The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) adopted the Council recommendation to establish the European Child Guarantee on June 14, 2021. The European Child Guarantee is an EU initiative that aims to reduce child poverty and social exclusion, as well as improve vulnerable children's access to basic services. SOS Children’s Villages International, a partner of the EU Alliance for Investing in Children, welcomes the adoption and is a signatory of the Alliance’s statement:
Today is a historic day for the protection of the rights of children growing up in poverty and social exclusion in the European Union.
After years of negotiations, evidence-based advocacy and hard work, the EU Alliance for Investing in Children is delighted to welcome the EPSCO Council adoption of the Council Recommendation to establish the European Child Guarantee.
The EU has successfully set up an innovative framework that aims to break down the intergenerational cycle of poverty and social exclusion. EU Member States must guarantee access to basic rights and services for children in need, including children with disabilities and mental health issues, homeless children, children in migration or with minority ethnic origin (particularly Roma), children in alternative care and children living in precarious family situations.
The Recommendation has been adopted unanimously with the support of all 27 Member States, which shows the EU’s firm commitment to tackling child poverty in the EU and championing 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 have been included in the final text of this ambitious Recommendation.
The Child Guarantee requires Member States to submit ambitious Child Guarantee National Action Plans within nine months of its adoption and to nominate a national Child Guarantee Coordinator. It acknowledges the necessity of a right-based, integrated, person-centered and multi-dimensional approach to address child poverty and social exclusion. It highlights the need for an enabling policy framework and includes comprehensive indications on the use of 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 activities, out-of-school activities, at least one healthy meal each school day, healthcare, adequate nutrition and decent housing.
Our job is far from over. The end of this process phase is only a new beginning!
Member States must take the coming months to develop their national Child Guarantee Action Plans alongside the programming for the financial framework over the next seven years. Allocating adequate EU resources for the implementation of the Child Guarantee is not only essential but part of the ESF+ regulation and a specific requirement of the Recommendation.
One of the most important requirements of the Council Recommendation is the involvement of children in the design, monitoring and evaluation of the Child Guarantee Action Plans. This step needs further targeted investment towards the most vulnerable who have less access to resources and opportunities to raise their voices. Therefore, we urge EU Member States to consult with children—especially those in vulnerable situations, their parents and civil society organizations working against poverty at local, regional and national levels. The participation must be meaningful; to achieve this we will be working closely with the newly appointed Child Guarantee National Coordinators.
We hope that the new EU headline target of bringing at least five million children out of poverty and social exclusion by 2030 will not only be reached but surpassed by millions. To do so, we call on Member State governments to adopt an ambitious target as part of the Child Guarantee Action Plans.
Over the last years, the partners of the EU Alliance for Investing in Children have been ceaselessly working with the EU institutions to ensure the adoption of a strong and ambitious framework. We are now ready to work together at the EU and national level to turn this vital instrument into reality.
We are looking forward to the day when no child has to experience poverty and when all our children will be able to fulfill their potentials.
To view the full statement including the list of signatories, click here.
About the EU Alliance for Investing in Children
The EU Alliance for Investing in Children has been advocating for a multi-dimensional, rights-based approach to tackling child poverty and promoting child well-being since 2014.
SOS Children’s Villages is a partner of the Alliance. The organization ensures that children who cannot grow up with their families or who are at risk of losing parental care are considered in all EU initiatives related to child rights.