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The EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child and the European Child Guarantee

The EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child and the European Child Guarantee

April 6, 2021

The European Commission has recently launched a new EU policy framework to ensure the protection of rights of all children, and secure access to basic services for vulnerable children. This framework is composed by the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child and the European Child Guarantee. Both initiatives have been informed by extensive consultations with citizens, stakeholders and more than 10,000 children.

 

The EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child

In the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child, the Commission addresses persisting and emerging challenges and proposes concrete actions to protect, promote and fulfil children’s rights in today’s ever-changing world.

The Strategy is divided in six thematic areas:

  • Participation in political and democratic life: An EU that empowers children to be active citizens and members of democratic societies.
  • Socio-economic inclusion, health and education: An EU that fights child poverty, promotes inclusive and child-friendly societies, health and education systems.
  • Combating violence against children and ensuring child protection: an EU that helps children grow free from violence.
  • Child-friendly justice: An EU where the justice system upholds the rights and needs of children.
  • Digital and information society: An EU where children can safely navigate the digital environment, and harness its opportunities.
  • The Global Dimension: an EU that supports, protects and empowers children globally, including during crisis and conflict.

 

European Child Guarantee

The Child Guarantee aims at breaking the cycle of poverty and disadvantage. It provides guidance and means for Member States to support children in need by guaranteeing effective access to healthy nutrition and adequate housing.  Member States should also guarantee free and effective access to the following key services:

  • Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC);
  • Healthcare;
  • Education and school-based activities;
  • At least one healthy meal each school day.

Regarding ECEC, the document recognises that in around one third of Member States parents on moderate incomes find the costs of the service to be very high. As a consequence, children from disadvantaged backgrounds show considerably lower attendance rate to ECEC services.

Member States can draw on EU funding to support their actions under the Child Guarantee, in particular from the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) and Next Generation EU.

Early Childhood Ireland welcomes the launch of this policy framework. It will be crucial to boost investment in the Irish ECEC sector, which is currently at the bottom when it comes to investment in the EU. Substantially increased investment was the number one ask in Early Childhood Ireland’s 2021 Budget submission and we will keep members informed about the latest policy developments.

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