ capacity to overcome differences of views to achieve long-term priorities.

2. Nothing but the single market: The single market becomes the main “raison d’être” of the EU27, while withdrawing from other areas e.g. migration, security or defence (or social). In this scenario there is less regulation, but capacity to act collectively is reduced.

3. Those who want more do more: This scenario proposes the idea of a “2-speed Europe”, with enhanced cooperation between Member States who want to do more in specific areas, such as defence, security, or social matters, and with the possibility for other Members to join at a later stage. In this scenario, the rights of EU citizens vary depending on whether they live in a country that has chosen to do more or not.

4. Doing less more efficiently: To increase effectiveness, the focus is reduced to a limited number of areas to be agreed by the EU27, such as innovation, trade, migration, where the EU can have more added value. This scenario results in a clearer division of responsibilities, but increased difficulties in agreeing on prioritisation. 

5. Doing much more together: Member States commit to deepen the social and economic basis of the EU27 by sharing more power, resources and decision-making with greater coordination in fiscal, social and tax matters. Citizens have more rights derived from EU law, but there is an increased risk of scepticism towards the legitimacy of the EU vis a vis national authorities.

Regrettably, the White Paper does not include any explanation of how each of these scenarios would actually be implemented, nor does it provide any clarification in terms of the process to be followed. What seems to be clear is that the document drafted by the Commission is aimed at encouraging Member States and the European Council to take the lead in the debate.

Next steps

The White Paper will be a topic of discussion for EU leaders at the Rome Summit at the end of March. The Commission, however, together with the European Parliament and Member States, will also be holding a series of debates on the future of Europe across national parliaments, cities and regions. In the coming months, the Commission itself will contribute to the discussion by releasing a series of reflection papers on: the social dimension of Europe (in the form of the European Pillar of Social Rights); deepening the Economic and Monetary Union; harnessing globalisation; the future of defense; the future of EU finances. 

The Future of Europe will be addressed at the State of the Union speech in September and discussed at the European Council meeting in December. The aim is to decide on a course of action ahead of the European Parliament elections to be held in June 2019.

About social policies and children

As Eurochild, we are concerned with the alarming lack of priority given to the need to tackle poverty and social exclusion, particularly in relation to children and young people. The brief analysis accompanying each scenario and examining their potential impact fails to include a social perspective. The White Paper seems to deliver the message that any further commitment in the social field will require Member States to choose either scenario 3 (“Who wants to do more”) or 5 (“Doing much more together”). Children are not given sufficient importance besides being referred to as the future generation. Despite this, Eurochild will call for the EU-wide consultation process on the future of Europe to include consultations with children as well.

As Eurochild, we encourage our members to read the White Paper and share your first impressions on the proposed scenarios. 

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news-1546 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Call for case studies on successful refugee and migrant children's integration http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/call-for-case-studies-on-successful-refugee-and-migrant-childrens-integration/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=fd7b7bae5ba0e5c9aa9c15d0f565b003 A 2017 compendium of case studies on the integration of refugee and migrant children across Europe Eurochild, in partnership with SOS Children’s Villages International, will be producing a compendium of case studies from across Europe in 2017, which will document successful stories of integration of refugee/migrant children through comprehensive and integrated child protection systems.

This publication, which will also identify overarching principles and policy recommendations, will offer a useful tool with which to collectively influence legislators, policy and decision makers, both at national and sub-national level.

You can submit an expression of interest with a short description of the case study by 17 March 2017.

Click here to read the call.

Click here to download the form.

 

 

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news-1545 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Effective child protection system depends on poverty reduction and strong local services http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/effective-child-protection-system-depends-on-poverty-reduction-and-strong-local-services/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b4e6a0cd5e0f155fd104f0eed2021c75 Eurochild's member Children in Scotland highlights the importance of investing in children's services within the local community to avoid children being removed from their families. The Scottish Government announced its response to the Child Protection Systems Review Report. Among a raft of actions, Minister for Childcare and Early Years Mark McDonald said the government would introduce new legislation to criminalise emotional abuse and neglect of children

Children in Scotland Chief Executive Jackie Brock, author of the 2014 Brock Report which reported on the state of the Scottish child protection system, also reflected on the importance of investment, support for communities, and early intervention.  

“We hope the Scottish Government acknowledges that the effectiveness of our child protection system and services relies on investment and support for children's services within the local community. Evidence is clear that families living in poverty are far more likely to have their children removed from them than those who are better off. 

"With this in mind, we continue to be deeply concerned by the UK Government's attacks on our benefits system and the cuts facing local authorities and their partners. The Scottish Government must address these challenges if the specific recommendations of the review are to be implemented successfully.”


The Child Protection Systems review group is to be reconvened in April 2018 to review progress on the recommendations.

Click here to visit Children in Scotland's website. 

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news-1582 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Opening Doors to Europe’s Children is scaling up in Croatia http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/opening-doors-to-europes-children-is-scaling-up-in-croatia/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=08d83a9351848d54b42ed15c5672673b The process of ending institutional care for children in Croatia started in 2011. To add further gravitas to campaign’s work on deinstitutionalisation in Europe, in February 2017, Croatia has become the 16th country participating in the pan-European campaign “Opening Doors to Europe’s Children”. In December 2016, the campaign has already expanded its reach from 12 to 15 countries, following the launch of campaign’s Phase II

The overall aim of the campaign is to support national efforts to develop child protection systems that strengthen families and ensure high-quality family and community-based alternative care for children, by leveraging EU funding and policy and building capacity in civil society. In Croatia, campaign will strive to advocate for strengthening and improving family- and community-based services, change in national policy and public spending.

According to Ljiljana Ban, President of FICE Croatia and campaign’s national coordinator in Croatia, “Our first national priority is to build the network of partners around campaign on the ground and to promote the importance of civil society involvement. Local and national NGOs have a fundamental role to play in planning and delivery of the national reforms. With the right know-hows and available resources, civil society can become a strategic partner to the government to implement deinstitutionalisation strategy.” National organisations that have already committed support to the campaign include SOS Children’s Village CroatiaUdruga za kreativan socijalni radUdruga ArduraForum za kvalitetno udomiteljstvo – udomitelji za djecuIgra – udruga za pružanje rehabilitacijsko-edukacijske i psiho-socijalno-pedagoške pomoći and Suncokret-OLJIN.

The process of deinstitutionalisation in Croatia started in 2011 when the Plan for deinstitutionalisation and transformation of social welfare and other legal entities providing social care services in the Republic of Croatia for 2011-2018 has been adopted.  Although many positive developments have been achieved since then, the entire process is still falling behind the schedule, especially with regards to the development of the new social services in local communities and further development of the foster care system as the only option for children under the age of 7. Deinstitutionalisation has been a key consideration in relation to Croatia’s accession to the European Union in 2013. Now, with the support of national partners, hopes are high for Croatia to deliver its commitments and actions in fulfilling the rights of the vulnerable children and families through leveraging existing EU policy recommendations and coordination tools, as well as EU funding programmes,” says Katerina Nanou, Opening Doors campaign coordinator.

 

Find out more about national coordinator in Croatia

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news-1544 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Children are becoming a minority in our ageing society and they do not have a voice http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/children-are-becoming-a-minority-in-our-ageing-society-and-they-do-not-have-a-voice/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=e07fe061241681e084ecd483838b8f52 Interview with Judit Costa, Children's rights advocate for the National Coalition Germany.

- Could you introduce the work of the National Coalition Germany to us? 

The National Coalition Germany has 120 members, among them there are internationally known organisations like Unicef, Terre des Hommes, Save the Children, Worldvision, but also organisations that focus on only one issue or professional associations. The ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child was the reason that brought us together. As a coalition we have annual themes, last year it was the changes we want to apply to the German Constitution in order to fully include children’s rights. This year we talk about data and children’s rights indicators.

Not having enough data to support the implementation of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child has been an ever recurring issue with UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.  As a coalition, we would like to build consensus among civil society that together we need to push for better data and better use of existing data in order to assess new laws and action plans. In the end, the only thing that counts is impact. 

-Germany has shown immense solidarity to refugees during the so called ‘migration crisis’. According to newspapers the number of asylum seekers has dropped since last year. What is the situation now? 

First of all I’d like to be clear that what Germany faced in 2015 and 2016 was not a “migration crisis”. Germany fulfilled its international obligations by granting the right of asylum to those who are persecuted in their country. The fact that the numbers have dropped in 2017 is not due to a better situation in the respective home countries or to the fact that those wars are over. People are simply stuck in neighbouring countries near the conflict zones. 

In Germany, there are still cases of child rights violations for refugee children, for example concerning the right to education, to health and housing. In Berlin and also other parts of Germany, we still have emergency facilities and young people are not housed according to youth welfare standards. 

We have to look at those places where children on the move do not get equal treatment as other children in this country. Our success in the implementation of human rights and children’s rights will be measured on the most vulnerable children.

-Are you supporting the refugee or asylum seeking children and if so, how?  

Our members are supporting refugees and refugee children in very different ways: welfare organisations are providing housing, counselling and services, professional associations like trade unions and medical associations are working with a new clientele from Syria and Afghanistan. That is just part of the integration process that is happening now.  

As a network, we are bringing together these organisations so that they can start initiatives in the same field together and, of course, we also lobby for the implementation of children rights for refugee children. 

-What is the main issue children currently face in Germany?

I think that in general, children in Germany are facing the same issue as children in many European countries. They are becoming a minority in society as societies are ageing. For example, in Germany we have roughly 82 million inhabitants and only 18 million are under 18 years of age, so that it is less than a quarter and it will not be sustainable for our current social system

This minority is not allowed to vote, does not have a say in how the education system or the welfare system are being shaped right now. “Children are the future” has become a figure of speech frequently used, but it does not have any impact on, for example, the right to be heard

-We’re currently developing a Child participation Strategy.  Is there any good example of children’s active participation you could share with us?

I think that we should support self-organised groups of children and young people that have formed around issues, rather than creating participation methods based on existing models used by adults. Children are not small adults. Form follows function, whether we are considering reason, length, method or outcome of participation. 

- What are the main benefits of being a member of the Eurochild Network?  What would you change or improve?

I think the greatest benefit for us is the contact with other national coalitions, for example for the upcoming event on indicators and also on child participation. We are actively looking for those people and organisations that are a step ahead of us so that we can learn and exchange. That is very valuable! 

Other benefits are the dialogue around EU developments, for example on investing in children, that we do not hear so much about, and being able to meet with EU institutions and organisations from other countries because we can learn from them. That really helps!

- What do you expect from the Eurochild General Assembly in April? 

By putting child participation in the center of the General Assembly,  Eurochild sends a strong message to all members and beyond. I think that as time goes by, participation will become a standard. But in order to get there, we need to address participation on all levels, and Eurochild is setting an example here. 

Click here to know more about the National Coalition Germany.

Click here to know more about the event "Measuring Children’s Rights: Why We Need Indicators."

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news-1543 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 European Semester 2017: Commission publishes Country Reports http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/european-semester-2017-commission-publishes-country-reports-1/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=e5c90cb3f89b7c813100074d02190fe4 The country reports provide an overview of economic and social developments in each EU Member States.

On February 22, the European Commission released its 2017 Country Reports, which provide an analysis of economic and social policies in each EU Member State. Eurochild will be working on a detailed assessment of the country reports.

The country reports will be followed by the National Reform Programmes, to be developed by governments, which will include policies and measures aimed at reaching the Europe 2020 goals. The European Semester cycle remains an important platform to discuss investing in children, as well as to promote children’s rights within the broader macro-economic agenda. 

A useful infographic on the European Semester can be found here, and more background information is available on the Commission’s website.

Click here to read the Country Reports.

Click here to read the Eurochild 2016 Report on the European Semester.

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news-1540 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 The Smile of the Child releases its annual statistics http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/the-smile-of-the-child-releases-its-annual-statistics/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=ba4234571413500e2b9091a587876b79 Eurochild's member from Greece, The Smile of the Child supported more than 100.000 children in 2016.

100.392 children and their families, among them 17.779 migrant and refugee children, were supported last year in Greece by The Smile of the Child. According to official data announced by the Greek Organization on 9 February, 116 requests for shelter were received for 202 children at risk.

In total 297 children are currently being raised in 10 Homes of the Organization all across Greece, while 53 children were provided with services in 3 Daycare Homes in an effort to keep families together in the midst of a dramatic social and economic crisis in the country.

Read the full press release here

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news-1539 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 New report on the conditions in the refugee camp of Schisto released http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/new-report-on-the-conditions-in-the-refugee-camp-of-schisto-released/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b0a2fc0c723e56530973274d7a5fa99b Eurochild member from Greece, Network for Children’s Rights, releases report on Schisto refugee camp and raises concerns over children safety, education and quality of life.

The Schisto camp for asylum seekers is one of the largest in Greece and has a capacity of 2000 persons.

Since it is not well connected with the city centre, its residents become ghetto ghettoised and it makes it difficult for them to integrate into Greek society.

Poor and insufficient housing and sanitary conditions are criticised together with low quantity and quality food provision.

The Network raises concerns on privacy and security issues for the women and children of the camp.
Children also do not receive proper education in school, but only a rudimentary tutoring inside the camp.

Cases of attack and abuse towards women and children were registered. 

Not only are the best interests of children not given priority, they do not feature at all in any stipulations regarding the living conditions of refugees.

Click here to read the full report.

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news-1535 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Investing in Children based on a solid Social Pillar http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/investing-in-children-based-on-a-solid-social-pillar/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=37c0af42fae0b48bc02b80d7f8c5043a On 23 January the European Commission held a high-level event on its upcoming initiative, “European Pillar of Social Rights”. Eurochild representatives share below their feedback from this conference.

1. Social policy & economic policy two sides of the same coin

We welcome the active and high level participation of Commission directorates beyond the obvious Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner at the conference. In their speeches they mentioned repeatedly that social policy needs to be on equal footing with economic policy. An important message, when many EU citizens miss to see the added value of being united in a Union unless its social policy is given the same priority as economic development. The Pillar offers a chance for Europe to actually invest in people – in children and in families - something that has been lacking in the past years. On the downside, the Pillar will only apply to Eurozone countries which risks creating a two-tier Europe.

2. Increasing attention given to child poverty shows political concern across Europe

There was a strong message during the event that prevention and early intervention programmes are effective. Investing in children are often mentioned as national priorities contributing to lower youth unemployment and more equal societies in the near future. To make the European Pillar of Social Rights meaningful for children and families it has to entail instruments (legislative and non-legislative) that have strong financial backing and be underpinned by rights-based approach. It is crucial that existing policy guidance - such as the European Commission Recommendation on Investing in Children - and existing international treaties – such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European Social Charter - are reinforced by the Pillar. 

3. Policy reforms are needed – where to start?

The conference paid attention to retailoring social policy to meet individual needs and rights. From a child rights perspective this means improving social protection systems, supporting families, ensuring all children have access to high quality services and are consulted on decisions affecting their lives.

A commonly agreed European target and benchmarks to reduce child poverty and social exclusion among children would be a first step. Children are impacted by all dimensions of the Pillar, their rights therefore need to be better reflected under each policy domain. Measuring outcomes for children could be done by improving the portfolio of child well-being indicators. In terms of process, the European Semester should be used to monitor progress on the Pillar’s benchmarks.

4. Consulting NGOs and children is a must if we want to see wise and effective solutions

The conference followed a long period of public consultations which involved governments and social partners, as well as civil society. However it is disappointing how children and young people seem to have been be forgotten in this process. We feel that events organized for young people by the institutions must be reflective of society. Children and young people are the ones who have to “carry” the Pillar in the future and who will (hopefully) be one of the main beneficiaries of the Pillar. 

European Commission President Juncker said the Social Pillar is our last chance to save Europe.
In the design and implementation of policy processes to follow from the European Pillar of Social Rights we encourage the European Commission to continue to engage in a meaningful dialogue with civil society, as well people impacted by its measures, including children and young people themselves.

By Pien Klieverik (Dutch Children’s Rights Coalition - DCI Netherlands), Ivanka Shalapatova (National Network for Children Bulgaria – For Our Children Foundation ) and Réka Tunyogi (Eurochild Secretariat)

Background:

The European Pillar for Social Rights is expected to “become a reference framework to screen employment and social performance of participating Member States and to drive reforms at national level”. The European Commission is expected to publish its proposal of a European Pillar of Social Rights, along with a White Paper on deepening the Economic and Monetary Union by the end of March 2017. A stocktaking document on the 2013 Investing in Children Recommendation is expected at the same time.

Read more about the Conference and the consultation on the European Pillar of Social Rights here

Read Eurochild’s key messages on the Social Pillar here 

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news-1534 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 We need to make things accessible, not just child friendly, but accessible to anyone http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/we-need-to-make-things-accessible-not-just-child-friendly-but-accessible-to-anyone/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=68687f110d52f7554ebe7026c01b7b6d Member Spotlight: Interview with Dr Ruth Farrugia, Director General, President's Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society - On 21-22 October you organised your second national conference on child wellbeing. Could you explain why it focused on access to justice for vulnerable children? Is it a specific challenge faced in Malta?

Child participation within access to justice is really important for us because without access to justice no human rights can be easily accessed. It’s already difficult for adults to access their rights and it’s even more difficult for vulnerable children such as children in alternative care, asylum seekers, children who had problems with the law and children who are called into court.

The first day, the panel was composed of UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais, Regina Jensdottir Director of Children’s Rights at Council of Europe, Norah Gibbons, President of Eurochild andthe International Foster Care Organisation (IFCO) that will be hosting an international conference in Malta in November 2017 and the Fundamental Rights Agency. On the second day young people told us about the problems they faced, such as for example being hosted to give evidence and having to sit next to the family they are giving evidence against or being told that they had to come back in a month time.

After the conference, we organised another event: an intergenerational dialogue on human rights where children spoke with a leading legal anthropologist, Barbara Harrell-Bond who set up the Oxford Refugee Centre. We have two very active groups, a children council (aged 7-11) and a young people Council (aged 12-18). One of the children during the debate on who is a refugee stood up and said ‘’ It’s obvious, refugees are people who don’t get rights in their own country and they have to go somewhere else’’. There are so many laws and books about it and this was put in one single sentence. This is one example of why we invest in child participation. 

-What is the main issue children currently face in Malta?

What I would say is different from what children would say. This is why our young people’s councils are so important. When they meet up they mainly talk about bullying and the environment, these are the biggest issues for them. Cyber bullying seems to be a particular problem for the 14 to 17 year old.  Following our last annual conference in 2015 we organised a round table with the cybercrime unit from the Police because children seemed to be really disturbed and anxious about it

Another issue was not having a safe place to play. Children are usually criticised for not playing outdoors. This why we started organising our President’s Secret Garden events  which focus on peace building, community engagement and rights.  We also have a regularly open mobile library.  Children told us they didn’t want any storytelling activity; they just needed the space to be able to read and stay together.  

Disability is an issue that was also underlined by them. There is an 11 years old boy in the Council with a severe physical disability who is really active and makes himself heard very clearly. For instance, he is irritated by the fact that he can’t participate as fully as he would like to because of accessibility issues. 

-What are the main projects that the President’s Foundation is working on at the moment?

We have 5 research entities each carrying out varied research on wellbeing.  For instance we are doing research on children’s relationship with teachers in schools, problematic internet  use among students, access to safe and healthy food and many others. 

Now the Foundation is organising an important meeting with Missing Children Europe on missing asylum seeking children that will be held in Malta on 26 – 27 January. Europol estimated that in 2015 10,000 asylum seeking children went missing. They were registered children so that’s only the tip of the iceberg. We want to raise awareness about this issue and find a way to make these children trust the system and avoid being trafficked. We spoke to asylum seeking children and asked them to tell us their experiences. In some of the interviews, children were scared because other children that were living with them suddenly disappeared. 

Another project is tied with the IFCO Conference on children in foster care, children who leave foster care, children who are moved from one place to another and the experience of the families, how they deal with the foster child.   

-The Maltese Presidency of the EU has just begun and will last until June 2017.  What do you hope to see happen and what would you like to achieve?

We will facilitate children’s  access to the sessions so they can ask questions regarding what is important to them. Our responsibility is that they claim the space to ask what they want and to be able to report in a child friendly way.  

We are excited about the Eurochild’s project about budgeting and see how much budget is used for children. On paper, a lot of money is spent on education because in Malta it’s completely free. So I’m curious to know how much is spent.

- What are the most useful resources and benefits from being a member of the Eurochild Network?  What would you change or improve? 

I love the fact that I can talk to people that think in the same way and I don’t feel we’re alone in this attempt to push child participation. It’s reassuring! What I would like to know more is what doesn’t work, to hear more about mistakes so that we can learn from them. I would also like to increase the communication among the members and the children. The children would love to hear from other children! Having links among the councils and associations would be wonderful!

 -After the results of the Eurochild Conference, Eurochild is currently developing a Child participation Strategy. Is there any good example of children’s active participation you could share with us?

We’re also working on a project with universities to go from village to village on a bus and talk about children’s rights and the children are excited about that!

What we think is really important is developing child friendly versions of documents that usually are used by adults as well since they are generally easier to read and to the point. We need to use money to make things accessible, not just child friendly, but accessible to anyone. 

The key in child participation is not pitching it low because children are not less intelligent that adults. Most Children don’t need colourful and silly material with a lot of drawings. We don’t need to patronise them. What we do with the Foundation is respecting children’s freedom to decide their own agenda when they set their meetings and they decide if they need external advice. We need to simply give them their right and people will finally listen to them. 

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news-1533 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 MEPs must fully honour their work-life balance pledges in the European Pillar of Social Rights http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/meps-must-fully-honour-their-work-life-balance-pledges-in-the-european-pillar-of-social-rights/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=601387425ae76c313732be084d743508 Joint press statement by COFACE Families Europe, Eurochild and other six NGOs

Tomorrow, 19 January 2017, the European Parliament will be called on to vote on the report 2016/2095(INI) “European Pillar of Social Rights”. This report touches upon a number of very relevant themes for people in Europe, including their chances to better reconcile work, family, care and personal life.

We jointly call on the European Parliament to continue its work, reaffirm its position in favour of reconciliation and be coherent with its previous votes, and stop amendments watering down its position, by excluding the call for legislative initiatives at EU level.

In its 13 September 2016 resolution “Creating labour market conditions favourable for family-work balance”, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to affirm that Work-Life Balance is a right and called on the European Commission to put forward a coherent and ambitious package made of legislative and non-legislative initiatives, in order to bring real change into people’s lives.

In 2015, many of us jointly published a comprehensive policy document, the “European Reconciliation Package”, to propose concrete and coherent policy solutions, and we strongly supported the 2016 Resolution “Creating labour market conditions favourable for family-work balance”.

We are 8 European networks of NGOs and since 2012 we have been working together to raise awareness about the daily challenges faced by women and men across the EU in reconciling their work, family and private life. We represent millions of children, adults and families across the EU, and we are calling on Members of European Parliament to reaffirm the importance of stronger and more effective policies for work-life balance.

The European Parliament is the voice of people, and at a time when women and men are losing their confidence in Europe and European leaders, showing coherence and ambition is a great opportunity to restore trust and show that Europe really cares about their real lives and concerns.

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news-1528 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Maltese Parliament approves new Child Protection Bill http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/maltese-parliament-approves-new-child-protection-bill/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=c3b048fb3777ad2c4c77cf81c96c7d77 Eurochild's member from Malta Appogg, Foundation for Social Welfare Services welcomes new child protection legislation.

The Child Protection Bill 45 has gone through the first reading, the Committee stage at length where discussions with experts in the field were held, and has been approved in Parliament on 10 January 2017, following third and final reading.

Having a legislation specifically for child protection, as in other countries, reaffirms that Malta has the protection of the children living in Malta at heart.  This bill is a comprehensive bill which focuses specifically on children and the rights of children both living at home with their natural parents as well as those children who are living in out of home care including next of kin fostering, fostering, and residential homes.  

The leading principle in this bill is the best interest of the child and this gives a clear message to the public; Malta has the interest of the children at heart and whoever is abusing these children or is acting on their own best interest rather than the interest of the child/ren has to price to pay.  

This law, in fact, puts a legal obligation and responsibility on the general public and professionals to report any abuse they witness or are aware of.  It also ensures that child abuse is investigated immediately and action is taken within a stipulated time.  This ensures timely interventions, which might either result in timely support and help to the families involved so as to stop the abuse or else, in case the parent/s abusing and/or neglecting the child/ren still fail to cooperate, it will result in court orders such as care orders (removal of the child from home), treatment orders or supervision orders.  

This bill has another underlying principle – the best interest of the child is for him/her to remain living with his/her natural parents and therefore care orders should be considered as a last resort.  For this reason, the bill ensures that parent/s are made aware of the difficulties/concerns that they need to address through a social contract and that the care plan established with the social workers clearly indicates what needs to happen for the abuse to stop within specific timeframes.  

Failing to address such issues at the expense of the safety and wellbeing of the child/ren might then result in the removal of the child/ren from home.  Parent/s can obviously appeal but more importantly they are given another opportunity to work on their issues.  So reintegration of the children with their natural parent/s is possible even after they are removed as long as they address their issues and as long as it is in the best interest of the child.  However, failing to do this again, parents face the possibility of losing their child/ren either through permanency or through freeing for adoption.  

Children need to feel secure in their placements; their live and stability cannot be put on hold for years. Therefore permanency and freeing for adoption are going to be possible, once the bill is enacted, always as long as it is in the best interest of the child concerned. 

Given that Appogg, Foundation for Social Welfare Services, has always held the interest of the children at heart, we fully support this bill and look forward to make it work in practice for the benefit of the children involved.

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news-1527 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Scottish Education governance proposals risk ‘zero impact’ on attainment gap http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/scottish-education-governance-proposals-risk-zero-impact-on-attainment-gap/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=6f959897f59393865587e023eb319b11 Eurochild's member Children in Scotland expresses concerns over the possible benefits from the removal of local authority responsibility.

In their current form the Scottish Government’s proposals for reform of education governance will fail to make any progress in narrowing the attainment gap, Children in Scotland believes.

Responding to the Scottish Government’s Education Governance Review, the charity strongly questions whether downgrading local authority responsibility for improving education will lead to better educational experiences and outcomes for young people.

Children in Scotland’s Chief Executive Jackie Brock said: “While we welcome the Scottish Government’s clear commitment to improving all children’s outcomes, we see virtually no evidence to suggest that departing from the current model of education governance would contribute in any meaningful way to closing the gap in attainment. It is right that the Scottish Government’s determination to address the challenges of excellence and equity is matched by a willingness to hold the whole system to account in order for Scotland’s performance to improve. But we struggle to understand the leap from this legitimate and necessary calling to account, to the narrow solution of lessening local authority responsibility for improvement. 

We are aware of no published evidence that suggests removing local authority accountability is necessary for enhanced educational outcomes for every child and young person or improved leadership at school level.
” 
Ms Brock also said she found it “puzzling” that the Scottish Government cites recommendations from the 2015 report Improving Schools in Scotland: An OECD Perspective as justification for decoupling schools from local authority control. In its report the OECD could not be clearer that ‘local authorities are integral’ to developing effective responses to closing the attainment gap,” she said. 

Ms Brock added that it was important to view the proposals in the context of current financial pressures affecting councils, schools and families. Sustained cuts to local authority budgets, combined with increases in child poverty rates, represent the greatest barrier to eliminating the educational attainment gap in Scotland – not the current system of school governance,” she added.

The charity’s stance is based on its own consultation with members, engagement with children and young people as part of the excite.ed project and discussions with the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Children and Young People.

In its response, Children in Scotland also makes the following points:

Due to the significant changes currently being experienced by all children’s services and schools in particular, there is very little appetite for further reorganisation. A period of stability to embed change and improvement is required.

Given concerns expressed by key education agencies and thinkers about the bureaucratic burden being placed on teachers and schools by an over-concentration on narrow assessment criteria, a more fruitful route for improvement would be to listen to the views of children and young people, together with educational experts, and focus on supporting schools and teachers to improve dramatically their approach to assessment – as recommended by the OECD.

The views of children and young people must be front and centre in the debate about governance reform and attainment, not regarded as an ‘add on’.

The Scottish Government’s sound principles with regard to education reform could go further by adopting a stronger child rights approach, with explicit reference to how any proposed reform will support the government’s commitment to child rights as laid out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Schools need to do more to involve a diverse range of parents within school decision making, particularly parents from socially deprived backgrounds and those who have children with additional support needs.

The Scottish Government’s consultation could have been better balanced if it contained examples of the positive role local authorities provide in fulfilling their statutory duty to school improvement.

Read the full consultation response here.

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news-1526 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Children speaking up at the Open Government Partnership Summit http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/children-speaking-up-at-the-open-government-partnership-summit/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=cf4caac9fda3dd049cf3a71793086192 Eurochild and Save the Children ran a Roundtable session 'Children Speaking Up: developing meaningful engagement with government' at the Open Government Partnership Summit (OGP).

The Partnership gathered in Paris (8-9 December 2016) with 70 member countries and hundreds of civil society organizations that promote transparency, citizen participation and democratic innovation.

A young person, Grégoire Quelain, who has worked with Eurochild's member organisation Solidarité Laïque, contributed to the round table by sharing his experiences of being involved in a local youth council since 2014. He stressed the importance for children and young people to participate in local decision making and to encourage them to participate in local projects and create spaces for discussion. 

At the roundtable a video was shown with statements from children from across the world, including children who have been involved in activities and projects with Eurochild.

The OGP participants have committed that governments engage with groups of the public that are subject to exclusion and/or unable to express their views in other ways and in particular focused this commitment on children and young people. The OGP recommends that:

governments should affirm public commitment to involving children, young people and young adults in all decision that affect them

set out clear standards for the involvement of children and young people - drawing on international good practices

work with a group of children and young people to assess the current participation opportunities and to identify future areas of development

develop training for professionals working with young people and for decision makers to encourage children and young people’s participation.

-Click here to watch the video ''Children Speaking Up: Open Government with Children''.

-Click here to know more about the Open Government Partnership Summit.

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news-1524 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 CRAE urges UK Government to tackle England’s poor record on children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/crae-urges-uk-government-to-tackle-englands-poor-record-on-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=116be7d94e05c2926c99016e574abd72 Eurochild's member Children’s Rights Alliance for England publishes new State of Children’s Rights Report 2016.

The Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) has found that increasing numbers of children in England have been let down in 2016 and denied the basic things they need to develop and thrive.  Their annual assessment of what life is like for children in England finds that they are bearing the brunt of the UK Government’s spending decisions and welfare cuts

Increasing numbers of children do not  have a permanent roof over their head or are living illegally in cramped, dirty and unsafe Bed & Breakfasts (B&Bs) for long periods of time. Despite soaring levels of poor mental health and self harm amongst children, sometimes with fatal consequences, very vulnerable children are not being cared for properly or kept safe during periods of mental health crisis. 

Children are also experiencing poor treatment when in contact with the police – as shown by shocking new statistics on the use of Tasers, strip searching and spit hoods. Children from Black or minority ethnic backgrounds are increasingly over-represented in the youth justice system.

Other issues covered in the report include rising rates of child poverty and sexual exploitation, severe breaches to the rights of refugee children, cuts to children’s services and widening levels of health and educational inequality

CRAE’s annual assessment draws on hundreds of sources and responses to Freedom of Information requests (FOIs) to examine how children and young people are faring in all aspects of their lives. It assesses how well England is meeting its commitments under the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, which the UK ratified in 1991. 

However, despite the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s warning in June 2016 that the UK is not doing enough to prioritise children, the Government has so far failed to take decisive action on their recommendations. 

Louise King, Director of CRAE said: Our report reveals that the UK Government has ignored the UN Committee’s urgent calls to protect the basic needs and rights of some of our most vulnerable children including those suffering from poor mental health, living in B&Bs and treated badly by the police. The Government must take immediate steps to tackle the increasing failure to protect the human rights of children in England. 

CRAE is calling on the Government to introduce a child rights duty on public authorities so that when decisions are made which affect children, their rights are properly taken into consideration. This would ensure that the welfare of vulnerable children can no longer be ignored.’

Download State of Children’s Rights 2016 made up of eight briefings.  

For more information email info(at)crae.org(dot)uk

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news-1521 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Change is the only constant http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/change-is-the-only-constant/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=5e79ab77297bb29e1fb36bb2fc680f0a As the year closes, it's right to step back, take stock and recharge our batteries for the year ahead.

Gandhi said, change is the only constant. But who would have anticipated the pace and direction of change over the last 12 months? It feels the values we cherish are being rocked to their core. From Brexit to Trump, from Hungary's Orban to Poland's Kaczyński, identity politics are gaining ground. 2017 elections in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Serbia promise to be highly divisive as politicians pander to voter fears. Recent terror attacks are unfortunately likely to stoke those fears.

In an era known for ‘post-truth' politics, fighting for social justice and human rights is portrayed by some as elitist and disconnected from reality. More than ever our work needs to be driven by, and have an impact on, the people whose voices are not otherwise heard.

Eurochild aims to bring about positive changes in the lives of children, particularly those affected by poverty and discrimination, those at risk of entering, or already in, the care system – including migrant and refugee children. So we have spent a lot of this year thinking about, and applying new approaches to, engaging our membership – those organisations advocating for children's rights nationally or those working on the ground with the most disadvantaged children and families. Our membership spans 33 countries. Our impact is measurable by how much their engagement in Eurochild helps them deliver change at local or national level. Our EU advocacy is an important lever of influence and funding, but not an end goal in itself.

And just as important as members' engagement, is our work directly with children and young people. We aim to ensure our advocacy is informed by their experiences and they are enabled to influence our work. This summer, for the first time, the Eurochild conference was co-organised and delivered with children and young people who delivered a powerful message to policy makers: “don't forget what it is like to be a child, and try as hard as possible to make growing up the happiest period of people's lives”.

Achieving widespread recognition of, and respect for, children's rights is a long, slow process. We have suffered setbacks but 2016 also brought important positive developments: the Council of Europe adopted a 6-year ambitious children's rights strategy with high-level political commitment from many of its 47 member states; the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child issued two new General Comments giving detailed guidance to governments on public spending for the realisation of the rights of the child, and implementation of the rights of the child during adolescence; and during its Presidency of the European Council, the Netherlands helpfully chose to give a high political priority to tackling child poverty and promoting integrated approaches.

In 2017 we remain hopeful that the European Commission's proposal for a Pillar of Social Rights will put children's rights centre stage and bring new impetus to implement the 2013 Recommendation on Investing in Children. We'll also be supporting and influencing plans of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats group in the European Parliament to initiate a child guarantee targeted at tackling child poverty.

There are many ways you can get involved and support the work of Eurochild. There has never been a more important time to work collaboratively and unite our efforts to promote and protect children's rights. Thank you to everyone who has contributed over the last year. Your support is precious.

I wish you all a peaceful end of year holidays and look forward to connecting with as many of you as possible in 2017!

Jana Hainsworth

Secretary General, Eurochild

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news-1517 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 UN recommends investing more in child protection agencies and ending immigration detention http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/un-recommends-investing-more-in-child-protection-agencies-and-ending-immigration-detention/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=5b390aba7f83a375189c56183b73e0d6 Children and families should never be in immigration detention said UN Human Rights experts for the International Migrants’ Day.

On the occasion of International Migrants’ Day on 18 December, the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights made a categorical statement against detention of children and families. 

Eurochild welcomes the recommendation that “unaccompanied migrant children [should] be the main responsibility of child protection agencies and not of migration authorities ¬and they should be placed in the national alternative care system, preferably in family-type care rather than in institutional care. 

Additionally, the UN human rights expert group encourages “substantial investments” in child protection agencies. They further explain: “Unaccompanied migrant children should quickly be appointed a competent and appropriately trained legal guardian tasked with protecting their best interests in loco parentis, including through the appointment of a lawyer to represent them in the various proceedings that they may face.

Through its ‘Opening Doors for Europe’s Children’ campaign, Eurochild is working to ensure EU funds are used to support family and community-based care alternatives, for all children, including migrant and refugee children. 

The Opening Doors campaign partners and civil society organisations call upon all States to ban the use of institutional care as a means to meeting the basic needs of migrant, unaccompanied and separated children

The types and quality of care should be the same for all children regardless of their migration status. Furthermore, States should end the practice of immigration detention of children as it discriminates and criminalises children on the basis of their migration status.

Read the full statement of the OHCHR here

Read more about Opening Doors for Europe’s Children here

Read ‘Turning the tide for Children on the Move’ – testimonials of child rights professionals working to protect children on the move here

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news-1515 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Academics share concerns on the International Early Learning Study initiative http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/academics-share-concerns-on-the-international-early-learning-study-initiative/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=ee55091585a220bac58553f36d0d2542 A statement by members of the Reconceptualising Early Childhood Education movement. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has a long tradition of providing data and policy advice in early childhood education. The OECD is now in the early stages of developing and piloting an international assessment of early learning outcomes – the International Early Learning Study (IELS).

Eurochild's member from the UK, Mathias Urban, and Beth Blue Swadener on behalf of Reconceptualising Early Childhood Education (RECE), expressed their concerns in an article entitled ''Democratic accountability and contextualised systemic evaluation'' :

''As members of the international and interdisciplinary movement Reconceptualising Early Childhood Education, representing scholars, senior academic researchers, policy-makers and practitioners in over 25 nations, we outline our shared concerns, counter arguments, and our offer for collaboration in this statement.

While RECE is convinced that international collaboration and joint learning with and from the diversity of experiences in early childhood systems around the world is necessary, we are concerned that
joint learning at the international level is increasingly replaced by universal standardised assessment of children, decontextualized comparisons, and, as a consequence, ranking of countries.''

-Click here to read the full article

Mathias Urban has also just released a new book together with Michel Vandenbroeck and Jan Peeters on early childhood education and care. The book is concerned with a growing interest from policy and research in the professionalisation of the early childhood workforceThe authors of this wide-ranging book share insights of professionalism from various European countries and suggest that professionalism in early childhood unfolds best in a ‘competent system’.

-Click here to know more about the book.

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news-1571 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 The European Pillar of Social Rights http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/the-european-pillar-of-social-rights-1/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=d250a763a1045712bf5b527f39dcc0eb This initiative should guide policies and lead reforms at national level in a time where 27 million children in the EU are at risk of poverty.

In early 2016, the European Commission released a preliminary outline of a European Pillar of Social Rights to identify and promote common principles in the euro area in the field of employment and social policies.

This initiative should guide policies and lead reforms at national level in a time where 27 million children in the EU are at risk of poverty, over one million are in institutionalised care and one quarter of the 363,890 refugee children arrived in Europe in 2015 are unaccompanied. 

The proposals include a wide range of issues organised in three main themes: 

1. Equal opportunities and access to the labour market

2. Fair working conditions

3. Adequate and sustainable social protection 

As we reflect on the multiple barriers which growing numbers of children and young people are facing in accessing their rights, Eurochild welcomes this initiative as an opportunity to strengthen social protection systems and services in order to progress implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

A child-centred approach

Eurochild has produced a paper with key messages on how this new framework can and ought to implement the Recommendations on Investing in Children, a policy guidance document produced by the European Commission in 2013. 

-Eurochild has also responded to the public consultation, which is available for access here
-For further info on the European Pillar of Social Rights click here
-Click here to read CNAPE's input on the Pillar consultation. CNAPE, the Federation des Associations de protection de l'enfant, is the French National Partner Network of Eurochild. 

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news-1503 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Children cannot wait: 7 priority actions to protect all refugee and migrant children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/children-cannot-wait-7-priority-actions-to-protect-all-refugee-and-migrant-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=fd237e1b2fb7c1375b67e13435fd5afe Eurochild signed the joint statement together with 78 NGOs in advance of the European Forum of the Rights of the Child.

78 organisations active in the field of children’s rights strongly welcome that this year’s European Forum on the Rights of the Child focuses on protecting children in migration. Children represent a significant proportion of migrants and refugees. At least 1 in 3 people arriving to Greece by sea in 2016 were children. In the same year, the number of unaccompanied children arriving to Italy has doubled compared to 2015. However, actions for children have remained uneven and insufficient. Responses to migration cannot be effective or protect children unless they systematically take into account their best interests and specific needs.

A broad range of monitoring bodies and civil society organisations have been calling for a comprehensive and rights-based approach to all refugee and migrant children for several years. The initiative taken by the European Commission, and in particular Commissioner Jourova, to put a focus on the rights of all refugee and migrant children is timely and essential. Governments re-committed to protect the rights of all refugee and migrant children at the UN High-level Summit of 19 September 2016. The growing challenges facing refugee and migrant children across Europe now require renewed political commitment and much more action at European level.

Some of the rights violations that refugee and migrant children face daily en route to, and within, the EU include lack of safety, food and access to services, such as health care and shelter; separation from their parents; extortion, violence and exploitation as well as injury and death.

Across Europe, we are continuously witnessing the harsh conditions under which children have to survive, deprived of basic rights such as health care, education, birth registration and housing, as well as due process and justice in immigration and asylum procedures, legal representation, and effective guardianship for unaccompanied children.

The risks of apprehension, detention and forced removal, as well as statelessness, are increasing. Children may face such challenges when they are unaccompanied, separated or with parents, and at different stages of immigration and asylum procedures and residence. Children themselves confirm that education, information about their rights and insecurity about their residence status are among their key concerns.

These children grow up in our societies, becoming future EU citizens. They should be considered as children first, regardless of their migration status. We need to invest in them, and empower them to fulfil their potential as equal participants in their communities.

We acknowledge the work that is being done across Europe by different governments, EU institutions and agencies to address these challenges. The Forum is a key moment to discuss the positive policies and practices to be adapted and disseminated. However, these initiatives are not enough.

We urge EU leadership and immediate action, in cooperation with civil society, in the following priority areas:

1. Adoption of an EU Action Plan on all refugee and migrant children

A comprehensive, coordinated action approach is needed to ensure that children, both alone and with their families and regardless of status, are protected throughout their migratory journey and upon arrival to their country of destination. Too many children fall through the gaps in national and transnational protection systems. An EU commitment at the highest level and action plan on all refugee and migrant children is needed to effectively bring together the various responsible authorities, agencies and civil society in Member States and in the EU, and develop tangible and resourced processes and actions for all refugee and migrant children. Under this framework, national action plans could be developed on promoting the well-being of all refugee and migrant children. The EU has several tools at its disposal. The Action Plan on Unaccompanied Minors 2010-2014 provides a useful foundation and many of its priorities remain relevant. However, the next Action Plan should expand its focus to all refugee and migrant children and bring together the EU’s internal and external policy tools. A rights and needs-based approach will enable a response that takes into consideration specific aspects such as gender, ethnic origin, religion, health and disability.

2. Reforming the asylum legislation

The upcoming reform of the Common European Asylum System offers a significant opportunity to improve the situation of refugee and asylum-seeking children. Guardianship, best interests’ assessment and determination, the definition of family, age assessment, and criteria for obtaining international protection are addressed in the current proposals. They also provide for quicker access to education, preferably within 30 days of a child’s arrival. These provisions should be maintained and strengthened in the negotiations. Due attention should be paid to harmonising and speeding up the processes of family reunification, resettlement and relocation. Identification and registration will be improved if children see their rights guaranteed within the system. 

On the other hand, proposals to punish secondary movements with material and procedural restrictions on rights, reinstate the concept of sending children to the country of first arrival or a third country, thereby dismissing existing jurisprudence, and limiting the rights of beneficiaries of subsidiary protection and the length of residence permits, would violate children’s rights and push more children and families into destitution and irregularity. These provisions must therefore be changed. The European Commission, the European Parliament and Council of the European Union must ensure that any reforms guarantee the highest level of protection for children.

3. Prioritising children in all migration and asylum policies

Every decision made on asylum and migration affects children. Return is increasingly presented as a key pillar of the EU’s asylum, migration and foreign policy. Any decision on return must be based on children’s rights, not a political agenda, and include an individual determination of the child’s best interests. Genuine, fair and effective procedures should be urgently developed and implemented by independent and qualified child protection actors, including legal professionals, to ensure that every decision concerning a child is based on comprehensive assessment and determination of the best interests of the child. This should include substantive family tracing when in the best interests of the child. Effective remedy has to be guaranteed in all cases.

Children and families must never be detained, 
and investment in community-based alternatives to detention should be made a key priority. Unaccompanied and separated migrant and refugee children should be provided quality guardianship and placed in family and/or community based settings where their individual needs will be met. Safe housing solutions need to be provided for families. All children must be provided equal access to services in the community. The evaluation of the EU regular migration framework (REFIT) is also a clear opportunity to set out next steps to improve the safe and regular ways for children and families to migrate.

4. Funding for strengthening child protection systems

Policies should be matched by resources. Funding needs to be made available to support an innovative, integrated response by the European Commission, Member States and civil society both within and outside the EU. Investment is needed to support both mainstream and targeted services to ensure the rights of refugee and migrant children in the countries where they are residing, regardless of the length of time. EU and national agencies dealing with refugee and migrant children should receive adequate funds to invest in capacity-building on child rights and sound referral mechanisms.

Various financing instruments such as the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF), the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument, the European Development Fund, Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance, the Fund for the European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD), and the Fund for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) could earmark resources to address issues related to refugee and migrant children. The Commission should work with Member States to monitor how EU funds are being spent, making sure that EU funds are targeted towards the best interests of children. EU funds should be used in line with EU policy and the guiding principles of human rights law, including non-discrimination.

5. Addressing refugee and migrant children in all areas

The EU and Member States work together in numerous areas affecting the rights of refugee and migrant children where their interests and rights should also be advanced. Integrated national child protection systems in the EU and in third countries should be established and strengthened in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the 10 principles. Discussions and actions around the EC Recommendation Investing in Children, justice, health, education, human rights, development and youth employment should all systematically include the specific situation of all refugee and migrant children, and advance their equal access to protection, public services (e.g. education, health) and justice.

6. Protecting children across borders

Investing in transnational child protection is essential to prevent children from going missing, to identify children at risk of exploitation and trafficking, and to support children to move safely and regularly from one country to another when in their best interests. The EU should ensure that the system in place responds to the rights and needs of refugee and migrant children, to address reasons for disappearances and unsafe onward movement, and to provide appropriate care. The EU can also play a vital role by looking at mechanisms that exist between Member States and improving cross-border cooperation that protects children. For example, the Dublin Regulation is a key instrument to enable unaccompanied and separated children to reunite with their families within the EU.

Standardised approaches in areas such as best interests’ assessments and family tracing, as well as enhanced cooperation between Member States, are vital to ensure the efficient functioning of the system. Current commitments on relocation need to be extended and implemented. Children should have unhindered access to relocation as a tool for protection when in their best interests. Additionally, Member States should speed up family reunification procedures and make it possible for children to reunite with their families, including with their extended families in destination countries.

7. Ensuring and using quality data and evidence

There is a real lack of data on refugee and migrant children in Europe, due to gaps in data on migration and asylum, incomparability of data across Member States, and lack of disaggregation. For example, there is no accurate data on the numbers of children dying at Europe’s borders. There are only a few countries where the number of children in immigration-related detention is publicly available. Member States should regularly collect - at a minimum - age, gender and nationality disaggregated data (on arrivals, asylum, family reunification, relocation, detention, voluntary return and forced removal), and make it publicly available.

Cooperation among authorities, but also with the European Commission and Eurostat is needed to increase reliability, comparability and timeliness. In particular, Member States should use the full potential of the Statistics Regulation (Regulation EC/862/2007) with a focus on disaggregation by age, gender, and residence status. Investing in more effective platforms of information exchange, research and programmes identifying the needs of refugee and migrant children, both outside and within Europe, will also enable the EU to develop policies and tools to better address children’s needs. The available data and evidence should be used to inform the development and reform of policy and practice.

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news-1502 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 2016 European Semester: Is Europe Doing Enough to Invest in Children? http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/2016-european-semester-is-europe-doing-enough-to-invest-in-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=ff675ef683021af9e84bc13194e4cbc0 Eurochild releases 2016 Report on the European Semester with a reminder to tackle child poverty. The EU’s economic policy framework continues to miss the opportunity to tackle child poverty, which affects more than one child in four in the EU. Eurochild’s latest yearly report on the European Semester details the situation of child poverty and children’s rights in 20 EU countries. Based on a survey of 28 children’s rights organisations and state bodies, the report also offers alternate recommendations to turn around this tragic cycle and encourage EU Member States to invest in children.

Eurochild’s assessment of the 2016 European Semester points out there has been little attention given by both the 2016 National Reform Programmes and the Country-Specific Recommendations to breaking the poverty cycle.

“Child-centred policy makes sense both for social inclusion and long-term sustainable economic growth. By giving visibility to children, the European Semester can help build more resilient communities, societies and economies.” – Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild.

In the Annual Growth Survey, released earlier this month by the European Commission to pave the way for the 2017 European Semester, Eurochild sees potential scope for greater attention to social priorities, albeit mainly through the lens of improving labour market participation. “We welcome the reminders to EU Member States that welfare systems need to be anchored in strong social standards, and that promoting work-life balance and addressing discrimination contribute not just to social fairness but also to growth”, added Ms. Hainsworth.

Eurochild members report some progress in the use of the European Commission Recommendation on Investing in Children (2013), compared to the previous annual cycle. The report also assesses civil society engagement in the Semester process, which received varied responses, with only 4 members indicating an active engagement in the last year. 

Eurochild’s report brings together the assessments of 28 contributors from 20 EU Member States.  They looked at the extent to which the European Commission ‘Recommendation on Investing in Children: Breaking the cycle of disad­vantage’ (2013) has been implemented in their country and whether the European Semester process is helping or hindering the achievement of positive outcomes for children.

Read the report ‘Is Europe doing enough to invest in children? 2016 Eurochild Report on the European Semester’ and discover the 'wishlist' for children in Europe here
Read more about the European Semester here
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news-1494 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Civil society criticises “Business As Usual” as Commission publishes SDGs implementation plans http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/civil-society-criticises-business-as-usual-as-commission-publishes-sdgs-implementation-plans/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=4a7dfa8be03bad470c39c2e44204f7f1 SDG Watch Europe alliance, of which Eurochild is a member, reacts to the European Commission Communication on next steps for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Press Release 
Brussels / 23 November 2016

SDG Watch Europe, a civil society alliance of more than 90 EU NGOs established to ensure the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the EU and its Member States, has criticised today’s publication of the EC Commission’s Communication entitled “Next steps for a sustainable European future - European action for sustainability.

“The Sustainable Development Goals, adopted over one year ago by all UN Member States, are a globally-agreed vision for a better, fairer world. They offer the EU a new framework to begin a critical shift away from the current unsustainable paradigm within which inequalities grow, the environment is degraded, climate change accelerates, wealth and political power are concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, and many people across Europe are deeply disaffected with the European Union, its institutions and policies” says a spokesperson for SDG Watch Europe.

“The EU must play its part in promoting an alternative model of development in which people, social justice, environmental and health protection, democracy and transparency take centre stage. Unfortunately the disappointing content of today’s Communication, and the lack of any new or concrete details about an EU-wide implementation plan, suggests that the EU is not able, or willing to realise the transformative vision of the Sustainable Development Goals” says the spokesperson.

SDG Watch Europe members have expressed their disappointment that the Communication does not provide any substantial new information about how the EU intends to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality in Europe or around the world. Rather, they say, it reads as “a justification of business-as-usual”, with existing policies such as President Juncker’s Ten Priorities mentioned, and the impression given that the EU is already delivering on the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. “Without fundamental policy changes and upscaling ambitions we will never deliver on the ambitious commitments of the new global agenda” the civil society alliance says. 

SDG Watch Europe believes that the only way that the Sustainable Development Goals can be coherently implemented by the EU and its Member States is if they are willing to change direction in many key policy areas. “Many policies in Europe today are actively undermining the thrust of the Sustainable Development Goals, and increasing economic insecurity, social and health inequalities, environmental damage within and outside Europe, and - not least – causing a loss of public trust and political instability” says the SDG Watch Europe spokesperson.

The alliance claims that the lack of consultation with civil society in the preparation of the Commission’s Communication was not acceptable. They point out that Article 11 TEU places an obligation on EU institutions to consult with CSOs in order to ensure open, participatory, and inclusive multi-stakeholder approaches, and that the SDG agenda itself contains strong commitments to involving civil society and other key stakeholders in its implementation .

“As experts in the field, our members expected to be consulted by the Commission in relation to the important exercise of "mapping" existing EU policy frameworks, and identifying the gaps in relation to Sustainable Development Goal commitments,” says the SDG Watch Europe spokesperson. “Instead, the process was vague and secretive, effectively keeping civil society at arm's length. We repeat our call to the EC Commission to urgently develop a concrete plan for SDG implementation with targets and timelines, and covering all of the goals. We also call for civil society to receive adequate information in sufficient time, and to be included as an active partner in the entire Sustainable Development Goal process from planning to implementation, monitoring and review.”

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news-1488 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Building a European Parliament With Children, For Children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/building-a-european-parliament-with-children-for-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=a29b2d0eb7d2f0409533885ee699ec5e

PRESS RELEASE

On the occasion of International Children’s Day, the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights committed to encouraging MEPs to engage directly with children more often and more effectively. Children from various countries, including Netherlands, Slovakia, UK, Malta, Slovenia, Croatia shared their experiences of working as child mayors, child councillors and building child-friendly cities at a symposium organised by Eurochild and the Universal Education Foundation.  

We can learn as much from you as you can from us,” said Caterina Chinnici, Co-chair of the EP Intergroup on Children’s Rights.The intergroup on children’s rights strongly supports any initiative that brings us closer to the real experiences and views of children.”

In a workshop hosted by Julie Ward MEP, they discussed the ways in which the European Parliament can become a beacon for children’s participation

Strengthening an on-going dialogue with children: Children’s experience of meeting with various MEPs was mixed.  Some really engaged in active listening and responded to children’s questions.  Others seemed to talk at the children, and didn’t really take them seriously. 

According to Julie Ward, intergroup member and convenor of the lunchtime meeting: “I don’t believe young people are de-politicised or not interested in the world around them - on the contrary, they are shouting at the gates of power asking to be let in!

Making EU material more accessible for children: Participants agreed that the official documents of the EU are impenetrable.  Even if there is translation to 24 official languages, it’s not easy to read or understand. If documents were more child friendly they would also be people friendly. Children can play an important role in creating child friendly materials.

Nathalie Griesbeck, Vice-Chair of the EP Intergroup on Children’s Rights, added “We need to find ways to engage in real conversations with children and young people. We need to inform children and speak with them in a language they can understand. Children are equal citizens and an asset for Europe and the work we do in politics!”  

Promoting an MEP take-over day:  Several MEPs showed interest in participating in a take-over day, allowing a child to step into their shoes for a day. 

According to Jana ZitnanskaSuch an initiative should be two-way.  In our job it’s also important to take some distance from our work and step into the shoes of a child.  It would bring new perspectives and new energy.”  

Budgets: Allocating money to build participation mechanisms and child-friendly information; and in turn, informing children on how money is spent in order to participate in decision-making. 

Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Co-Chair of the EP Intergroup on Children’s Rights, concluded: “Communication and transparency are crucial to get closer to our children, our future leaders! The Intergroup on Children's Rights is fully committed to continue to make children’s voices heard and increase child participation in decision-making. Politics is all about improving life now and for our children.”

ENDS

Contact: 

Emilio Puccio, Coordinator, European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights

Email: emilio.puccio(at)ep.europa(dot)eu

Phone: +32 (0)2 48 57128

Website: www.childrightsmanifesto.eu 


Background: 

About the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights: 

The Intergroup on Children’s Rights represents the first formal body in the EP that will mainstream children’s rights and assess the impact of legislative and non-legislative work on children. It is a cross-party, a cross-national group of committed MEPs, who will work together with child-focused organisations to keep children’s rights on top of the EU agenda. The Intergroup’s work is based on the Child Rights Manifesto prepared by a coalition of child-focused organisations working towards the realisation of the EU’s legal and policy commitments to promote and protect children’s rights, and obligations set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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news-1486 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Joint statement: Civil rights and freedoms of children and youth http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/joint-statement-civil-rights-and-freedoms-of-children-and-youth/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b341c31bdea7ec19ba7e3afca6966d28 Eurochild supports joint statement on effective and transformative participation of children and youth in public decision making

Children and youth, whatever their age or gender, want to engage in changing their societies for the better, including by defending human rights. To ensure meaningful engagement of children of all ages in public decision-making, Child Rights Connect, of which Eurochild is a member, and other NGOs have written to the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights. 

Eurochild supports this joint statement to address the transformative “role of youth in public-decision-making” at the 1st UN Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law: “Widening the Democratic Space: the role of youth in public decision-making” taking place on 21-22 November in Geneva.

The joint statement calls for consideration of “children and youth” in today’s discussions as they are potentially overlapping categories and since transition from childhood to adulthood is a very personal process influenced by context and environment.

Eurochild is actively supporting processes and engaging decision-makers in creating enabling environments to ensure children engage directly with public decision-making. 

Read the Joint Statement here

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news-1485 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 International Children’s Day: Building the European Parliament with children, for children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/international-childrens-day-building-the-european-parliament-with-children-for-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=617cf0858234fd0c11eddc0459c545cc 15 children from over 9 EU countries to travel to Brussels to share their experiences of being child mayors, child councillors and other positions allowing them to engage in decisions that affect the lives of children. In advance of the International Children’s Day on 20 November, the European Parliament will discuss how children’s voices can be heard on issues that affect their lives, a right guaranteed to all children by the UN Convention on the Rights of Children. The symposium ‘With Children, For Children: From Ideas to Action’ organised by Eurochild and Universal Education Foundation on 17 November 2016 at European Parliament, ASP 5G305 from 11.30-12.30 hours. A photo opportunity will be organised at 12.15 hours.

15 children from over 9 EU countries will travel to Brussels to share their experiences of being child mayors, child councillors and other positions allowing them to engage in decisions that affect the lives of children.  

Hosted by Julie Ward MEP and the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights, the symposium will gather MEPs with the children to consider how the commitments made by over 100 MEPs under the Children’s Rights Manifesto can be turned into action. The Manifesto includes a pledge to “make proactive efforts to engage children in decision making, monitoring and evaluation through promoting their involvement within [their] constituency and in EU debates, and ensuring their access to relevant and age appropriate information.”

The participating children represent diverse countries and experiences. Sophie, 11 years, Netherlands, is the child mayor of Aalsmeer and has worked with refugee children on an action plan which she presented to the Mayor. Katja, 17 years, Croatia, is a child councillor in the child friendly city Opatija, where emphasis is put on listening to children’s voices in matters of concern to them. Ciril, 16 years, Slovenia was the President of the 25th National Children’s Parliament and has monitored how their work is implemented. Sharon, 12 years, Malta is actively blogging and speaking out via the President’s Foundation for Wellbeing of Society’s Child Council. David, 17 years, UK has been a board member on the ‘Child Friendly City’ Programme for Cardiff, Wales.

The children will also hold bilateral meetings with their European Parliamentarians throughout the day, following which they will give input to the development of Eurochild’s Internal Child participation strategy. 

To organise interviews with the children or the organisers, please contact:
Prerna Humpal, Head of Communications, Eurochild
T: +32 (0) 2 211 0553
E: prerna.humpal(at)eurochild(dot)org

 

 

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news-1470 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Malta hosts 2nd National Conference on Child Wellbeing: Access to Justice for Vulnerable Children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/malta-hosts-2nd-national-conference-on-child-wellbeing-access-to-justice-for-vulnerable-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=bbdb54f4993967fbfa6c4e0857a81707 This year the conference was focused on providing adequate and child friendly access to justice for vulnerable children.

The President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, Malta organised the second National Child Wellbeing Conference on 21- 22 October 2016. This year the conference focused on providing adequate and child friendly access to justice for vulnerable children. 

Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children and Regina Jensdottir, Head of the Child Rights Division of the Council Europe delivered keynote addresses, while Astrid Podsiadlowski, (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights), Danielle Douglas (International Foster Care Organisation) Norah Gibbons (Eurochild) and Maureen Cole (President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society) facilitated discussions and workshops on asylum seeking children, children in alternative care, juvenile justice and violence against children respectively. 

Throughout the conference the speakers highlighted the importance of having child friendly measures implemented within the judicial system. Several recommendations were made to improve and introduce legislative and participatory practices that can ease access to justice for vulnerable children.

The keynote speakers noted that if we are to address the situation of children we need to tackle the issue from its roots. It was pointed out that the justice system cannot be seen in isolation, rather a holistic approach is needed to make sure that children, especially vulnerable children are able to understand and actively participate in their judicial proceedings. 

No young person under the age of 18 should be interviewed without an adult present, be it a professional or a parent, in order to try reduce the exploitation which children can experience.” Norah Gibbons, President of Eurochild

There is a need for EU directives to be transposed into each member state’s laws in order for them to be utilised.” Astrid Podsiadlowski, EU Fundamental Rights Agency

“Positive role models can be missing for children in care. 70% of sex workers were in some form of alternative care in the UK. 44$ of girls and 30% of boys who were in care are arrested as adults.”- Danielle Douglas, Board member of International Foster Care Association

Her Excellency, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta, emphasised that, the recommendations made by the speakers and stakeholders during the workshops, should not be in vain and pledged that the appropriate measures and recommendations will be pushed for implementation. She closed the conference by reiterating her renewed commitment to putting the needs of vulnerable children first.  The proceedings of the conference will be published in the weeks to come.

Click here to visit the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society's website. 

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news-1469 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Together Young and Old (TOY) receives Lifelong Learning Award http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/together-young-and-old-toy-receives-lifelong-learning-award/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=f8f81c53084178a59deb9ff04dc931f6 International Child Development Initiatives (ICDI) had the honour of receiving the Lifelong Learning Award for the TOY project.

On 11 October in Brussels, International Child Development Initiatives (ICDI) ’s Margaret Kernan and Giulia Cortellesi had the honour of receiving the Lifelong Learning Award for the TOY project (Together Old and Young).  TOY was one of three initiatives recognized for their creativity, inclusivity and innovation in lifelong learning.

The Lifelong Learning Platform (LLL Platform) launched the Lifelong Learning Awards to celebrate creative and inclusive practices during its Lifelong Learning Week 2016. The aim of the Lifelong Learning Award is to give visibility to innovative practices taking place all over Europe in order to attract public attention on lifelong learning as well as to inspire new practices and policies.

TOY Position Paper published

We are living in a time when European cities are more culturally diverse than ever before. Many people, particularly those who are most vulnerable, are struggling to achieve a sense of belonging and find a good life for themselves.

TOY demonstrates that social engagement between generations is a key factor for the well-being of all. Intergenerational learning can make an important contribution to bridging the gap between different social groups in society.

Follow the link here to download the recently published TOY Position PaperHow should we live together? A spotlight on the benefits of contact between the youngest and the oldest citizens in our communities’ and find out how local authorities and policy-makers can contribute to make the difference.

Two new TOY initiatives soon to be launched

TOY-PLUS: Practitioners Learning and Upscaling Skills’, funded by the Erasmus Plus Dutch National Agency will kick off in November 2016.

TOY-PLUS is the natural follow-up of all the research and practice carried out during the past four years by TOY and its partners. We identified the lack of training opportunities and adequate knowledge of intergenerational learning principles among practitioners as a major gap to ensure the implementation of meaningful and quality intergenerational experiences between young children and older people.

With TOY-PLUS, we aim at closing this gap through the development of a free online professional development course (MOOC), which will be piloted in Italy, Ireland, UK, Spain and Slovenia.

Starting from Autumn 2018, the TOY-PLUS curriculum will be available to ECEC and social care practitioners from around the world!

To support municipalities in promoting intergenerational practice involving young children and older adults TOY-PLUS will also be developing a TOY Quality Stamp, which will set out clear standards with which to assess the quality of intergenerational initiatives involving young and old. 

The Partners are:

The Beth Johnson Foundation (UK) and Linking Generation Northern Ireland, Dublin Institute of Technology(Ireland), Developmental Research Center for Pedagogical Initiatives Step by Step – DRCPI SBS  (Slovenia), Azienda Speciale ReteSalute (Italy), Hellenic Open University (Greece), Municipality of Lleida (Spain).

The European Commission will also be funding the 2-year project titled ‘TOY for Inclusion: Community Based Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) for Roma Children‘, starting in January 2017.

This project will promote the active involvement of Romani and non-Romani communities in ECEC services, through the development of toy libraries and intergenerational learning (IGL) activities in 6 EU countries. Toy libraries are a successful approach to overcome segregation, provide access to quality non formal ECEC services that improve transition experience to formal education and build the capacity of parents.

IGL activities within toy libraries will involve different age groups, including young children and senior adults, learning together and learning from each other. IGL activities will challenge stereotypes and foster the values of solidarity, respect and acceptance of the ‘other’.

TOY for Inclusion is the result of the cooperation between International Child Development Initiatives – ICDI (NL), International Step-by-Step Association – ISSA (NL) and six members of the Romani Early Years Network – REYN:  Developmental Research Center for Pedagogical Initiatives Step by Step – DRCPI SBS (Slovenia), Open Academy Step by Step – OASS (Croatia), Centre for Education Initiatives – CEI (Latvia), Wide Open School – WOS (Slovakia), Centre for Innovation in the Early Years – VBJK (Belgium) and Partners Hungary.

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news-1468 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Solidarité Laïque raises concerns about unaccompanied children's safety in Calais http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/solidarite-laique-raises-concerns-about-unaccompanied-childrens-safety-in-calais/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=26a671dbcdea3c2b78b609291c0ca3c7 Solidarité Laïque asks French Government to consider vulnerable children's protection before proceeding with demolition of the refugee camp.

UPDATE_ Click here to read the updates on the third day of the Calais camp dismantling: ''Mineurs isolés pendant et après le démantèlement: quelle protection?''

On 24 October 2016, the French government begins dismantling the camp for refugees and migrants in Calais, in north France. Our French member Solidarité Laïque has raised serious concerns about the safety of unaccompanied children.

There are an estimated 1300 unaccompanied children in the Calais camp.

The planned method for dismantling means that children will be dispersed without any control or follow up or consideration of their rights. We remind French and EU governments to protect the rights of all children on the move, and especially those who are unaccompanied.

Read here the letter to the French ministers (in French).

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news-1466 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Alternative care conference gathered major stakeholders in the field http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/alternative-care-conference-gathered-major-stakeholders-in-the-field/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=2869f3b3faac272c864404be6d752251 Geneva has been the place to be last week for those working on alternative care: it provided a space for sharing good practices, discussing challenges and the way forward in many countries across the globe.

14 October 2016 - The International Alternative Care Conference held on 3-5 October in Geneva gathered all major stakeholders in the field including young care leavers, high representatives of EU and UN bodies and civil society. 

The three day event was an opportunity to connect and share practices on many aspects related to alternative care such as poverty, disability, prevention services, immigration and many others.  “Today 50% of children in care have a disability” said Ana Pelaez Narvaez of the UN Committee on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD), they are the most vulnerable to violence and abuse, she added.

Katerina Nanou of Eurochild attended the event with several Eurochild members and National Coordinators of the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign. Among them, the Family, Child, Youth Association (Hungary), the National Network for Children (NNC) Bulgaria, SOS Children’s Villages International (EU office), FICE International and Hope and Homes for Children (HHC). Several of them intervened stressing the importance of investing in children and families to prevent placing children into care. 

Poverty is still a main reason for family separation and for that we shouldn’t blame parents”, said Maria Herczog, President of the Family, Child, Youth Association, “governments should act in order to prevent children’s separation”. 

The need for a systemic change in many countries was also highlighted. “Deinstitutionalisation (DI) is not only about closing institutions, but also about changing minds” said Dani Koleva, Policy Director of NNC Bulgaria.  “The risk is settling for cosmetic changes instead of securing systemic transformation of care systems”, added Delia Pop, Director of Programmes and Global Advocacy at HHC. 

During the conference, young care leavers had the chance to intervene. Self-advocate Mihaela stated that if a child receives appropriate care there is nothing he/she cannot do and she asked for more children to participate at the Conference next year. Akmal a young care leaver, stated that preparation to leave care needs to be considered at the start of the process and not at the end.  

In general, child participation was perceived as being an important component of alternative care. “We need to start working with children and not for children” stated Mr Jean Zermatten, former UNCRC chair. 

Find all the presentations of the Conference here.

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news-1465 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Making Budgets work for Girls http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/making-budgets-work-for-girls/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=801b54e75d9e1b7e703d4bc8285eac53 On the occasion of the European week of action for girls, Eurochild supported the launch of the UN General Comment on public budgeting with Save the Children and Plan International, in partnership with UNICEF.

The event “Add It Up: Making Budgets Work For Girls” helped launch the newly published UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s General Comment n. 19 (GC) on public budgeting for the realisation of children’s rights. The discussion focused on presenting the new General Comment, explaining the drafting process and the involvement of children, and raising awareness on the importance of putting investing in children, particularly girls, in the political agenda.

George Bogdanov, member of Eurochild’s Management Board and Executive Director of the National Network for Children (Bulgaria), opened the event and recalled children’s vision from the Eurochild 2016 Conference Declaration: “children and young people should have access to information on how money is allocated and spent.” Mr. Bogdanov presented a video on the main provisions introduced by the GC. 

Anna Schnell, consultant for the UNCRC, explained the consultation process. Ms. Schell highlighted the key role played by children all over the world: 2.693 children in 71 different countries were consulted, and made sure that the GC did not just take into consideration boys and girls, but all children, including LGBT children. Thanks to their contribution, the GC now refers to “all persons of any gender under the age of 18 whose rights are or can be directly or indirectly, positively or negatively, affected by public budget-related decisions.” 

Eileen Gonnord, European External Action Service (EEAS), linked the new GC with the need to promote human rights, and in particular children’s rights, at all levels and stated that: “The 2030 Agenda implies that there is now a stronger obligation on States to invest in children.” Along these lines, Verena Knaus, Senior Policy Advisor at UNICEF, underlined how “investing in children is not optional, it is an obligation.” According to Ms. Knaus, the EU budget is not child-responsive, as it needs to become more “transparent, understandable and easily accessible”, and improvements are necessary for the EU to be able to track how it “delivers for children and girls.”

Bob L. Muchabaiwa, Save the Children, highlighted the importance of using tools such as the GC to “make budgeting work for girls”: while policy commitments are necessary, a bridge needs to be built between theory and practice. New instruments need to be introduced, such as gender equality markers, bottleneck analysis, and gendered child rights impact assessments to assess the extent to which budgets are responding to girls’ needs.  

Viviane Teitelbaum, Member of the Parliament of the Brussels Region, explained how the Ixelles commune in Brussels has successfully adopted a Gender Sensitive Budget (GSB), which she defined as “a tool to start reflecting on public policies and reach equality.” Ms. Teitelbaum underlined that “a GSB is not a separate budget for women, it integrates considerations on equality between genders, and represents the establishment of new priorities rather than an increase in overall spending.”

The discussion highlighted the availability of theoretical and technical tools and knowledge to implement child and gender sensitive budgeting; what is still lacking is the political will to turn theory into practice. Official commitments from decision makers are necessary; governments and other relevant stakeholders should be encouraged to invest in children, and States should be required to report on their progress by demonstrating how public budgeting impacts on girls and boys. 

Policy commitments to children, and to girls in particular, will remain empty promises unless concrete steps are taken to mobilise public resources, to ensure their effective utilisation through transparent and easily accessible budgets, and to promote children’s participation in public budgeting. 

Read the Eurochild reaction to the UN General Comment n. 19 on public budgeting here

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news-1463 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 A new European Pillar of Social Rights: Chances for Children? Recommendations from Dutch NGOs http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/a-new-european-pillar-of-social-rights-chances-for-children-recommendations-from-dutch-ngos/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=3d2ec345da93b8e4165c277c6b47c202 Eurochild's member Defence for Children from the Netherlands together with Save the Children presented 4 recommendations for the European Pillar of Social Rights to the Dutch government and the European Commission.

Give Children a Voice in Combating Poverty

Den Hague, 11 October 2016

On 11 October, at an expert meeting in Den Hague, Eurochild member Defence for Children the Netherlands together with Save the Children presented four concrete recommendations for the European Pillar of Social Rights to the Dutch government and the European Commission.

These recommendations have to improve the situation of children in poor families and ensure that they are not a disadvantage from other children. The recommendations have been given to the Secretary of State for Social Affairs and Employment Jetta Klijnsma and a representative from the European Commission, DG Employment, Egbert Holthuis.

Jetta Klijnsma reacted: "I am pleased that Save the Children and Defence for Children are presenting these recommendations, because no child deserves to be standing on the side-lines. The extra 100 million Euros, which this government has structurally earmarked for combating child poverty, may reach more children. Every year again.”  She also stated that combating child poverty needs to happen across Europe and in this respect referred to the addendum to the European Council Conclusion on combating poverty, which was added at the initiative of the Dutch EU Presidency.

At the expert meeting the European Pillar of Social Rights was presented by the European Commission. They explained that a ‘road show’ across Europe is organised to consult social partners, NGOs, service providers and local governments to provide input to the European Pillar of Social Rights.  After the presentation on the European Social Pillar different experts provided their views, including a human rights lawyer, who supports children and their families which have to live far below the minimum income level. She pleaded that the Dutch government should give up their reservation to Article 26 (social security) UNCRC.

In addition, two young people who participate in a project ‘Building bridges’ from the city of Utrecht, shared the work they do in establishing a dialogue between young people experiencing poverty and policy makers of the city. Dutch MP Sadet Karabulet stated that children experiencing poverty are bad for future economic development and should be combatted by changing laws and regulations ensuring that the best interests of the child should prevail. 

The four Recommendations for the European Social Pillar are:

1. Strengthen the voice of children

Every child in Europe has the right to be heard and to talk about decisions that affect their lives. There is an important task for the European Commission to investigate how the participation of children can become a structural part of the Pillar of Social Rights.

2. Guarantee access to social security for children 

The Netherlands is the only country in the world that has made a reservation to Article 26 UNCRC and in this way Dutch children have no independent access to social security, but only via their parents. DCI and Save the Children call on the government to withdraw this reservation. The Pillar of Social Rights has the potential to improve access for children to social security – whatever the system of social security, each Member State should guarantee the rights of children.

3. A European pillar of social rights for All children

It is important to pay special attention to children in vulnerable situations, such as refugee children, children in care, children with a disability. They need to be provided with special protection in the European Pillar of social rights.

4. Structurally invest in children

The Dutch government takes combating poverty seriously and has recently earmarked structurally 100 million Euros to combat poverty. But extra finances are not a guarantee to combat poverty among children. It is important for children to know which rights they have and which measures are available for them. In this respect the General Comment 19 on Public Budgeting for Children’s Rights needs to be implemented by the Dutch government and it should also be followed-up by the European Pillar of Social Rights.

You can find the full text of the recommendations in Dutch here.

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news-1461 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Brexit: European Scrutiny Committee response and consultation http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/brexit-european-scrutiny-committee-response-and-consultation/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=9897374bebfee8b9d1263a3a594ecca5 Together and Children's Rights Alliance for England publish paper to urge European Scrutiny Committee to consider rights of children and young people after Brexit.

Together made a submission in partnership with the Children's Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) to urge the Committee to place a particular focus on considering the rights of children and young people.

The European Scrutiny Committee at Westminster examines European Union (EU) documents and reports those it considers of legal or political importance to the House to Commons. The Committee recently called for submissions to inform its considerations as to how its scrutiny role should adapt to Brexit.

Together made a submission in partnership with the Children's Rights Alliance for England to urge the Committee to place a particular focus on considering the rights of children and young people. We urged the European Scrutiny Committee hold the UK Government to account in ensuring that all decisions made around the UK's future relationship with the EU are assessed for their impact on children and young people and are informed by their views. 

Furthermore, Together stressed the importance of ensuring children and young people across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are engaged in the process at all stages - this is especially important given that 16 and 17-year-olds were denied a vote in the referendum and that the overall vote for the UK to leave the EU went against the views of the majority of children and young people. The Committee must ensure scrutiny of the impact that Brexit will have on the lives of all children and young people for years to come.

Click here to read the publication. 

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news-1457 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 SDG Watch Europe launch - civil society groups join forces for sustainable future http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/sdg-watch-europe-launch-civil-society-groups-join-forces-for-sustainable-future/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=142603508b014c7b50dfe34c7998e9dc Eurochild takes part in coalition to ensure Member States now live up to their commitments

Seventy-five diverse civil society organisations have today joined forces to formally launch SDG Watch Europe. Eurochild joins this broad coalition to ensure that the European Union and its Member States live up to their commitments, made when signing the Agenda 2030 agreement in New York last September, to enable a sustainable future at home and abroad.

A year ago, governments across the world agreed on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that calls for a bold transformation in policy. Its 17 ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are aimed at ensuring that decisions by governments contribute to a more sustainable, inclusive and equal future for all by 2030.  

Children and young people equally support the vision of these goals. This summer, children and young people who gathered at the Eurochild conference, demanded action in their declaration

“We want adults to care about our future: How will they leave the world for future generations? We want to grow up in a world with clean air and water, quality education and health available to everyone, where families live in peace, in sustainable ‘child friendly cities’ and parents have decent work. We want a world where responsible consumption and production is encouraged.”

The European Union, as a signatory to the SDGs, has an important role to play in making the Agenda 2030 a reality. That is why the SDG Watch coalition will push the EU to keep its promises for a better tomorrow.

The SDG Watch Coalition demands the EU to develop a strong and coherent strategy that includes an implementation plan for achieving all of the SDGs. We need to tackle the root causes of the problems we face and not just the symptoms.

To ensure that this is the case, SDG Watch is calling for civil society to be included as active partners in the entire SDG process, from planning to implementation and monitoring. Civil society has a vital role to play, bringing experience, expertise and representation to the table.

Together we can bring about fair, inclusive, open and sustainable development for all by 2030.

For more information

Please visit www.sdgwatcheurope.org

On Twitter: @SDGWatchEurope

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news-1456 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 The Wall: ENGSO Youth launches online platform for young sport writers http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/the-wall-engso-youth-launches-online-platform-for-young-sport-writers/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=a6860548d00521d1b49d8c09e67a8a86 ENGSO Youth invites children and young people to write articles related to youth and sports.

The articles will be published online on a new interactive platform called The Wall.
The Wall is designed '' for young leaders, inspirational activists, workers and game-changers to raise their voices'' and have their say.

Articles can vary from opinion pieces, projects, campaigns, to events and research outcomes and will be also shared on Twitter with the hashtag #youthrealsay

Eurochild's member ENGSO Youth is the European youth sport organisation, the autonomous youth organisation of the European Non-Governmental Sports Organisation based in Serbia. The organisation focuses on the youth sport-for-all sector in Europe and represents young Europeans under the age of 35 in sports in 34 countries.

The Wall can be found on the organisation's website here.

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news-1454 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Maltese EU Presidency: seeking leadership on children's rights http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/maltese-eu-presidency-seeking-leadership-on-childrens-rights/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=50239587b171de3d798fede7b29e7bcc Eurochild recommends the Maltese EU Presidency to ensure public budgets reflect the commitment to invest in children

Eurochild, a children's rights network that puts children at the heart of European policymaking, demands the Maltese government to be a children's rights champion during its 6-months presidency of the Council of the European Union. A set of recommendations offer concrete ways for the Maltese EU Presidency to put investing in children and their rights on the EU agenda.

Malta is setting an example by prioritizing foster care as an alternative to residential care and investing in community level services. We also welcome the increased investment in early childhood education and care and their emphasis on improving inclusive education. At its highest political level, Malta is saying investing in children is important. It's a message we'd like others in the EU community to hear”, says Jana Hainsworth, Eurochild Secretary General (pictured on the right).

Children in Europe face numerous challenges, including high levels of poverty, affecting over one in four children in the EU; poverty negatively impacts children's health, education and ultimately employment opportunities. It is very often passed from one generation to the next. Eurochild is also worried about the numbers of children at risk and in the care system. Too often families are not getting the support they need to care for their children. And public and private money is still going to sustaining outdated institutional care, wholly unsuited to offering the necessary individualised care.

"The Ministry is eager to discuss how to decrease poverty and social exclusion in children by making work pay whilst alleviating families from generational poverty", responded Michael Farrugia, Maltese Minister for the Family and Social Solidarity (pictured on the left).

The European agenda over the course of the Maltese EU presidency offers opportunities to showcase how investing in children is a win for all of society. A new initiative for a European pillar of social rights can help improve social protection systems; Eurochild recommends a binding social benchmark on investment in high quality early childhood education and care as part of the European Semester process, and efforts to strengthen inclusive civil dialogue which promotes child participation.

The President's Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, Malta: “We look forward to the voices of children and young people being given their full dignity, as part of an inclusive and participatory Europe, during the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union.”

A review of the European Commission's 2013 Recommendation on Investing in Children is expected to be begin soon; Eurochild recommends the Maltese EU Presidency to ensure public budgets reflect the commitment to invest in children through clear allocation of resources to children, as explained in the UN General Comment 19 on ‘Public budgeting for the realisation of children's rights'.

Read the recommendations to the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union here.

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news-1451 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 Meeting #1 Council of Europe Child Rights Committee kicks off with high energy http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/meeting-1-council-of-europe-child-rights-committee-kicks-off-with-high-energy/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=21e3e582cb331fb3d087b5cc103247e3 Eurochild reports back: The evaluation of the conference launch of the Child Rights Strategy showed that the child and young speakers were rated as the best.

30 September 2016

The Council of Europe hosted its first meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Rights of the Child (CAHENF) on 28-29 September in Strasbourg with participants from 37 Member States, as well as Marta Santos Pais, UN Special Representative on Violence against Children, and Maud de Boer de Buiquiero, UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and various international INGOs and NGO, including Eurochild. Two working groups, including the opportunity for the involvement of civil society will be established to work on realising rights of children seeking asylum, and protecting children in the digital environment. Greater participation of children in the different working groups and committees is also expected. 

CAHENF is set up by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers to support the implementation of the new Strategy on Children’s Rights (2016-2021). Deputy Secretary-General Ms Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni mentioned that the previous child rights strategies have mainstreamed children’s rights throughout the organisation and has driven changes in different aspects of children’s rights, including children’s participation, violence and health care. 

The Member States shared their three key achievements of the past half year and current key challenges for children’s rights. These will be shared next week. 

The evaluation of the conference launch of the Child Rights Strategy showed that the child and young speakers were rated as the best. The Member State delegates all appreciated the participation of children and young people and agreed that this should be continued in the activities and work of the Council of Europe. 

Eurochild and National Network for Children, Bulgaria were thanked for the organisation of the involvement of children and young people. It was the first time that children and young people were given the space to offer their own input and decide how they wanted to report back on the different working sessions – which worked out very well. Mieke Schuurman represented Eurochild and presented what it means to do meaningful children’s participation by sharing practical experiences, including the organisation of its conference in July 2016 with and for children, which was warmly received by the delegates. 

Certain key issues raised around children’s participation by the Member State representatives included the selection process of children, the need to involve children in vulnerable situations and language barriers. Two rapporteurs were appointed from Bulgaria and Iceland with the task to develop proposals for CAHENF on child participation and to ensure children’s participation will be integrated in the other CAHENF working groups (refugees and digital environment) and committees. 

The Council of Europe is providing accessible information through its child-friendly webpages in the different languages of the Council of Europe and with a child-friendly version of the Strategy on the Rights of the Child.

The meeting focused on two themes: migration and refugees, and the digital environment

ASYLUM-SEEKING CHILDREN

Tomáš Boček: ‘If we fail to act now, we will be held accountable by future generations.’ Marta Santos Pais: ‘There is no second chance for these children’.  

Civil society will be invited to join a working group (CAHENF – Safeguards) to support and give input to the Action Plan on unaccompanied and other children affected by the migration and refugee crisis. The key issues to be discussed by CAHENF in relation to the refugee crisis are guardianship of children, age assessment and the need to end detention of asylum seeking children. The Action Plan is aimed to be ready for adoption by the Committee of Ministers by the end of 2017.

DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT

The theme of the digital environment was discussed on the basis of a presentation of a background paper ‘Policy guidance on empowering, protecting and supporting children in the digital environment’, which made clear links with the UNCRC. 

A drafting committee will be formed to develop Guidelines on children’s right in the digital environment to which children and civil society can also contribute and a CAHENF working group on digital education (CAHENF – IT) will be set up.  

The Ad Hoc Committee will next meet on 29-30 March 2017 (TBC) in Strasbourg. Eurochild aims to actively support the implementation of the new Strategy on the Rights of the Child and engage its members to ensure policies reflect the challenges on the ground. 

For more information on Eurochild’s work with the Council of Europe, please contact Mieke Schuurman

More reading

Read the report on children’s participation at the Launch of the Council of Europe Strategy on the Rights of the Child held in Sofia earlier this year

Read the Council of Europe Strategy on the Rights of the Child in a nutshell here

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news-1450 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 How to protect our children in a digital environment? http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/how-to-protect-our-children-in-a-digital-environment/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=53a4393ebfb585352726c1eaf78ca3c2 Eurochild joins iCmedia discussion at the European Parliament on children protection in the new Audiovisual Media Services Directive.

On Tuesday 27 September 2016, Eurochild member iCmedia, Federation of  Consumers and Media Users Association, held a discussion at the European Parliament on protecting children in a digital environment. The discussion focused on the proposals to amend the Audiovisual Media Services Directive and on what could be done to ensure television and online media aggregators and on demand services have the same level of protection for children. 

The proposals include the application of stricter measures on new online services which are widely used by young people nowadays, even more than TV in many cases, and combats harmful content and advertisement of alcohol and foods and drinks high in fat and sugar

MEP Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, co-chair of the Intergroup on Children’s Rights, opened the event and said that while ''media should empower children, responsibility for the content should be shared with the industry’’. 

Emma Grindulis, Eurochild’s Advocacy and Parliamentary Officer, stated that a collective effort by teachers, governments, policy makers, IT providers and parents is needed to ''support children to keep themselves safe with stricter measures to prevent harm’’. She also added that another important step towards protection of children would be ''ensuring that all children could benefit from participating in the digital society in a way which promotes their rights’’.

Emma Grindulis echoed children’s vision from the Eurochild Conference Declaration''A Europe where every child knows exactly where to go to in order to get help in any matter, such as sexual health clinics or helplines. Where children have experiences so that they can learn how to keep themselves safe and to develop the competencies that they need to become effective citizens in a digital world.’’

M.S Schmalzried, Policy officer of COFACE-Families Europe, underlined the importance of teaching children not just technical skills, but also connected skills such as sexual education, empathy and social education in order to avoid children being passive victims of harmful online content. Schmalzried also addressed the problem of new forms of marketing and advertisement, such as videos and content generated by users who became ambassadors of products.  Online users such as bloggers often talk about products they like and create content that sometimes is not even controlled by the companies but that will a beneficial word of mouth advertisement.  

J.L. Colás, President of iCmedia affirmed that ''an informed citizen becomes also a protected one’’. Therefore, we need the maximum level of security, protection and education for children when they are using new and old media. M.de Cock Buning, Chair at the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual media (ERGA) stressed the importance of applying the same protection in all European Member States, since ''Internet does not stop at national borders’’. 

The digital environment is rapidly changing and all participants shared the concern on how regulation could keep pace with it. The Directive, in fact, if on the one end embeds strictest rules on content, is more flexible and gives more freedom to ''traditional’’ broadcasted media (as stated by several stakeholders in the public consultation report). 

Separately, Eurochild signed a joint call by 39 civil society actors for protection of children and young people from aggressive marketing of products that may be harmful to health and well-being. 

Click here to watch the video summary of the event including short interviews to the panel speakers.

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news-1448 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 A call to free Europe’s youth from health-harmful marketing http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/a-call-to-free-europes-youth-from-health-harmful-marketing/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=02adf66a1af01e4018fc0f69a7236d3d Today, nearly 40 childrens’ rights, family, consumer, public health, alcohol control, and medical organisations launched a joint call to Members of the European Parliament for ambitious action to free Europe’s children, youth and parents from aggressive marketing of products harmful to health and future well-being. Brussels, 27 September 2016. Today, nearly 40 childrens’ rights, family, consumer, public health, alcohol control, and medical organisations launched a joint call to Members of the European Parliament for ambitious action to free Europe’s children, youth and parents from aggressive marketing of products harmful to health and future well-being.

Europe is facing a childhood obesity epidemic and youth drinking is causing major harm. Health problems starting in childhood often last a lifetime. The links between advertising and increased consumption are well-established, but European children and youth are still constantly bombarded by manipulative marketing and promotion across all media.

Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild: “Children are less likely to differentiate between programming and advertisement. So, self-regulation or encryption is not enough to protect children’s right to health and all other rights enshrined in the UN Convention on Children’s Rights. Revision of the EU directive on audio-visual media services must consider best interests of the child and children’s own experiences to enable them to safely access information, use digital technology and be active citizens.”

The declaration demands that strong, effective measures are put in place to minimise young people’s exposure to health-harmful marketing; to prohibit product placement and sponsorship by alcohol producers and foods high in fat, sugar and salt; and to ensure that Member States can effectively limit broadcasts from other countries on public health grounds.

Mariann Skar, Secretary General, European Alcohol Policy Alliance: “Exposure to alcohol advertising increases the likelihood that young people will start drinking at an earlier age, and to drink more if they already consume alcohol. We are not proposing a ban but moderate changes that would allow children to grow up free from alcohol marketing”

The statement follows the European Parliament hearing on the revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), which is the opportunity to address the marketing of unhealthy food and alcohol at European scale.

Nina Renshaw, Secretary General, European Public Health Alliance: “This is not about telling people what to eat, nor telling parents what to feed their children, but rather freeing our kids from the pressures of marketing and promotion. Today the unhealthiest options are constantly put right in front of kids via the programmes they’re most likely to be watching – not just cartoons but football matches, singing contests and reality shows. Any parent knows too well the persuasive power of kids exposed to these ads, and how difficult it makes it to go for healthier choices.”

Susanne Løgstrup, Director European Heart Network: “Since the beginning of this millennium, it is well established that marketing to children affects their eating behaviour. Whilst marketing of foods high in salt, fat and sugar is not the only influencer, it is an important one and this is why the World Health Organization is calling on governments to adopt strong measures to reduce the impact on children and adults of all forms of marketing.  We believe that the European Parliament now has the perfect opportunity to act on that call.”

Statement by European Academy of Paediatrics: "Health promotion initiatives should focus not only on limiting exposure to messages inciting substance abuse and unhealthy diets but also on problematic cell phone use which is closely related to this risky behaviors. Intervention strategies in early adolescence should also cover schools in order to assist families in reducing or eliminating the development of dangerous attitudes."

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news-1447 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 ''Children and parents have the right to informed participation in all decisions involving their health care'' - Hester Rippen http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/children-and-parents-have-the-right-to-informed-participation-in-all-decisions-involving-their-hea/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=92a6af04ac4e28be65e4b08181e1e944 Member Spotlight: Interview with Hester Rippen, Vice-coordinator of EACH - The European Association for Children in Hospital.

Hester Rippen, director of Stichting Kind en Ziekenhuis and vice-coordinator of EACH, a Eurochild member, explains the importance of paediatric trainings and the challenges children in hospital face everyday in Europe. 

Could you tell us what EACH (The European Association for Children in Hospital) does to protect and promote the rights of children in hospitals?

Until the 80s, parents were allowed to visit their children in hospital for only a few hours and were separated from them for the rest of the time. Back then, even small procedures took a long time, so children had to spend many days in hospitals. For this reason, parents and parent organisations started sharing information and in 1988 in Leiden, Netherlands, they united and created the EACH charter (European Association for Children in Hospital). 

It’s made of 10 points simply stating what is important for a child in hospital and other health services.  The first article says that, unless it’s necessary, a child could be cared for outside a hospital, at home or in day care. Parents should also be present all the time

What we do at EACH is promoting the charter and making sure hospitals, other health services, organisations and governments implement it. We need to raise the awareness of these issues among health care providers, politicians, paediatric doctors.

What is the biggest success EACH and its members have achieved since its foundation? 

In the Netherlands we created a Quality Mark based on the Charter together with extra criteria and we check how child and family centred healthcare organisations are and help them move in the right direction. 95% of all the hospitals in the Netherlands applied and received a quality certificate from us. Resulting, among other things, in rooming in for parents in all hospitals free of charge. In Italy the charter even got into the law.

In the rest of Europe the situation is different. In Austria, parents still have to pay to sleep in the room with their child, in Czech Republic only a few hospitals are really child-friendly and parents are rarely allowed to stay.  

The main focus should be respecting the fact that a child is different. Children should be treated in a different way in hospitals. A child is not a small adult. You need to take into consideration their age and the fact that their development is different, otherwise it will cause traumas

What are the difficulties that children and families usually face? 

First of all, if you treat a child, you should consider also their siblings and family members. You should include everybody.  You should communicate with the child in a manner appropriate to their age and understanding and avoid talking only to the parents (article 4 of the Charter). Treating a child takes more time because you need to prepare both the children and the family

Moreover, children and parents have different needs and opinions on what is happening and what should happen.  Paediatric nurses and doctors are trained for this, but in many European countries this is not considered important and there’s a lack of doctors and nurses trained for paediatrics in hospitals. 

Children also want to play, study and grow, so for chronic cases you need to allow them to develop. In the Netherlands the time children spend in hospitals is less and less. For example, if you’re in schools, paediatric nurses could come and treat children so they won’t skip classes. 

Play specialists are professionals that help children with these issues. They prepare children and families to face hospitalisation and help the children to be a child at the hospital. They should be present in every health care organisation. 

Another issue is the fact that medicines are tested on adults and as we said children are not small adults, they are anatomically and physiologically different. It’s dangerous. This is why we try to talk to the European Commission’s Directorate responsible for Health in Brussels and other departments because children have their own rights and needs. Within the healthcare systems across Europe these rights and needs are not yet taken enough into consideration.

Do you think there is a general improvement in children’s health or in the way the charter is applied nowadays? 

We’ve made a huge improvement, of course not in every country, but it is easier now to get people to listen to you and the EACH charter is known and applied in different situations. When we started parents did not have a voice and children were ignored. We’re really proud of the results we reached: educational programmes in hospitals, parents allowed to stay with their hospitalised children, parents may now also be present at all times including procedures (outside of operating room), awareness in governments, separated wards for children, but we’re not there yet! In all countries there is still need for improvement. In most countries more than in others. It should be even better! Children are the future.

Are the difficulties that children face every day different from the ones faced by refugees and especially unaccompanied children?

We have seen that on paper children can get the same healthcare, but in reality they are moved around over and over again, they do not have their files with them, so they cannot receive the right treatments and have to restart from scratch every time in different hospitals. As a refugee child you should have the same access to healthcare than a child who was born in that country. 

These children also have a psychological burden with them; they have suffered. Refugee children do not need only vaccinations and other treatments, but also stability to allow them to have a good education, health and development. We just released a resolution to emphasize the importance of the continuity of care of refugee children. 

What can governments do to better provide healthcare to refugee children?

They can make sure that the enforced relocation of refugee/asylum seeking families with a sick child is avoided in order to provide continuity of care and avoid separation from parents. It also applies to children under the age of 18 who have arrived unaccompanied, and also to those who have a trusted carer(s).

They can make sure that all health care professionals are informed by their own national health system of the specific practice in place for children who are refugees/asylum seekers. In turn this practice should be explained to these children and their parents / carers. 

They can make sure that sick children and their health records are systematically traceable within and across countries. They can make sure that extra efforts are made to communicate with refugees/asylum seekers in a clear, understandable way (by oral and written translation) in a manner appropriate to age and understanding. 

At the Eurochild Conference we asked participants what they would do if they were prime ministers of their country. What would you do to promote the rights of children and parents in hospitals and other health care services?

We always say: ‘don’t talk about us without us’, but it’s difficult to achieve, so the first thing would be getting involved with parents, parent organisations and children. It’s ridiculous how we make decisions that affects children, while they could bring so much to the table.  So as prime minister I would implement a law making it mandatory to involve the child’s perspective in all policies and laws because children are not small adults.  

Are there projects or calls that might be interesting and relevant to any of our members willing to cooperate with you? 

We have just translated to English our summary of the Dutch report ‘’ Paediatric Care System: health care for sick children outside a hospital. New health care system in the Netherlands starting in 2016 ‘’. The report describes a system where the ill child and the surrounding family are given a central place at all times and where at the same time the viewpoint ‘having a right to health care’ is replaced by the principle ‘care if needed where needed’. 

But foremost as a group across countries we can achieve more. The bigger the group the more we can accomplish. We are looking for new members in France, Spain, Denmark, Norway and most countries in Eastern Europe. Please look at our website and our EACH Charter with it recently updated annotations and apply. We can help implementing child and family centred care in health care with the knowledge from all our current members. 

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news-1446 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 UN Committee adopts General Comment on Public budgeting http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/un-committee-adopts-general-comment-on-public-budgeting/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=45ac607035926924376a32bb80bb968e Eurochild welcomes the adoption of the General Comment as a crucial document to implement children's rights.

‘The Committee reiterates that prioritizing children's rights in budgets, at both national and subnational levels, as required by the Convention, contributes not only to realizing those rights, but also to long-lasting positive impacts on future economic growth, sustainable and inclusive development, and social cohesion.' General Comment on public budgeting for the realization of children's rights, paragraph 12.

Eurochild, as part of the Child Rights Connect Working Group on Investment in Children[1] welcomes the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) General Comment on ‘Public budgeting for the realization of children's rights '[2] as a crucial document to assist States to accelerate implementation of all children's rights as stipulated in the UNCRC and its Optional Protocols.

The realization of children's rights entails costs. Unless States ensure sufficient resource mobilization, equitable budget allocation and effective spending, child rights related laws and policies will remain empty promises. Resources are required for all children to access education and learn, access quality universal health coverage and adequate food and nutrition, benefit from child-sensitive social protection and be protected from all forms of violence and exploitation. Public budget allocation and spending are the most sustainable ways through which quality services to children can be delivered and all their rights realized.

With the adoption of the General Comment, States will now have access to detailed guidance on how to implement UNCRC Article 4 and utilize public budgets to realize all children's rights, including the rights of the most excluded groups of children. It emphasizes that States may not discriminate against any child or category of children through resource mobilization, allocation or execution of public funds. In their budgetary decisions, States should consider all factors required for children of different ages to survive, grow and develop. The best interest of the child should be a primary consideration throughout the budgetary process.

The Working Group on Investment in Children also welcomes the General Comment recommendation that ‘States parties should regularly hear children's views on budget decisions that affect them, through mechanisms for the meaningful participation of children at the national and sub-national levels'. The UNCRC provides children with the right to participate in budgetary and other fiscal processes. Consultations with almost 2,700 children also confirmed that children want to participate in decision-making about government expenditure. They are convinced that their insights will help states to make better decisions.[3]

The General Comment will also help States deliver on commitments made to investment in children in the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development[4], the Addis Ababa Action Agenda[5], the UN Human Rights Council Resolution on ‘Towards better investment in the rights of the child'[6] and the European Commission Recommendation on ‘Investing in Children'[7].

For further information about the Child Rights Connect Working Group on Investment in Children, please contact Marcelo Ventos (mventos(at)ipru.edu(dot)uy) or Ulrika Cilliers (usc(at)redbarnet(dot)dk).

Watch the video explaining the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child General Comment No.19 on public budgeting for the realization of children’s rights.

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[1] African Child Policy Forum, Child Rights Coalition Asia, Child Rights Connect, Defence for Children International, Eurochild, International Baby Food Action Network, Plan International, Redlamyc, Save the Children, Terre des Hommes International Federation and UNICEF

[2] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 19 (2016) on public budgeting for the realization of children's rights (art. 4), tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx

[3] Centre for Children's Rights (2015), Towards Better Investment in the Rights of the Child: The Views of the Children, www.childrightsconnect.org/govtspendingsurvey/

[4] Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, paragraph 8, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld

[5] Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, paragraph 7, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/frameworks/addisababaactionagenda

[6] HRC resolution 28/19 on ‘Towards better investment in the rights of the child, ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx

[7] Investing in Children: Breaking the cycle of disadvantage,

ec.europa.eu/justice/fundamental-rights/files/c_2013_778_en.pdf

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news-1445 Sat, 13 Feb 2021 21:19:31 +0000 How the European Commission can make a European Pillar of Social Rights fit for children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/how-the-european-commission-can-make-a-european-pillar-of-social-rights-fit-for-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=2c89ba677ee4affd34fd90b2707d72d0 Eurochild joins statement by members of Alliance for Investing in Children with recommendations on how the Pillar of Social Rights could eradicate child poverty and promote children’s well-being.

Please find below a statement from members of the Alliance for Investing in Children with recommendations to inform considerations by the EMPL Committee of the draft report