The Political Guidelines of President Ursula von der Leyen announced the adoption of a Child Guarantee to help ensuring that every child in Europe at risk of poverty or social exclusion has access to the most basic of rights like health care and education.
The European Commission is preparing a Commission’s proposal for a Council Recommendation on a Child Guarantee, to be adopted in 2021.
The goal of the Child Guarantee is to break the cycle of poverty faced by millions of children.
Focus on children in need: The Child Guarantee initiative will focus on children in need: children from precarious households (precariousness due to economic fragility – in particular income poverty or material deprivation – household composition, or other social risk factors); children with a migrant background; children in institutions and children with disabilities.
Emphasis on services: The objective of the Child Guarantee initiative is to ensure access for children in need to the services that are essential for their development and wellbeing, in particular early childhood education and care, health care, education, nutrition, housing and participation in cultural and leisure activities.
Equal opportunities: The initiative is expected to reduce the gap between children in need and their (better off) peers in terms of access to a set of key services and contribute to ensuring equal opportunities for children in the EU.
The Child Guarantee initiative will contribute to the implementation of Principle 11 of the European Pillar of Social Rights, which states that “children have the right to protection from poverty. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds have the right to specific measures to enhance equal opportunities”. It will complement other initiatives, such as the upcoming Strategies on the rights of the child and on disability. It would complement and strengthen the 2013 Commission Recommendation on Investing in Children: the 2013 Recommendation would remain as a framework for all children, while the Child Guarantee would be a targeted instrument for children in need.
The Child Guarantee will recommend Member States to ensure affordability, accessibility and availability of inclusive quality services for children in need. The precise actions and priority target sub-groups would be left to the Member States to define, based on their specificities.
To implement the Child Guarantee initiative, the Member States would adopt multi-annual national strategies, covering at least the period until 2030, where they would foresee that efforts are made to reach out to, and improve access to services for children in need. These strategies may form part of broader ones, in areas such as poverty and children’s rights. To implement their strategy for children in need, the Member States would adopt “Child Guarantee National Action Plans”. In these Action Plans, the Member States would identify the children in need concerned by the Child Guarantee Recommendation, their needs, measures for addressing their needs and the financial investment needed, via national and – where available – complementary and targeted EU funding as well as monitoring and evaluation arrangements. The Child Guarantee therefore puts the focus on implementation in and by the Member States, which have to realise this “guarantee”, with the support of the EU.
The role of the Commission would be to:
- Help build the capacity of national or local authorities in the Member States. This could be done by training, peer review, mentoring, sharing best practices etc., to facilitate with the choice of policy instruments and application of good practices;
- Complement and strengthen actions at national or local level by providing policy coordination across stakeholders, governance levels, and policies.
- Monitor the outcomes of the implementation of the Child Guarantee in the Member States;
- Provide strategic guidance on the strengthened or more targeted use of ESIF funds, notably the European Social Fund Plus.
Eurocarers was invited to participate in a consultation launched by the European Commission targeted to relevant stakeholders. This allowed us to suggest improvements to the Child Guarantee. The main ask is to clearly include young carers in the category of children in need.
You can find all the details in the position paper – available here.