The European Child Guarantee aims to ‘turn ambition into reality’

The European Union has agreed to implement recommendations for establishing the Child Guarantee, an innovative framework for action which aims to break the intergenerational cycle of child poverty and social exclusion.

It calls on EU member states to guarantee access to basic rights and services for children in need such as children with disabilities and mental health issues, homeless children, children in migration or with minority ethnic origin (particularly Roma), children in the alternative (especially institutional) care system and children living in precarious family situations.

One organisation fully on board with the initiative is the European Public Health Alliance, and it says it hopes the new measures will go some way towards ensuring the EU surpasses its target of taking at least five million children out of poverty and social exclusion by 2030.

It will be ‘monitoring the next steps closely’, it adds, because now the hard begins to ensure national governments both develop their own Child Guarantee Action Plans, and put in place adequate resources for its implementation.

‘Children should be fully involved’

Crucially, they should also ensure that children themselves, particularly the most vulnerable in society, are fully involved in the design, monitoring and evaluation of these plans.

The EU Alliance for Investing in Children, which includes EPHA as one of its members, has been advocating for the Child Guarantee for almost the last two years. After years of negotiations, evidence-based advocacy, and hard work, the European Commission and the Council of the EU have taken on board the majority of its recommendations to reflect the needs of children and their families in EU countries.

In its mission statement, the Alliance describes the launch as ‘a historic day for the protection of the rights of children growing up in poverty and social exclusion in the European Union’.

‘The end of this process is only a new beginning’

“The Recommendation has been adopted by unanimity with the support of all the 27 Member States, which shows the EU’s firm commitment to tackle child poverty in the EU and to champion the rights of the 18 million children growing up in poverty and social exclusion across the EU.

“The EU Alliance is pleased to see that most of the requests made over the last months and years to have been included in the final text of this ambitious Recommendation.

“The Child Guarantee does indeed require Member States to submit ambitious Child Guarantee National Action Plans within 9 months since its adoption and to nominate a national Child Guarantee Coordinator. It acknowledges the necessity of a right-based, integrated, person-centred, and multidimensional approach to addressing child poverty and social exclusion and it highlights the need for an enabling policy framework and includes comprehensive indications on the use of multiple EU funds to this end. The text requires Member States to ensure effective and free access to high quality early childhood education and care, education, school-based, out-of-school activities, at least one healthy meal each school day and healthcare and effective access of children to adequate nutrition and decent housing.

“Our job is far from over. The end of this process phase is only a new beginning!” it adds

Click here for the full statement.

Author: Simon Weedy

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