The 2013 European Commission Recommendation “Investing in Children: Breaking the cycle of disadvantage” presented a comprehensive policy approach to child poverty and well-being. A new Implementation Handbook by Eurochild and its partners in the Alliance of Investing in Children (including EPA) launched on 1st April in Brussels, shows how Member States can translate the policy guidelines into action.
Almost 28% of children and young people in the EU are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, and only eight European countries guarantee adequate access to early childhood education and care (ECEC).
Despite the most widespread form of poverty in the EU is monetary poverty, child poverty is not only about growing up in families that are income poor. It is also about not living in adequate or safe housing, not having access to affordable and quality education and health care, not being adequately protected or supported, and not having equal opportunities to thrive.
The “Implementation Handbook - Putting the Investing in Children Recommendation into Practice” launched by the EU Alliance for Investing in Children, coordinated by Eurochild, traces the emergency of combatting child poverty in Europe and demonstrates how the European Commission Recommendation can be implemented in practice. It presents 15 promising examples of existing practices and policies across Europe that put the EU policy guidance into action and explains the process and methodology for collecting those examples.
“Throughout the Handbook we are reminded that poverty can have a negative impact on children’s lives, with far-reaching consequences on their future participation in the labour market and society. Investing in children is therefore more than a moral duty. It is also an economic, social and political imperative”, stresses Vĕra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, in her handbook’s foreword.
Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, also welcomes the initiative of the EU Alliance in her foreword for the Implementation Handbook. She particularly highlights “its broad focus, the fact that it proposes an integrated approach and the many practical case studies”.
This publication is a key asset for legislators, policy makers and decision makers, as well as a resource tool to support national and sub-national level advocacy in the field of child poverty and well-being for collective influencing.
Testimonies from Spain and the UK
The Alliance has initiated two national pilots in Spain and the United Kingdom to achieve child poverty reduction and to advocate for the effective implementation of the Investing in Children Recommendation.
“More than 32% of children are living at risk of poverty and social exclusion in Spain. Public budgets have a key role in the capacity of reducing child poverty and inequality. Our latest study shows that more than 6,000 € million were cut from Spanish budgets since 2010”, said Gabriel González-Bueno, UNICEF Spain Domestic Policy and Advocacy Officer and coordinator of the Spanish Alliance for Investing in Children.
According to a report published by the UK Alliance for Investing in Children, coordinated by Children in Wales, the number of children living in absolute poverty has risen by 300,000 since 2010/11 in the UK, more than 30% of country’s children. “The UK Alliance members will continue to call for the UK and devolved Governments to fully implement the EC Recommendation through their respective communication and engagement channels with political leads.(…) Not investing in children now will undoubtedly see far greater challenges presented to society for generations to come,” says the UK Alliance.
Partners of the EU Alliance for Investing in Children: Eurochild, UNICEF EU Office, SOS Children’s Villages International, Save the Children EU Office, Caritas – Europa, EAPN – European Anti-Poverty Network, ATD Quart Monde, Alliance for Childhood, Dynamo International – Street Workers Network, , EASPD – European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities, ECSA - European Child Safety Alliance, ENSA – European Network of Social Authorities, EPA - The European Parents Association, EPHA - European Public Health Alliance, ESN – European Social Network, Eurodiaconia, EuroHealthNet, FEANTSA – European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless, ISSA - The International Step by Step Association, Mental Health Europe, PICUM – Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants, COFACE – Confederation of Family Organisations in the European Union, Don Bosco International, ELIANT Network.
About the EU Alliance for Investing in Children
In 2014, 24 European Networks and organisations sharing a commitment to end child poverty and to promote child well-being across Europe, set up an EU Alliance for Investing in Children to jointly advocate for better policy outcomes through the implementation of the EC Recommendation “Investing in Children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage” at the national / regional / local level. This broad Alliance aims to expand and deepen the cooperation at EU level and facilitate meaningful and sustainable alliances at national level.
The EU Alliance for Investing in Children, coordinated by Eurochild, was supported in 2014 by the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity - PROGRESS / EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation. The EU Alliance for Investing in Children plans to continue as an informal cooperation.
EU Alliance Implementation Handbook available here.
EU Alliance for Investing in Children website: www.alliance4investinginchildren.eu
Twitter hashtag: #AllianceIiC