Eurochild RSS http://www.eurochild.org en_GB Eurochild RSS Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Eurochild news-1556 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Putting children’s rights at the heart of French presidential elections http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/putting-childrens-rights-at-the-heart-of-french-presidential-elections/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=f48552c6925ece8808ec64b2e353edac The French presidential election will be held on 23 April 2017.

With slightly more than 30 days till the first round of the French presidential elections, civil society organisations, including Eurochild member Solidarité Laique, have reunited as part of a collective ‘Agir ensemble pour les droits de l’enfant (AEDE) to put children’s rights at the heart of the electoral debate in the presidential campaign race. 

In a white book entitled ‘For a Republic that guarantees children’s rights’, these organisations put forward their recommendations to the candidates and future members of the government and parliament to ensure that France becomes more respectful towards the rights of all children. Children and young people themselves have been engaged in this work through national consultation. 

A document featuring 12 recommendations from the AEDE has also been shared, along with a document explaining what the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child prohibits, to put a spotlight on the non-conformity of certain proposals of candidates

You can follow the work of this collective on their website, or their Facebook or Twitter

Download the ‘White Book’ or “Livre Blanc” (in French) here.

Download the 12 recommendations of AEDE (in French) here

Download the document ‘Ce que la CIDE prohibe” here.

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news-1555 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 The Europe we want http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/the-europe-we-want/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=be2528eee2132fec536bfd3d377defe3 Just, Sustainable, Democratic and Inclusive. Common appeal to European leaders by European civil society organisations and trade unions. This statement was signed by 233 organisations. 

As we mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, we have a momentous opportunity to take stock of how far Europe has come – and how far we still have to go in order to offer a sustainable and prosperous future to everyone in Europe. It is an opportunity that we call on you, the leaders of Europe, to seize with both hands. We call on you to show leadership, vision and courage to set Europe on the path to a sustainable future which realises the rights of all people and respects planetary boundaries.



We must not fail to appreciate how far Europe has come since 1957, when we were a handful of nations determined to emerge from the ashes of World War II and to move towards a peaceful and united common future. Today, the European Union is the largest and most successful peace initiative of our time, a place where Europeans find richness in cultural differences and strength in common values and aspirations, enjoying greater stability, safety and prosperity than in many other places in the world.


But we cannot afford to be complacent: much still needs to be done to construct a sustainable world for current and future generations. While we have seen much progress, the promise of those early days has still not been fully achieved and we have entered an era in which the values at the very heart of Europe – democracy and participation, equality and social justice, solidarity and sustainability, respect for the rule of law and human rights – are being undermined. Citizens are questioning the raison d’être of the European Union, the legitimacy of governments and mainstream politics, and the ability of existing governance structures to respond to society’s most pressing challenges. As a result, trust in public institutions is in decline.


In these uncertain times, European citizens seek a stronger focus on those core ‘European values’, not a reduced oneThey seek economic, social and environmental well-being.  Economic well-being in the form of prosperity for all and the redistribution of wealth. Social well-being in the provision of quality, affordable services for all and a reinforcing of the social fabric which binds us together. Environmental well-being residing in a healthy natural environment that sustains all life on Earth and protects our clean water and air.

We therefore call on you, leaders of Europe, to move away from an economic model which has widened inequalities and rather to invest in a ‘social market economy’ that works for the benefit of all people. With poverty and social exclusion at unacceptably high levels, we must return to more inclusive economic policies which ensure that Europe’s prosperity is shared, without harming the planet.


We call on you to uphold our core values and invest in employment and education based on critical thinking in order to defend our open, democratic societies and  to address the sense of insecurity felt by many. We call on you, leaders of Europe, to ensure that gender equality, human rights, freedom of religion, democracy and the rule of law are fully implemented and upheld, both at EU and national level. We want to see a more hospitable Europe where everyone’s contribution is welcome and migration is recognised as a boon to society, not a drain.


Europe also needs to play its part in tackling global challenges. Climate change in particular is an existential risk to our world and it must be tackled not only for environmental reasons, but also to prevent the escalation of conflict, hunger, and forced migration.


Building on our call for ‘A New Europe for People, Planet and Prosperity for All’ (September 2016), we are seizing the opportunity of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome to reaffirm our belief in European integration and to offer concrete proposals for the EU Heads of State and Government as they consider the future of Europe.


United, we call for:

  • A Europe that promotes and protects the civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights of everyone and supports those beyond its borders to realise their rights;
  • The delivery of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, by putting the Sustainable Development Goals and the principles that underpin it at the core of EU and national policy-making;
  • The full implementation of the Paris Agreement by enhancing energy efficiency and accelerating the just and sustainable transition to clean and affordable renewable energy in order to keep global warming well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to keep it to 1.5°C;
  • A strengthening of our representative and participatory democracy, with distinct space for people’s participation beyond elections, enabling a diverse civil society to flourish;
  • A strengthening of education as a public responsibility that offers lifelong learning for all in order to develop active citizenship, critical thinking, social inclusion and an awareness of sustainable development and human rights;
  • A just transition for workers and industrial regions from the current economic model to a modern, vibrant, green and socially just economy in which our human and natural capital is cherished;
  • A European Social Model that provides full protection to all workers, all consumers and all people living in the EU; one that reverses the wealth gap and reduces poverty and social exclusion;
  • A European Union with a strong social rights pillar, which ensures quality employment and fair pay, and addresses inequalities between women and men, discrimination against children and youth or based on race, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic status, age, disability, minority or other status. 

In the face of a world that is changing faster than ever before, European unity and solidarity are just as important now as they were 60 years ago. Solidarity brought us together and solidarity is the only way forward.  None of the current challenges can be solved by one nation or one group of people alone.



However, there is an urgent need for the European Union and its institutions to reconnect with the realities, dreams and hopes of its citizens if the long-term relevance and survival of our Union are to be secured. Now is the time to rethink the direction in which we are travelling, build on our achievements and lay the foundations for the next 60 years of European integration.


We expect you, as the leaders of Europe, to do just that: to have the courage and the vision to lead the transition to a just, sustainable, democratic and inclusive Europe. We expect you to listen to the people of Europe and to use the occasion of the Rome Summit to make a strong, joint commitment to a better, more sustainable future. 

 

 

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news-1550 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Eurochild’s summary of the White Paper on the Future of Europe http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochilds-summary-of-the-white-paper-on-the-future-of-europe/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=cdfeeb13dac13d8d2dca0da2158d8550 Quo vadis, EU27?

On March 1st, Jean Claude Juncker presented the European Commission’s White Paper on the Future of Europe to the European Parliament, ahead of the Summit which will be held on 25 March to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Rome treaties. 

Challenges and opportunities: Five scenarios for EU27

The White Paper provides a general overview of the main challenges the EU is facing, such as the rising of new economies potentially undermining Europe’s economic power; the development of new technologies and their impact on jobs and society as a whole; the economic and migrant crisis; terrorism; and a growing sense of mistrust towards the European project, which has fuelled the rise of populist and Eurosceptic movements across the EU. Such challenges, however, are presented as opportunities to be seized to reflect on how to move forward as EU27, and better deliver for Europe’s citizens.

The White Paper presents five scenarios for the future of Europe as EU27: the Commission, however, does not express any preference and presents all options as equally possible, not mutually exclusive nor exhaustive. They are intended to trigger a debate on which combination of features would represent the best option for the European project to continue and improve. 

1. Carrying On: In this scenario, the EU27 sticks to its course, implementing and upgrading its current agenda, in line with the 2016 Bratislava Declaration. The focus is on jobs, growth and investment by strengthening the single market/single currency; and on the fight against terrorism. The speed of decision-making relies on Member States’ capacity to overcome differences of views to achieve long-term priorities.

2. Nothing but the single market: The single market becomes the main “raison d’être” of the EU27, while withdrawing from other areas e.g. migration, security or defence (or social). In this scenario there is less regulation, but capacity to act collectively is reduced.

3. Those who want more do more: This scenario proposes the idea of a “2-speed Europe”, with enhanced cooperation between Member States who want to do more in specific areas, such as defence, security, or social matters, and with the possibility for other Members to join at a later stage. In this scenario, the rights of EU citizens vary depending on whether they live in a country that has chosen to do more or not.

4. Doing less more efficiently: To increase effectiveness, the focus is reduced to a limited number of areas to be agreed by the EU27, such as innovation, trade, migration, where the EU can have more added value. This scenario results in a clearer division of responsibilities, but increased difficulties in agreeing on prioritisation. 

5. Doing much more together: Member States commit to deepen the social and economic basis of the EU27 by sharing more power, resources and decision-making with greater coordination in fiscal, social and tax matters. Citizens have more rights derived from EU law, but there is an increased risk of scepticism towards the legitimacy of the EU vis a vis national authorities.

Regrettably, the White Paper does not include any explanation of how each of these scenarios would actually be implemented, nor does it provide any clarification in terms of the process to be followed. What seems to be clear is that the document drafted by the Commission is aimed at encouraging Member States and the European Council to take the lead in the debate.

Next steps

The White Paper will be a topic of discussion for EU leaders at the Rome Summit at the end of March. The Commission, however, together with the European Parliament and Member States, will also be holding a series of debates on the future of Europe across national parliaments, cities and regions. In the coming months, the Commission itself will contribute to the discussion by releasing a series of reflection papers on: the social dimension of Europe (in the form of the European Pillar of Social Rights); deepening the Economic and Monetary Union; harnessing globalisation; the future of defense; the future of EU finances. 

The Future of Europe will be addressed at the State of the Union speech in September and discussed at the European Council meeting in December. The aim is to decide on a course of action ahead of the European Parliament elections to be held in June 2019.

About social policies and children

As Eurochild, we are concerned with the alarming lack of priority given to the need to tackle poverty and social exclusion, particularly in relation to children and young people. The brief analysis accompanying each scenario and examining their potential impact fails to include a social perspective. The White Paper seems to deliver the message that any further commitment in the social field will require Member States to choose either scenario 3 (“Who wants to do more”) or 5 (“Doing much more together”). Children are not given sufficient importance besides being referred to as the future generation. Despite this, Eurochild will call for the EU-wide consultation process on the future of Europe to include consultations with children as well.

As Eurochild, we encourage our members to read the White Paper and share your first impressions on the proposed scenarios. 

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news-1546 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Call for case studies on successful refugee and migrant children's integration http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/call-for-case-studies-on-successful-refugee-and-migrant-childrens-integration/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=fd7b7bae5ba0e5c9aa9c15d0f565b003 A 2017 compendium of case studies on the integration of refugee and migrant children across Europe Eurochild, in partnership with SOS Children’s Villages International, will be producing a compendium of case studies from across Europe in 2017, which will document successful stories of integration of refugee/migrant children through comprehensive and integrated child protection systems.

This publication, which will also identify overarching principles and policy recommendations, will offer a useful tool with which to collectively influence legislators, policy and decision makers, both at national and sub-national level.

You can submit an expression of interest with a short description of the case study by 17 March 2017.

Click here to read the call.

Click here to download the form.

 

 

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news-1545 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Effective child protection system depends on poverty reduction and strong local services http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/effective-child-protection-system-depends-on-poverty-reduction-and-strong-local-services/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b4e6a0cd5e0f155fd104f0eed2021c75 Eurochild's member Children in Scotland highlights the importance of investing in children's services within the local community to avoid children being removed from their families. The Scottish Government announced its response to the Child Protection Systems Review Report. Among a raft of actions, Minister for Childcare and Early Years Mark McDonald said the government would introduce new legislation to criminalise emotional abuse and neglect of children

Children in Scotland Chief Executive Jackie Brock, author of the 2014 Brock Report which reported on the state of the Scottish child protection system, also reflected on the importance of investment, support for communities, and early intervention.  

“We hope the Scottish Government acknowledges that the effectiveness of our child protection system and services relies on investment and support for children's services within the local community. Evidence is clear that families living in poverty are far more likely to have their children removed from them than those who are better off. 

"With this in mind, we continue to be deeply concerned by the UK Government's attacks on our benefits system and the cuts facing local authorities and their partners. The Scottish Government must address these challenges if the specific recommendations of the review are to be implemented successfully.”


The Child Protection Systems review group is to be reconvened in April 2018 to review progress on the recommendations.

Click here to visit Children in Scotland's website. 

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news-1544 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Children are becoming a minority in our ageing society and they do not have a voice http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/children-are-becoming-a-minority-in-our-ageing-society-and-they-do-not-have-a-voice/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=e07fe061241681e084ecd483838b8f52 Interview with Judit Costa, Children's rights advocate for the National Coalition Germany.

- Could you introduce the work of the National Coalition Germany to us? 

The National Coalition Germany has 120 members, among them there are internationally known organisations like Unicef, Terre des Hommes, Save the Children, Worldvision, but also organisations that focus on only one issue or professional associations. The ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child was the reason that brought us together. As a coalition we have annual themes, last year it was the changes we want to apply to the German Constitution in order to fully include children’s rights. This year we talk about data and children’s rights indicators.

Not having enough data to support the implementation of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child has been an ever recurring issue with UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.  As a coalition, we would like to build consensus among civil society that together we need to push for better data and better use of existing data in order to assess new laws and action plans. In the end, the only thing that counts is impact. 

-Germany has shown immense solidarity to refugees during the so called ‘migration crisis’. According to newspapers the number of asylum seekers has dropped since last year. What is the situation now? 

First of all I’d like to be clear that what Germany faced in 2015 and 2016 was not a “migration crisis”. Germany fulfilled its international obligations by granting the right of asylum to those who are persecuted in their country. The fact that the numbers have dropped in 2017 is not due to a better situation in the respective home countries or to the fact that those wars are over. People are simply stuck in neighbouring countries near the conflict zones. 

In Germany, there are still cases of child rights violations for refugee children, for example concerning the right to education, to health and housing. In Berlin and also other parts of Germany, we still have emergency facilities and young people are not housed according to youth welfare standards. 

We have to look at those places where children on the move do not get equal treatment as other children in this country. Our success in the implementation of human rights and children’s rights will be measured on the most vulnerable children.

-Are you supporting the refugee or asylum seeking children and if so, how?  

Our members are supporting refugees and refugee children in very different ways: welfare organisations are providing housing, counselling and services, professional associations like trade unions and medical associations are working with a new clientele from Syria and Afghanistan. That is just part of the integration process that is happening now.  

As a network, we are bringing together these organisations so that they can start initiatives in the same field together and, of course, we also lobby for the implementation of children rights for refugee children. 

-What is the main issue children currently face in Germany?

I think that in general, children in Germany are facing the same issue as children in many European countries. They are becoming a minority in society as societies are ageing. For example, in Germany we have roughly 82 million inhabitants and only 18 million are under 18 years of age, so that it is less than a quarter and it will not be sustainable for our current social system

This minority is not allowed to vote, does not have a say in how the education system or the welfare system are being shaped right now. “Children are the future” has become a figure of speech frequently used, but it does not have any impact on, for example, the right to be heard

-We’re currently developing a Child participation Strategy.  Is there any good example of children’s active participation you could share with us?

I think that we should support self-organised groups of children and young people that have formed around issues, rather than creating participation methods based on existing models used by adults. Children are not small adults. Form follows function, whether we are considering reason, length, method or outcome of participation. 

- What are the main benefits of being a member of the Eurochild Network?  What would you change or improve?

I think the greatest benefit for us is the contact with other national coalitions, for example for the upcoming event on indicators and also on child participation. We are actively looking for those people and organisations that are a step ahead of us so that we can learn and exchange. That is very valuable! 

Other benefits are the dialogue around EU developments, for example on investing in children, that we do not hear so much about, and being able to meet with EU institutions and organisations from other countries because we can learn from them. That really helps!

- What do you expect from the Eurochild General Assembly in April? 

By putting child participation in the center of the General Assembly,  Eurochild sends a strong message to all members and beyond. I think that as time goes by, participation will become a standard. But in order to get there, we need to address participation on all levels, and Eurochild is setting an example here. 

Click here to know more about the National Coalition Germany.

Click here to know more about the event "Measuring Children’s Rights: Why We Need Indicators."

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news-1543 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 European Semester 2017: Commission publishes Country Reports http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/european-semester-2017-commission-publishes-country-reports-1/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=e5c90cb3f89b7c813100074d02190fe4 The country reports provide an overview of economic and social developments in each EU Member States.

On February 22, the European Commission released its 2017 Country Reports, which provide an analysis of economic and social policies in each EU Member State. Eurochild will be working on a detailed assessment of the country reports.

The country reports will be followed by the National Reform Programmes, to be developed by governments, which will include policies and measures aimed at reaching the Europe 2020 goals. The European Semester cycle remains an important platform to discuss investing in children, as well as to promote children’s rights within the broader macro-economic agenda. 

A useful infographic on the European Semester can be found here, and more background information is available on the Commission’s website.

Click here to read the Country Reports.

Click here to read the Eurochild 2016 Report on the European Semester.

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news-1540 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 The Smile of the Child releases its annual statistics http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/the-smile-of-the-child-releases-its-annual-statistics/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=ba4234571413500e2b9091a587876b79 Eurochild's member from Greece, The Smile of the Child supported more than 100.000 children in 2016.

100.392 children and their families, among them 17.779 migrant and refugee children, were supported last year in Greece by The Smile of the Child. According to official data announced by the Greek Organization on 9 February, 116 requests for shelter were received for 202 children at risk.

In total 297 children are currently being raised in 10 Homes of the Organization all across Greece, while 53 children were provided with services in 3 Daycare Homes in an effort to keep families together in the midst of a dramatic social and economic crisis in the country.

Read the full press release here

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news-1539 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 New report on the conditions in the refugee camp of Schisto released http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/new-report-on-the-conditions-in-the-refugee-camp-of-schisto-released/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b0a2fc0c723e56530973274d7a5fa99b Eurochild member from Greece, Network for Children’s Rights, releases report on Schisto refugee camp and raises concerns over children safety, education and quality of life.

The Schisto camp for asylum seekers is one of the largest in Greece and has a capacity of 2000 persons.

Since it is not well connected with the city centre, its residents become ghetto ghettoised and it makes it difficult for them to integrate into Greek society.

Poor and insufficient housing and sanitary conditions are criticised together with low quantity and quality food provision.

The Network raises concerns on privacy and security issues for the women and children of the camp.
Children also do not receive proper education in school, but only a rudimentary tutoring inside the camp.

Cases of attack and abuse towards women and children were registered. 

Not only are the best interests of children not given priority, they do not feature at all in any stipulations regarding the living conditions of refugees.

Click here to read the full report.

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news-1535 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Investing in Children based on a solid Social Pillar http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/investing-in-children-based-on-a-solid-social-pillar/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=37c0af42fae0b48bc02b80d7f8c5043a On 23 January the European Commission held a high-level event on its upcoming initiative, “European Pillar of Social Rights”. Eurochild representatives share below their feedback from this conference.

1. Social policy & economic policy two sides of the same coin

We welcome the active and high level participation of Commission directorates beyond the obvious Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner at the conference. In their speeches they mentioned repeatedly that social policy needs to be on equal footing with economic policy. An important message, when many EU citizens miss to see the added value of being united in a Union unless its social policy is given the same priority as economic development. The Pillar offers a chance for Europe to actually invest in people – in children and in families - something that has been lacking in the past years. On the downside, the Pillar will only apply to Eurozone countries which risks creating a two-tier Europe.

2. Increasing attention given to child poverty shows political concern across Europe

There was a strong message during the event that prevention and early intervention programmes are effective. Investing in children are often mentioned as national priorities contributing to lower youth unemployment and more equal societies in the near future. To make the European Pillar of Social Rights meaningful for children and families it has to entail instruments (legislative and non-legislative) that have strong financial backing and be underpinned by rights-based approach. It is crucial that existing policy guidance - such as the European Commission Recommendation on Investing in Children - and existing international treaties – such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European Social Charter - are reinforced by the Pillar. 

3. Policy reforms are needed – where to start?

The conference paid attention to retailoring social policy to meet individual needs and rights. From a child rights perspective this means improving social protection systems, supporting families, ensuring all children have access to high quality services and are consulted on decisions affecting their lives.

A commonly agreed European target and benchmarks to reduce child poverty and social exclusion among children would be a first step. Children are impacted by all dimensions of the Pillar, their rights therefore need to be better reflected under each policy domain. Measuring outcomes for children could be done by improving the portfolio of child well-being indicators. In terms of process, the European Semester should be used to monitor progress on the Pillar’s benchmarks.

4. Consulting NGOs and children is a must if we want to see wise and effective solutions

The conference followed a long period of public consultations which involved governments and social partners, as well as civil society. However it is disappointing how children and young people seem to have been be forgotten in this process. We feel that events organized for young people by the institutions must be reflective of society. Children and young people are the ones who have to “carry” the Pillar in the future and who will (hopefully) be one of the main beneficiaries of the Pillar. 

European Commission President Juncker said the Social Pillar is our last chance to save Europe.
In the design and implementation of policy processes to follow from the European Pillar of Social Rights we encourage the European Commission to continue to engage in a meaningful dialogue with civil society, as well people impacted by its measures, including children and young people themselves.

By Pien Klieverik (Dutch Children’s Rights Coalition - DCI Netherlands), Ivanka Shalapatova (National Network for Children Bulgaria – For Our Children Foundation ) and Réka Tunyogi (Eurochild Secretariat)

Background:

The European Pillar for Social Rights is expected to “become a reference framework to screen employment and social performance of participating Member States and to drive reforms at national level”. The European Commission is expected to publish its proposal of a European Pillar of Social Rights, along with a White Paper on deepening the Economic and Monetary Union by the end of March 2017. A stocktaking document on the 2013 Investing in Children Recommendation is expected at the same time.

Read more about the Conference and the consultation on the European Pillar of Social Rights here

Read Eurochild’s key messages on the Social Pillar here 

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news-1534 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 We need to make things accessible, not just child friendly, but accessible to anyone http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/we-need-to-make-things-accessible-not-just-child-friendly-but-accessible-to-anyone/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=68687f110d52f7554ebe7026c01b7b6d Member Spotlight: Interview with Dr Ruth Farrugia, Director General, President's Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society - On 21-22 October you organised your second national conference on child wellbeing. Could you explain why it focused on access to justice for vulnerable children? Is it a specific challenge faced in Malta?

Child participation within access to justice is really important for us because without access to justice no human rights can be easily accessed. It’s already difficult for adults to access their rights and it’s even more difficult for vulnerable children such as children in alternative care, asylum seekers, children who had problems with the law and children who are called into court.

The first day, the panel was composed of UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais, Regina Jensdottir Director of Children’s Rights at Council of Europe, Norah Gibbons, President of Eurochild andthe International Foster Care Organisation (IFCO) that will be hosting an international conference in Malta in November 2017 and the Fundamental Rights Agency. On the second day young people told us about the problems they faced, such as for example being hosted to give evidence and having to sit next to the family they are giving evidence against or being told that they had to come back in a month time.

After the conference, we organised another event: an intergenerational dialogue on human rights where children spoke with a leading legal anthropologist, Barbara Harrell-Bond who set up the Oxford Refugee Centre. We have two very active groups, a children council (aged 7-11) and a young people Council (aged 12-18). One of the children during the debate on who is a refugee stood up and said ‘’ It’s obvious, refugees are people who don’t get rights in their own country and they have to go somewhere else’’. There are so many laws and books about it and this was put in one single sentence. This is one example of why we invest in child participation. 

-What is the main issue children currently face in Malta?

What I would say is different from what children would say. This is why our young people’s councils are so important. When they meet up they mainly talk about bullying and the environment, these are the biggest issues for them. Cyber bullying seems to be a particular problem for the 14 to 17 year old.  Following our last annual conference in 2015 we organised a round table with the cybercrime unit from the Police because children seemed to be really disturbed and anxious about it

Another issue was not having a safe place to play. Children are usually criticised for not playing outdoors. This why we started organising our President’s Secret Garden events  which focus on peace building, community engagement and rights.  We also have a regularly open mobile library.  Children told us they didn’t want any storytelling activity; they just needed the space to be able to read and stay together.  

Disability is an issue that was also underlined by them. There is an 11 years old boy in the Council with a severe physical disability who is really active and makes himself heard very clearly. For instance, he is irritated by the fact that he can’t participate as fully as he would like to because of accessibility issues. 

-What are the main projects that the President’s Foundation is working on at the moment?

We have 5 research entities each carrying out varied research on wellbeing.  For instance we are doing research on children’s relationship with teachers in schools, problematic internet  use among students, access to safe and healthy food and many others. 

Now the Foundation is organising an important meeting with Missing Children Europe on missing asylum seeking children that will be held in Malta on 26 – 27 January. Europol estimated that in 2015 10,000 asylum seeking children went missing. They were registered children so that’s only the tip of the iceberg. We want to raise awareness about this issue and find a way to make these children trust the system and avoid being trafficked. We spoke to asylum seeking children and asked them to tell us their experiences. In some of the interviews, children were scared because other children that were living with them suddenly disappeared. 

Another project is tied with the IFCO Conference on children in foster care, children who leave foster care, children who are moved from one place to another and the experience of the families, how they deal with the foster child.   

-The Maltese Presidency of the EU has just begun and will last until June 2017.  What do you hope to see happen and what would you like to achieve?

We will facilitate children’s  access to the sessions so they can ask questions regarding what is important to them. Our responsibility is that they claim the space to ask what they want and to be able to report in a child friendly way.  

We are excited about the Eurochild’s project about budgeting and see how much budget is used for children. On paper, a lot of money is spent on education because in Malta it’s completely free. So I’m curious to know how much is spent.

- What are the most useful resources and benefits from being a member of the Eurochild Network?  What would you change or improve? 

I love the fact that I can talk to people that think in the same way and I don’t feel we’re alone in this attempt to push child participation. It’s reassuring! What I would like to know more is what doesn’t work, to hear more about mistakes so that we can learn from them. I would also like to increase the communication among the members and the children. The children would love to hear from other children! Having links among the councils and associations would be wonderful!

 -After the results of the Eurochild Conference, Eurochild is currently developing a Child participation Strategy. Is there any good example of children’s active participation you could share with us?

We’re also working on a project with universities to go from village to village on a bus and talk about children’s rights and the children are excited about that!

What we think is really important is developing child friendly versions of documents that usually are used by adults as well since they are generally easier to read and to the point. We need to use money to make things accessible, not just child friendly, but accessible to anyone. 

The key in child participation is not pitching it low because children are not less intelligent that adults. Most Children don’t need colourful and silly material with a lot of drawings. We don’t need to patronise them. What we do with the Foundation is respecting children’s freedom to decide their own agenda when they set their meetings and they decide if they need external advice. We need to simply give them their right and people will finally listen to them. 

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news-1533 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 MEPs must fully honour their work-life balance pledges in the European Pillar of Social Rights http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/meps-must-fully-honour-their-work-life-balance-pledges-in-the-european-pillar-of-social-rights/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=601387425ae76c313732be084d743508 Joint press statement by COFACE Families Europe, Eurochild and other six NGOs

Tomorrow, 19 January 2017, the European Parliament will be called on to vote on the report 2016/2095(INI) “European Pillar of Social Rights”. This report touches upon a number of very relevant themes for people in Europe, including their chances to better reconcile work, family, care and personal life.

We jointly call on the European Parliament to continue its work, reaffirm its position in favour of reconciliation and be coherent with its previous votes, and stop amendments watering down its position, by excluding the call for legislative initiatives at EU level.

In its 13 September 2016 resolution “Creating labour market conditions favourable for family-work balance”, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to affirm that Work-Life Balance is a right and called on the European Commission to put forward a coherent and ambitious package made of legislative and non-legislative initiatives, in order to bring real change into people’s lives.

In 2015, many of us jointly published a comprehensive policy document, the “European Reconciliation Package”, to propose concrete and coherent policy solutions, and we strongly supported the 2016 Resolution “Creating labour market conditions favourable for family-work balance”.

We are 8 European networks of NGOs and since 2012 we have been working together to raise awareness about the daily challenges faced by women and men across the EU in reconciling their work, family and private life. We represent millions of children, adults and families across the EU, and we are calling on Members of European Parliament to reaffirm the importance of stronger and more effective policies for work-life balance.

The European Parliament is the voice of people, and at a time when women and men are losing their confidence in Europe and European leaders, showing coherence and ambition is a great opportunity to restore trust and show that Europe really cares about their real lives and concerns.

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news-1528 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Maltese Parliament approves new Child Protection Bill http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/maltese-parliament-approves-new-child-protection-bill/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=c3b048fb3777ad2c4c77cf81c96c7d77 Eurochild's member from Malta Appogg, Foundation for Social Welfare Services welcomes new child protection legislation.

The Child Protection Bill 45 has gone through the first reading, the Committee stage at length where discussions with experts in the field were held, and has been approved in Parliament on 10 January 2017, following third and final reading.

Having a legislation specifically for child protection, as in other countries, reaffirms that Malta has the protection of the children living in Malta at heart.  This bill is a comprehensive bill which focuses specifically on children and the rights of children both living at home with their natural parents as well as those children who are living in out of home care including next of kin fostering, fostering, and residential homes.  

The leading principle in this bill is the best interest of the child and this gives a clear message to the public; Malta has the interest of the children at heart and whoever is abusing these children or is acting on their own best interest rather than the interest of the child/ren has to price to pay.  

This law, in fact, puts a legal obligation and responsibility on the general public and professionals to report any abuse they witness or are aware of.  It also ensures that child abuse is investigated immediately and action is taken within a stipulated time.  This ensures timely interventions, which might either result in timely support and help to the families involved so as to stop the abuse or else, in case the parent/s abusing and/or neglecting the child/ren still fail to cooperate, it will result in court orders such as care orders (removal of the child from home), treatment orders or supervision orders.  

This bill has another underlying principle – the best interest of the child is for him/her to remain living with his/her natural parents and therefore care orders should be considered as a last resort.  For this reason, the bill ensures that parent/s are made aware of the difficulties/concerns that they need to address through a social contract and that the care plan established with the social workers clearly indicates what needs to happen for the abuse to stop within specific timeframes.  

Failing to address such issues at the expense of the safety and wellbeing of the child/ren might then result in the removal of the child/ren from home.  Parent/s can obviously appeal but more importantly they are given another opportunity to work on their issues.  So reintegration of the children with their natural parent/s is possible even after they are removed as long as they address their issues and as long as it is in the best interest of the child.  However, failing to do this again, parents face the possibility of losing their child/ren either through permanency or through freeing for adoption.  

Children need to feel secure in their placements; their live and stability cannot be put on hold for years. Therefore permanency and freeing for adoption are going to be possible, once the bill is enacted, always as long as it is in the best interest of the child concerned. 

Given that Appogg, Foundation for Social Welfare Services, has always held the interest of the children at heart, we fully support this bill and look forward to make it work in practice for the benefit of the children involved.

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news-1527 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Scottish Education governance proposals risk ‘zero impact’ on attainment gap http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/scottish-education-governance-proposals-risk-zero-impact-on-attainment-gap/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=6f959897f59393865587e023eb319b11 Eurochild's member Children in Scotland expresses concerns over the possible benefits from the removal of local authority responsibility.

In their current form the Scottish Government’s proposals for reform of education governance will fail to make any progress in narrowing the attainment gap, Children in Scotland believes.

Responding to the Scottish Government’s Education Governance Review, the charity strongly questions whether downgrading local authority responsibility for improving education will lead to better educational experiences and outcomes for young people.

Children in Scotland’s Chief Executive Jackie Brock said: “While we welcome the Scottish Government’s clear commitment to improving all children’s outcomes, we see virtually no evidence to suggest that departing from the current model of education governance would contribute in any meaningful way to closing the gap in attainment. It is right that the Scottish Government’s determination to address the challenges of excellence and equity is matched by a willingness to hold the whole system to account in order for Scotland’s performance to improve. But we struggle to understand the leap from this legitimate and necessary calling to account, to the narrow solution of lessening local authority responsibility for improvement. 

We are aware of no published evidence that suggests removing local authority accountability is necessary for enhanced educational outcomes for every child and young person or improved leadership at school level.
” 
Ms Brock also said she found it “puzzling” that the Scottish Government cites recommendations from the 2015 report Improving Schools in Scotland: An OECD Perspective as justification for decoupling schools from local authority control. In its report the OECD could not be clearer that ‘local authorities are integral’ to developing effective responses to closing the attainment gap,” she said. 

Ms Brock added that it was important to view the proposals in the context of current financial pressures affecting councils, schools and families. Sustained cuts to local authority budgets, combined with increases in child poverty rates, represent the greatest barrier to eliminating the educational attainment gap in Scotland – not the current system of school governance,” she added.

The charity’s stance is based on its own consultation with members, engagement with children and young people as part of the excite.ed project and discussions with the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Children and Young People.

In its response, Children in Scotland also makes the following points:

Due to the significant changes currently being experienced by all children’s services and schools in particular, there is very little appetite for further reorganisation. A period of stability to embed change and improvement is required.

Given concerns expressed by key education agencies and thinkers about the bureaucratic burden being placed on teachers and schools by an over-concentration on narrow assessment criteria, a more fruitful route for improvement would be to listen to the views of children and young people, together with educational experts, and focus on supporting schools and teachers to improve dramatically their approach to assessment – as recommended by the OECD.

The views of children and young people must be front and centre in the debate about governance reform and attainment, not regarded as an ‘add on’.

The Scottish Government’s sound principles with regard to education reform could go further by adopting a stronger child rights approach, with explicit reference to how any proposed reform will support the government’s commitment to child rights as laid out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Schools need to do more to involve a diverse range of parents within school decision making, particularly parents from socially deprived backgrounds and those who have children with additional support needs.

The Scottish Government’s consultation could have been better balanced if it contained examples of the positive role local authorities provide in fulfilling their statutory duty to school improvement.

Read the full consultation response here.

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news-1526 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Children speaking up at the Open Government Partnership Summit http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/children-speaking-up-at-the-open-government-partnership-summit/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=cf4caac9fda3dd049cf3a71793086192 Eurochild and Save the Children ran a Roundtable session 'Children Speaking Up: developing meaningful engagement with government' at the Open Government Partnership Summit (OGP).

The Partnership gathered in Paris (8-9 December 2016) with 70 member countries and hundreds of civil society organizations that promote transparency, citizen participation and democratic innovation.

A young person, Grégoire Quelain, who has worked with Eurochild's member organisation Solidarité Laïque, contributed to the round table by sharing his experiences of being involved in a local youth council since 2014. He stressed the importance for children and young people to participate in local decision making and to encourage them to participate in local projects and create spaces for discussion. 

At the roundtable a video was shown with statements from children from across the world, including children who have been involved in activities and projects with Eurochild.

The OGP participants have committed that governments engage with groups of the public that are subject to exclusion and/or unable to express their views in other ways and in particular focused this commitment on children and young people. The OGP recommends that:

governments should affirm public commitment to involving children, young people and young adults in all decision that affect them

set out clear standards for the involvement of children and young people - drawing on international good practices

work with a group of children and young people to assess the current participation opportunities and to identify future areas of development

develop training for professionals working with young people and for decision makers to encourage children and young people’s participation.

-Click here to watch the video ''Children Speaking Up: Open Government with Children''.

-Click here to know more about the Open Government Partnership Summit.

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news-1524 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 CRAE urges UK Government to tackle England’s poor record on children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/crae-urges-uk-government-to-tackle-englands-poor-record-on-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=116be7d94e05c2926c99016e574abd72 Eurochild's member Children’s Rights Alliance for England publishes new State of Children’s Rights Report 2016.

The Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) has found that increasing numbers of children in England have been let down in 2016 and denied the basic things they need to develop and thrive.  Their annual assessment of what life is like for children in England finds that they are bearing the brunt of the UK Government’s spending decisions and welfare cuts

Increasing numbers of children do not  have a permanent roof over their head or are living illegally in cramped, dirty and unsafe Bed & Breakfasts (B&Bs) for long periods of time. Despite soaring levels of poor mental health and self harm amongst children, sometimes with fatal consequences, very vulnerable children are not being cared for properly or kept safe during periods of mental health crisis. 

Children are also experiencing poor treatment when in contact with the police – as shown by shocking new statistics on the use of Tasers, strip searching and spit hoods. Children from Black or minority ethnic backgrounds are increasingly over-represented in the youth justice system.

Other issues covered in the report include rising rates of child poverty and sexual exploitation, severe breaches to the rights of refugee children, cuts to children’s services and widening levels of health and educational inequality

CRAE’s annual assessment draws on hundreds of sources and responses to Freedom of Information requests (FOIs) to examine how children and young people are faring in all aspects of their lives. It assesses how well England is meeting its commitments under the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, which the UK ratified in 1991. 

However, despite the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s warning in June 2016 that the UK is not doing enough to prioritise children, the Government has so far failed to take decisive action on their recommendations. 

Louise King, Director of CRAE said: Our report reveals that the UK Government has ignored the UN Committee’s urgent calls to protect the basic needs and rights of some of our most vulnerable children including those suffering from poor mental health, living in B&Bs and treated badly by the police. The Government must take immediate steps to tackle the increasing failure to protect the human rights of children in England. 

CRAE is calling on the Government to introduce a child rights duty on public authorities so that when decisions are made which affect children, their rights are properly taken into consideration. This would ensure that the welfare of vulnerable children can no longer be ignored.’

Download State of Children’s Rights 2016 made up of eight briefings.  

For more information email info(at)crae.org(dot)uk

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news-1521 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Change is the only constant http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/change-is-the-only-constant/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=5e79ab77297bb29e1fb36bb2fc680f0a As the year closes, it's right to step back, take stock and recharge our batteries for the year ahead.

Gandhi said, change is the only constant. But who would have anticipated the pace and direction of change over the last 12 months? It feels the values we cherish are being rocked to their core. From Brexit to Trump, from Hungary's Orban to Poland's Kaczyński, identity politics are gaining ground. 2017 elections in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Serbia promise to be highly divisive as politicians pander to voter fears. Recent terror attacks are unfortunately likely to stoke those fears.

In an era known for ‘post-truth' politics, fighting for social justice and human rights is portrayed by some as elitist and disconnected from reality. More than ever our work needs to be driven by, and have an impact on, the people whose voices are not otherwise heard.

Eurochild aims to bring about positive changes in the lives of children, particularly those affected by poverty and discrimination, those at risk of entering, or already in, the care system – including migrant and refugee children. So we have spent a lot of this year thinking about, and applying new approaches to, engaging our membership – those organisations advocating for children's rights nationally or those working on the ground with the most disadvantaged children and families. Our membership spans 33 countries. Our impact is measurable by how much their engagement in Eurochild helps them deliver change at local or national level. Our EU advocacy is an important lever of influence and funding, but not an end goal in itself.

And just as important as members' engagement, is our work directly with children and young people. We aim to ensure our advocacy is informed by their experiences and they are enabled to influence our work. This summer, for the first time, the Eurochild conference was co-organised and delivered with children and young people who delivered a powerful message to policy makers: “don't forget what it is like to be a child, and try as hard as possible to make growing up the happiest period of people's lives”.

Achieving widespread recognition of, and respect for, children's rights is a long, slow process. We have suffered setbacks but 2016 also brought important positive developments: the Council of Europe adopted a 6-year ambitious children's rights strategy with high-level political commitment from many of its 47 member states; the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child issued two new General Comments giving detailed guidance to governments on public spending for the realisation of the rights of the child, and implementation of the rights of the child during adolescence; and during its Presidency of the European Council, the Netherlands helpfully chose to give a high political priority to tackling child poverty and promoting integrated approaches.

In 2017 we remain hopeful that the European Commission's proposal for a Pillar of Social Rights will put children's rights centre stage and bring new impetus to implement the 2013 Recommendation on Investing in Children. We'll also be supporting and influencing plans of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats group in the European Parliament to initiate a child guarantee targeted at tackling child poverty.

There are many ways you can get involved and support the work of Eurochild. There has never been a more important time to work collaboratively and unite our efforts to promote and protect children's rights. Thank you to everyone who has contributed over the last year. Your support is precious.

I wish you all a peaceful end of year holidays and look forward to connecting with as many of you as possible in 2017!

Jana Hainsworth

Secretary General, Eurochild

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news-1517 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 UN recommends investing more in child protection agencies and ending immigration detention http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/un-recommends-investing-more-in-child-protection-agencies-and-ending-immigration-detention/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=5b390aba7f83a375189c56183b73e0d6 Children and families should never be in immigration detention said UN Human Rights experts for the International Migrants’ Day.

On the occasion of International Migrants’ Day on 18 December, the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights made a categorical statement against detention of children and families. 

Eurochild welcomes the recommendation that “unaccompanied migrant children [should] be the main responsibility of child protection agencies and not of migration authorities ¬and they should be placed in the national alternative care system, preferably in family-type care rather than in institutional care. 

Additionally, the UN human rights expert group encourages “substantial investments” in child protection agencies. They further explain: “Unaccompanied migrant children should quickly be appointed a competent and appropriately trained legal guardian tasked with protecting their best interests in loco parentis, including through the appointment of a lawyer to represent them in the various proceedings that they may face.

Through its ‘Opening Doors for Europe’s Children’ campaign, Eurochild is working to ensure EU funds are used to support family and community-based care alternatives, for all children, including migrant and refugee children. 

The Opening Doors campaign partners and civil society organisations call upon all States to ban the use of institutional care as a means to meeting the basic needs of migrant, unaccompanied and separated children

The types and quality of care should be the same for all children regardless of their migration status. Furthermore, States should end the practice of immigration detention of children as it discriminates and criminalises children on the basis of their migration status.

Read the full statement of the OHCHR here

Read more about Opening Doors for Europe’s Children here

Read ‘Turning the tide for Children on the Move’ – testimonials of child rights professionals working to protect children on the move here

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news-1515 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Academics share concerns on the International Early Learning Study initiative http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/academics-share-concerns-on-the-international-early-learning-study-initiative/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=ee55091585a220bac58553f36d0d2542 A statement by members of the Reconceptualising Early Childhood Education movement. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has a long tradition of providing data and policy advice in early childhood education. The OECD is now in the early stages of developing and piloting an international assessment of early learning outcomes – the International Early Learning Study (IELS).

Eurochild's member from the UK, Mathias Urban, and Beth Blue Swadener on behalf of Reconceptualising Early Childhood Education (RECE), expressed their concerns in an article entitled ''Democratic accountability and contextualised systemic evaluation'' :

''As members of the international and interdisciplinary movement Reconceptualising Early Childhood Education, representing scholars, senior academic researchers, policy-makers and practitioners in over 25 nations, we outline our shared concerns, counter arguments, and our offer for collaboration in this statement.

While RECE is convinced that international collaboration and joint learning with and from the diversity of experiences in early childhood systems around the world is necessary, we are concerned that
joint learning at the international level is increasingly replaced by universal standardised assessment of children, decontextualized comparisons, and, as a consequence, ranking of countries.''

-Click here to read the full article

Mathias Urban has also just released a new book together with Michel Vandenbroeck and Jan Peeters on early childhood education and care. The book is concerned with a growing interest from policy and research in the professionalisation of the early childhood workforceThe authors of this wide-ranging book share insights of professionalism from various European countries and suggest that professionalism in early childhood unfolds best in a ‘competent system’.

-Click here to know more about the book.

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news-1505 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Scotland to host Eurochild Conference 2018! http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/scotland-to-host-eurochild-conference-2018-1/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=1cd5e07240dc8c3e840f21a457885cfe Our member and National Partner Network, Children in Scotland has been successful in its proposal of hosting the Eurochild conference in the magical city of Edinburgh.

Our member and National Partner Network, Children in Scotland has been successful in its proposal of hosting the Eurochild conference in the magical city of Edinburgh. The conference, which is hosted by a member every two years, will take place provisionally in June 2018. 2018 will be the Year of Young People in Scotland celebrating Scotland’s children and young people and providing a national and international platform for their voices. The conference will aim to harness the potential of this support and visibility on the rights of children and young people.

The decision on the winning proposal was taken by the Management Board meeting in October 2016. The Management Board recognised the equally high quality proposal of Society “Our Children” Opatija in Croatia and has offered them the opportunity to host the following Eurochild Conference in 2020.

More details on the conference will be shared in due time. Congratulations to Children in Scotland and see you all in Edinburgh in 2018!

·        Find out more about Children in Scotland here

·        Read about Eurochild Conference 2016 which was co-hosted by Office de la Naisance et de l’Enfance and Kind en Gezin in Brussels. 

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news-1503 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Children cannot wait: 7 priority actions to protect all refugee and migrant children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/children-cannot-wait-7-priority-actions-to-protect-all-refugee-and-migrant-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=fd237e1b2fb7c1375b67e13435fd5afe Eurochild signed the joint statement together with 78 NGOs in advance of the European Forum of the Rights of the Child.

78 organisations active in the field of children’s rights strongly welcome that this year’s European Forum on the Rights of the Child focuses on protecting children in migration. Children represent a significant proportion of migrants and refugees. At least 1 in 3 people arriving to Greece by sea in 2016 were children. In the same year, the number of unaccompanied children arriving to Italy has doubled compared to 2015. However, actions for children have remained uneven and insufficient. Responses to migration cannot be effective or protect children unless they systematically take into account their best interests and specific needs.

A broad range of monitoring bodies and civil society organisations have been calling for a comprehensive and rights-based approach to all refugee and migrant children for several years. The initiative taken by the European Commission, and in particular Commissioner Jourova, to put a focus on the rights of all refugee and migrant children is timely and essential. Governments re-committed to protect the rights of all refugee and migrant children at the UN High-level Summit of 19 September 2016. The growing challenges facing refugee and migrant children across Europe now require renewed political commitment and much more action at European level.

Some of the rights violations that refugee and migrant children face daily en route to, and within, the EU include lack of safety, food and access to services, such as health care and shelter; separation from their parents; extortion, violence and exploitation as well as injury and death.

Across Europe, we are continuously witnessing the harsh conditions under which children have to survive, deprived of basic rights such as health care, education, birth registration and housing, as well as due process and justice in immigration and asylum procedures, legal representation, and effective guardianship for unaccompanied children.

The risks of apprehension, detention and forced removal, as well as statelessness, are increasing. Children may face such challenges when they are unaccompanied, separated or with parents, and at different stages of immigration and asylum procedures and residence. Children themselves confirm that education, information about their rights and insecurity about their residence status are among their key concerns.

These children grow up in our societies, becoming future EU citizens. They should be considered as children first, regardless of their migration status. We need to invest in them, and empower them to fulfil their potential as equal participants in their communities.

We acknowledge the work that is being done across Europe by different governments, EU institutions and agencies to address these challenges. The Forum is a key moment to discuss the positive policies and practices to be adapted and disseminated. However, these initiatives are not enough.

We urge EU leadership and immediate action, in cooperation with civil society, in the following priority areas:

1. Adoption of an EU Action Plan on all refugee and migrant children

A comprehensive, coordinated action approach is needed to ensure that children, both alone and with their families and regardless of status, are protected throughout their migratory journey and upon arrival to their country of destination. Too many children fall through the gaps in national and transnational protection systems. An EU commitment at the highest level and action plan on all refugee and migrant children is needed to effectively bring together the various responsible authorities, agencies and civil society in Member States and in the EU, and develop tangible and resourced processes and actions for all refugee and migrant children. Under this framework, national action plans could be developed on promoting the well-being of all refugee and migrant children. The EU has several tools at its disposal. The Action Plan on Unaccompanied Minors 2010-2014 provides a useful foundation and many of its priorities remain relevant. However, the next Action Plan should expand its focus to all refugee and migrant children and bring together the EU’s internal and external policy tools. A rights and needs-based approach will enable a response that takes into consideration specific aspects such as gender, ethnic origin, religion, health and disability.

2. Reforming the asylum legislation

The upcoming reform of the Common European Asylum System offers a significant opportunity to improve the situation of refugee and asylum-seeking children. Guardianship, best interests’ assessment and determination, the definition of family, age assessment, and criteria for obtaining international protection are addressed in the current proposals. They also provide for quicker access to education, preferably within 30 days of a child’s arrival. These provisions should be maintained and strengthened in the negotiations. Due attention should be paid to harmonising and speeding up the processes of family reunification, resettlement and relocation. Identification and registration will be improved if children see their rights guaranteed within the system. 

On the other hand, proposals to punish secondary movements with material and procedural restrictions on rights, reinstate the concept of sending children to the country of first arrival or a third country, thereby dismissing existing jurisprudence, and limiting the rights of beneficiaries of subsidiary protection and the length of residence permits, would violate children’s rights and push more children and families into destitution and irregularity. These provisions must therefore be changed. The European Commission, the European Parliament and Council of the European Union must ensure that any reforms guarantee the highest level of protection for children.

3. Prioritising children in all migration and asylum policies

Every decision made on asylum and migration affects children. Return is increasingly presented as a key pillar of the EU’s asylum, migration and foreign policy. Any decision on return must be based on children’s rights, not a political agenda, and include an individual determination of the child’s best interests. Genuine, fair and effective procedures should be urgently developed and implemented by independent and qualified child protection actors, including legal professionals, to ensure that every decision concerning a child is based on comprehensive assessment and determination of the best interests of the child. This should include substantive family tracing when in the best interests of the child. Effective remedy has to be guaranteed in all cases.

Children and families must never be detained, 
and investment in community-based alternatives to detention should be made a key priority. Unaccompanied and separated migrant and refugee children should be provided quality guardianship and placed in family and/or community based settings where their individual needs will be met. Safe housing solutions need to be provided for families. All children must be provided equal access to services in the community. The evaluation of the EU regular migration framework (REFIT) is also a clear opportunity to set out next steps to improve the safe and regular ways for children and families to migrate.

4. Funding for strengthening child protection systems

Policies should be matched by resources. Funding needs to be made available to support an innovative, integrated response by the European Commission, Member States and civil society both within and outside the EU. Investment is needed to support both mainstream and targeted services to ensure the rights of refugee and migrant children in the countries where they are residing, regardless of the length of time. EU and national agencies dealing with refugee and migrant children should receive adequate funds to invest in capacity-building on child rights and sound referral mechanisms.

Various financing instruments such as the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF), the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument, the European Development Fund, Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance, the Fund for the European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD), and the Fund for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) could earmark resources to address issues related to refugee and migrant children. The Commission should work with Member States to monitor how EU funds are being spent, making sure that EU funds are targeted towards the best interests of children. EU funds should be used in line with EU policy and the guiding principles of human rights law, including non-discrimination.

5. Addressing refugee and migrant children in all areas

The EU and Member States work together in numerous areas affecting the rights of refugee and migrant children where their interests and rights should also be advanced. Integrated national child protection systems in the EU and in third countries should be established and strengthened in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the 10 principles. Discussions and actions around the EC Recommendation Investing in Children, justice, health, education, human rights, development and youth employment should all systematically include the specific situation of all refugee and migrant children, and advance their equal access to protection, public services (e.g. education, health) and justice.

6. Protecting children across borders

Investing in transnational child protection is essential to prevent children from going missing, to identify children at risk of exploitation and trafficking, and to support children to move safely and regularly from one country to another when in their best interests. The EU should ensure that the system in place responds to the rights and needs of refugee and migrant children, to address reasons for disappearances and unsafe onward movement, and to provide appropriate care. The EU can also play a vital role by looking at mechanisms that exist between Member States and improving cross-border cooperation that protects children. For example, the Dublin Regulation is a key instrument to enable unaccompanied and separated children to reunite with their families within the EU.

Standardised approaches in areas such as best interests’ assessments and family tracing, as well as enhanced cooperation between Member States, are vital to ensure the efficient functioning of the system. Current commitments on relocation need to be extended and implemented. Children should have unhindered access to relocation as a tool for protection when in their best interests. Additionally, Member States should speed up family reunification procedures and make it possible for children to reunite with their families, including with their extended families in destination countries.

7. Ensuring and using quality data and evidence

There is a real lack of data on refugee and migrant children in Europe, due to gaps in data on migration and asylum, incomparability of data across Member States, and lack of disaggregation. For example, there is no accurate data on the numbers of children dying at Europe’s borders. There are only a few countries where the number of children in immigration-related detention is publicly available. Member States should regularly collect - at a minimum - age, gender and nationality disaggregated data (on arrivals, asylum, family reunification, relocation, detention, voluntary return and forced removal), and make it publicly available.

Cooperation among authorities, but also with the European Commission and Eurostat is needed to increase reliability, comparability and timeliness. In particular, Member States should use the full potential of the Statistics Regulation (Regulation EC/862/2007) with a focus on disaggregation by age, gender, and residence status. Investing in more effective platforms of information exchange, research and programmes identifying the needs of refugee and migrant children, both outside and within Europe, will also enable the EU to develop policies and tools to better address children’s needs. The available data and evidence should be used to inform the development and reform of policy and practice.

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news-1502 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 2016 European Semester: Is Europe Doing Enough to Invest in Children? http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/2016-european-semester-is-europe-doing-enough-to-invest-in-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=ff675ef683021af9e84bc13194e4cbc0 Eurochild releases 2016 Report on the European Semester with a reminder to tackle child poverty. The EU’s economic policy framework continues to miss the opportunity to tackle child poverty, which affects more than one child in four in the EU. Eurochild’s latest yearly report on the European Semester details the situation of child poverty and children’s rights in 20 EU countries. Based on a survey of 28 children’s rights organisations and state bodies, the report also offers alternate recommendations to turn around this tragic cycle and encourage EU Member States to invest in children.

Eurochild’s assessment of the 2016 European Semester points out there has been little attention given by both the 2016 National Reform Programmes and the Country-Specific Recommendations to breaking the poverty cycle.

“Child-centred policy makes sense both for social inclusion and long-term sustainable economic growth. By giving visibility to children, the European Semester can help build more resilient communities, societies and economies.” – Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild.

In the Annual Growth Survey, released earlier this month by the European Commission to pave the way for the 2017 European Semester, Eurochild sees potential scope for greater attention to social priorities, albeit mainly through the lens of improving labour market participation. “We welcome the reminders to EU Member States that welfare systems need to be anchored in strong social standards, and that promoting work-life balance and addressing discrimination contribute not just to social fairness but also to growth”, added Ms. Hainsworth.

Eurochild members report some progress in the use of the European Commission Recommendation on Investing in Children (2013), compared to the previous annual cycle. The report also assesses civil society engagement in the Semester process, which received varied responses, with only 4 members indicating an active engagement in the last year. 

Eurochild’s report brings together the assessments of 28 contributors from 20 EU Member States.  They looked at the extent to which the European Commission ‘Recommendation on Investing in Children: Breaking the cycle of disad­vantage’ (2013) has been implemented in their country and whether the European Semester process is helping or hindering the achievement of positive outcomes for children.

Read the report ‘Is Europe doing enough to invest in children? 2016 Eurochild Report on the European Semester’ and discover the 'wishlist' for children in Europe here
Read more about the European Semester here
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news-1494 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Civil society criticises “Business As Usual” as Commission publishes SDGs implementation plans http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/civil-society-criticises-business-as-usual-as-commission-publishes-sdgs-implementation-plans/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=4a7dfa8be03bad470c39c2e44204f7f1 SDG Watch Europe alliance, of which Eurochild is a member, reacts to the European Commission Communication on next steps for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Press Release 
Brussels / 23 November 2016

SDG Watch Europe, a civil society alliance of more than 90 EU NGOs established to ensure the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the EU and its Member States, has criticised today’s publication of the EC Commission’s Communication entitled “Next steps for a sustainable European future - European action for sustainability.

“The Sustainable Development Goals, adopted over one year ago by all UN Member States, are a globally-agreed vision for a better, fairer world. They offer the EU a new framework to begin a critical shift away from the current unsustainable paradigm within which inequalities grow, the environment is degraded, climate change accelerates, wealth and political power are concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, and many people across Europe are deeply disaffected with the European Union, its institutions and policies” says a spokesperson for SDG Watch Europe.

“The EU must play its part in promoting an alternative model of development in which people, social justice, environmental and health protection, democracy and transparency take centre stage. Unfortunately the disappointing content of today’s Communication, and the lack of any new or concrete details about an EU-wide implementation plan, suggests that the EU is not able, or willing to realise the transformative vision of the Sustainable Development Goals” says the spokesperson.

SDG Watch Europe members have expressed their disappointment that the Communication does not provide any substantial new information about how the EU intends to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality in Europe or around the world. Rather, they say, it reads as “a justification of business-as-usual”, with existing policies such as President Juncker’s Ten Priorities mentioned, and the impression given that the EU is already delivering on the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. “Without fundamental policy changes and upscaling ambitions we will never deliver on the ambitious commitments of the new global agenda” the civil society alliance says. 

SDG Watch Europe believes that the only way that the Sustainable Development Goals can be coherently implemented by the EU and its Member States is if they are willing to change direction in many key policy areas. “Many policies in Europe today are actively undermining the thrust of the Sustainable Development Goals, and increasing economic insecurity, social and health inequalities, environmental damage within and outside Europe, and - not least – causing a loss of public trust and political instability” says the SDG Watch Europe spokesperson.

The alliance claims that the lack of consultation with civil society in the preparation of the Commission’s Communication was not acceptable. They point out that Article 11 TEU places an obligation on EU institutions to consult with CSOs in order to ensure open, participatory, and inclusive multi-stakeholder approaches, and that the SDG agenda itself contains strong commitments to involving civil society and other key stakeholders in its implementation .

“As experts in the field, our members expected to be consulted by the Commission in relation to the important exercise of "mapping" existing EU policy frameworks, and identifying the gaps in relation to Sustainable Development Goal commitments,” says the SDG Watch Europe spokesperson. “Instead, the process was vague and secretive, effectively keeping civil society at arm's length. We repeat our call to the EC Commission to urgently develop a concrete plan for SDG implementation with targets and timelines, and covering all of the goals. We also call for civil society to receive adequate information in sufficient time, and to be included as an active partner in the entire Sustainable Development Goal process from planning to implementation, monitoring and review.”

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news-1488 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Building a European Parliament With Children, For Children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/building-a-european-parliament-with-children-for-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=a29b2d0eb7d2f0409533885ee699ec5e

PRESS RELEASE

On the occasion of International Children’s Day, the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights committed to encouraging MEPs to engage directly with children more often and more effectively. Children from various countries, including Netherlands, Slovakia, UK, Malta, Slovenia, Croatia shared their experiences of working as child mayors, child councillors and building child-friendly cities at a symposium organised by Eurochild and the Universal Education Foundation.  

We can learn as much from you as you can from us,” said Caterina Chinnici, Co-chair of the EP Intergroup on Children’s Rights.The intergroup on children’s rights strongly supports any initiative that brings us closer to the real experiences and views of children.”

In a workshop hosted by Julie Ward MEP, they discussed the ways in which the European Parliament can become a beacon for children’s participation

Strengthening an on-going dialogue with children: Children’s experience of meeting with various MEPs was mixed.  Some really engaged in active listening and responded to children’s questions.  Others seemed to talk at the children, and didn’t really take them seriously. 

According to Julie Ward, intergroup member and convenor of the lunchtime meeting: “I don’t believe young people are de-politicised or not interested in the world around them - on the contrary, they are shouting at the gates of power asking to be let in!

Making EU material more accessible for children: Participants agreed that the official documents of the EU are impenetrable.  Even if there is translation to 24 official languages, it’s not easy to read or understand. If documents were more child friendly they would also be people friendly. Children can play an important role in creating child friendly materials.

Nathalie Griesbeck, Vice-Chair of the EP Intergroup on Children’s Rights, added “We need to find ways to engage in real conversations with children and young people. We need to inform children and speak with them in a language they can understand. Children are equal citizens and an asset for Europe and the work we do in politics!”  

Promoting an MEP take-over day:  Several MEPs showed interest in participating in a take-over day, allowing a child to step into their shoes for a day. 

According to Jana ZitnanskaSuch an initiative should be two-way.  In our job it’s also important to take some distance from our work and step into the shoes of a child.  It would bring new perspectives and new energy.”  

Budgets: Allocating money to build participation mechanisms and child-friendly information; and in turn, informing children on how money is spent in order to participate in decision-making. 

Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Co-Chair of the EP Intergroup on Children’s Rights, concluded: “Communication and transparency are crucial to get closer to our children, our future leaders! The Intergroup on Children's Rights is fully committed to continue to make children’s voices heard and increase child participation in decision-making. Politics is all about improving life now and for our children.”

ENDS

Contact: 

Emilio Puccio, Coordinator, European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights

Email: emilio.puccio(at)ep.europa(dot)eu

Phone: +32 (0)2 48 57128

Website: www.childrightsmanifesto.eu 


Background: 

About the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights: 

The Intergroup on Children’s Rights represents the first formal body in the EP that will mainstream children’s rights and assess the impact of legislative and non-legislative work on children. It is a cross-party, a cross-national group of committed MEPs, who will work together with child-focused organisations to keep children’s rights on top of the EU agenda. The Intergroup’s work is based on the Child Rights Manifesto prepared by a coalition of child-focused organisations working towards the realisation of the EU’s legal and policy commitments to promote and protect children’s rights, and obligations set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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news-1486 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Joint statement: Civil rights and freedoms of children and youth http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/joint-statement-civil-rights-and-freedoms-of-children-and-youth/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b341c31bdea7ec19ba7e3afca6966d28 Eurochild supports joint statement on effective and transformative participation of children and youth in public decision making

Children and youth, whatever their age or gender, want to engage in changing their societies for the better, including by defending human rights. To ensure meaningful engagement of children of all ages in public decision-making, Child Rights Connect, of which Eurochild is a member, and other NGOs have written to the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights. 

Eurochild supports this joint statement to address the transformative “role of youth in public-decision-making” at the 1st UN Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law: “Widening the Democratic Space: the role of youth in public decision-making” taking place on 21-22 November in Geneva.

The joint statement calls for consideration of “children and youth” in today’s discussions as they are potentially overlapping categories and since transition from childhood to adulthood is a very personal process influenced by context and environment.

Eurochild is actively supporting processes and engaging decision-makers in creating enabling environments to ensure children engage directly with public decision-making. 

Read the Joint Statement here

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news-1485 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 International Children’s Day: Building the European Parliament with children, for children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/international-childrens-day-building-the-european-parliament-with-children-for-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=617cf0858234fd0c11eddc0459c545cc 15 children from over 9 EU countries to travel to Brussels to share their experiences of being child mayors, child councillors and other positions allowing them to engage in decisions that affect the lives of children. In advance of the International Children’s Day on 20 November, the European Parliament will discuss how children’s voices can be heard on issues that affect their lives, a right guaranteed to all children by the UN Convention on the Rights of Children. The symposium ‘With Children, For Children: From Ideas to Action’ organised by Eurochild and Universal Education Foundation on 17 November 2016 at European Parliament, ASP 5G305 from 11.30-12.30 hours. A photo opportunity will be organised at 12.15 hours.

15 children from over 9 EU countries will travel to Brussels to share their experiences of being child mayors, child councillors and other positions allowing them to engage in decisions that affect the lives of children.  

Hosted by Julie Ward MEP and the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights, the symposium will gather MEPs with the children to consider how the commitments made by over 100 MEPs under the Children’s Rights Manifesto can be turned into action. The Manifesto includes a pledge to “make proactive efforts to engage children in decision making, monitoring and evaluation through promoting their involvement within [their] constituency and in EU debates, and ensuring their access to relevant and age appropriate information.”

The participating children represent diverse countries and experiences. Sophie, 11 years, Netherlands, is the child mayor of Aalsmeer and has worked with refugee children on an action plan which she presented to the Mayor. Katja, 17 years, Croatia, is a child councillor in the child friendly city Opatija, where emphasis is put on listening to children’s voices in matters of concern to them. Ciril, 16 years, Slovenia was the President of the 25th National Children’s Parliament and has monitored how their work is implemented. Sharon, 12 years, Malta is actively blogging and speaking out via the President’s Foundation for Wellbeing of Society’s Child Council. David, 17 years, UK has been a board member on the ‘Child Friendly City’ Programme for Cardiff, Wales.

The children will also hold bilateral meetings with their European Parliamentarians throughout the day, following which they will give input to the development of Eurochild’s Internal Child participation strategy. 

To organise interviews with the children or the organisers, please contact:
Prerna Humpal, Head of Communications, Eurochild
T: +32 (0) 2 211 0553
E: prerna.humpal(at)eurochild(dot)org

 

 

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news-1470 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Malta hosts 2nd National Conference on Child Wellbeing: Access to Justice for Vulnerable Children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/malta-hosts-2nd-national-conference-on-child-wellbeing-access-to-justice-for-vulnerable-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=bbdb54f4993967fbfa6c4e0857a81707 This year the conference was focused on providing adequate and child friendly access to justice for vulnerable children.

The President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, Malta organised the second National Child Wellbeing Conference on 21- 22 October 2016. This year the conference focused on providing adequate and child friendly access to justice for vulnerable children. 

Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children and Regina Jensdottir, Head of the Child Rights Division of the Council Europe delivered keynote addresses, while Astrid Podsiadlowski, (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights), Danielle Douglas (International Foster Care Organisation) Norah Gibbons (Eurochild) and Maureen Cole (President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society) facilitated discussions and workshops on asylum seeking children, children in alternative care, juvenile justice and violence against children respectively. 

Throughout the conference the speakers highlighted the importance of having child friendly measures implemented within the judicial system. Several recommendations were made to improve and introduce legislative and participatory practices that can ease access to justice for vulnerable children.

The keynote speakers noted that if we are to address the situation of children we need to tackle the issue from its roots. It was pointed out that the justice system cannot be seen in isolation, rather a holistic approach is needed to make sure that children, especially vulnerable children are able to understand and actively participate in their judicial proceedings. 

No young person under the age of 18 should be interviewed without an adult present, be it a professional or a parent, in order to try reduce the exploitation which children can experience.” Norah Gibbons, President of Eurochild

There is a need for EU directives to be transposed into each member state’s laws in order for them to be utilised.” Astrid Podsiadlowski, EU Fundamental Rights Agency

“Positive role models can be missing for children in care. 70% of sex workers were in some form of alternative care in the UK. 44$ of girls and 30% of boys who were in care are arrested as adults.”- Danielle Douglas, Board member of International Foster Care Association

Her Excellency, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta, emphasised that, the recommendations made by the speakers and stakeholders during the workshops, should not be in vain and pledged that the appropriate measures and recommendations will be pushed for implementation. She closed the conference by reiterating her renewed commitment to putting the needs of vulnerable children first.  The proceedings of the conference will be published in the weeks to come.

Click here to visit the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society's website. 

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news-1469 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Together Young and Old (TOY) receives Lifelong Learning Award http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/together-young-and-old-toy-receives-lifelong-learning-award/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=f8f81c53084178a59deb9ff04dc931f6 International Child Development Initiatives (ICDI) had the honour of receiving the Lifelong Learning Award for the TOY project.

On 11 October in Brussels, International Child Development Initiatives (ICDI) ’s Margaret Kernan and Giulia Cortellesi had the honour of receiving the Lifelong Learning Award for the TOY project (Together Old and Young).  TOY was one of three initiatives recognized for their creativity, inclusivity and innovation in lifelong learning.

The Lifelong Learning Platform (LLL Platform) launched the Lifelong Learning Awards to celebrate creative and inclusive practices during its Lifelong Learning Week 2016. The aim of the Lifelong Learning Award is to give visibility to innovative practices taking place all over Europe in order to attract public attention on lifelong learning as well as to inspire new practices and policies.

TOY Position Paper published

We are living in a time when European cities are more culturally diverse than ever before. Many people, particularly those who are most vulnerable, are struggling to achieve a sense of belonging and find a good life for themselves.

TOY demonstrates that social engagement between generations is a key factor for the well-being of all. Intergenerational learning can make an important contribution to bridging the gap between different social groups in society.

Follow the link here to download the recently published TOY Position PaperHow should we live together? A spotlight on the benefits of contact between the youngest and the oldest citizens in our communities’ and find out how local authorities and policy-makers can contribute to make the difference.

Two new TOY initiatives soon to be launched

TOY-PLUS: Practitioners Learning and Upscaling Skills’, funded by the Erasmus Plus Dutch National Agency will kick off in November 2016.

TOY-PLUS is the natural follow-up of all the research and practice carried out during the past four years by TOY and its partners. We identified the lack of training opportunities and adequate knowledge of intergenerational learning principles among practitioners as a major gap to ensure the implementation of meaningful and quality intergenerational experiences between young children and older people.

With TOY-PLUS, we aim at closing this gap through the development of a free online professional development course (MOOC), which will be piloted in Italy, Ireland, UK, Spain and Slovenia.

Starting from Autumn 2018, the TOY-PLUS curriculum will be available to ECEC and social care practitioners from around the world!

To support municipalities in promoting intergenerational practice involving young children and older adults TOY-PLUS will also be developing a TOY Quality Stamp, which will set out clear standards with which to assess the quality of intergenerational initiatives involving young and old. 

The Partners are:

The Beth Johnson Foundation (UK) and Linking Generation Northern Ireland, Dublin Institute of Technology(Ireland), Developmental Research Center for Pedagogical Initiatives Step by Step – DRCPI SBS  (Slovenia), Azienda Speciale ReteSalute (Italy), Hellenic Open University (Greece), Municipality of Lleida (Spain).

The European Commission will also be funding the 2-year project titled ‘TOY for Inclusion: Community Based Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) for Roma Children‘, starting in January 2017.

This project will promote the active involvement of Romani and non-Romani communities in ECEC services, through the development of toy libraries and intergenerational learning (IGL) activities in 6 EU countries. Toy libraries are a successful approach to overcome segregation, provide access to quality non formal ECEC services that improve transition experience to formal education and build the capacity of parents.

IGL activities within toy libraries will involve different age groups, including young children and senior adults, learning together and learning from each other. IGL activities will challenge stereotypes and foster the values of solidarity, respect and acceptance of the ‘other’.

TOY for Inclusion is the result of the cooperation between International Child Development Initiatives – ICDI (NL), International Step-by-Step Association – ISSA (NL) and six members of the Romani Early Years Network – REYN:  Developmental Research Center for Pedagogical Initiatives Step by Step – DRCPI SBS (Slovenia), Open Academy Step by Step – OASS (Croatia), Centre for Education Initiatives – CEI (Latvia), Wide Open School – WOS (Slovakia), Centre for Innovation in the Early Years – VBJK (Belgium) and Partners Hungary.

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news-1468 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Solidarité Laïque raises concerns about unaccompanied children's safety in Calais http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/solidarite-laique-raises-concerns-about-unaccompanied-childrens-safety-in-calais/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=26a671dbcdea3c2b78b609291c0ca3c7 Solidarité Laïque asks French Government to consider vulnerable children's protection before proceeding with demolition of the refugee camp.

UPDATE_ Click here to read the updates on the third day of the Calais camp dismantling: ''Mineurs isolés pendant et après le démantèlement: quelle protection?''

On 24 October 2016, the French government begins dismantling the camp for refugees and migrants in Calais, in north France. Our French member Solidarité Laïque has raised serious concerns about the safety of unaccompanied children.

There are an estimated 1300 unaccompanied children in the Calais camp.

The planned method for dismantling means that children will be dispersed without any control or follow up or consideration of their rights. We remind French and EU governments to protect the rights of all children on the move, and especially those who are unaccompanied.

Read here the letter to the French ministers (in French).

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news-1466 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Alternative care conference gathered major stakeholders in the field http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/alternative-care-conference-gathered-major-stakeholders-in-the-field/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=2869f3b3faac272c864404be6d752251 Geneva has been the place to be last week for those working on alternative care: it provided a space for sharing good practices, discussing challenges and the way forward in many countries across the globe.

14 October 2016 - The International Alternative Care Conference held on 3-5 October in Geneva gathered all major stakeholders in the field including young care leavers, high representatives of EU and UN bodies and civil society. 

The three day event was an opportunity to connect and share practices on many aspects related to alternative care such as poverty, disability, prevention services, immigration and many others.  “Today 50% of children in care have a disability” said Ana Pelaez Narvaez of the UN Committee on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD), they are the most vulnerable to violence and abuse, she added.

Katerina Nanou of Eurochild attended the event with several Eurochild members and National Coordinators of the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign. Among them, the Family, Child, Youth Association (Hungary), the National Network for Children (NNC) Bulgaria, SOS Children’s Villages International (EU office), FICE International and Hope and Homes for Children (HHC). Several of them intervened stressing the importance of investing in children and families to prevent placing children into care. 

Poverty is still a main reason for family separation and for that we shouldn’t blame parents”, said Maria Herczog, President of the Family, Child, Youth Association, “governments should act in order to prevent children’s separation”. 

The need for a systemic change in many countries was also highlighted. “Deinstitutionalisation (DI) is not only about closing institutions, but also about changing minds” said Dani Koleva, Policy Director of NNC Bulgaria.  “The risk is settling for cosmetic changes instead of securing systemic transformation of care systems”, added Delia Pop, Director of Programmes and Global Advocacy at HHC. 

During the conference, young care leavers had the chance to intervene. Self-advocate Mihaela stated that if a child receives appropriate care there is nothing he/she cannot do and she asked for more children to participate at the Conference next year. Akmal a young care leaver, stated that preparation to leave care needs to be considered at the start of the process and not at the end.  

In general, child participation was perceived as being an important component of alternative care. “We need to start working with children and not for children” stated Mr Jean Zermatten, former UNCRC chair. 

Find all the presentations of the Conference here.

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news-1465 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Making Budgets work for Girls http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/making-budgets-work-for-girls/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=801b54e75d9e1b7e703d4bc8285eac53 On the occasion of the European week of action for girls, Eurochild supported the launch of the UN General Comment on public budgeting with Save the Children and Plan International, in partnership with UNICEF.

The event “Add It Up: Making Budgets Work For Girls” helped launch the newly published UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s General Comment n. 19 (GC) on public budgeting for the realisation of children’s rights. The discussion focused on presenting the new General Comment, explaining the drafting process and the involvement of children, and raising awareness on the importance of putting investing in children, particularly girls, in the political agenda.

George Bogdanov, member of Eurochild’s Management Board and Executive Director of the National Network for Children (Bulgaria), opened the event and recalled children’s vision from the Eurochild 2016 Conference Declaration: “children and young people should have access to information on how money is allocated and spent.” Mr. Bogdanov presented a video on the main provisions introduced by the GC. 

Anna Schnell, consultant for the UNCRC, explained the consultation process. Ms. Schell highlighted the key role played by children all over the world: 2.693 children in 71 different countries were consulted, and made sure that the GC did not just take into consideration boys and girls, but all children, including LGBT children. Thanks to their contribution, the GC now refers to “all persons of any gender under the age of 18 whose rights are or can be directly or indirectly, positively or negatively, affected by public budget-related decisions.” 

Eileen Gonnord, European External Action Service (EEAS), linked the new GC with the need to promote human rights, and in particular children’s rights, at all levels and stated that: “The 2030 Agenda implies that there is now a stronger obligation on States to invest in children.” Along these lines, Verena Knaus, Senior Policy Advisor at UNICEF, underlined how “investing in children is not optional, it is an obligation.” According to Ms. Knaus, the EU budget is not child-responsive, as it needs to become more “transparent, understandable and easily accessible”, and improvements are necessary for the EU to be able to track how it “delivers for children and girls.”

Bob L. Muchabaiwa, Save the Children, highlighted the importance of using tools such as the GC to “make budgeting work for girls”: while policy commitments are necessary, a bridge needs to be built between theory and practice. New instruments need to be introduced, such as gender equality markers, bottleneck analysis, and gendered child rights impact assessments to assess the extent to which budgets are responding to girls’ needs.  

Viviane Teitelbaum, Member of the Parliament of the Brussels Region, explained how the Ixelles commune in Brussels has successfully adopted a Gender Sensitive Budget (GSB), which she defined as “a tool to start reflecting on public policies and reach equality.” Ms. Teitelbaum underlined that “a GSB is not a separate budget for women, it integrates considerations on equality between genders, and represents the establishment of new priorities rather than an increase in overall spending.”

The discussion highlighted the availability of theoretical and technical tools and knowledge to implement child and gender sensitive budgeting; what is still lacking is the political will to turn theory into practice. Official commitments from decision makers are necessary; governments and other relevant stakeholders should be encouraged to invest in children, and States should be required to report on their progress by demonstrating how public budgeting impacts on girls and boys. 

Policy commitments to children, and to girls in particular, will remain empty promises unless concrete steps are taken to mobilise public resources, to ensure their effective utilisation through transparent and easily accessible budgets, and to promote children’s participation in public budgeting. 

Read the Eurochild reaction to the UN General Comment n. 19 on public budgeting here

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news-1463 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 A new European Pillar of Social Rights: Chances for Children? Recommendations from Dutch NGOs http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/a-new-european-pillar-of-social-rights-chances-for-children-recommendations-from-dutch-ngos/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=3d2ec345da93b8e4165c277c6b47c202 Eurochild's member Defence for Children from the Netherlands together with Save the Children presented 4 recommendations for the European Pillar of Social Rights to the Dutch government and the European Commission.

Give Children a Voice in Combating Poverty

Den Hague, 11 October 2016

On 11 October, at an expert meeting in Den Hague, Eurochild member Defence for Children the Netherlands together with Save the Children presented four concrete recommendations for the European Pillar of Social Rights to the Dutch government and the European Commission.

These recommendations have to improve the situation of children in poor families and ensure that they are not a disadvantage from other children. The recommendations have been given to the Secretary of State for Social Affairs and Employment Jetta Klijnsma and a representative from the European Commission, DG Employment, Egbert Holthuis.

Jetta Klijnsma reacted: "I am pleased that Save the Children and Defence for Children are presenting these recommendations, because no child deserves to be standing on the side-lines. The extra 100 million Euros, which this government has structurally earmarked for combating child poverty, may reach more children. Every year again.”  She also stated that combating child poverty needs to happen across Europe and in this respect referred to the addendum to the European Council Conclusion on combating poverty, which was added at the initiative of the Dutch EU Presidency.

At the expert meeting the European Pillar of Social Rights was presented by the European Commission. They explained that a ‘road show’ across Europe is organised to consult social partners, NGOs, service providers and local governments to provide input to the European Pillar of Social Rights.  After the presentation on the European Social Pillar different experts provided their views, including a human rights lawyer, who supports children and their families which have to live far below the minimum income level. She pleaded that the Dutch government should give up their reservation to Article 26 (social security) UNCRC.

In addition, two young people who participate in a project ‘Building bridges’ from the city of Utrecht, shared the work they do in establishing a dialogue between young people experiencing poverty and policy makers of the city. Dutch MP Sadet Karabulet stated that children experiencing poverty are bad for future economic development and should be combatted by changing laws and regulations ensuring that the best interests of the child should prevail. 

The four Recommendations for the European Social Pillar are:

1. Strengthen the voice of children

Every child in Europe has the right to be heard and to talk about decisions that affect their lives. There is an important task for the European Commission to investigate how the participation of children can become a structural part of the Pillar of Social Rights.

2. Guarantee access to social security for children 

The Netherlands is the only country in the world that has made a reservation to Article 26 UNCRC and in this way Dutch children have no independent access to social security, but only via their parents. DCI and Save the Children call on the government to withdraw this reservation. The Pillar of Social Rights has the potential to improve access for children to social security – whatever the system of social security, each Member State should guarantee the rights of children.

3. A European pillar of social rights for All children

It is important to pay special attention to children in vulnerable situations, such as refugee children, children in care, children with a disability. They need to be provided with special protection in the European Pillar of social rights.

4. Structurally invest in children

The Dutch government takes combating poverty seriously and has recently earmarked structurally 100 million Euros to combat poverty. But extra finances are not a guarantee to combat poverty among children. It is important for children to know which rights they have and which measures are available for them. In this respect the General Comment 19 on Public Budgeting for Children’s Rights needs to be implemented by the Dutch government and it should also be followed-up by the European Pillar of Social Rights.

You can find the full text of the recommendations in Dutch here.

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news-1461 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Brexit: European Scrutiny Committee response and consultation http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/brexit-european-scrutiny-committee-response-and-consultation/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=9897374bebfee8b9d1263a3a594ecca5 Together and Children's Rights Alliance for England publish paper to urge European Scrutiny Committee to consider rights of children and young people after Brexit.

Together made a submission in partnership with the Children's Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) to urge the Committee to place a particular focus on considering the rights of children and young people.

The European Scrutiny Committee at Westminster examines European Union (EU) documents and reports those it considers of legal or political importance to the House to Commons. The Committee recently called for submissions to inform its considerations as to how its scrutiny role should adapt to Brexit.

Together made a submission in partnership with the Children's Rights Alliance for England to urge the Committee to place a particular focus on considering the rights of children and young people. We urged the European Scrutiny Committee hold the UK Government to account in ensuring that all decisions made around the UK's future relationship with the EU are assessed for their impact on children and young people and are informed by their views. 

Furthermore, Together stressed the importance of ensuring children and young people across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are engaged in the process at all stages - this is especially important given that 16 and 17-year-olds were denied a vote in the referendum and that the overall vote for the UK to leave the EU went against the views of the majority of children and young people. The Committee must ensure scrutiny of the impact that Brexit will have on the lives of all children and young people for years to come.

Click here to read the publication. 

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news-1457 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 SDG Watch Europe launch - civil society groups join forces for sustainable future http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/sdg-watch-europe-launch-civil-society-groups-join-forces-for-sustainable-future/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=142603508b014c7b50dfe34c7998e9dc Eurochild takes part in coalition to ensure Member States now live up to their commitments

Seventy-five diverse civil society organisations have today joined forces to formally launch SDG Watch Europe. Eurochild joins this broad coalition to ensure that the European Union and its Member States live up to their commitments, made when signing the Agenda 2030 agreement in New York last September, to enable a sustainable future at home and abroad.

A year ago, governments across the world agreed on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that calls for a bold transformation in policy. Its 17 ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are aimed at ensuring that decisions by governments contribute to a more sustainable, inclusive and equal future for all by 2030.  

Children and young people equally support the vision of these goals. This summer, children and young people who gathered at the Eurochild conference, demanded action in their declaration

“We want adults to care about our future: How will they leave the world for future generations? We want to grow up in a world with clean air and water, quality education and health available to everyone, where families live in peace, in sustainable ‘child friendly cities’ and parents have decent work. We want a world where responsible consumption and production is encouraged.”

The European Union, as a signatory to the SDGs, has an important role to play in making the Agenda 2030 a reality. That is why the SDG Watch coalition will push the EU to keep its promises for a better tomorrow.

The SDG Watch Coalition demands the EU to develop a strong and coherent strategy that includes an implementation plan for achieving all of the SDGs. We need to tackle the root causes of the problems we face and not just the symptoms.

To ensure that this is the case, SDG Watch is calling for civil society to be included as active partners in the entire SDG process, from planning to implementation and monitoring. Civil society has a vital role to play, bringing experience, expertise and representation to the table.

Together we can bring about fair, inclusive, open and sustainable development for all by 2030.

For more information

Please visit www.sdgwatcheurope.org

On Twitter: @SDGWatchEurope

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news-1456 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 The Wall: ENGSO Youth launches online platform for young sport writers http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/the-wall-engso-youth-launches-online-platform-for-young-sport-writers/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=a6860548d00521d1b49d8c09e67a8a86 ENGSO Youth invites children and young people to write articles related to youth and sports.

The articles will be published online on a new interactive platform called The Wall.
The Wall is designed '' for young leaders, inspirational activists, workers and game-changers to raise their voices'' and have their say.

Articles can vary from opinion pieces, projects, campaigns, to events and research outcomes and will be also shared on Twitter with the hashtag #youthrealsay

Eurochild's member ENGSO Youth is the European youth sport organisation, the autonomous youth organisation of the European Non-Governmental Sports Organisation based in Serbia. The organisation focuses on the youth sport-for-all sector in Europe and represents young Europeans under the age of 35 in sports in 34 countries.

The Wall can be found on the organisation's website here.

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news-1454 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Maltese EU Presidency: seeking leadership on children's rights http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/maltese-eu-presidency-seeking-leadership-on-childrens-rights/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=50239587b171de3d798fede7b29e7bcc Eurochild recommends the Maltese EU Presidency to ensure public budgets reflect the commitment to invest in children

Eurochild, a children's rights network that puts children at the heart of European policymaking, demands the Maltese government to be a children's rights champion during its 6-months presidency of the Council of the European Union. A set of recommendations offer concrete ways for the Maltese EU Presidency to put investing in children and their rights on the EU agenda.

Malta is setting an example by prioritizing foster care as an alternative to residential care and investing in community level services. We also welcome the increased investment in early childhood education and care and their emphasis on improving inclusive education. At its highest political level, Malta is saying investing in children is important. It's a message we'd like others in the EU community to hear”, says Jana Hainsworth, Eurochild Secretary General (pictured on the right).

Children in Europe face numerous challenges, including high levels of poverty, affecting over one in four children in the EU; poverty negatively impacts children's health, education and ultimately employment opportunities. It is very often passed from one generation to the next. Eurochild is also worried about the numbers of children at risk and in the care system. Too often families are not getting the support they need to care for their children. And public and private money is still going to sustaining outdated institutional care, wholly unsuited to offering the necessary individualised care.

"The Ministry is eager to discuss how to decrease poverty and social exclusion in children by making work pay whilst alleviating families from generational poverty", responded Michael Farrugia, Maltese Minister for the Family and Social Solidarity (pictured on the left).

The European agenda over the course of the Maltese EU presidency offers opportunities to showcase how investing in children is a win for all of society. A new initiative for a European pillar of social rights can help improve social protection systems; Eurochild recommends a binding social benchmark on investment in high quality early childhood education and care as part of the European Semester process, and efforts to strengthen inclusive civil dialogue which promotes child participation.

The President's Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, Malta: “We look forward to the voices of children and young people being given their full dignity, as part of an inclusive and participatory Europe, during the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union.”

A review of the European Commission's 2013 Recommendation on Investing in Children is expected to be begin soon; Eurochild recommends the Maltese EU Presidency to ensure public budgets reflect the commitment to invest in children through clear allocation of resources to children, as explained in the UN General Comment 19 on ‘Public budgeting for the realisation of children's rights'.

Read the recommendations to the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union here.

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news-1451 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Meeting #1 Council of Europe Child Rights Committee kicks off with high energy http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/meeting-1-council-of-europe-child-rights-committee-kicks-off-with-high-energy/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=21e3e582cb331fb3d087b5cc103247e3 Eurochild reports back: The evaluation of the conference launch of the Child Rights Strategy showed that the child and young speakers were rated as the best.

30 September 2016

The Council of Europe hosted its first meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Rights of the Child (CAHENF) on 28-29 September in Strasbourg with participants from 37 Member States, as well as Marta Santos Pais, UN Special Representative on Violence against Children, and Maud de Boer de Buiquiero, UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and various international INGOs and NGO, including Eurochild. Two working groups, including the opportunity for the involvement of civil society will be established to work on realising rights of children seeking asylum, and protecting children in the digital environment. Greater participation of children in the different working groups and committees is also expected. 

CAHENF is set up by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers to support the implementation of the new Strategy on Children’s Rights (2016-2021). Deputy Secretary-General Ms Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni mentioned that the previous child rights strategies have mainstreamed children’s rights throughout the organisation and has driven changes in different aspects of children’s rights, including children’s participation, violence and health care. 

The Member States shared their three key achievements of the past half year and current key challenges for children’s rights. These will be shared next week. 

The evaluation of the conference launch of the Child Rights Strategy showed that the child and young speakers were rated as the best. The Member State delegates all appreciated the participation of children and young people and agreed that this should be continued in the activities and work of the Council of Europe. 

Eurochild and National Network for Children, Bulgaria were thanked for the organisation of the involvement of children and young people. It was the first time that children and young people were given the space to offer their own input and decide how they wanted to report back on the different working sessions – which worked out very well. Mieke Schuurman represented Eurochild and presented what it means to do meaningful children’s participation by sharing practical experiences, including the organisation of its conference in July 2016 with and for children, which was warmly received by the delegates. 

Certain key issues raised around children’s participation by the Member State representatives included the selection process of children, the need to involve children in vulnerable situations and language barriers. Two rapporteurs were appointed from Bulgaria and Iceland with the task to develop proposals for CAHENF on child participation and to ensure children’s participation will be integrated in the other CAHENF working groups (refugees and digital environment) and committees. 

The Council of Europe is providing accessible information through its child-friendly webpages in the different languages of the Council of Europe and with a child-friendly version of the Strategy on the Rights of the Child.

The meeting focused on two themes: migration and refugees, and the digital environment

ASYLUM-SEEKING CHILDREN

Tomáš Boček: ‘If we fail to act now, we will be held accountable by future generations.’ Marta Santos Pais: ‘There is no second chance for these children’.  

Civil society will be invited to join a working group (CAHENF – Safeguards) to support and give input to the Action Plan on unaccompanied and other children affected by the migration and refugee crisis. The key issues to be discussed by CAHENF in relation to the refugee crisis are guardianship of children, age assessment and the need to end detention of asylum seeking children. The Action Plan is aimed to be ready for adoption by the Committee of Ministers by the end of 2017.

DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT

The theme of the digital environment was discussed on the basis of a presentation of a background paper ‘Policy guidance on empowering, protecting and supporting children in the digital environment’, which made clear links with the UNCRC. 

A drafting committee will be formed to develop Guidelines on children’s right in the digital environment to which children and civil society can also contribute and a CAHENF working group on digital education (CAHENF – IT) will be set up.  

The Ad Hoc Committee will next meet on 29-30 March 2017 (TBC) in Strasbourg. Eurochild aims to actively support the implementation of the new Strategy on the Rights of the Child and engage its members to ensure policies reflect the challenges on the ground. 

For more information on Eurochild’s work with the Council of Europe, please contact Mieke Schuurman

More reading

Read the report on children’s participation at the Launch of the Council of Europe Strategy on the Rights of the Child held in Sofia earlier this year

Read the Council of Europe Strategy on the Rights of the Child in a nutshell here

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news-1450 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 How to protect our children in a digital environment? http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/how-to-protect-our-children-in-a-digital-environment/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=53a4393ebfb585352726c1eaf78ca3c2 Eurochild joins iCmedia discussion at the European Parliament on children protection in the new Audiovisual Media Services Directive.

On Tuesday 27 September 2016, Eurochild member iCmedia, Federation of  Consumers and Media Users Association, held a discussion at the European Parliament on protecting children in a digital environment. The discussion focused on the proposals to amend the Audiovisual Media Services Directive and on what could be done to ensure television and online media aggregators and on demand services have the same level of protection for children. 

The proposals include the application of stricter measures on new online services which are widely used by young people nowadays, even more than TV in many cases, and combats harmful content and advertisement of alcohol and foods and drinks high in fat and sugar

MEP Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, co-chair of the Intergroup on Children’s Rights, opened the event and said that while ''media should empower children, responsibility for the content should be shared with the industry’’. 

Emma Grindulis, Eurochild’s Advocacy and Parliamentary Officer, stated that a collective effort by teachers, governments, policy makers, IT providers and parents is needed to ''support children to keep themselves safe with stricter measures to prevent harm’’. She also added that another important step towards protection of children would be ''ensuring that all children could benefit from participating in the digital society in a way which promotes their rights’’.

Emma Grindulis echoed children’s vision from the Eurochild Conference Declaration''A Europe where every child knows exactly where to go to in order to get help in any matter, such as sexual health clinics or helplines. Where children have experiences so that they can learn how to keep themselves safe and to develop the competencies that they need to become effective citizens in a digital world.’’

M.S Schmalzried, Policy officer of COFACE-Families Europe, underlined the importance of teaching children not just technical skills, but also connected skills such as sexual education, empathy and social education in order to avoid children being passive victims of harmful online content. Schmalzried also addressed the problem of new forms of marketing and advertisement, such as videos and content generated by users who became ambassadors of products.  Online users such as bloggers often talk about products they like and create content that sometimes is not even controlled by the companies but that will a beneficial word of mouth advertisement.  

J.L. Colás, President of iCmedia affirmed that ''an informed citizen becomes also a protected one’’. Therefore, we need the maximum level of security, protection and education for children when they are using new and old media. M.de Cock Buning, Chair at the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual media (ERGA) stressed the importance of applying the same protection in all European Member States, since ''Internet does not stop at national borders’’. 

The digital environment is rapidly changing and all participants shared the concern on how regulation could keep pace with it. The Directive, in fact, if on the one end embeds strictest rules on content, is more flexible and gives more freedom to ''traditional’’ broadcasted media (as stated by several stakeholders in the public consultation report). 

Separately, Eurochild signed a joint call by 39 civil society actors for protection of children and young people from aggressive marketing of products that may be harmful to health and well-being. 

Click here to watch the video summary of the event including short interviews to the panel speakers.

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news-1448 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 A call to free Europe’s youth from health-harmful marketing http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/a-call-to-free-europes-youth-from-health-harmful-marketing/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=02adf66a1af01e4018fc0f69a7236d3d Today, nearly 40 childrens’ rights, family, consumer, public health, alcohol control, and medical organisations launched a joint call to Members of the European Parliament for ambitious action to free Europe’s children, youth and parents from aggressive marketing of products harmful to health and future well-being. Brussels, 27 September 2016. Today, nearly 40 childrens’ rights, family, consumer, public health, alcohol control, and medical organisations launched a joint call to Members of the European Parliament for ambitious action to free Europe’s children, youth and parents from aggressive marketing of products harmful to health and future well-being.

Europe is facing a childhood obesity epidemic and youth drinking is causing major harm. Health problems starting in childhood often last a lifetime. The links between advertising and increased consumption are well-established, but European children and youth are still constantly bombarded by manipulative marketing and promotion across all media.

Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild: “Children are less likely to differentiate between programming and advertisement. So, self-regulation or encryption is not enough to protect children’s right to health and all other rights enshrined in the UN Convention on Children’s Rights. Revision of the EU directive on audio-visual media services must consider best interests of the child and children’s own experiences to enable them to safely access information, use digital technology and be active citizens.”

The declaration demands that strong, effective measures are put in place to minimise young people’s exposure to health-harmful marketing; to prohibit product placement and sponsorship by alcohol producers and foods high in fat, sugar and salt; and to ensure that Member States can effectively limit broadcasts from other countries on public health grounds.

Mariann Skar, Secretary General, European Alcohol Policy Alliance: “Exposure to alcohol advertising increases the likelihood that young people will start drinking at an earlier age, and to drink more if they already consume alcohol. We are not proposing a ban but moderate changes that would allow children to grow up free from alcohol marketing”

The statement follows the European Parliament hearing on the revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), which is the opportunity to address the marketing of unhealthy food and alcohol at European scale.

Nina Renshaw, Secretary General, European Public Health Alliance: “This is not about telling people what to eat, nor telling parents what to feed their children, but rather freeing our kids from the pressures of marketing and promotion. Today the unhealthiest options are constantly put right in front of kids via the programmes they’re most likely to be watching – not just cartoons but football matches, singing contests and reality shows. Any parent knows too well the persuasive power of kids exposed to these ads, and how difficult it makes it to go for healthier choices.”

Susanne Løgstrup, Director European Heart Network: “Since the beginning of this millennium, it is well established that marketing to children affects their eating behaviour. Whilst marketing of foods high in salt, fat and sugar is not the only influencer, it is an important one and this is why the World Health Organization is calling on governments to adopt strong measures to reduce the impact on children and adults of all forms of marketing.  We believe that the European Parliament now has the perfect opportunity to act on that call.”

Statement by European Academy of Paediatrics: "Health promotion initiatives should focus not only on limiting exposure to messages inciting substance abuse and unhealthy diets but also on problematic cell phone use which is closely related to this risky behaviors. Intervention strategies in early adolescence should also cover schools in order to assist families in reducing or eliminating the development of dangerous attitudes."

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news-1447 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 ''Children and parents have the right to informed participation in all decisions involving their health care'' - Hester Rippen http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/children-and-parents-have-the-right-to-informed-participation-in-all-decisions-involving-their-hea/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=92a6af04ac4e28be65e4b08181e1e944 Member Spotlight: Interview with Hester Rippen, Vice-coordinator of EACH - The European Association for Children in Hospital.

Hester Rippen, director of Stichting Kind en Ziekenhuis and vice-coordinator of EACH, a Eurochild member, explains the importance of paediatric trainings and the challenges children in hospital face everyday in Europe. 

Could you tell us what EACH (The European Association for Children in Hospital) does to protect and promote the rights of children in hospitals?

Until the 80s, parents were allowed to visit their children in hospital for only a few hours and were separated from them for the rest of the time. Back then, even small procedures took a long time, so children had to spend many days in hospitals. For this reason, parents and parent organisations started sharing information and in 1988 in Leiden, Netherlands, they united and created the EACH charter (European Association for Children in Hospital). 

It’s made of 10 points simply stating what is important for a child in hospital and other health services.  The first article says that, unless it’s necessary, a child could be cared for outside a hospital, at home or in day care. Parents should also be present all the time

What we do at EACH is promoting the charter and making sure hospitals, other health services, organisations and governments implement it. We need to raise the awareness of these issues among health care providers, politicians, paediatric doctors.

What is the biggest success EACH and its members have achieved since its foundation? 

In the Netherlands we created a Quality Mark based on the Charter together with extra criteria and we check how child and family centred healthcare organisations are and help them move in the right direction. 95% of all the hospitals in the Netherlands applied and received a quality certificate from us. Resulting, among other things, in rooming in for parents in all hospitals free of charge. In Italy the charter even got into the law.

In the rest of Europe the situation is different. In Austria, parents still have to pay to sleep in the room with their child, in Czech Republic only a few hospitals are really child-friendly and parents are rarely allowed to stay.  

The main focus should be respecting the fact that a child is different. Children should be treated in a different way in hospitals. A child is not a small adult. You need to take into consideration their age and the fact that their development is different, otherwise it will cause traumas

What are the difficulties that children and families usually face? 

First of all, if you treat a child, you should consider also their siblings and family members. You should include everybody.  You should communicate with the child in a manner appropriate to their age and understanding and avoid talking only to the parents (article 4 of the Charter). Treating a child takes more time because you need to prepare both the children and the family

Moreover, children and parents have different needs and opinions on what is happening and what should happen.  Paediatric nurses and doctors are trained for this, but in many European countries this is not considered important and there’s a lack of doctors and nurses trained for paediatrics in hospitals. 

Children also want to play, study and grow, so for chronic cases you need to allow them to develop. In the Netherlands the time children spend in hospitals is less and less. For example, if you’re in schools, paediatric nurses could come and treat children so they won’t skip classes. 

Play specialists are professionals that help children with these issues. They prepare children and families to face hospitalisation and help the children to be a child at the hospital. They should be present in every health care organisation. 

Another issue is the fact that medicines are tested on adults and as we said children are not small adults, they are anatomically and physiologically different. It’s dangerous. This is why we try to talk to the European Commission’s Directorate responsible for Health in Brussels and other departments because children have their own rights and needs. Within the healthcare systems across Europe these rights and needs are not yet taken enough into consideration.

Do you think there is a general improvement in children’s health or in the way the charter is applied nowadays? 

We’ve made a huge improvement, of course not in every country, but it is easier now to get people to listen to you and the EACH charter is known and applied in different situations. When we started parents did not have a voice and children were ignored. We’re really proud of the results we reached: educational programmes in hospitals, parents allowed to stay with their hospitalised children, parents may now also be present at all times including procedures (outside of operating room), awareness in governments, separated wards for children, but we’re not there yet! In all countries there is still need for improvement. In most countries more than in others. It should be even better! Children are the future.

Are the difficulties that children face every day different from the ones faced by refugees and especially unaccompanied children?

We have seen that on paper children can get the same healthcare, but in reality they are moved around over and over again, they do not have their files with them, so they cannot receive the right treatments and have to restart from scratch every time in different hospitals. As a refugee child you should have the same access to healthcare than a child who was born in that country. 

These children also have a psychological burden with them; they have suffered. Refugee children do not need only vaccinations and other treatments, but also stability to allow them to have a good education, health and development. We just released a resolution to emphasize the importance of the continuity of care of refugee children. 

What can governments do to better provide healthcare to refugee children?

They can make sure that the enforced relocation of refugee/asylum seeking families with a sick child is avoided in order to provide continuity of care and avoid separation from parents. It also applies to children under the age of 18 who have arrived unaccompanied, and also to those who have a trusted carer(s).

They can make sure that all health care professionals are informed by their own national health system of the specific practice in place for children who are refugees/asylum seekers. In turn this practice should be explained to these children and their parents / carers. 

They can make sure that sick children and their health records are systematically traceable within and across countries. They can make sure that extra efforts are made to communicate with refugees/asylum seekers in a clear, understandable way (by oral and written translation) in a manner appropriate to age and understanding. 

At the Eurochild Conference we asked participants what they would do if they were prime ministers of their country. What would you do to promote the rights of children and parents in hospitals and other health care services?

We always say: ‘don’t talk about us without us’, but it’s difficult to achieve, so the first thing would be getting involved with parents, parent organisations and children. It’s ridiculous how we make decisions that affects children, while they could bring so much to the table.  So as prime minister I would implement a law making it mandatory to involve the child’s perspective in all policies and laws because children are not small adults.  

Are there projects or calls that might be interesting and relevant to any of our members willing to cooperate with you? 

We have just translated to English our summary of the Dutch report ‘’ Paediatric Care System: health care for sick children outside a hospital. New health care system in the Netherlands starting in 2016 ‘’. The report describes a system where the ill child and the surrounding family are given a central place at all times and where at the same time the viewpoint ‘having a right to health care’ is replaced by the principle ‘care if needed where needed’. 

But foremost as a group across countries we can achieve more. The bigger the group the more we can accomplish. We are looking for new members in France, Spain, Denmark, Norway and most countries in Eastern Europe. Please look at our website and our EACH Charter with it recently updated annotations and apply. We can help implementing child and family centred care in health care with the knowledge from all our current members. 

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news-1446 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 UN Committee adopts General Comment on Public budgeting http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/un-committee-adopts-general-comment-on-public-budgeting/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=45ac607035926924376a32bb80bb968e Eurochild welcomes the adoption of the General Comment as a crucial document to implement children's rights.

‘The Committee reiterates that prioritizing children's rights in budgets, at both national and subnational levels, as required by the Convention, contributes not only to realizing those rights, but also to long-lasting positive impacts on future economic growth, sustainable and inclusive development, and social cohesion.' General Comment on public budgeting for the realization of children's rights, paragraph 12.

Eurochild, as part of the Child Rights Connect Working Group on Investment in Children[1] welcomes the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) General Comment on ‘Public budgeting for the realization of children's rights '[2] as a crucial document to assist States to accelerate implementation of all children's rights as stipulated in the UNCRC and its Optional Protocols.

The realization of children's rights entails costs. Unless States ensure sufficient resource mobilization, equitable budget allocation and effective spending, child rights related laws and policies will remain empty promises. Resources are required for all children to access education and learn, access quality universal health coverage and adequate food and nutrition, benefit from child-sensitive social protection and be protected from all forms of violence and exploitation. Public budget allocation and spending are the most sustainable ways through which quality services to children can be delivered and all their rights realized.

With the adoption of the General Comment, States will now have access to detailed guidance on how to implement UNCRC Article 4 and utilize public budgets to realize all children's rights, including the rights of the most excluded groups of children. It emphasizes that States may not discriminate against any child or category of children through resource mobilization, allocation or execution of public funds. In their budgetary decisions, States should consider all factors required for children of different ages to survive, grow and develop. The best interest of the child should be a primary consideration throughout the budgetary process.

The Working Group on Investment in Children also welcomes the General Comment recommendation that ‘States parties should regularly hear children's views on budget decisions that affect them, through mechanisms for the meaningful participation of children at the national and sub-national levels'. The UNCRC provides children with the right to participate in budgetary and other fiscal processes. Consultations with almost 2,700 children also confirmed that children want to participate in decision-making about government expenditure. They are convinced that their insights will help states to make better decisions.[3]

The General Comment will also help States deliver on commitments made to investment in children in the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development[4], the Addis Ababa Action Agenda[5], the UN Human Rights Council Resolution on ‘Towards better investment in the rights of the child'[6] and the European Commission Recommendation on ‘Investing in Children'[7].

For further information about the Child Rights Connect Working Group on Investment in Children, please contact Marcelo Ventos (mventos(at)ipru.edu(dot)uy) or Ulrika Cilliers (usc(at)redbarnet(dot)dk).

Watch the video explaining the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child General Comment No.19 on public budgeting for the realization of children’s rights.

___________________________

[1] African Child Policy Forum, Child Rights Coalition Asia, Child Rights Connect, Defence for Children International, Eurochild, International Baby Food Action Network, Plan International, Redlamyc, Save the Children, Terre des Hommes International Federation and UNICEF

[2] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 19 (2016) on public budgeting for the realization of children's rights (art. 4), tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx

[3] Centre for Children's Rights (2015), Towards Better Investment in the Rights of the Child: The Views of the Children, www.childrightsconnect.org/govtspendingsurvey/

[4] Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, paragraph 8, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld

[5] Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, paragraph 7, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/frameworks/addisababaactionagenda

[6] HRC resolution 28/19 on ‘Towards better investment in the rights of the child, ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx

[7] Investing in Children: Breaking the cycle of disadvantage,

ec.europa.eu/justice/fundamental-rights/files/c_2013_778_en.pdf

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news-1445 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 How the European Commission can make a European Pillar of Social Rights fit for children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/how-the-european-commission-can-make-a-european-pillar-of-social-rights-fit-for-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=2c89ba677ee4affd34fd90b2707d72d0 Eurochild joins statement by members of Alliance for Investing in Children with recommendations on how the Pillar of Social Rights could eradicate child poverty and promote children’s well-being.

Please find below a statement from members of the Alliance for Investing in Children with recommendations to inform considerations by the EMPL Committee of the draft report of Maria João Rodrigues (S&D, PT) on A European Pillar of Social Rights, and the exchange of views with Allan Larsson on Monday 26th September.

The EU Alliance for Investing in Children welcomes the European Commission’s proposal for a European Pillar of Social Rights, and its aspiration to achieve a “social triple-A rating” by re-balancing the EU’s existing prioritisation of financial and economic concerns with social issues.

We recognise that this new social rights initiative has the potential to help eradicate child poverty and promote children’s well-being, and could be crucial to help us build a Europe we wish to leave for our children, who represent one fifth of the current EU population.

The European Parliament Written Declaration on Investing in Children (2015), adopted with 428 signatures, gives a strong signal on the need to protect children and their families from deficit reduction measures. More than one in four children continue to be at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU and this number is rising, along with the impact on our society and economy.[i] Social rights on paper will not be enough to reverse this trend: Strong policies and enforceable measures are necessary to make the Written Declaration a reality for all children in Europe.

The Alliance for Investing in Children calls for the European Commission to recognise and act on the importance of sound social policies and social protection systems for protecting, promoting and fulfilling children’s rights, as set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which is ratified by all EU Member States, and in the Recommendation for Investing in Children.

Key recommendations

  • Mainstream children’s rights

Each chapter of the Pillar of Social Rights should reinforce and build on the existing principles outlined in the European Commission Recommendation on Investing in Children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage.

The needs of children should be addressed through calling for inclusive education systems across the lifecycle and at all levels, including after-school care, home schooling and formal education. Affordable, high-quality pre-natal and early years’ provisions needs to be integrated with supportive employment policies and community-based parenting and family support services which help parents combine work with parental responsibilities, [ii] as well as adequate income support and quality social protection.

Children are affected across all levels and fields of policy-making and will be impacted upon in the implementation of each of the domains included in the draft proposals. As such, we stress the importance for the European Commission to assess, monitor, and if necessary, adapt policy and programme developments to ensure this new social rights initiative will have positive impacts on children and young people.

  • Invest in children

In order for the Pillar of Social Rights to make our societies and economies more resilient, the European Commission will need to prioritise investment in children. This means acknowledging the importance of supporting families as primary carers through multidimensional and integrated strategies focused on the following three pillars – access to adequate resources, quality and affordable services and children’s right to participate (as called for in the Recommendation on Investing in Children).

Particular attention should be paid to investing in early childhood development: It is the most critical stage of development, influencing greatly the extent to which a child meets his or her cognitive, social, physical and emotional potential.[iii] [iv] Commitments to health should also be strengthened; the Pillar should underscore that investment in health promotion and disease prevention for all, at all ages, is central to social cohesion and economic stability, and explicitly state the importance of universal health coverage in reducing health inequalities.

Strong EU mechanisms will need to be developed to guarantee that investment at a national level is directed towards children and families, and that policy is translated into practice. Existing mechanisms such as the European Semester should be more effectively used to provide parameters to measure the performance of child protection policies and monitor their implementation in national contexts.

  • Strengthen the voice of children 

It is vital to involve children during all stages of the policy-making process. As enshrined in the UNCRC and outlined in Pillar 3 of the Recommendation on Investing in Children, every child in Europe has a right to be heard in decisions affecting them. The European Commission should explore options for shaping children’s involvement in decision-making such as creating guidelines for stakeholder dialogue at national level.

  • A Social Rights Pillar for ALL children

The Pillar of Social Rights should help to protect and promote the rights of all children in Europe. Particular attention should be given to the rights of children in vulnerable situations, including children living in poverty, children in alternative care, stateless children, children with disabilities, all refugee and migrant children and specifically unaccompanied children, regardless of their or their parent’s residence or migration status.

Click here to read Eurochild's briefing paper on the European Pillar of Social Rights.

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[i] Eurostat data.

[ii] As OECD highlights, ‘investing early on and in good quality education up to completion of secondary education is among the most profitable policies’. See: OECD (2015a). Education Policy Outlook 2015: Making Reforms Happen. Paris: OECD Publishing.

[iii] Goldblatt P, Siegrist J, Lundberg O, Marinetti C, Farrer L & Costongs C (2015). Improving health equity through action across the life course: Summary of evidence and recommendations from the DRIVERS project

[iv] Fair Society, Healthy Lives, The Marmot Review, Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England post 2010

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news-1443 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Eurochild's Recommendations to the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochilds-recommendations-to-the-maltese-presidency-of-the-council-of-the-eu/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=d00f46daf9a6e91832e1f5c3b71d4da5 Eurochild released its recommendations to the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union (January - June 2017). Eurochild was delighted to meet on 1st September 2016 Michael Farrugia, Maltese Minister of Social Solidarity to discuss children's rights. Malta, together with Romania, showed a strong political interest in child and families policies and for this reason both countries were chosen for Childonomics case studies.  

Malta has proved to be a champion in the promotion of children’s rights and well-being in Europe: the government has provided financial support to community level services, increased investment in childcare and promoted social justice and inclusive education.

Eurochild has sent its recommendations to the Maltese Permanent Representation, to its Maltese members and to colleagues from the Social Ministry. The recommendations are developed around three key points:

  • Prioritise investing in children in the EU political agenda
  • Strengthen social protection systems and services
  • Mainstream children’s rights and foster inclusive participation

Read here the recommendations.

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news-1441 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Equal rights for children with disability http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/equal-rights-for-children-with-disability/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=3e9becf59dd83aa2b713f8f611daaf93 The inclusion of children with disabilities in mainstream education. Within the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) review on how the EU respects the rights of people with disabilities, the European Disability forum (EDF) and the Economic and Social Committee (EESC) organised a Public Hearing to gather the views from organisations, civil society, equality bodies, and EU institutions. 

Our colleague Katerina Nanou attended and brought contributions from our national members La Porte Ouverte (Belgium) and National Network for Children Bulgaria.

At the hearing we shared the story of Jordy, a care leaver from Belgium. Jordy died at the age of 19 shortly after leaving residential care. He had lived all his life in an institution until the age of 18. His reintegration was not adequately supported and sadly he died in isolation. 

At the same event, we also raised alarms about the inclusion of children with disabilities in mainstream education. In Belgium, a new boarding school for children with disabilities opened recently and will provide services for 330 days per year. The amount of children who are attending specialised schools is on the rise although there has been an integration decree launched in 2009. 

In Bulgaria inclusive education has gained momentum on papers, however many children with disabilities are excluded from learning in a common classroom with their peers

Regarding residential care, the Bulgarian government has shown political commitment to close all homes for children with disabilities. Still, the approach in practice is to replace large-scale institutional care with alternative residential care rather than rights-based. 

These developments show that children with disabilities face serious challenges across Europe. We ask both governments of Bulgaria and Belgium to prioritise inclusive education by ending separation of children with disabilities from their peers in school. Also, children with disabilities should benefit from appropriate support which enables them to grow up within their family.

Furthermore, children with disabilities deprived of parental care should have the right to quality family and community based care based. It is crucial that their individualised needs are taken into account and that an eventual process of transition to independent living leads to inclusion in the community. Last but not least, children with disabilities as all other children should have the right to be heard and participate in the decisions that affect them.

For more information regarding developments presented in both countries you can contact the Eurochild members La Porte Ouverte (Belgium) and National Network for Children  (Bulgaria).

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news-1442 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 New European Family Support Network to be developed http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/new-european-family-support-network-to-be-developed/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=e2bf5faa5964b5d84f28f005404691ca Eurochild attended an exploratory meeting that was held in Paris.

Following on from the series of ‘Five Nations’ Family Support conferences and seminars held in Ireland, England and Scotland (2013 – 2015) and as a follow up from the Galway school on ‘Child Rights in Practice and Research’ held in December last year that Eurochild co-organised, the UNESCO Global Research Network on Children Families and Communities has recently proposed the development of a ‘European Family Support Network’.

Eurochild attended an exploratory meeting in Paris on 7-8 September, convened by the Child and Family Research Centre (CFRC, Galway). 

Academics from Serbia, Spain, Croatia, Latvia, UK, Ireland, representatives from the UNICEF Office of Research, Lumos and Eurochild were invited to share their respective work on Family Support, provide recommendations and priorities for the emerging network and discuss new avenues for sharing knowledge and learning. 

Eurochild expressed its support for this initiative, but we recommended that the emerging network should link research, policy and practice, it should be involving national civil society and situates itself in the current EU policy and funding context as well as among other key players at EU level. 

The model we used in our 2015 Galway School was extremely helpful and potentially effective in strategically moving the agenda forward and delivering better outcomes for children. 16 country delegations participated in the event; each delegation included a policy maker as well as a ‘policy-literate’ practitioner and a researcher. 

Eurochild hopes that the emerging Network can strengthen our efforts to connect policy, practice & research to work for advancement of children’s rights & support peer learning & exchange of knowledge & practice among our members.

The Child and Family Research Centre will coordinate a follow-up meeting in spring next year. Prior to the spring meeting, people will be working in sub-groups: 1) to scope out how we might develop /further our understanding of Family support; 2) to scope the focus, membership and structures to support the emerging network; and 3) to reflect on funding issues. 

Information exchange will be set up on the CFRC website and info, articles, book titles of interest will be submitted for inclusion as a first start to build resources.

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news-1438 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 European Parliament votes for work life balance http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/european-parliament-votes-for-work-life-balance/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=e33e09cc6c1844b7596a6368f2d2f78b The European Parliament voted in the resolution "Creating labour market conditions favourable for work-life balance" in Strasbourg today. Eurochild welcomes this vote. The European Parliament voted in the resolution "Creating labour market conditions favourable for work-life balance" in Strasbourg today. Eurochild welcomes the positive vote as this resolution calls for the full implementation of the Recommendation on Investing in Children and for the best interests of the child to be one of the primary considerations in the development, monitoring and implementation of work-life balance policies.

In the Parliament plenary, the rapporteur MEP Tatjana Ždanoka noted that this resolution calls upon Member States "to provide for accessible, available and affordable, high-quality care services for children, older relatives, family members with disabilities or those with illnesses."

Eurochild had supported 10 other networks of NGOs and local authorities in seeking support for this resolution. Read the joint statement here

Read the report here.

 

 

 

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news-1439 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 EU calls for proposals: Offer to partner with Eurochild http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eu-calls-for-proposals-offer-to-partner-with-eurochild-1/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=9f117fccca12f19811bdaedf390689b7 Supporting child-centred approaches to child victims of violence and capacity building on child protection in asylum and migration. Outline

Eurochild would like to offer its interest in partnering with organisations interested in leading on two EU calls for proposals on Rights of the Child and Violence against Children (REC-CHILD-AG-2016). The first call focuses on supporting capacity building on children’s rights and child protection for professionals in asylum and migration. The second call aims at supporting integrated and multidisciplinary child-centred approaches to child victims of violence. 

How are the calls related to Eurochild’s strategic priorities and interests?

Eurochild is the network promoting the rights and well-being of children and young people in Europe. Our overarching strategic priorities are in line with the theme of both EU calls for proposals: within our main areas of work, child participation, investing in children, deinstitutionalisation, and better public spending, Eurochild focuses on the plight of disadvantaged children. 

Eurochild has been involved in a number of activities and events advocating for the rights of migrant and refugee children to be respected. Deinstitutionalisation and the promotion of quality family and community based care alternatives for children deprived of parental care is in the heart of Eurochild’s work. We advocate for the right of all children to grow up in their families (when this serves the child’s best interest) by advocating for mainstreamed prevention policies. Children that for various reasons cannot grow up in their biological families, such as unaccompanied and separated migrant and refugee children should have the right to grow up in quality family based or family type alternatives in the community, such as foster care or small group homes, with care offered by trained professionals.

Eurochild, along with SOS Children's Villages, organised the roundtable “From Emergency to Sustainable Solutions: Providing Family and Community-based Care to Unaccompanied Children in the EU”. One of the main aims of the event was to advocate for more appropriate forms of alternative care for children, while promoting the message that children’s “migrant status” should not lead to them being institutionalised, as big institutional settings may put them at a greater risk of being marginalised and experiencing violations of their rights. 

Children on the move or affected by migration were at the centre of Eurochild’s 2016 Conference “Children’s Rights Matters; Why Europe needs to invest in Children”: the conference gathered together professionals working with and for children, as well as young people with experience of migration. On World Refugee Day, Eurochild published a series of interviews, “Turning the Tide for Children on the Move”, providing a better picture of the situation of refugee and migrant children on the ground, in terms of accommodation, access to education, health, safety and their integration in the community. 

Eurochild has extensively been advocating for addressing the root causes of violence against children (VAC) in all forms of care outside the home, but also within the home. We believe that, in order to address all forms of VAC, an integrated, participatory and rights-based approach is necessary: working on the factors that may put children at a greater risk of becoming victims of violence, by embracing a multidisciplinary and empowering perspective, building a caring culture which puts children at the centre and creates a positive environment where children can flourish, and by focusing on prevention and early intervention policies as a crucial means to prevent VAC in the home. Social policies and services that support parents and carers must be ensured to prevent VAC and promote well-being across Europe – more and better family support services at community level, better social welfare and protection policies, strengthening the social protection systems, adequate income support, etc. 

The overall aim is to create an environment in which there is zero tolerance of all forms of violence against children. In many countries, physical punishment of children remains the only form of inter-personal violence still lawful within the family. However, with the possible exception of a few countries, we are very far from achieving change in public perceptions that smacking a child is wrong - even in countries that have a legal ban. The essential process of moving on from prohibition of violent punishment to its elimination, if effectively pursued, can and should lead to a new respect for children as individuals in their own rights. Linked with family support, it can effectively reduce violence against children in the home, which will contribute to reduce the need for alternative forms of care.

What is the added value of Eurochild participating in the bid?

With about 180 members from 33 European countries, Eurochild has a far reach across Europe thanks to its broad membership and is best placed to provide support with the above mentioned EU calls for proposals as we can build on our members’ work in the field. Eurochild’s network comprises of organisations that work directly with some of the most vulnerable children and families, including migrant and refugee children, and child victims of violence. Members share knowledge, experience and good practice from their day-to-day work on the ground and this contributes to a vast and in-depth database of expertise in child rights related areas. 

In the important area of violence prevention, our members are working in different areas. Several have worked on campaigns against corporal punishment.  We also have members with expertise in the field of preventing sexual violence and exploitation – a huge problem only growing in complexity with the rise of new technology and social media. 

Eurochild’s members can demonstrate significant work with refugee and migrant children in reception, transit, and destination countries. Eurochild’s members work in refugee camps offering education and psychosocial support to children, they run family and community based settings for unaccompanied children, they offer training to professionals working with migrant and refugee children and they also work in the community with children living with their families.  

Eurochild’s members can demonstrate significant experience in involving children and young people in a participatory way in their campaigns and work.  Members are listening to the voices of children, who experience vulnerable situations and whose rights have been violated, and take these into account in their work. 

Eurochild’s long history of campaigning and advocating for children’s rights provides our potential partners with political leverage in influencing policy at a European and national level and strengthen their advocacy capacity.

Selection criteria

Proposals to partner will be assessed by members of the Eurochild Secretariat. Organisations will be expected to lead on the EU proposals and cover the entire costs of the project. Priority will be given to invitations to partner submitted by Eurochild members. Eurochild, as a partner in the bid, retains the right to influence the design of the project, and verify the quality of the outputs and deliverables. 

Submission and timeline

Interested organisations are requested to submit their invitation to partner to Agata D’Addato by 31st October 2016. Eurochild reserves the right not to commit to any project proposal before the deadline.

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news-1436 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 A new Europe for people, planet and prosperity for all http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/a-new-europe-for-people-planet-and-prosperity-for-all/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=eb735dffea7c7ca730c91cce2dad1be0 Common statement by 177 European and national Civil Society Organisations and Trade Unions.

Europe is at a crossroads, and the future of European cooperation and the benefits it brings are at stake. This is about the future of our society and how we want to be viewed by the wider world. The future of our planet and the kind of Europe our children will grow up in. The current crisis highlights the urgent need to reflect on fundamental questions: how do we ensure that the European project reclaims its promise of peace, democracy and solidarity? How can Europe work for its people? 

Too many people across Europe are dissatisfied and disillusioned with the European Union and feel remote from its institutions and policies. But there are groups of committed politicians, trade unions, community groups and non-governmental organisations across Europe who are ready to take action and work for a renewed Europe. Together, we can shape a Europe that is inclusive, open, just, sustainable, and that works for people of all ages, social backgrounds and nations

 

Where do we go from here to build the Europe we want and need? 

 

  • Reject populist solutions 

This crisis in confidence comes as people struggle with decreasing living standards, declining buying power and the rise of precarious work, hardship created by austerity policies, anxiety over movements of people to our shores, and the impacts of climate change and environmental destruction. As people search for answers, euroscepticism and nationalism, intolerance and misinformation are winning out over cooperation, humanity and solidarity with one other. We must all – leaders, media and individuals – actively and at every opportunity speak out and act against division, marginalisation of different groups in society and those that play on fears for their own political ends. 

  • Tackle challenges together 

Many of the challenges facing Europe – such as inequalities, climate change, natural resource depletion, and a global economy that benefits the few and not the many – are better tackled together than by countries individually. 

 

The European Union, which embodies international cooperation and collaboration, needs to be leading in ensuring sustainable and inclusive development, advancing human rights, and allowing for dignified movements of people, where refugees are welcome and all people feel safe. 

  • Fight for a sustainable, social Europe for people and for our planet 

There needs to be a decisive and transformational change in political will, direction and policy. Such a vision is provided in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in which people, social justice, environmental and health protection, democracy and transparency tak e centre stage. Guided by this agenda, EU economic policies need to go hand in hand with strong social and environmental policies. The EU single market and international policies must promote enforceable rules to protect workers, consumers, all citizens – men and women, young and old – and the planet. EU policies must support democracy, dialogue and more equality within and beyond the EU. We need a Europe that aims at improving the living standards of every one. 

 

  • Work for better Europe, not less Europe 

The current tendency to weaken EU institutions and to strip away protections for people and planet in the name of ‘deregulation’ is not the answer. Current economic policies of reducing deficits and boosting ‘competitiveness’ have promoted too narrow an interpretation of growth, and corporate profits have failed to make it into workers’ wages or trickle down to improve people’s lives. 

It is these policies, not ‘too much Europe’, that have alienated people, leaving them feeling disempowered and left behind. We now need new, progressive European initiatives to deliver tangible benefits for people and to win back their confidence and trust. A ‘better Europe’ is where joint European action creates tangible benefits for people and planet. This includes a new focus on equality and inclusion, a relaunch of the European social model to provide decent work , quality jobs and better living conditions, strong environmental protecti on, meaningful action on climate change, and an EU -wide effort to welcome and integrate migrants. 

 

  • Listen and engage 

EU leaders, prime ministers, presidents, chancellors and parliamentarians must listen and engage actively with citizens of all ages and social back grounds to understand and respond better to people’s concerns and propose a new, positive vision of Europe. Everyone, perhaps most importantly the young, needs to be more actively involved in decisions that have an impact on our future. Together, we can take the decisions and actions on the issues that matter. 

 

  • Make the case for Europe 

We need a genuine, democratic and inclusive dialogue on the future of Europe, and on how the EU can deliver tangible benefits for Europeans. We stand ready to play an active role in this dialogue, and to work even harder in making the case for the benefits that work ing together have brought to European citizens, and the values for which this Union stands.

Click here to read the original document including the statement and the list of signatories.

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news-1433 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Dutch dynamism scores top grade in EU Presidency scorecard on child poverty http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/dutch-dynamism-scores-top-grade-in-eu-presidency-scorecard-on-child-poverty/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=c06dc3013d38b4fda17c992342b40d7d The Netherlands EU Presidency has achieved a high grade in the Eurochild scorecard which measures EU presidencies on four key criteria. The Netherlands EU Presidency has achieved a high grade in the Eurochild scorecard which measures EU presidencies on four key criteria: addressing child poverty, for which it received top marks; mainstreaming children’s rights in broader policies, progressing the EU children’s rights agenda and listening to children, for which it received above average grades.

In Europe, one in four children are at risk of poverty or social exclusion (Eurostat). The adoption of the Council Conclusions on ‘Combating poverty and social exclusion: an integrated approach’ is an important marker of how European countries can share practices and policies while ensuring integrated approaches are streamlined throughout the EU.

The Dutch EU Presidency has pushed EU countries to tackle child poverty in a holistic fashion. But now is the time to look inward and act nationally too”, says Pien Klieverik, Dutch Children’s Rights Coalition (National Partner Network of Eurochild) and Defence for Children Netherlands.

Eurochild recommends that the Dutch government develops an action plan to target child poverty nationally and separately, withdraws its reservation to article 26 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, thus fully respecting the child’s right to benefit from social security.

The Presidency also focused on education as a tool for addressing the skills gap to foster job growth and embarked upon their very own educational journey as teachers. The ‘EU back to school’ programme enabled members of the Presidency and EU institutions to engage in interactive lectures with young people on current EU issues and the workings of the institutions. Direct engagement with children can better inform policy makers about the children’s views and create a more honest engagement with the impact of their work.

“During their 6-month Presidency, the Dutch showed determination to make poverty – and in particular child poverty – more visible so as to encourage more exchange of policies and practice. They also had a fresh approach to engaging directly with children and young people. We hope future presidencies will be inspired by their efforts”, concluded Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General of Eurochild.

 

  • Read the Dutch EU presidency scorecard here.
  • Read our recommendations to the Dutch EU Presidency here
  • See the scorecards from past EU presidencies here.

 

 

 

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news-1431 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Joint statement: Vote yes to strengthen Work-Life balance opportunities for Europe's families http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/joint-statement-vote-yes-to-strengthen-work-life-balance-opportunities-for-europes-families/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=057c8b776c4f58a146933118e5382e63 In EU gender pay gap is 16% and current situation does not allow men and women to reconcile work, care and family responsibilities.

On 13th September 2016, the European Parliament will be called on to vote the report 2016/2017(INI) “Creating labour market conditions favourable for family-work balance”. 

We are 11 networks of NGOs and Local Authorities and since 2012 we have been working together to raise awareness about the daily challenges faced by women and men across the EU in reconciling their work, family and private life. We represent millions of children, adults and families across the EU, and we are calling on Members of European Parliament to cast a positive vote for this report. 

In 2015, many of us jointly published a comprehensive policy document, the “European Reconciliation Package”, to propose concrete and coherent policy solutions, which cover the areas in the European Parliament report going to vote on 13th September. We believe that this European Parliament report contains many of the elements needed to trigger a positive change for women, men and Europe's families. Reconciliation policies, to be effective, must be a mix of different elements and should cover families’ needs along the life-cycle and, therefore, we are calling on MEPs to vote this report in full, to avoid undermining its comprehensive and coherent nature. 

In Europe today, 80% of care beyond care for children, is still provided by informal carers, mostly women family members and in family settings. Because of their lower income compared to men and because they are still expected to be the main carers, women often have no other choice than drop out of the labour market or reduce their working hours to care for an elderly parent, a family member with disability or a child below school age.

Lack of quality, affordable and accessible care and household services and a labour market unable to provide flexible working arrangements and adequate leave schemes are everyday concerns for a very high share of the population.

Allowing men and women to better reconcile work, care and family responsibilities will positively impact female employment, as more women will be supported to enter and stay in paid employment, and on men’s take-up of care responsibilities. Promoting legislation and policies that aim to share more equally the care responsibilities among women and men will help to reduce the discrimination and segregation women still face in the labour market and unlock their full potential.

Moreover, it would reduce the rate of involuntary part-time employment and the drop-out rate of workers, especially women, from paid employment. It would also have an impact on future pensions, decreasing the risk of poverty in old age.

We recall that there is a direct link between reconciliation and the reduction of the risk of poverty, especially among women. In the EU, the average gender pay gap is 16% and the gender pension gap is 40% and these figures should call us all to action. 

At a time when women and men are losing their confidence in Europe, this report is a great opportunity to restore trust and show that Europe really cares about their real lives and concerns. 

We count on your support!

Click here to read the statement in Slovak. 

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news-1430 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 How we organised a conference with the participation of children and young people http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/how-we-organised-a-conference-with-the-participation-of-children-and-young-people/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=a8beecadddd1735cb054cbd06228e1ae Read our practical guide based on our experience with the Eurochild young people advisory group After the success of the Eurochild Conference 2016 we decided to share our story with anyone interested in organising an event with the active participation of children and young people.

Our guide follows the different steps of the preparation, execution and progress of the conference and its activities. At the end of the guide you will be able to find a useful short bullet point with the key factors to consider when organising a similar event.

Click here to read our guide on Storify. 

For further information you can contact us here

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news-1428 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 What could the European Pillar of Social Rights mean to children? http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/what-could-the-european-pillar-of-social-rights-mean-to-children-1/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=ad1c70d15d05fb14e384c0c9d686fd09 Eurochild publishes a briefing paper and invite members to take part in the webinars and in the consultation.

On 8th March 2016 the European Commission released a preliminary outline of a European Pillar of Social Rights to identify and promote common principles in the euro area in the field of employment and social policies. This initiative should guide policies and lead reforms at national level in a time where 27 million children in the EU are at risk of poverty, over one million are in institutionalised care and one quarter of the 363,890 refugee children arrived in Europe in 2015 are unaccompanied. 

The proposals include a wide range of issues organised in three main themes: 

1. Equal opportunities and access to the labour market

2. Fair working conditions

3. Adequate and sustainable social protection 

As we reflect on the multiple barriers which growing numbers of children and young people are facing in accessing their rights, Eurochild welcomes this initiative as an opportunity to strengthen social protection systems and services in order to progress implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Consultation

Eurochild has produced a briefing paper analysing the new initiative and raising relevant questions on its potential to implement the Recommendations on Investing in Children, a policy guidance document produced by the European Commission in 2013. This briefing paper will offer food for thought to discussions over the period of consultation.  

The public consultation will be open until the end of 2016.

We invite you to read our briefing paper and take part in the consultation. 

The responses will be published in a White Paper in 2017.

Webinars

.Eurochild is also organising a series of webinars with its members to gather national perspectives on the Pillar. The first one will be held on the 15 September 2016. If you are interested please email Emma Grindulis. We are looking forward to hear your opinion!  

Click here to watch the video ''European Pillar of Social Rights – Why is it important to you and your organisation? Interview with Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild''

Click here to read the European Parliament's briefing ''European Pillar of Social Rights for a more social Europe''.

Click here to read Eurochild's key messages.

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news-1425 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Eurochild Conference in the Media http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-conference-in-the-media/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=2610469ada3660cf03a505af1c944b8e Investing in children messages reached wide international public on traditional and new media channels.

The Eurochild Conference Children’s Rights Matter: Why Europe needs to invest in Children which took place on 5-7 July 2016 in Brussels under the Patronage of Her Majesty Queen of all Belgians reached far and wide through traditional and new media. 

We used novel approaches to engage target audiences at local, national and European levels. Children and young people were involved in the planning and delivery of the conference communications. Through traditional press and broadcast media we reached the Belgian audiences; social media channels Instagram and Snapchat introduced Eurochild Conference to a new and younger audience. Twitter was the focus of live reporting and helped us reach almost 2 million people through #EurochildConf.

This outreach was a result of collaboration with co-hosts (Kind en Gezin and ONE) and the two teams of children’s advisory group – social media and reporters!

Press and Broadcast:

  • Het laatste nieuws (Belgium) 

  • De Morgen (Belgium) 

  • RTL (Belgium) – Interview with Ivan Tancabel, Croatia (Young person) and Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild. (Starts at 20.13)

  • Paris Match

  • 112 Ukraine – Interview with two young participants from St Nicholas Foundation, Ukraine. 


Online:
 

  • Hromadske Radio (Public Radio Ukraine): Radio interview with 2 young participants from St Nicholas Foundation, Ukraine

  • Monarquia confidencial (Spain)

  • Bulgaria online

  • Vita (Italian online portal on social issues): Interview with Ivano Abbruzzi (President, Albero della vita and Former Eurochild board member) on the conference declaration

Find out more about the Eurochild Conference 2016 here

Stay in touch with us on Instagram and Snapchat! 

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news-1424 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 New Serbian PM Vučić Endorses Serbian National Networks' Proposals In His Keynote Speech http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/new-serbian-pm-vucic-endorses-serbian-national-networks-proposals-in-his-keynote-speech/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=8f533d43f0d9a88c026650bc7502572c The new Serbian Cabinet recognises the rights of the child as a distinct policy field in the work program.

Belgrade, 12 August 2016 - The Network of Organizations for Children of Serbia (MODS) welcomes the decision of the future Serbian Prime Minister, Mr. Aleksandar Vučić, to recognize in his Keynote Speech the rights of the child as a distinct policy field of the new Cabinet. MODS is also pleased to note that the proposals which our organization had sent to Mr. Vučić received due consideration.

In the Work Program of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, which was submitted to the members of Serbian Parliament on August 9, children's rights were singled out as a special area of work of the new Government within the section relating to human rights, population planning and social responsibility. In this respect, the Prime Minister’s Keynote Address reads that “organizations dealing with children's rights sent to the Government its proposals on how to improve the position of children, especially children with disabilities and children living in poverty”, and stresses out that the priority of the new Cabinet will be to “create and implement measures to provide children in Serbia happier and more secure childhood”. 

During his speech in the Parliament, the future Prime Minister noted the importance of pre-school learning for increase of the general level of education, but also pointed to the fact that “only 60 percent of children from 3 to 5 years were enrolled into early education programs”. Regarding other measures that are directly related to the situation of children, Prime Minister Vučić announced that the priorities of the new Government will, inter alia, include: the improvement of social protection through transformation of social care institutions and investment in community-based services, including health and social services integration; adoption of the Law on Combating Domestic Violence; adoption of the Law on Financial Support to Families with Children; introduction of specific support programs for preschool and primary education.

On 6 Jul MODS sent to future Prime Minister Vučić a document entitled “an appendix to exposé” in which we expressed our expectation that the area of children’s rights would rank high among priorities of the new Cabinet. In that document we pointed out to the concrete measures and activities that the new Cabinet should take in order to improve the position of children in Serbia.

The Program of the new Government which Mr. Vučić presented to the MPs confirmed that the MODS’s main proposal that the area of children's rights should receive a special attention in his Keynote Speech was accepted. MODS now urges the new Cabinet to adhere to its commitment to improving the position of children and to establish the Council for Child Rights and to amend the Law on Ministries in order to form the Administration for Child Rights.

Click here to know more about the Serbian National Network' proposal.

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news-1422 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Call for consultant for SOS Children´s Villages International http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/call-for-consultant-for-sos-childrens-villages-international/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=10dd89fef7f3da071f599e5cd94ab911 Consultancy to conduct a final evaluation of the project “Training Care Professionals working with Children in Care”

SOS Children´s Villages International is currently coordinating the implementation of the project “Training Professionals Working with Children in Care” under the framework of the European Commission´s Fundamental Rights Programme concerning the Rights of the Child. The project implementation time is: January 2015 to December 2016.

Aim of the project: Ensure that the rights of children and young people in alternative care are protected, fulfilled and respected while entering care, being in care and during their transition to an independent life. This will empower children and young people and enable them to develop to their fullest potential.

The evaluation will take place between October and December 2016. Selected timings are set to correspond with the end of the project implementation which is 31 December 2016. The assignment is home based. All necessary documents will be made available in electronic version. Interviews will be done via skype or telephone. Work on the assignment should start at the beginning of October and has to be completed by 31 December 2016.

MAIN TASKS of the CONSULTANT:

1. Develop a detailed plan and design of the evaluation steps and the data collection process

2. Develop questions for the semi-structured interviews

3. Data collection:

a) ‘field’ work - e.g. skype/telephone interviews – minimum 7 interviews

b) desk review including (i) all documents related to project set up and implementation; (ii) conclusions of evaluations that have already taken place like the Post Training Assessment report and the report on the use of the training manual; (iii) communication materials, web-sites, etc.

4. Conduct an evaluation session with European Steering Group during the Paris conference

5. Data analysis: qualitative and quantitative assessment of collected data from “field work” and desk review, including synthesis of the evaluation session with European Steering Group.

6. Prepare a draft evaluation report - the first draft report should be submitted to the international project manager in accordance with the report format given below (deadline to be agreed at the start of the assignment).

7. Prepare a final report - the final report should be submitted to the international project manager no later than 31 December 2016 and should include the comments made by SOS Children’s Villages colleagues based on the first draft of the report.

Interested people should submit their Curriculum Vitae together with examples of having undertaken similar work in the desired areas of interest in English, electronically, by the 26th of August 2016. This should also include expectations for remuneration to undertake the assignment and be sent to Project Assistant. Gabriella Rask: gabriella.rask(at)sos-kd(dot)org

Click here for more details.

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news-1420 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Romania and Malta selected for Childonomics case studies http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/romania-and-malta-selected-for-childonomics-case-studies/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=87e9ab7cd6ac5cab7321ae8288d15443 The two countries showed a strong political interest in child and families policies

Childonomics – A project that aims to measure the long-term social and economic value of investing in children has identified two crucial partners to apply its economic model. Country case studies are being developed in partnership with the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Protection and Elderly, Romania and the Ministry for Welfare, Family and Social Solidarity, Malta.

Why Romania and Malta?

Romania and Malta have been selected as partner countries for Childonomics because of recently introduced reforms and a strong political interest in child and families policies.  

Malta is prioritizing foster care as an alternative to residential care and investing in community level services. They have also increased investment in child care provision, are promoting social justice and equity in the education system with a particular focus on inclusive education.  

Romania currently has an interim government which has put poverty reduction high on the political agenda.  They are rolling out a programme of offering food coupons to eligible families to encourage them to bring their children to kindergartens. There is a strong emphasis on prevention and early intervention.  

Furthermore Romania has already gone through a significant transformation of its child protection system over the last 15 years. In 2000 there were 100,000 children in care, predominantly in large-scale institutions. At the end of 2014, there were 58,178 children officially in state care, of which 8892 were in institutional care. The child protection system is now more diversified, offering a range of family-based services to children unable to live with their parents and support services for vulnerable families.

Both countries want to build a stronger evidence base to support their policy and spending choices, and have therefore expressed an interest to participate in Childonomics.

What to expect from Childonomics? 

Using economic modelling the project will measure the costs of different child welfare and protection systems against expected outcomes for children, families and society as a whole. 

Particular attention is given to preventing children being separated from their families, supporting their reintegration and reducing reliance on institutional care. 

The project aims to build robust economic evidence that supports implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Guidelines on Alternative Care, the EU Guidelines on the transition from institutional to community-based services, and the European Commission Recommendation on Investing in Children – Breaking the cycle of disadvantage.

Eurochild is the coordinating organisation for this project, which is funded by the Oak Foundation. Oxford Policy Management Ltd has been enlisted to lead on the methodology including the economic modelling in association with CEE/CIS Consultancy Group and the International Foster Care Organisation. 

More reading material: 

EPIC country profile on Romania

EPIC country profile on Malta

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news-1419 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Capacity Building on Advocating for Children's Rights http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/capacity-building-on-advocating-for-childrens-rights/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=c94d92a002eab318fefeb8251d84bc94 The workshop organised by Child Rights Connect, Solidarité Laïque, European Masters of Children's Rights and Eurochild at CATS 2016. In cooperation with Child Rights Connect, Solidarité Laïque, European Masters of Children's Rights, Eurochild organised a workshop 'Capacity Building on Advocating for Children's Rights' at CATS 2016. The first part of the workshop was run by Child Rights Connect and informed the participants on children's rights and the SDGs and asked them to connect children's rights (UNCRC articles) to the different SDGs.

The second session was led by Solidarité Laïque and focused on climate change and participants were asked to paint, draw or write in small groups how they viewed the earth in 70 years time. The outcomes will be exhibited at COP22 by Solidarité Laïque. The third day was led by EMCR and taught the participants how to set up a child-led movement which could advocate for specific children's rights.

The last session was led by Eurochild and provided the participants with a tool 'the hot-air balloon' and with the help of this tool the different groups developed their own advocacy plans around child labor, setting up a global youth and children's parliament and local health services for children. The group was made up of 2/3 children and young people and 1/3 adults. Participants came from the Palestine children's parliament, the Cypriot children's parliament, Israel, France, Switzerland and Kosovo. 

For those interested in organizing a similar workshop, click here to read the outline document.

Click here to watch the video on Climate Change and COP21 made by Eurochild and Solidarité Laïque.

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news-1401 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 What can faith communities do to end child poverty and violence against children? http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/what-can-faith-communities-do-to-end-child-poverty-and-violence-against-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=f0d450874b57e495d1bee117774878c8 The roundtable in Serbia to discuss how the SDGs could be used to support efforts to end child poverty

‘Think Global; Act Local’, say participants in Sombor

On Thursday 28th July Eurochild took part in a roundtable ‘Faith Communities Partnering towards Ending Child Poverty and Violence against Children’ in Sombor, Serbia. It was organised by Arigatou International (specifically through its End Child Poverty initiative and Global Network of Religions for Children; GNRC) in collaboration with the Sombor Education Centre. 

The key aims of the roundtable included to explore the different faces, drivers and realities of child poverty and to discuss how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) could be used to support our efforts at all levels to end child poverty and promote child wellbeing. 

Eurochild’s Advocacy and Parliamentary Officer presented how faith based communities can use the SDGs to accelerate a child rights-based approach to ending child poverty. Suggestions were offered on how faith communities could utilise the SDGs framework to increase momentum on existing efforts to end child poverty; to strengthen child participation through existing trusting relationships and large networks, and to call for data collection, monitoring and evaluation as well as action plans focusing on addressing child poverty at local, municipal and national level.

A recurring theme highlighted during the roundtable was that whilst there are many laws and policies in place to target child poverty, as well as the newly adopted SDGs, not enough is being done at a local level to respond to the needs and fulfil the rights of all children. Stephen Katende from World Vision said to participants ‘we are all responsible for this ugly situation: thank you for you work; but it’s not enough.’ 

Attendees agreed that it is through combined efforts and partnerships with all actors, including religious leaders, children and young people, NGOs, politicians, academics and others, that we can make a leap towards our target to end child poverty. If we are to build inclusive societies where children’s rights are prioritised and children and adults are equal rights holders, then we need to be the change we wish to see and work together. The roundtable helped to lay the foundations by bringing all of the above actors together, but we must now act by building bridges and taking our commitments forward for a better Europe, and a better world, for every child. 

Through its extensive Global Network for Religious Communities (GNRC), Arigatou International is opening its ears to how this network can work with NGOs and other actors in order to progress towards our common goal to end child poverty. The GNRC 5th Forum is titled ‘Transformed Faith Communities: Ending Violence Against Children’ and will take place in 2017. Further information including best practice examples and stories can be found on their website

Links and Resources: 

Eurochild secretariat participated with its Serbian National Partner Network, MODs and member organisations First Children’s Embassy in the World, Republic of Macedonia and SOS Children’s Villages

European Political Strategy Centre report ‘Sustainability Now! A European Vision for Sustainability’ written by Karl Falkenberg. 

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news-1399 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Children in crisis: unaccompanied migrant children in the EU http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/children-in-crisis-unaccompanied-migrant-children-in-the-eu/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=37244d373bf4d6ff9b0eba77411a3fb1 Eurochild evidence features in UK House of Lords report Following a number of hearings held by the UK House of Lords EU Committee, a report was been released with the testimonies and a set of recommendations aimed towards UK and EU policy makers. 

The report, “Children in crisis: unaccompanied migrant children in the EU” acknowledges the ‘widespread failure, across Member States to apply the universally agreed best interests principle to the many tens of thousands of unaccompanied migrant children who are in the EU today”. 

The committee report suggests a number of potential cross cutting solutions to address the complex problems: Integrated child protection systems, focused on the best interests of the child, should be adopted across the EU, ensuring that children are, first and foremost, treated as children, whatever their immigration status.

Eurochild offered its expertise to the hearing that took place in Brussels in April 2016. Jana Hainsworth, Eurochild Secretary General, highlighted the need to take children’s views into account. The report also highlights the participatory approach of the Eurochild Conference 2016 as a good practice. 

The report makes a number of recommendations to the UK and to the EU as a whole. Read the report here.

Transcript of the Lords Select Committee hearing in Brussels will be available here

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news-1395 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Call for Conference Children’s Rights in Alternative Care: Walk the Talk http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/call-for-conference-childrens-rights-in-alternative-care-walk-the-talk/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=ed6c70a415c98295dc90a0fbd0ade81a Eurochild joins SOS Children`s Villages International and Council of Europe to improve training of professionals working with children in care.

SOS Children’s Villages invites interested parties to the first day of the two-day Conference “Children’s Rights in Alternative Care: Walk the Talk!” taking place in Paris on 8-9th November 2016, organised under the patronage of Ms Laurence Rossignol, Minister for the Family, Children and Women’s Rights. Access to discussions of the second day of the Conference is restricted to participants who participate in the Training Professionals Working with Children in Care project.

The Conference is open to everyone who is actively engaged in the topic of building the capacity of the child care service workforce. In particular, the debates of the Conference will be directed at how professionals working directly or indirectly with children in alternative care can be supported in applying a child-rights approach to their daily practice, thereby achieving that children can develop to their fullest potential. For more information on the conference, please visit the website (it is being continuously updated).

This Conference is organized by SOS Children’s Villages in the frame of the EU funded project “Training Professionals Working with Children in Care” that is being implemented in 8 EU countries with more than 40 national partners (see below for a brief overview of the project and its partners). The partners at international level are the Council of Europe and Eurochild.

The Conference aims at raising awareness on the importance of the topic, using the experiences made throughout the project as a starting point for discussions. In addition, the event shall encourage key stakeholders in the field of child protection to exchange, while feeling inspired to create partnerships for setting new benchmarks for training care professionals throughout Europe, which will ultimately improve the quality of alternative care! All participants can attend the conference for free (including lunch) and we can assist you in booking your accommodation. Conference languages are English and French.

Please get in touch with Ms Aleksandra Grassl aleksandra.grassl@sos-kd.org by no later than 5th of August if you are interested in attending the Conference. When expressing your interest, please include a description of your current engagement in the topic (max. 100 words in English). Selected participants will be informed by 17th of August.


Click here to know more about the event.

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news-1393 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Models of Child Health Appraised (MOCHA) project http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/models-of-child-health-appraised-mocha-project/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=8a1ed88f1b32c417043afaebc4f37889 Eurochild holds advisory role in MOCHA – Models of Child Health Appraised, a European project aiming to map the gaps in primary health care services for children in 30 countries.

MOCHA is one of the largest and most ambitious projects to look at primary health care services for children in Europe. Focusing on prevention and wellness, its results will demonstrate the optimal model(s) of child primary care. Alongside the results, the MOCHA project will analyse the factors (including cultural factors) which might facilitate the adoption of recommendations, and indications for policy makers of both the health and economic gains possible. The project, funded by the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 Framework, began in June 2015 and will continue until November 2018. 

What is the aim of this project?

Children are an important population group in their own right. As well as this they are the future of Europe, its society and its workforce.  MOCHA joins many other projects who aim to improve children’s health in the present and in the future, not least by ensuring that every child in Europe can achieve optimal health. Primary care is an important element in a child’s good health, as a means of promoting, improving, treating and supporting health for every child. 

What is unique about this piece of work?

At present there is no consensus on how best to provide primary health care for children. Different countries favour different organisational models of primary care; of which two main ones are generalist general practitioners seeing the child in the family context, and primary care paediatricians with focussed expertise. In addition to this there are many differences and priorities in the different models of primary care for children in Europe.  Until now there is no research which identifies the most effective model or elements of a model; which implies that some children are likely to be receiving sub-optimal care. 

This gap is what the MOCHA project seeks to address. It does this by studying all 30 EU and European Economic Area (EEA) countries to obtain and analyse key information on a range of child primary care topics:

The different types of models of primary care delivered to children (including urgent care)

Delivery of care across organisational boundaries (with secondary care, social care, education etc.) including complex care, mental health and services for child protection

School health services, and direct access services for adolescents

Identification of innovative measures of quality and outcome for children in contact with primary care

Identification of derivatives from large data sets to measure quality and outcome

Economic analysis and workforce Skill Set analyses

Ensuring Equity for all children despite the differences in health status, or background

Use of electronic records in child health

Who is involved in the project?

The MOCHA team is led by Professor Mitch Blair and Professor Michael Rigby from Imperial College London and involves 19 scientific partners from ten European countries: Cyprus, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Also involved are teams from Australia Switzerland and the United States, who give a global perspective to European knowledge. In addition, 30 country agents seek out information from each European Member State and EEA country to innovative research questions. This gives the MOCHA project a unique national perspective to its work. An independent External Advisory Group, including representation from Eurochild, will validate the scientific enquiries made of the country agents, as well as reviewing the project findings throughout. Throughout its life, the project will have a strong dissemination programme, ensuring that dialogue with the public, professionals, policy makers and politicians is maintained and taken into account during the research. 

What has already been achieved over the first year and what’s planned next?

Within its 42-month timescale, the MOCHA project will deliver major awareness and potential benefit for European children’s health and a healthy society. 

The project has an overall philosophy that underlines our scientific work and the progress made throughout the project’s duration. In the first year, it aims to collect as much information as possible on the topics already identified. In the second year the analysis of data begins; and the third and final phase sees the appraisal of the findings and resulting conclusions as to the elements of the different models of primary health care for children that most positively impact on health. 

Currently we are nearly through the first year of scientific enquiry and have collected a vast amount of data. Activities such as an initial mapping of the types of health systems for children in Europe, and a systematic review of the services in relation to common outcome conditions have been undertaken. The country agents have answered questions on fourteen vastly different topics so far, providing a unique insight into children’s health care in each country on topics ranging from children with complex needs living in the community, to electronic records, to the legal status of migrants and to the care pathways for children with common conditions, such as asthma. 

Find out more

If you would like to find out more about the MOCHA project and sign up for the project Newsletter, please go to the project website www.childhealthservicemodels.eu . Alternatively, please contact the Scientific Coordinator Dr Denise Alexander (d.alexander@imperial.ac.uk) or the Project Manager Christine Chow (christine.chow@imperial.ac.uk). You can also get in touch with Agata D’Addato from the Eurochild Secretariat (agata.daddato@eurochild.org).

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news-1391 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Sure Start Program becomes part of the Hungarian Child Protection Law http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/sure-start-program-becomes-part-of-the-hungarian-child-protection-law/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=6ff1e5841dccb8f1a1a98d0ac7072d3f 112 Sure Start Children Centres are currently in operation in Hungary

NGOs[1] and civil servants from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, and Serbia came to a three day field trip to Hungary in order to learn about the experiences of the Sure Start Program in Hungary. They consider to start the program in their own country. The Oak Foundation has been financing the program for one year.

This year presentations were given by Magdolna Kánnai Drosztmérné, the Deputy Head of the Providing Opportunity for the Children Department, Maria Herczog, the chair of the Family Child, Youth Association, Erika Kovács, an expert of the Sure Start Program, and Dávid Kiss the Head of the Integration Program of the Hungarian Maltese Charity Service. They explained that 112 Sure Start Children Centres are currently in operation in Hungary, only three suspended its activities after the EU grants were finished. From 1 January 2013 the Sure Start Program has become part of the Hungarian Child Protection Law as a basic component of the basic child welfare services.

The Sure Start Program provides help for children living in extreme poverty to receive support in their earliest years to help meet their evolving capacities, and to prepare for successful school education. The Sure Start Children Centre provides support and programs for families raising 0-3 years old children and live in disadvantaged settlements, having limited access, or do not have any access to good quality services. 

Click here for more information about the program
Click here to read the 'Targeting Children's Centre Services on the Most Needy Families' publication.

[1] Hope and Homes for Children in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hope and Homes for Children in Romania, Children and Youth Support Organization in Serbia, CCF Moldova-Child, Community, Families- the official representative of Hope and Homes for Children UK in Moldova, Tulip Foundation in Bulgaria

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news-1423 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Serbian National Network writes to New Serbian PM Vučić http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/serbian-national-network-writes-to-new-serbian-pm-vucic/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=88f0a9a2e5c7a18cbce91d565ede68eb As the new government takes office in Serbia, children's rights organisations make clear demands to improve lives of children.

The Network of Organizations for Children of Serbia (NOCS), a national partner network of Eurochild and Coordinator of the Opening Doors Campaign, sent to the future Serbian Prime Minister Mr Aleksandar Vucic an appendix regarding his exposé which is currently being created in which it expressed its expectation that the area of ​​child rights would rank high among priorities of the new Cabinet. In written annex which was delivered to the mandate holder Vucic, NOCS pointed out to the concrete measures that the new government should take in order to improve the position of children.

NOCS believes that the new Cabinet should strengthen the institutional framework for conducting public policies in the field of child rights. To this end, new Cabinet should found the Council for Child Rights, as an advisory an inter-agency coordination body of the Government, as well as the Administration for Child Rights, as an administrative body within the ministry responsible for social policy.

Regarding the further development of the normative framework for the realization of child rights, NOCS urged new Cabinet to adopt a National Action Plan for Children, the National Strategy for the Prevention and protection of Children from Violence, and to renew the General and Special Protocols for Protection of Children from Violence, Abuse and Neglect. NOCS also urged National Assembly to pass the Law on Child Rights and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the procedure of filing complaints to the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

According to UNICEF data, indicators of children health suggest that in the cases of 20 percent of the children a timely and appropriate immunization has not been performed, nearly 30 percent of children under the age of five do not have a proper diet, while 40 percent of children are exposed to violent upbringing methods at home. Children with disabilities have limited access to health and educational institutions, and around 80 percent of children in institutional care falls right into this category. More than 6,000 children are currently separated from their parents and are in foster care, and that number continues to grow. Roma children, especially Roma girls, lag behind the general population of children concerning all socio-economic indicators. Only 15 percent of Roma girls attend secondary school, whereas 57 percent of them get married before the age of 18.

Previously mentioned indicators are some of the reasons why NOCS urged mandate holder to make a precedent and to emphasize already in his exposé that the realization of child rights will represent a special area in the work of the new Cabinet.

NOCS urges the new Cabinet of Serbia to pay special attention to reducing inequalities between different groups of children and to take measures aimed at resolving numerous problems that stand in the way of realization of the rights of all children - their right to play, develop, educate, and grow free from discrimination, and to spend their childhood in a dignified, safe, healthy and happy way.

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news-1387 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Child Poverty Conference sparks Irish Parliament debate http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/child-poverty-conference-sparks-irish-parliament-debate/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=fb4c0a9292160f73963ec3b695209190 The Children's Rights Alliance organised a conference on child poverty, which sparked a discussion in the Houses of Parliament by the Minister for Social Protection. The Children's Rights Alliance organised a conference on child poverty, which sparked a discussion in the Houses of Parliament by the Minister for Social Protection. 

In a Dáil (Irish Parliament) debate on 30 June 2016, the Minister for Social Protection Dr Leo Varadkar TD, said:

“I attended a very good conference on child poverty last week, organised by the Children's Rights Alliance. All of the NGOs and groups there were of the same opinion, namely, when it comes to cash transfers such as child benefit and benefit payments, Ireland actually has among the highest payments in the EU. Where we fall down badly is on services, such as child care, and because people on low incomes have to pay to see their doctor, when they do not have to do so in other countries. I will, of course, be looking for measures in the budget that increase income supports targeted at those who need them the most, but the real focus has to be on improving services and also on getting people into work. No welfare payment can compete with a well-paid job. We need more people in work and we need to focus particularly on services. An extra €5 a month in child benefit costs €60 million but €60 million invested in speech and language or early intervention in child care goes so much further when it comes to the alleviation of poverty”

Eurochild supports national members to hold advocacy events to build momentum for implementation of children's rights locally or nationally. 

  • More about "Making child poverty policies real" here
  • Read the press release calling for joint action here

 

 

 

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news-1382 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 A children’s rights passport for every child http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/a-childrens-rights-passport-for-every-child/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=a1c052355f1c24af35468249dff140c2 The children’s rights community in Europe gathered in Brussels this week to answer the question “Why Europe needs to invest in children”. The children’s rights community in Europe gathered in Brussels this week to answer the question “Why Europe needs to invest in children”. Not only policy makers, professionals working with children and politicians, but children and young people themselves were actively involved in this event, which was held under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen of the Belgians.

Doers should start speaking, speakers should start doing” – This is the message of the declaration from the conference. Drafted by a team of young people with input from the conference participants, it demands European governments, Members of the European Parliament and individuals to invest in children through 4 specific ways:

 

 

  • Involve children and young people in decision making; making it a requirement in all EU countries and those wanting to join the EU;
  • Monitor and report on how public money is spent on children, and allow children to engage in budget planning;
  • Develop rights training with children and offer every child a children’s rights passport to inform them of their rights; and
  • Integrate refugee children and those affected by migration; ensure they receive equal protection and access to their right to grow up in a safe environment, ideally with their own family.

The declaration was presented to leaders and public officials who then responded:

 

Elke Sleurs, Belgium State Secretary for Combating Poverty, for Equal Opportunities, for Disabled People, for Science Policy: “We must realize that we’re not talking about ‘children in poverty’, but rather ‘families with children in poverty’. We therefore have to break the cycle of poverty. If not, the children are liable to spend the rest of their lives at a disadvantage. Through the lack of education, people find it difficult to find work, continue to live in unhealthy conditions, risk to get exposed to drugs, etc. We must prevent this happening at all costs. We do this by drawing up a national child poverty plan, for which all existing services and all political levels are mobilised.”

 

Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion:

"Investing in children as early as possible is one of the best and most valuable long-term investments we can make in Europe. This is particularly true for the 25 million children living at risk of poverty, and the thousands of refugee children or children in institutional care in the European Union. The Commission has made €10 billion available to spend on children and supports Member States in their actions to prevent poverty, move away from institutionalisation and make sure all children can benefit from quality services and promote children's rights to participate in society."

 

Council of Europe:

“Cutting social benefits, family support, spending on schools, tax benefits for families, in order to balance the states’ books or save big banks is a dead-end scenario. Salvaging the economy and pursuing long-term goals may take years, and children are living their lives now. The return on investment into children’s rights by far overweighs the potential costs of fixing in future what has gone wrong. So, it is not only socially, but also economically beneficial to invest into children,” said Gianluca Esposito, Head of Equality and Human Dignity Department of the Council of Europe.

 

EU Fundamental Rights Agency:

“We have an obligation to honour our human rights commitments and fulfil children’s rights. This includes implementing the European Commission’s recommendation on investing in children and building an integrated child protection safety net, especially for those children most at risk: when they cross the seas to find refuge from war, when they find themselves alone in the streets, when they are exploited or abused. Our Agency will continue to assist the EU’s institutions and Member States with robust, evidence based expertise to support them in taking more effective measures to tackle child poverty and protect children from violence, exploitation and abuse.” Ioannis Dimitrikapoulos, Head of Equality and Citizens' Rights Department, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.

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The Declaration is now available in Croatian.

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About “Children’s Rights Matter: Why Europe needs to invest in children” 5-7 July

Over 250 participants from 34 countries participated in the Eurochild Conference 2016 at the Palace of Academies, Brussels. The conference was co-hosted by Office de la Naissance et de l’Enfance (ONE) and Kind en Gezin.

 

 

  • Follow the online discussions through the conference hashtag #EurochildConf
  • Photos from the conference are available on Flickr

 

 

 

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news-1381 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Queen Mathilde of Belgium delivers opening address at Eurochild Conference 2016 http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/queen-mathilde-of-belgium-delivers-opening-address-at-eurochild-conference-2016/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=65056dced64ad0b0a3508fb8fb127d37 Patron of Eurochild Conference 2016, Queen Mathilde also engaged in discussions with children and young people on the three themes - child poverty, children affected by migration and children in alternative care. In the prestigious Throne Room of the Palace of Academies, Patron of Eurochild Conference 2016, Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium delivered the opening address with a clear commitment to investing in children's rights. 

"There can be no doubt that the best investment in the future is to take the best possible care of the next generation." 

As a special advocate for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, HM Queen Mathilde committed to focusing her attention on poverty, health and education. 

"The global community has pledged to safeguard children’s rights in education, health, participation and protection. These rights entail moral and legal obligations. For instance, the right to education must be emphasized.  The importance of the provision of good schools and well-trained teachers is not to be underestimated."

After the address, HM Queen Mathilde also engaged in a deep discussion directly with children and young people on the three key target groups under focus - children in poverty; children affected by migration and children in alternative care.

The conference 'Children's Rights Matter' is co-hosted by Eurochild's Belgian members Kind en Gezin and ONE. The three day conference takes place from 5-7 July 2016.

 

 

  • Read the full speech of HM Queen Mathilde of Belgium here
  • See the photos from Day one on Flickr

 

 

 

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news-1380 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 EU Referendum Result – Protecting and Promoting children’s rights after the Brexit http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eu-referendum-result-protecting-and-promoting-childrens-rights-after-the-brexit/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=2750cf17715e3be33ce75522d862f11c UK Statement From Children in Scotland, Children England, Children in Wales, Children in Northern Ireland and Eurochild Following the EU referendum, every effort must be made to protect and promote children’s rights in response to the EU Referendum result, children’s organisations in the UK’s four nations are calling on the UK governments and European Union to: protect the rights of children and young people; ensure that children and young people are meaningfully involved in decisions that will shape the future of the UK and the EU; and mitigate any negative impact that the result may have on children, young people and families from other European countries who currently live in the UK. 

Read the full statement here.

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news-1379 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Children's Rights Matter: Press invitation for Eurochild Conference http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/childrens-rights-matter-press-invitation-for-eurochild-conference/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=8206172e3b714ff3e45f134cfc60d0ef Eurochild, with its Belgian members Kind en Gezin and Office de la Naissance et de l’Enfance (ONE) invites you to its Conference: “Children’s Rights Matter: Why Europe needs to invest in Children”.

More than 1 in 4 children are growing up in poverty and exclusion;
30% of asylum seekers in the EU last year were children; 90,000 were unaccompanied and therefore at higher risk;
Over 500,000 children are placed in institutional care, in contradiction to all human rights standards.

What does this mean for a Europe that is rapidly changing ?

Eurochild, with its Belgian members Kind en Gezin and Office de la Naissance et de l’Enfance (ONE) invites you to its Conference: “Children’s Rights Matter: Why Europe needs to invest in Children” where the children’s rights community in Europe will gather to identify opportunities and demand actions at political, policy and individual levels. Press and broadcast media are invited to attend the conference. Please register in advance by emailing prerna.humpal@eurochild.org .

Realising children’s rights is the foundation for building resilient, prosperous and inclusive societies. As Europe grapples with the tumultuous developments following the UK referendum, the Eurochild conference will gather not only policymakers and professionals, but also children and young people to create solutions for a stronger Europe.

 

Highlights of Eurochild Conference  5-7 July at Palace of Academies, Brussels

 

Prestigious Patron and Speaker:

5 July Her Majesty the Queen of the Belgians

 

7 July, 12 noon Political leaders from Belgian and European governments:

Elke Sleurs, Belgian State Secretary for Combating Poverty, for Equal Opportunities, for Disabled People and for Science Policy

Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, European Commission

Other speakers include high level individuals representing the Council of Europe and the EU Fundamental Rights Agency.

 

Personal testimonies of young persons who have been in foster care, faced poverty or experienced migrant/refugee situation – 5 July, 16hrs

 

Discover Belgium’s approach to child-centred investment – 6 July

A child-centred investment strategy prioritises investment in 5 pillars: education, early years, health, community development and family strengthening, and social protection and welfare support.

Conference participants will have the opportunity to visit programs and centres supporting such approaches in Belgium.

Examples include: Huis van het Kind in Genk – a family centre offering preventative services for children and families; Ateliers du Soleil, Brussels – a lifelong learning centre which has existed for last 40 years; a visit to the Parliament of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation with members of the Youth Parliament; and many more. 

 

Read the full programme here.

 

Practical Information for 5 July /PRAKTISCHE INFO/ INFOS PRATIQUES:

PROGRAMMA/ PROGRAMME : 

14:55 – Aankomst van de Koningin / Arrivée de la Reine/Arrival of the Queen

15:05 – Toespraak van de Koningin / Discours de la Reine/Speech of the Queen

16:00 – De Koningin ontmoet de jongeren, groepsfoto / La Reine rencontre les jeunes, photo de groupe/ The Queen meets young people and photos with the group

16:20 – Vertrek van de Koningin / Départ de la Reine/Departure of the Queen.

- No access without press card/ GEEN TOEGANG ZONDER PERSKAART/PAS D’ACCES SANS CARTE DE PRESSE/

- Press Briefing/AFSPRAAK PERS/RENDEZ-VOUS PRESSE: 05/07/2016 – 14:30 – Paleis der Academiën / Palais des Académies – 1 Hertogstraat  / rue Ducale 1 – 1000 Bxl

For Press Registrations and or organize interviews with any of the speakers, contact:

Prerna Humpal

Head of Communications

Eurochild: +32 (0)2-2110553 (direct)

Office: +32 (0)2 511 70 83

Mobile: +32 (0)486-355-083

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news-1378 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Joint statement ahead of the European Council of 28-29 June 2016 signed by more than 100 NGOs http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/joint-statement-ahead-of-the-european-council-of-28-29-june-2016-signed-by-more-than-100-ngos/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=7571f94c9cc795162317d3b4699a1841 NGOs strongly condemn new EU policies to contain migration

At the upcoming European Council, European Union (EU) leaders will discuss the European Commission’s Communication on a new Partnership Framework with third countries. The Communication proposes an approach which aims to leverage existing EU and Member States' external cooperation instruments and tools in order to stem migration to Europe. The undersigned organisations express their grave concern about the direction the EU is taking by making deterrence and return the main objective of the Union's relationship with third countries. More broadly, this new Partnership Framework risks cementing a shift towards a foreign policy that serves one single objective, to curb migration, at the expense of European credibility and leverage in defence of fundamental values and human rights. 

The proposed approach is inspired by the EU-Turkey deal which although touted as a successful example of cooperation, has actually left thousands people stranded in Greece in inhumane and degrading conditions. This has particularly affected children, with the result that hundreds of unaccompanied children have been held in closed detention facilities on the islands or forced to sleep in police cells on the Greek mainland. The wider repercussions of this should not be underestimated. It is hard to see how Europe can ask partner countries to keep their doors open, to host large-scale refugee populations and prevent further movements while at the same time Member States refuse to shoulder their fair share of responsibility for protecting people who flee their homes. The right to asylum is being significantly undermined, and it will become more and more challenging for civilians in conflict zones to seek international protection.

The Commission's proposal ignores all the evidence on the ineffectiveness of deterrence strategies aimed at stopping migration. This approach will not only fail to “break the business-model” of smugglers but increase human suffering as people are forced into taking more dangerous routes. Moreover, despite the stated commitment to respect the principle of non-refoulement, there are no safeguards envisaged to ensure that human rights, rule of law standards and protection mechanisms are in place.  As a result, people risk being deported to countries where their rights are not safeguarded.  Responsibility and liability for human rights violations do not end at Europe’s borders. 

We are disappointed to see that once again the emphasis on deterrence leaves no clear commitments to open up safe and regular channels to Europe for those in need of international protection and for other migrants, e.g. through resettlement, humanitarian admission schemes, family reunification, educational visas, labour mobility and visa liberalisation. Resettlement, labour migration and visa liberalisation are only mentioned as possible leverage with partner countries in a quid pro quo approach. 

Another major concern is the financing of the proposed Partnership Framework which would represent a wholesale re-orientation of Europe’s development programming towards stopping migration. This is an unacceptable contradiction to the commitment to use development cooperation with the aim to eradicate poverty, as enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty. Aid is for the benefit of people in need, and should not be used as a leverage for migration control.  EU funding should be transparent and adhere to clearly established principles, such as the Busan principles on effectiveness and the Paris principles of ownership by and alignment to partner countries’ strategies. In addition, striking ‘migration management’ agreements with countries where grave human rights violations are committed will be counter-productive in the longer term – undermining human rights around the globe and perpetuating the cycle of abuse and repression that causes people to flee.  

Migration has many drivers; people may be on the move in search of new livelihood opportunities, an education or to reunite with family, while conflict and violence, human rights violations, climate change, poverty and unemployment can all trigger migration and forced displacement. Any cooperation to manage migration should take into consideration this complex and multi-faceted reality, be evidence and needs-based, and ensure that the benefits of migration are maximised and the risks are mitigated. 

If the EU wants to call for more global solidarity, it needs to set the right example. The EU, a project built on the rubble of a devastating war, is about to embark on a dark chapter of its history. We urge EU leaders to choose a rights-based system to manage migration, based on a viable long-term strategic vision, rather than pursuing an unattainable and inhumane deterrence objective and thereby abandoning its core founding principles.

As human rights, humanitarian, medical, migration and development agencies, and key implementing partners of development programmes in third countries, we call on European leaders to: 

1. Reject the current Commission Communication and develop a sustainable long-term and evidence-based strategy for migration management, in consultation with civil society and experts. 

2. Facilitate safe mobility by opening and strengthening safe and regular channels to Europe both for those in need of international protection and other migrants including through resettlement, humanitarian admission and humanitarian visas, family reunification, worker mobility across skill levels and student visas. Member States must commit to clear benchmarks and appropriate timelines for implementing a migration framework that meets the needs of migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees, their families, as well as the needs and obligations of Member States.

3. Exclude any conditionality based on migration control indicators in the allocation of development aid to third countries. Development aid is a tool to fight poverty and inequality, not to manage migration. Vulnerable populations should not be punished because of concerns that are largely political.

4. Stop any readmissions or removals of people by the EU to a third country that violate – or risk violating - fundamental rights and rule of law, including the principle of non-refoulement. Ensure access to protection, justice and effective remedy for all people in migration and asylum procedures.

5. Ensure transparency in the development of any instruments to manage migration and accountability for human rights violations resulting from EU migration policies.

6. Commit to a foreign policy and action focused on preventing and unlocking protracted crises. While the Communication mentions the need to address root causes of displacement in the long term, it does not include engagement to prevent and manage crises. 

More than 100 NGOs signed the statement. 

Click here the read the Press Release. 

Signatories

1. ACT Alliance EU 

2. ActionAid

3. Aditus Foundation

4. Afrique Culture Maroc 

5. Agir Ensemble pour les Droits de l'Homme 

6. Aid Services 

7. Amnesty International

8. Amycos

9. Andalucía Acoge 

10. Asamblea de Cooperacion Por la Paz ACPP

11. Asgi - Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione

12. Asociacion por ti mujer

13. Asociacion Salud y Familia - Spain

14. Association for action against violence and trafficking in human beings-Open Gate La  Strada Macedonia.

15. Association for the Social Support of Youth 

16. Ayuda en Acción

17. British Refugee Council 

18. CAFOD 

19. Care International

20. CCOO de Andalucia

21. Centre for Youths Integrated Development.

22. Centro de Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos PRO IGUAL

23. ChildFund Alliance 

24. Church of Sweden 

25. Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe

26. Citizens’ association for combating trafficking in human beings and all forms of gender-based violence

27. CNCD-11.11.11

28. Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado –CEAR-

29. Concern Worldwide 

30. CONCORD Europe

31. CONCORD Sweden

32. Conseil des Béninois de France

33. Consortium of Migrants Assisting Organizations in the Czech Republic

34. Coordinadora Andaluza de ONGD

35. Coordinadora Cantabra de ONGD

36. Coordinadora de ONGD de  la Región de Murcia

37. Coordinadora de ONGD del Principado de Asturias

38. Coordinadora de ONGD España  

39. Coordinadora de ONGD Navarra

40. Coordinadora Extremeña de ONGD

41. Coordinadora Gallega de ONGD

42. Coordinadora ONGD de Castilla y León

43. Coordinadora Valenciana de ONGD

44. Cordaid

45. Detention Action 

46. Detention Forum

47. Doctors of the World International network

48. EU-CORD Network 

49. Eurochild 

50. EuroMed Rights

51. European Association for the Defence of Human Rights

52. European Council on Refugees and Exiles

53. European Youth Forum

54. Federación Aragonesa de ONGD

55. Federación de Asociaciones de Derechos Humanos

56. Federation of Christian NGOs in Italy 

57. FIACAT

58. FIDH 

59. FIZ advocacy and support for migrant women and victims of trafficking

60. Flüchtlingsrat Niedersachsen e.V.

61. Forum des Organisations de Solidarité Internationale issues des Migrations 

62. Fundacion 1º de Mayo de Comisiones Obreras

63. Fundación Alianza por los Derechos, la Igualdad y la Solidaridad Internacional –APS-

64. Greek Forum of Refugees 

65. Habitat for Humanity International, Europe, Middle East and Africa

66. Handicap International

67. Human Rights Watch

68. Human Rights Without Frontiers 

69. Instituto Sindical de Cooperación al Desarrollo –ISCOD-

70. InteRed

71. INTERSOS 

72. Islamic Relief UK 

73. Jesuit Refugee Service Europe.

74. Justice and Peace Netherlands 

75. KISA-Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism

76. Koordinierungsstelle der Österreichischen Bischofskonferenz für internationale Entwicklung und         Mission   

77. La Strada International 

78. Lafede.cat - Organitzacions per a la Justícia Global

79. Le Monde des Possibles

80. Macedonian Young Lawyers Association

81. Menedék - Hungarian Association for Migrants

82. Migrant Voice UK 

83. Migrants' Rights Network 

84. Movimiento contra la Intolerancia

85. Movimiento por la Paz –MPDL-

86. Nasc, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre

87. Norwegian Refugee Council

88. Oxfam

89. PAX 

90. Pax Christi International

91. PICUM-Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants

92. Plan International EU office

93. Platform Minors in exile / Plate-forme Mineurs en exil / Platform Kinderen op de vlucht (Belgium)

94. Red Acoge

95. Réseau de Compétences Solidaires - Groupement d'Economie Sociale et Solidaire  France - Europe -         Afrique 

96. Réseau Immigration Développement Démocratie -  IDD

97. Save the Children

98. SOS Children’s Villages International

99. SOS Racisme – Touche pas à mon pote

100. Stichting LOS 

101. Swedish Refugee Advice Centre

102. Télécoms Sans Frontières 

103. Terre des Hommes International Federation

104. The International Federation of Social Workers European Region 

105. The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture victims 

106. The Norwegian Centre Against Racism 

107. Trócaire

108. World Vision Brussels and EU Representation

109. ZOA 

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news-1374 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Major Child Poverty Conference Calls for Joint Action http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/major-child-poverty-conference-calls-for-joint-action/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=5cb31dfc727df901aee8cc3324832950 Ireland has one of the highest levels of child poverty in Europe. The event supported by Eurochild and coordinated by the Children’s Rights Alliance calls for action.

A major child poverty conference today (Friday 24 June), supported by Eurochild and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and coordinated by the Children’s Rights Alliance, will call on delegates from across the NGO, public and private sectors to join forces in order to successfully meet the Government’s target of eliminating consistent poverty by 2020. One in ten children is growing up in consistent poverty in Ireland: going to school hungry, no warm coat in winter and not even having a square meal every other day.

 

This noteworthy conference takes place one day after the ‘Brexit’ referendum and as such, is likely to be punctuated by the far-reaching implications of that vote on future generations of children in Ireland. In this context, questions will no doubt arise on the extent to which child poverty in Ireland is dependent on other EU members.

 

The Children’s Rights Alliance says that the Government commitment on this issue is strong, evidenced by the attendance of two Government Ministers at the Dublin conference, including Minister for Social Protection, Dr. Leo Varadkar TD and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone TD.  Also speaking will be The Irish Times columnist Fintan O’Toole, a range of expert international speakers, a panel of young people from Future Voices Ireland and the National Youth Council of Ireland, as well as over 100 delegates.

 

Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said today: “Child poverty is a blight on this country that is preventing children from meeting their full potential, draining families of spirit and hope and, ultimately, holding the country back. We know from other countries that the answer to child poverty is better services for children and families. The Government has worked hard to address child poverty through income supplements but this is simply not enough. We need a Government-wide approach and steps are already underway with the development of a practical action plan. We need to move swiftly to finalise this plan so all actors can play their part.

 

We all recognise this, and I know that there is commitment from all of us to move beyond rhetoric and to meet the targets, such as those set out by Government in Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures. I’m confident that we will meet those targets, as we have not one but two Ministers in the room today, speaking to you - over 100 delegates  - who, I know, will work hard today to translate these policies into effective and practical interventions.”

 

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone TD, said: “No child in this country should go hungry, live without a roof over their head or be locked up in an adult prison. As Minister, I am committed to meet this challenge by working with young people, parents, front-line agencies and colleagues in Government. Today’s Children’s Rights Alliance conference is an important opportunity to advance that work.”

 

Minister for Social Protection, Dr. Leo Varadkar TD, said: "Today, Ireland is a better place for children to grow up than it was for any preceding generation.  But it does not reflect well on us that in a wealthy country in the 21st century we have to have a conference on child poverty at all.  The new Government is committed to reducing and eventually eliminating child poverty.  Dealing with child poverty is about much more than income supports and welfare payment though these play an important role and will continue to do so.  It’s increasingly about supporting jobless families to break into the workforce and improving access to services like health, childcare, education and of course decent housing.  That’s why is requires a cross-government and whole of society approach"

 

Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General of Eurochild, said: “Ireland has one of the highest levels of child poverty in Europe.  We welcome that the Irish government has made this a political priority and is committed to developing and implementing an ambitious but realistic action plan accompanied by targets and monitoring. The EU offers fertile ground for countries to learn from one another. EU policy guidance and structural and investment funds can add valuable support to national efforts.”

This conference will seek to breathe life into important commitments on child poverty and to translate them into reality to improve children’s lives.  Commitments under discussion will include national and EU targets to reduce the level of children living in consistent poverty, as promised in Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures: the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014-2020, Europe 2020 and the European Commission Recommendation on Investing in Children.

Watch video address by Minister Jetta Klijnsma, Dutch State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment announcing the recent European Council conclusions on ‘Combating poverty and social exclusion’ here

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news-1369 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Best interests of the child not considered in Brexit discussions http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/best-interests-of-the-child-not-considered-in-brexit-discussions/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=8479f74f97ff17cda3aaf918bf6978f3 In an open letter to the European Council Eurochild calls for children to be at the heart of decisions regarding the UK EU referendum.

In an open letter to the European Council ahead of discussions on the UK EU referendum on 28-29 June, Eurochild calls for children to be at the heart of decisions made by the European Council regarding the outcome of the UK EU referendum.

Eurochild members, comprised of over 170 organisations across 33 countries, have raised concern that the best interests of the child have not been considered in the development of the proposals, which could significantly undermine steps to implement the European Commission Recommendation on Investing in Children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage (2013). Child poverty continues to affect children disproportionately with over 27 percent children facing poverty or social exclusion in the EU.

The letter to Donald Tusk, President of European Council, states that “any decisions made by the European Council should be assessed to fully identify, analyse, strengthen or mitigate the impacts on children and young people.”

In the letter, Eurochild calls for the European Council to:

Ensure that the best interests of children are central to their decisions;

Consider how the voices of children and young people can be heard and fully taken into account;

Guarantee that its discussions focus on the most vulnerable children living in Europe such as children in poverty, disabled children, children in care and refugee and asylum seeking children.

Read the open letter here

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news-1368 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 World Refugee Day: Child rights professionals share their stories http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/world-refugee-day-child-rights-professionals-share-their-stories/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=4ad021cd81587b15b0836ba2741dc986 In 2015, of the more than 1 million people who applied for asylum in the EU Member States, 30 percent were children.

Headlines and front-page photos of children being carried out of boats at the shores of Europe, of young boys barely 15 years crossing barbed wires from Serbia and Hungary, and of those sitting idle in camps in Greece have become the new norm. But very little is known about what happens once children move on and try to rebuild their lives across Europe. But professionals working with children and families are raising the alarm.

Many of these children are being denied basic rights, including care within a family, education, and freedom from violence. The potential negative consequences for Europe's future are huge and worrisome.

On the occasion of World Refugee Day, Eurochild has released a series of interviews entitled “Turning the tide for children on the move” offering a snapshot of the situation of children on the move in different parts of Europe in both transit and destination countries. It is built on interviews with professionals working with and for children and families. Nine child rights professionals from Eurochild's membership share the challenges they face on the ground and recommendations to national governments and EU institutions for the protection of the rights of children.

Eurochild echoes the voices of its members in Greece, Italy, Serbia, Hungary, Austria, Germany and France and calls on the EU to act in the best interests of children on the move, no matter their status.

Reality in numbers:

In 2015, of the more than 1 million people who applied for asylum in the EU Member States, 30 percent were children.

Out of these approximately 88,300 unaccompanied children applied for asylum in the EU in 2015, which is 4 times more than in 2014.

Reality in words:

Smugglers and traffickers hang out outside the shelters and wait for children. Children don't stay at the shelters or camps for a long time. They choose to follow them and we are left in the dark. Athina Kammenou, Greece

A recent study underlined that 23.2% of the unaccompanied children registered in Italy are at the moment unreachable.” Francesco Salvatore, Italy

Unaccompanied children often face discrimination in Austria. Austrian children deprived of parental care grow up in small group homes which have a capacity of up to 8-10 children; whereas unaccompanied children grow up in institutions which have a capacity of up to 50 children. Stefan Bauer, Austria

“Behind the right to education and access to school lies the sense of “normality” which has to do with their right to go to school, have friends, play or do activities. Also, this school time protects children from exploitation, trafficking or prostitution.” Roland Biache, France

Read the full paper here

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news-1367 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Joint oral statement on civil society space for children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/joint-oral-statement-on-civil-society-space-for-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=17f0a71937f1319c0fe5a78d1759771a Eurochild joins Save the Children, CIVICUS and 16 other NGOs to demand the UN Human Rights Council to create spaces for children to engage in civil society

Eurochild joins Save the Children, CIVICUS and 16 other NGOs to demand the UN Human Rights Council to create spaces for children to engage in civil society,  on the back of the release of the OHCHR report on practical recommendations for the creation and maintenance of a safe and enabling environment for civil society.

The statement highlights that : 

“A strong, diverse and independent civil society is also a space for children. Children, who constitute more than 30% of the world’s population, have the right to be heard and participate in different spheres of society. Children want to participate in public processes. We need them to speak out to better respond to their situation. Despite this, children’s voices are often marginalized….”

Children want to engage in civic action. We need to ensure that all children, including the most excluded groups of children, have the space, support and respect for their rights to become equal actors for change in their societies.”

Read the full statement here

Watch Eurochild video ‘With Children, For Children’ on the experience of children who travelled to Brussels to speak at the European Parliament in November last year. 

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news-1366 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Joint Statement: The Alliance for Investing in Children welcomes Council Conclusions acknowledging the need to address child poverty http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/joint-statement-the-alliance-for-investing-in-children-welcomes-council-conclusions-acknowledging-t/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=bfa0ef315a1b1deab5b3f0e9c9653226 The Alliance for Investing in Children urges EU institutions and Member States, to maintain child poverty and social exclusion high on their political agenda

The Conclusions adopted by the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumers Affairs Council on Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion: An integrated approach, are a welcome step in addressing child poverty and promoting children’s well-being.

Eurochild, as a member of The Alliance for Investing in Children, appreciates the initiative of the Dutch Presidency to address the persistence of child poverty in Europe and encourages the EU institutions and Member States to do more to reverse this disturbing trend which is blighting the lives of younger generations in Europe.

Over the past years, the European Union has registered a dramatic increase in inequality across and within Member States, with 5% of households in the EU retaining 37% of the total wealth and with almost a quarter of EU citizens at risk of poverty. The picture looks even gloomier if we consider that more than one in four children is at risk of poverty - a situation which has not significantly improved since the onset of the economic crisis in 2008. Growing inequality imposes high costs on children and European societies. As recent data confirmed, children at the bottom end have been allowed to fall further behind in income, education, health and life satisfaction.

The Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development adopted last September by all Member States at the UN General Assembly offers both an obligation and an invaluable opportunity to take stock of the available EU policy frameworks and to tackle child poverty. Goal 1, Target 2 requires Member States to “by 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions”. Aligning the work of the EU with this universal agenda requires EU-wide measurement and response to both monetary and multidimensional child poverty to ensure that in Europe no child is left behind.

The Alliance for Investing in Children urges EU institutions and Member States, and in particular the upcoming Slovak Presidency, to maintain child poverty and social exclusion high on their political agenda and to take forward the following actions:

• Promote a more comprehensive implementation of the Recommendation Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage by developing a roadmap and adopting child well-being indicators, as called for in the Written Declaration on investing in children.

• Re-balance the economic and social priorities throughout the European Semester process and put a stronger emphasis on policies addressing child and family poverty and social exclusion in the Country Specific Recommendations.

• Continue to promote the positive exchange of knowledge to tackle child poverty encouraged by the Dutch Presidency through the collection of best practices that is planned to be published as an addendum to the Council Conclusions and by the European Commission through the organisation of Peer Reviews.

We recommend that the lessons learnt are taken in due account by Member States when designing and implementing policies that aim to combat child poverty and social exclusion, and that Peer Reviews continue to be organised in the future for further exchange and learning.

Investing in all children and young people is key to achieving all aspects of sustainable development. And investing early, through multidimensional and integrated strategies, is crucial to ensure that all children over the course of their lives have the opportunity to develop, thrive and contribute to build a more cohesive, sustainable and prosperous Europe.

--

UPDATE: The addendum to the Council Conclusions containing good practices on integrated approaches to combating poverty and social exclusion have been made public here

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news-1365 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Eurochild conference registration deadline extended till 24 June http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-conference-registration-deadline-extended-till-24-june/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b7774082688556d0de735f23ea899b4d Discover the newly confirmed speakers!

At this conference, young advocates, policy makers, practitioners and politicians will gather to remind the world that ‘Children's Rights Matter'. 

-Patron and Speaker:

Address by Her Majesty the Queen of the Belgians 

-Newly confirmed speakers:

Marianne Thyssen European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, European Commission.

Commissioner Thyssen will respond to the question of investing in children in the closing session, along with Belgian State Secretary Elke Sleurs and representatives of the Council of Europe and the EU Fundamental Rights Agency.

Young advocates – Empowering children to be their own advocates 

Children and young people, ages 12+, are involved both in the design, organisation and implementation of the conference. Meet some of the young speakers, some of whom will share their stories in the ‘Human Library' session.

Vika Tchibor, Young advocate/Student, UK 

Vika Tchibor is a young woman on a mission! As a young person who has lived within the care system in the UK, she has first-hand experience of the challenges faced by a looked after child, and the barriers to progressing through education. Having overcome all of these herself to study at one of the most prestigious universities in England currently, Vika is passionate about supporting other young people to develop the skills, knowledge and support networks to realise their dreams and aspirations. Vika will speak on Day 1 in the ‘From Personal to Political'.

Sean Downey, Human Book: Alternate ways of living 

Youtuber, Member of Children's Advisory Group, Ireland

Sean is a young person from Ireland who has experience of living in foster care, residential care and in a family. Sean is an advocate who uses the power of Youtube to share his personal experiences. His videos have gone viral, reaching children and young people worldwide. Last November, Sean spoke at the European Parliament in Brussels about children's participation.

Donya Azimi, Human Book: "From Afghanistan to Sweden - Children in foster care" 

Member of Children's Advisory Group, Sweden

Donya arrived in Sweden at the age of 11 years with her brother as unaccompanied children traveling from Afghanistan. She lived in three different foster care families experiencing the good and the not so good things. Her personal experiences have pushed her to become an advocate for children's rights. Donya will share her experience of living in foster care in Sweden, the laws and what is legal in contrast to what can be the reality.

 
80% of registrations have been received. So, make sure that you do not miss out! Click here to register!

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news-1363 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 SDG Watch Europe calls to adopt a strategy for the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda implementation http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/sdg-watch-europe-calls-to-adopt-a-strategy-for-the-2030-sustainable-development-agenda-implementatio/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=36d3d404f2dc274d456f5b3f4cb1a762 SDG Watch Europe of which Eurochild is a member sends an open letter to President Juncker

SDG Watch Europe, an alliance of 70 organisations including Eurochild, has today (6 June) written to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker calling for him to adopt, as a matter of urgency, an overarching strategy to guide implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Leida Rijnhout, Director for Global Policies and Sustainability at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), said:

It is time that President Juncker decides on where to go with Europe. He can either choose the sustainable way with a concrete plan to implement the global 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, or he can stick to the old fashioned growth and jobs mantra. However, the latter will fail to achieve even its stated aims and will only exacerbate the environmental and social problems facing Europe and the rest of the world.”

Agreed in New York in September 2015, the adoption of the 2030 Agenda was a major global achievement and the EU can rightly be proud of the part it played. SDG Watch Europe also welcomed a commitment to implement the Agenda in the 2016 Commission Work Programme, entitled ‘No Time for Business as Usual’. 

However, despite these fine words, there has been extremely little progress at EU level and the danger is growing that ‘business as usual’ will prevail. If Europe is to play its part in addressing global challenges, it needs to develop an implementation strategy to guide the work of all the European Commission Directorates-General and the other EU institutions.

Tanya Cox, Senior Policy and Advocacy Manager, Plan International, added: 

We’re concerned that the Commission is moving ahead too slowly on internal policy and action on sustainable development and that the small amount of progress is taking place behind closed doors with no public consultation. It is crucial that the Commission closely involves civil society - and other stakeholders - in the development of an overarching strategy if Europe is to achieve the best results for people and the planet.”

The challenges facing the world, including climate change, inequality between countries and between people in the same country, conflict and migration, are massive and complex and can only be tacked through comprehensive, cross-border solutions. The EU now has the opportunity to show that it is ready, willing and capable of action that is commensurate with this task.  

The key messages from the letter: 

Not only does an overarching strategy need to address integration and coherence between the EU’s domestic and external affairs, it also needs to do so across policy areas by finding a means to break down the silos that continue to exist between and within DGs and the sectors they represent. The 2030 Agenda was designed with the objective of addressing the interlinkages and interdependencies that underpin today’s global challenges and therefore calls for a whole-of-government approach which puts the well-being of people and planet at its core, with economic and financial systems to support them.

The EU strategy must also address coherence between national and EU level. Many Member States are well underway with putting in place procedures and plans to implement the 2030 Agenda. However, there will come a point when delay at EU level creates a bottleneck for progress at Member State level. The need for an overarching strategy is particularly acute in areas where the EU has shared competence with the Member States. 

SDG Watch Europe therefore calls on President Juncker to set out, as a matter of the greatest urgency, how the EU will respond with clarity and conviction to the challenge of this ambitious, universal Agenda, and to commit to developing an integrated, overarching strategy covering internal and external affairs

Given the openness of the process to develop the 2030 Agenda, the EU should consult with civil society in drawing up its implementation strategy, as recommended by the European Parliament in its resolution of 12 May. SDG Watch Europe would therefore like to see the launch of a transparent and inclusive public consultation on the implementation of the whole 2030 Agenda.

Click here to read the letter

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news-1362 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-Based Care responds to Country specific recommendations http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/european-expert-group-on-the-transition-from-institutional-to-community-based-care-responds-to-count/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=467b2432395dc3811d67ee9ff4157434 Eurochild together with the other members of the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-Based Care (EEG) welcomes several recommendations promoting quality care.

The European Commission recently published its 2016 country-specific recommendations (CSRs) to Member States. Following positive statements on the way social care and support should be provided in the last few years by the European Commission, the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-Based Care (EEG) welcomes several recommendations promoting quality care and support and access to employment and inclusive education for disadvantaged groups. Nonetheless, the overall focus on austerity will be detrimental to the transition to community-based services in Europe, if no safeguards are made available for public investment in this area.

In Europe, millions of children, persons with disabilities, older persons, homeless people and those from other disadvantaged groups live in segregated institutional settings, excluded from mainstream society. Without adequate, person-centered support in the community, that is accessible for all persons and their families, institutionalisation will sadly continue. This violates their right to live independently or to be raised by their family and to have choices and control over their life, just like other people. Since people in segregated institutional settings are usually unable to take part in mainstream education or the open labour market, the economic and societal impact of their exclusion is very high.

The European Commission’s Annual Growth Survey 2016 fully supported this argument and urged “social infrastructure (to) be provided in a more flexible way, personalized and better integrated to promote the active inclusion of people …”. Its analysis of poverty and social exclusion also argued that “access to high quality healthcare from an early age is indispensable for people to grow and live healthily and contribute to society”.

The EEG is pleased that several CSRs back the European Commission’s commitment to the transition from institutional to community-based care. The CSR recommendation to Estonia to “ensure the provision and accessibility of high quality public services, especially social services, at local level, inter alia by adopting and implementing the proposed local government reform” is a particularly positive step. The same can be said about the CSR calling on Romania to “improve access to integrated public services”.

The EEG, however, remains concerned that these positive social recommendations may not be sufficiently protected and strengthened ahead of recommendations in the area of fiscal consolidation, included in most CSRs. For instance, whilst Spain receives positive CSRs related to a better coordination of regional employment services with social services or to improve family support schemes, including access to quality child-care and long-term care, it also receives a recommendation to “ensure a durable correction of the excessive deficit by 2017, reducing the general government deficit to 3.7% of GDP in 2016 and to 2.5% of GDP in 2017”. It is indispensable to ensure that the fiscal recommendations do not undermine the implementation of the social ones.

Luk Zelderloo, co-chair of the EEG and secretary-general of the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities, argues that “the European Commission must include safeguards for public investment in the area of quality social infrastructure in recommendations related to fiscal consolidation. This would ensure that the European Commission positively contributes to the transition to community-based care, whilst also staying within the remit of their fiscal agreements.”

The EEG calls on the European Union to continue the fight against segregating institutions and for creating inclusive communities in all its policies and activities , even beyond the use of European Structural and Investment Funds.

Further Information:

The European Expert Group (EEG) on the Transition from Institutional to community-Based Care consists of the following organisations: COFACE (Confederation of Family Organisations in the EU), EASPD (European Association of Service Providers for People with Disabilities), EDF (European Disability Forum), ENIL/ECCL (European Network on Independent Living/European Coalition for Community Living), ESN (European Social Network), Eurochild, FEANTSA (European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless), Inclusion Europe, Lumos, Mental Health Europe, as well as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights - Regional Office for Europe and UNICEF.

- Click here to read the Common European Guidelines on the Transition from Institutional to Community Based Care

- Click here for the Toolkit on the Use of European Union Funds for the Transition from Institutional to Community Based Care

CONTACTS

Katerina Nanou, Campaigns Assistant, Eurochild

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news-1361 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Joint meeting to discuss the progress on deinstitutionalisation http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/joint-meeting-to-discuss-the-progress-on-deinstitutionalisation/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=53925ecf4ec01740c262ccf4a8a385b3 The European Commission and the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care met on 1 June in Brussels

A joint meeting of the European Commission (EC) and the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care (EEG)- of which Eurochild is a member- was held on 1 June in Brussels. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the progress on deinstitutionalisation in several Member States through the exchange of positions between representatives of state institutions, civil society and the European Commission.

The situation in Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Malta, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic was discussed. Eurochild took part in the meeting and its members from Bulgaria represented the views of civil society – the National Network for Children was represented by Vania Kaneva, Policy and Advocacy Adviser at For Our Children Foundation. Vania presented a joint position of the NNC and the coalition "Childhood 2025" on the progress on deinstitutionalisation of children in the country. The position describes the key successes that were achieved during the first stage of the process (2010-15) and the key challenges that emerged during this period, along with recommendations to address them.

Among the key achievements is the serious reduction in the number of children raised in institutions and the increase in the number and range of services in the community and foster care. Increasing public support for the principles of deinstitutionalisation and the integrated way in which several of the EU structural funds were used to support the process are also among the successes.

Among the main challenges is the lack of progress on the adoption of a new Action Plan for the National Strategy "Vision for Deinstitutionalisation of Children in the Republic of Bulgaria", as well as the inadequate involvement of NGOs and other key stakeholders in the planning and management of the process. The quality of care in the new residential services for children (Family-type Placement Centres) is questionable, as they are under-financed and their high capacity (15 children) does not provide for a sufficiently family-like environment. Similar concerns related to the risks of re-institutionalisation of the children who have been moved from the large institutions to community-based residential care were also shared by several other countries.

Another major concern is that a high number of children in Bulgaria continue to be placed in formal care, including institutions, residential services and foster care, which indicates that so far the process of deinstitutionalisation has not placed enough emphasis on the prevention of separation of children from their families and their abandonment.

Moreover, the sustainability of some of the new preventive services was not guaranteed after the end of their financing by EU funds and the state did not allocate resourced from the budget for their preservation. The quality of the management of foster care and the child protection system is also a problem. In Bulgaria, as in almost all other countries that were discussed, there persist negative public attitudes towards the inclusion of children with disabilities and children from different ethnic backgrounds. 

These concerns were shared by the representative of the European Commission, with key emphasis placed on the need to develop a new Action Plan as soon as possible, with the involvement of all relevant stakeholders. 

The recommendations of the National Network for Children and the coalition "Childhood 2025" for the next stage of the deinstitutionalisation process can be seen in more detail in their common position (click here to see the document).

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news-1358 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Urban Agenda: Creating enabling cities to transform the lives of children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/urban-agenda-creating-enabling-cities-to-transform-the-lives-of-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=fe9c29a959c3ef6e8744ec86f47ba1ef Newly launched EU Urban agenda includes pilot project on tackling urban poverty.

Eurochild is delighted to see the potential of the newly launched EU Urban agenda, which includes a pilot project on tackling urban poverty, thereby offering scope to identify the specific nature of child poverty in urban areas.

Approximately 28% of children in the EU are at risk of poverty and social exclusion; statistics show that EU citizens in rural areas are on average more likely to live in poverty than those in urban areas (27.2% compared with 24.3%). Yet the numbers of children living in poverty in urban areas across Europe combined with an understanding of the specific territorial dimension of urban child poverty and social exclusion appears largely unknown. The pilot project on urban poverty ought to offer an understanding of the lives of children living in poverty in urban areas. 

The EU Urban Agenda, launched by the Dutch Presidency of the EU this week, has created 4 pilot partnerships: 

1. Air Quality, coordinated by the Netherlands (Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment)

2. Housing, coordinated by Slovakia (Ministry of Ministry of Transport, Construction and Regional Development)

3. Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees, coordinated by the city of Amsterdam (NL)

4. Urban Poverty, coordinated by Belgium (Federal Urban Policy) and France (Commissariat General a
L’ Egalité des Territoires)

Each Partnership will start with a stocktaking phase, to explore the most pressing concrete issues to be addressed by the partnership, with the ultimate aim of improving the urban dimension of EU policy.

The focus of the urban poverty pilot will be on spatial concentration of structural poverty in deprived neighbourhoods (and regeneration of these areas), child poverty and homelessness. Eurochild took part in a coordination meeting of the urban poverty partnership and offered expert insights on child poverty across the EU.  

Urban policies can help transform the lives of children living in urban poor areas by using the European Commission Recommendation on Investing in Children. Eurochild has been invited to comment on the development of a report being produced by the coordination group as part of the stocktaking phase. 

Eurochild aims to ensure that the improvement of the urban dimension of EU policies prioritises children. 

Click here to find out more

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news-1356 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Children’s services – a quality review assessment in 14 countries http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/childrens-services-a-quality-review-assessment-in-14-countries/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=3105fdf5e57da87177faf39363c4f5d0 Access to quality services is one of the three pillars of the Recommendation on Investing in Children.

A new reportInvesting in Children’s Services: Improving Outcomes’ released by the European Social Network, offers a quality review of services in 14 European countries, addressing how the principle of quality services in the European Commission Recommendation on Investing in Children is implemented. The assessment took place between 2013 and 2015. Access to quality services is one of the three pillars of the Recommendation on Investing in Children.

Within the services pillar, the European Commission recognises five types of services: 

Reduce inequality at a young age by investing in early childhood education and care 

Improve education systems’ impact on equal opportunities

Improve the responsiveness of health systems to address the needs of disadvantaged children

Provide children with a safe, adequate housing and living environment

Enhance family support and the quality of alternative care settings

The report notes “Childhood is a unique period of human development, subject to many public policy interventions, and therefore is a critical period for preparing future generations to be social, productive, healthy and happy. There is a large body of evidence showing that the early years are crucial in people’s development and impact on adults’ social, economic and labour outcomes.

This vast, new report is helpful in assisting work to monitor implementation of the Recommendation on Investing in Children and to identify where further efforts are needed to translate policy principles into practice. The report identifies strengths and gaps in the 14 country profiles and suggests proposals for improvement in line with the Recommendation on Investing in Children. 




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news-1352 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Read here the eNews Bulletin from May 30 http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/read-here-the-enews-bulletin-from-may-30/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=0d311099bec3c4a4fcb8587b13fe5f8a Read here Eurochild's monthly newsletter featuring: the Annual Report, the new management board and the latest updates from our members and the EU.

In the last few weeks, we have been actively supporting the needs of the children's rights community and responding to external developments that impact the rights of children. Catch up on the exciting results of the elections at the Eurochild General Assembly here; and discover our Eurochild Annual Report for 2015 here!

I am delighted to share with you the winning entry for Sketch my rights. This drawing on the theme of children living in poverty shows us both the dangers and the hope. The overwhelming number of drawings on the plight of refugee children shows how children continue to be affected by news. We now look forward to July when these drawings will inspire the participants - children, politicians, policy makers, social workers and others - to answer the question ‘Why Europe needs to invest in children'. If you haven't already, make sure you register to the Conference!

This month, we supported a conference by Children in Northern Ireland on addressing child poverty and responded to the European Commission's country specific recommendations which sadly missed the opportunity to push child poverty up the political agenda. Lots more news and resources are on offer below!

Finally, the UK EU referendum is less than a month away. We are demanding that children and young people are central to the decisions before and after the referendum; and that information is provided to children and young people. Check out this great resource we are supporting to inform young people: Me & EU.

Read here the full version of the eNews Bulletin. 

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news-1349 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 International Missing Children’s Day - The Smile of the Child http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/international-missing-childrens-day-the-smile-of-the-child/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=aedc30020a37591dbb748380f8c734ad A child is reported missing every 2 minutes in Europe.

This 25th of May, International Missing Children’s day, “The Smile of the Child” organized an International Meeting, including a press briefing, in an effort to send a global message of hope and solidarity to the parents of missing children as well as raise awareness among competent stakeholders in an effort to mobilize them to take actions to address the phenomenon.

Revealing figures on the international level were also announced during the event. A child is reported missing every 2 minutes in Europe. Over 209 000 calls were received by the European network of hotlines for missing children in 2015. Data collected from this network of hotlines tells us that children running away or pushed out of home or institutions represent 54% of missing children cases reported to hotlines. Children abducted by a parent following a family conflict make up 29% of cases.

Figures also include an alarmingly underreported group of children who go missing, particularly unaccompanied migrant children. Europol confirmed the disappearance of at least 10 000 unaccompanied children after they reached the EU although actual figures are probably much higher. Missing unaccompanied children represent a major challenge in the ongoing migrant crisis.

In the first quarter of 2016 the Greek NGO handled 59 cases of missing children through the 116 000 European Hotline. 37 children were found (62,71%), while communication with parents was interrupted for various reasons on 3 of these cases. The remaining 19 cases concerned unaccompanied minors and the search is still ongoing.

This event was held under the aegis of HE the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Prokopios Pavlopoulos and brought together experts in the field, NGO professionals and national and international law enforcement professionals among them the Lieutenant General of the Hellenic Police, Mrs. Zacharoula Tsirigotis and the Commanding Officer of Missing Persons’ Unit of the Federal Belgian Police and specialized expert on crimes against children at Interpol, Mr. Alain Remue. Volunteers, media professionals, the Ambassadors of Norway, Mexico and Czech Republic and representatives of diplomatic missions to Greece took part and addressed the event.

This International Missing Children’s day, commemorated on the 25th of May across the world, Missing Children Europe stands up for the thousands of unaccompanied children who continue to arrive and go missing within hours of being placed in reception centers in Europe. Many of these children are desperately trying to reach family from whom they have been separated.  

For Missing Children Europe’s Data Report click here.

Find the presentation of the “The Smile of the Child” for this event here.

Photos from the event can be found here

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news-1348 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Child poverty: Italian mother and activist runs from Milan – Brussels to raise awareness http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/child-poverty-italian-mother-and-activist-runs-from-milan-brussels-to-raise-awareness/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=46b94804270cf9603442eb120244032f Ivana Di Martino ran 909 km for the #werun4kids campaign

Ivana Di Martino, an Italian mother of three children and an activist, ran 909 km from Milan to Brussels in 13 days to draw attention to child poverty in Europe. 

"Never has reaching the finish line been so important", Ivana said in her speech upon her arrival in Brussels on 23 May. “We can all be exceptional against poverty and social exclusion”, she added.

At the welcome ceremony, Belgian and Italian MEPs, the General Delegate for Child Rights in Belgium, Bernard de Vos, the Vice-President of the Belgian Federation of Food Banks, Jacques Vandenshrick, Barilla leaders and Agata D’Addato from Eurochild engaged in a policy debate on child poverty and malnutrition in Europe.

Agata D’Addato pointed out the need for an integrated, multi-stakeholder approach, but also for a long-term vision and political will to push forward reforms and increase investment. There needs to be a consistent prioritization of child poverty at political level and strong leadership.  

Ivana’s run to feed Europe’s children is supported by Barilla. Follow discussions on twitter: #werun4kids

More on Eurochild’s work on child poverty here

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news-1347 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Refugee children's plight evoked in children's drawings http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/refugee-childrens-plight-evoked-in-childrens-drawings/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=23b3eabcc16dec2be1103b5d94e46776 Europe-wide Sketch my rights contest winner announced

Eurochild congratulates Bujac Vlada, 11 years old girl from Moldova who is the winner of Sketch my rights – a drawing competition which invited children aged 18 years or less to draw their perspectives on the challenges faced by children. 112 entries were received from 13 countries in Europe; a significant majority of these focused on the refugee crisis and the plight of children traveling by sea and now facing detention. The ages of children who contributed varied from 5 – 18 years.

Description: The child has the right to enjoy a living standard enabling the development of physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.

Special mentions go to

Description: The refugees are sad that left their country. The children that don't have their parents, are crying. The sun feels pity for those children and it cries with them.

Description: 12 children immigrants are representing 12 stars of the EU.

Description: My drawing is about children in poverty, but it can refer to children in care or in risk of going into care. It represents all the little things a child wants. Even if she has the best looking room, she doesn't has a family and she do not knows what is love. Let hope grow roots, come to life in your heart!

“Congratulations to all the Sketch my rights participants! These drawings give us an insight into the concerns at the top of children's minds. The overwhelming number of submissions on the refugee crisis show how children are affected by the images of children lost at sea, or of children stuck in detention. The empathy of the children must be matched with solidarity in action from our leaders”, says Jana Hainsworth, Eurochild Secretary General.

Inspiration for Children's Rights Conference in Brussels

The Sketch my rights drawings will offer inspiration to participants of the Eurochild conference taking place on 5-7 July in Brussels: Children's Rights Matter: Why Europe needs to invest in children which focuses on three target groups of children: children in poverty, children on the move or migrant children, children separated, or at risk of separation, from their family.

“With Sketch my rights, we wanted to introduce perspectives of children and young people into the Eurochild conference, especially those who are unable to attend. We now look forward to July when these drawings will inspire the participants - children, politicians, policy makers, social workers and others - to answer the question ‘Why Europe needs to invest in children'. The conference will showcase children's participation in action!” concluded Jana Hainsworth.

As a winner Bujac Vlada will be invited to the conference in Brussels and have the chance to speak to EU decision makers and the child rights community about her entry and interest in children's rights. Eurochild will cover costs for two people (one child and one accompanying adult) for the entire period of the conference.

The jury and selection procedure

The submissions were judged by a jury composed of experts in children's rights from the Eurochild membership, including Maria Herczog, Former Eurochild President and former member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The selection criteria for the jury addressed: Creative expression of one or more of the conference themes; Originality of the idea: Originality in representing children's rights and how to invest in children.

See more of the Sketch my rights entries on Flickr.

Children's Rights Matter: Why Europe needs to invest in children – 5-7 July, Brussels 

The Eurochild conference is proud to receive the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium. Find out the programme and how to register or exhibit at the conference here.

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news-1344 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Missed opportunity to tackle increasing child poverty http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/missed-opportunity-to-tackle-increasing-child-poverty/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=31fafff534e77412d058af3e29085492 Whilst Eurochild welcomes an increased number of country specific recommendations with a focus on poverty reduction, the Commission has missed another opportunity to guide Member States to prioritise implementation of the Recommendation on Investing in Children and tackle the rising tide of child poverty, currently estimated to affect 27 million children in the EU. The 2016 European Commission proposals for Country-Specific Recommendations (CSRs) published on 18 May indicate a lack of progress since the 2015 CSRs in specifically addressing the needs of children in the EU. Whilst Eurochild welcomes an increased number of CSRs with a focus on poverty reduction and social inclusion, the Commission has again missed the opportunity to guide Member States to prioritise implementation of the Recommendation on Investing in Children and tackle the rising tide of child poverty, currently estimated to affect 27 million children in the EU.  

CHILD POVERTY

Despite notable consideration given to child poverty and child well-being in the Country Reports which were released by the Commission earlier this year, Eurochild is disappointed to see that, as in 2015, only one CSR specifically addresses child poverty (Ireland). The statement in Portugal’s country overview is the only CSR document to refer explicitly to measures being taken to address rising levels of child poverty. The 2016 CSRs continue to be primarily directed towards fiscal adjustments, budgetary objectives and correcting deficits, alongside reducing unemployment and increasing participation in the labour market for economic gain.

Reviewing the 89 CSRs proposed for 27 Member States and for the euro area this year (13 less than in 2015 and now including Cyprus) which await formal European Council approval, Eurochild welcomes the CSRs on inclusive and quality education specifically for Roma children to Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. Reviewing the 28 reports, there are 7 CSRs on female labour market participation and the provision of quality childcare (one more than in 2015). 5 reports refer to this topic within the country assessment but do not conclude with a specific CSR.

Focusing on the social dimension of the EU’s economic governance framework, it is encouraging to see a CSR for the euro area to prioritise strong social protection systems to support those in need. In addition, there are proposed CSRs for Romania, Spain and Bulgaria to strengthen the provision of social services and Eurochild warmly welcomes the CSR for Italy to adopt and implement a national anti-poverty strategy.

ENDING INSTITUTIONAL CARE

Eurochild remains deeply concerned that there are no CSRs in 2016 on the situation of children in institutional care. The opportunity has been missed by the European Commission to prioritise children’s deinstitutionalisation and their right to live in community and family-based care settings.

Eurochild also notes that there is no mention on supporting the rights of the rising number of often unaccompanied refugee and asylum seeking children across the EU, which requires urgent attention.

CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION

One of the three key pillars of the European Commission Recommendation Investing in Children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage is supporting children’s right to participate. Yet there is no mention of listening to children and involving them in decisions affecting them. CSRs from the Commission to Member States on the provision of adequate services and resources should be delivered alongside requirements for the meaningful and ongoing involvement of children, so that policies lead to practice which directly responds to the needs of children themselves.   

The European Commission proposal for a European Pillar of Social Rights published earlier this year offers the chance to make children visible at EU-level so that policy-making and practice at the national and local level prioritise children. It remains to be seen how a Social Pillar would be monitored; how it would interact with the European Semester process and ultimately how it can direct investment towards children, families and communities.

Background: 

The annual CSRs articulate the European Commission’s position with regards to each Member State’s efforts to implement Europe 2020. Member States are expected to integrate these recommendations into national policies and budgets for the following year, and are therefore a key instrument for influencing delivery on the Europe 2020 target to reduce poverty and social exclusion. The CSRs are an important tool to help advocate for children to be at the heart of decision-making.

Every year, Eurochild members assess national developments based on Country Specific Recommendations and National Reform Programmes of EU Member States. 

Eurochild will launch its report on the 2016 European Semester in November 2016.  

European Commission adopted the Recommendation on Investing in Children: Breaking the cycle of disadvantage in 2013. 

 

  • Read our report on European Semester 2015 here

 

 

 

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news-1343 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Last day for early bird fees – Children's Rights Matter: 5-7 July 2016 http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/last-day-for-early-bird-fees-childrens-rights-matter-5-7-july-2016/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=5d64af8f609458b6e831323316a8b77e Discover the exciting details of the various workshops and study visits taking place on day 2 of the Eurochild Conference.

Discover the exciting details of the various workshops and study visits taking place on day 2 of the Eurochild Conference. Each study visit and workshop will address the needs and challenges of investing in children.

14 study visits offering you a unique insight into services, projects and programmes run in Belgium

14 workshops on offer for a deep dive understanding of the situation of children facing social exclusion, refugee children and children living in care or at risk of being separated from their families.

These study visits and workshops will enable participants to understand how Europe can invest in children, starting with the most vulnerable. The projects and programmes have been selected to spark ideas and initiate dialogue among participants. A number of the visits and workshops will be co-facilitated by children and young people!  

It's a participatory conference. Make sure you can participate by registering early!

Register and benefit from early bird fees until 30 May! (Belgium based organisations and professionals can benefit from preferential rates!)

 

Featured Study Visits: 

Klein Kasteeltje / Petit Chateau (Centre for asylum seekers) 

This is the first and largest reception centre for asylum seekers in Belgium and it is run by Fedasil, the Federal Agency for Reception of Asylum Seekers. The reception centre receives 40 unaccompanied children who are hosted in a special unit with a team of guides and educators. Learn about the asylum procedure in Belgium and how unaccompanied children are cared for at this centre. 

Huis van het Kind (Family Centre), Genk 

Go to a family centre offering unique preventive services for children and their families, focusing on positive parenting and local partnerships. These centres bring together all local initiatives in preventive care for children. This family centre is a central meeting place, where information and support are offered to (future) parents and educators with children and adolescents up to 24 years. Citizens and volunteers share responsibility of teaching children and young people about growing up.

Parliament of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (in French and English)

Visit the Parliament of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation with Ministers and Belgian media and discover the role and competencies of the regional government. The Youth parliament members will be waiting to debate you!

Featured workshops: 

.Bruno Vanobbergen, Flemish Children's Rights Commissioner 

The right to education for migrant/refugee children who are forcibly returned

For nearly two years the Flemish Children's Commissioners' Office has worked with teachers and other professionals, to understand the situation of children forcibly returned from Belgium and the legal consequences, to start open communication channels with policy makers. In the workshop you will be invited to discuss difficulties and key factors of success in reaching agreement among stakeholders and policy makers. 

.Dr Stela Grigoras, Moldova's Minister for Labour, Social Protection and Family of the Republic of Moldova and President of International Foster Care Organisation and President of Partnership for Every Child; Emily Delap, head of Technical Support, Family for Every Child, Ukraine

Youth Clubs: Empowering disadvantaged young people

How are youth clubs helping social inclusion for disadvantaged children and young people? You will hear about ways of engaging young people and identify how young people can become agents for social change.

.Irena Petković & Karlo Škorić, Youth members of the Children's Forum Society “Our Children” Opatija, Croatia  

Time capsule - How will we leave the world for children

What is the impact of poor resource management and environmental pollution on children's health and future? Hear from young people who will take you on an imaginative journey through storytelling and invite you to store your opinions in a time capsule lasting 10 years!

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news-1342 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Cherish All Children - The 100 Days Campaign by Young Ballymun http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/cherish-all-children-the-100-days-campaign-by-young-ballymun/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=f99e96bb21fccfdb5f26d1d7a40a20af 100 Faces, 100 Stories, 100 Days to Make a Difference

Young Ballymun, a newly elected member of Eurochild, is running a 100 days campaign ‘Cherish all children’ to coincide with the Irish government’s first 100 days and the centenary of the Irish Proclamation declaring that all children of the nation would be cherished equally. The campaign is called Cherish All Children: 100 Faces, 100 Stories, 100 Days to Make a Difference and was launched by Sr Stanislaus Kennedy and Danny McCoy of IBEC on 1st March.

For each of the 100 days following the general election, youngballymun will be releasing an image and a quote about the importance of addressing the causes and effects of child poverty and about the impact of the change journey has had in Ballymun.

The campaign will be an opportunity to share the faces and stories of those who have been involved in the change journey so far in youngballymun – children, parents and practitioners in health, early years, education and family and community services – together with messages from well-known advocates for equality and social change. 

The faces include parents, children, health workers, teachers, early years educators and others in Ballymun as well as selection of well-known people including Sr Stanislaus Kennedy and Danny McCoy of IBEC as well as representatives from various organisations campaigning for children’s rights and equality issues. 

The images are regularly published on Twitter (@young_ballymun) and Facebook and promoting the campaign over the 100 Days. 

Child poverty is a serious and pressing issue in Ireland, with one in every nine children living in consistent poverty in 2014.  Poverty, particularly in childhood, is related to life outcomes across multiple areas including wellbeing, mental health and literacy

Get involved:

- Campaign supporters to please give or approve a quote related to addressing the causes and effects of child poverty and/or the value of early intervention though child and family services and to provide a photograph.

- YoungBallymun are also asking allies to follow and support the campaign on social media and in interactions with policy makers and the media. 

Further information:

- Email Hazel O’Byrne hazelob(at)youngballymun(dot)org

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news-1338 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 17 new members join Eurochild Network http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/17-new-members-join-eurochild-network/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=fd9d9c0af995041af3676aa78da18295 Eurochild now has a total of 178 members working to promote children’s rights in Europe.

17 new members joined the Eurochild network yesterday after a vote by the General Assembly held in Brussels. Eurochild now has a total of 178 members, including organisations and individuals working to promote children’s rights in Europe. 

Eurochild has a diverse membership that offers valuable perspectives into the situation of children’s rights at local and national levels. Eurochild members have differing voting rights owing to their status – full, associate or honorary. Meet the newly elected members below. The General Assembly also voted in a new Management Board including the new President, Norah Gibbons who takes over from Maria Herczog. Read more about it here.

A new national partner network was also appointed by the General Assembly. The German National Coalition will act as German NPN, along with AGJ (The Child and Youth Welfare Association). German National Coalition, in existence since 1995, has over 115 members including key children’s rights NGOs. It promoted the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. National Partner Networks are the ‘go-to’ organisations in each country and are seen to represent the voice of children’s rights in each country. 

 

BELGIUM

Don Bosco International 

Don Bosco International (Belgium) is advocating for children and youth with special focus on young migrants and their social inclusion, empowering young people for the transition from education to employment; and fighting against poverty and social exclusion.

www.donboscointernational.eu

FRANCE

M.E.C.S LA MAISON – ADAEAR

The ADAEAR association (Association pour les Droits et l’Accompagnement, de l’Enfant à l’Adulte, en Rhône-Alpes) (France) initially ensures the care and management of Children's Homes. ‘La Maison’ is one of ADAEAR’s facility in which they promote the active integration and participation of children and youth in the society. ‘La Maison’ aims at providing quality services to children and young people so that they can reintegrate society in a better way. The activities undertaken include intergenerational projects, international mobility, projects on citizenship and interculturalism, among others. 

www.adaear.org

GERMANY

Bavarian Youth Council

BJR is the standing conference of Youth leagues, Youth organisations and Youth initiatives in Bavaria. With 103 district and regional Youth councils, BJR is represented across Bavaria. More than two third of all Bavarian children and adolescents utilise and design the offerings and facilities of Youth work organisations. These dedicated young people come to learn what it is like to be independent, to be accepted and to be valued: and in doing so, they shape their own futures. The main aim of the BJR is to represent the interests of young people in Bavaria by developing Youth work policies that meet the needs and promote Youth work in its widest sense.

www.bjr.de

GREECE

Prolepsis Institute 

Prolepsis Institute (Greece) is a non for profit organization active in the field of public health since 1991. With a strong belief that health is a fundamental, non-negotiable and inalienable right for every human being, Prolepsis has had a leading role in the field of public health both at national and European levels. It carries out scientific research but also actions against child poverty, food insecurity and child obesity. 

http://www.prolepsis.gr

Union of Women of Heraklion 

The Union of Women of Heraklion (Greece) has been active since 2000 in the city of Heraklion and more widely the Crete region. It runs shelters for women victims of violence and for homeless people. It also operates a counselling centre, drives project for the integration of victims of the economic crisis and since 2010 opened a shelter for abandoned children (0-6).

http://www.kakopoiisi.gr

HUNGARY

Terre des Hommes Fondation Lausanne in Hungary 

The main mission of Terre des Hommes Fondation (Hungary) is to advocate for the protection of the most vulnerable children and to promote the full realization of children's rights in Europe, especially children on the move including child suspected or accused in criminal proceedings. The Terre des hommes Foundation in Hungary also acts as a regional office for operations in South-Eastern Europe cooperating with its delegations in Albania, Kosovo, Moldova, Ukraine and Romania. Our thematic focus include a systematic approach to strengthening child protection systems; protecting children on the move; restorative juvenile justice; child exploitation and social inclusion.

www.tdh-europe.org

IRELAND

Youngballymun 

Young Ballymun (Ireland) is a collective impact model for measurably improving child learning and wellbeing outcomes where children are negatively impacted by community level socio-economic disadvantage and risk of poverty.

http://www.youngballymun.org

ITALY

Mission Bambini Foundation 

'Mission Bambini' (Italy) is an Italian charitable foundation established in 2000 by founder and President Goffredo Modena. Its mission is to help and support children living in poverty, sickness and without education, giving them the opportunity and hope of a better life. 'Mission Bambini' is an independent, lay organization, recognized as an ONLUS (Non-profit Organization of Social Value). Operating without cultural, ethnic or religious discrimination, 'Mission Bambini' upholds the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Since 2000 'Mission Bambini' has helped more than 1,200,000 children through 1,250 projects in 72 countries around the world.

www.missionbambini.org

ROMANIA

Heart of a Child Foundation 

The mission of Heart of a Child Foundation (Romania) is to give help and hope to children and youth in difficulty and their families, by enriching their quality of life and promoting their integration into society. The foundation started its activities in 1996 and it contributed to the development, care and social reintegration of children living with HIV, children living on the streets or in placement centres, children from poor families, and children and youth with disabilities.

http://www.engl.inimadecopil.ro/

SPAIN

iCmedia 

iCmedia (Spain) is the Federation of  Consumers and Media Users Association. Its core fundamental purpose is the promotion of initiatives which favour the quality of contents in the audiovisual media.  We pretend to reflect this with the initials iCmedia: Initiative for the Quality of the Media (Iniciativa para la Calidad de los Medios). Its main focus is to promote high quality audio visual content in traditional media, and especially in the internet, as well as protecting children in the digital and audio visual sphere. Icmedia is also a think-tank with an Advisory Committee comprised by researchers, university professors, media professionals, etc. that developed a definition of quality in media and released the State of the Children protection report.

www.icmedianet.org

SWEDEN

Social Services of Halmstad 

The Department of Social Services in Halmstad (Sweden) is responsible for assisting children, youths, families, people with drug and alcohol problems and individuals with different types of disabilities. In addition the department performs preventive and outreach work. The Swedish Social Services Act specifies what kind of assistance an individual can receive, and defines the municipality´s obligations.Everyone living in Sweden is entitled to receive assistance from Social Services if they need it – and providing such services is a municipality responsibility.

http://www.halmstad.se

SWITZERLAND

Ariel Foundation International 

The Ariel Foundation International (Switzerland) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded by Dr. Ariel King, in 2002. The Foundation promotes partnerships, peace and prosperity through entrepreneurship via education, experience through service, leadership and support of children, young people and their communities in developing countries.

http://www.arielfoundation.org

UNITED KINGDOM 

Middlesex University

We are the Department of Mental Health, Social Work and Integrative Medicine and we teach social work and nursing students. We have a thriving interdisciplinary research culture and have an international parenting programme developed by Professor Lynn McDonald called FAST.

www.mdx.ac.uk 

 

B. ASSOCIATE MEMBERS

DENMARK

Mr Geert Jorgensen 

Mr Geert Jorgensen (Denmark) is a consultant with more than 30 years’ experience of working in the social field. From 2006 - 2015 he was managing director of LOS - The private social services – a member of Eurochild.

http://gj-consult.dk/

IRELAND

Ms. Helen Lynch 

Ms Helen Lynch (Ireland) is an occupational therapist, researcher and lecturer at the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at University College Cork, Ireland.

http://research.ucc.ie/profiles/C024/hlynch

POLAND

Child and Family Foundation 

The mission of the Child and Family Foundation (Poland) is the support to children and families in crisis, strengthen families, and prevent separation of children from families, based on the interest of the child. The Foundation undertakes activities aimed at the protection of child rights, focusing on the right of the child to safe development in a family and its protection against violence.

C. HONORARY MEMBER – Eurochild Management Board invites accomplished individuals to join its network as honorary members. 

IRELAND 

Ms Norah Gibbons 

Ms Norah Gibbons (Ireland) is the Chairperson of Tusla, Ireland’s dedicated State agency responsible for improving well-being and outcomes for children. Ms. Gibbons has worked for many years in social work in both the statutory and voluntary sector in the UK and Ireland. She is an active child rights advocate and has been a member of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, Chair of the Roscommon Child Abuse Inquiry, Co-Chair of the Independent Child Death Review Group, and a member of the Taskforce on the Establishment of the Child and Family Agency, among others.

Find all the photos of the Eurochild General Assembly & Members Day 2016 here.
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news-1337 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Eurochild network elects new President and Management Board http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-network-elects-new-president-and-management-board/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=eb886a865bde63083e0785ee516e4ed1 Norah Gibbons of Tusla Ireland elected President of Eurochild and Chair of Management Board.

Eurochild is delighted to announce the election of Norah Gibbons as its new President. Eurochild is a network of 176 members advocating for children’s rights and well-being. Norah has served several executive and non-executive roles in Ireland in the field of children’s rights, most recently being appointed as the first Chair of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency of Ireland.

Newly elected President of Eurochild and Honorary Member, Norah Gibbons spoke on how critical it is to address child poverty swiftly: “Child poverty isn’t just deprivation in the now, it prevents children from fully participating in society. Europe can’t afford not to invest in enabling all children become active citizens.” More than one in four children are at risk of living in poverty or social exclusion in the EU. 

On the role of the European Union institutions, she said, “The EU has an important role to play in collection of data to see where countries stand in relative terms. It also has to show the way forward, knowing that all countries won’t work in the exact same way. It needs to uphold and promote the principles of non-discrimination and equality. We can’t dumb down those essential rights.”

Eurochild’s outgoing president Maria Herczog served six years as Chair of the Management Board. She is expected to move to the United States of America later this year, while she continues to guide Eurochild as Chief Scientific Advisor, on behalf of Better Care Network in her new role as Senior Technical Advisor, on Childonomics, a project aimed to measure long term social and economic value of investing in children. a

Other newly elected members of the Management Board include Ljiljana Vasic of Pomoc Deci, Serbia; Dana Rusinova of Coalition for Children Slovakia; Geert Jorgensen from Denmark; and Otto Sestak of Hope and Homes for Children Romania (reelection)

George Bogdanov of National Network for Children, Bulgaria and Hannah Heinonen of Central Union for Child Welfare, will continue their roles in the Management Board until 2017 when they complete their 3-years tenure.

Eurochild thanks the outgoing board members for their vision and guidance: Ivano Abbruzzi of l'Albero della vita, Pauline Leeson of Children in Northern Ireland and Kelig Puyet of SOS Children's Villages.

Note to Editor: 

Norah Gibbons worked for many years in social work in both the statutory and voluntary sector in the UK and Ireland. She is a champion of children’s rights and has a unique insight into child care owing to numerous roles: Member of the Commission to Inquire into Child abuse 2000-2009; Chair of the Confidential Committee of the Commission from 2000 to 2005, and the Roscommon Child Abuse Inquiry in 2009; Co-chair of the Independent Child Death Review Group with Dr Geoffrey Shannon from 2011 to 2012; Member of Acknowledgement Forum of Historical Abuse Inquiry in Northern Ireland.

The Eurochild General Assembly is a yearly gathering of Eurochild members who hold the governance to account on the progress of the network and vote on crucial decisions, including the governance and the membership. 17 new members were voted in to join the Eurochild network. Their names and details can be found here.

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news-1335 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 “Why supporting families is crucial to protecting the best interests of the child” – International Day of Families http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/why-supporting-families-is-crucial-to-protecting-the-best-interests-of-the-child-internati/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=7f0780c99fdcb897265bbf3f3d20ea40 International day of families is an important opportunity to recognise the crucial importance of supporting parents in their nurturing and caring role.

The International Day of Families (15th of May) is an important opportunity to recognize the crucial importance of supporting parents in their nurturing and caring role. 

Children’s experience of family life is probably the single most important factor in their well-being and development. Even as a growing proportion of children’s lives is spent outside the family home, it is family relationships that enable, or indeed hinder, children’s ability to flourish.

Family and parenting support is central to the pursuit of realizing children’s rights and promoting well-being across Europe. Ultimately, parents carry responsibility for their children’s care. They need the financial means, time and support necessary to do so effectively. This requires that society values and supports parents in their nurturing and caring role, but the challenge is how to support families who are struggling in a way that is non-judgmental and empowering in its approach.

A wider tendency in society wants to demonize and punish ‘bad’ parents. But the reality is never quite so simple. The solutions lie in supporting families early – before and after childbirth –, engaging with parents so they feel listened to and empowered, and ensuring all families are able to live dignified lives and take responsibility for caring for their children.

Investment in family support to prevent children being removed from their parents is still weak or non existent. Social workers have excessive case loads, poor training and low pay resulting in an inability to support struggling families. Poverty remains a root cause of children being placed in care.

Supporting and strengthening families most in need is crucial for tackling child poverty and breaking the intergenerational transmission of disadvantage. It is the responsibility of governments to create a sustainable social welfare which prevents poverty and creates crucial safety nets for vulnerable children and families. Financial support must be coupled with services and proactive and preventive welfare and protection policies.

We, at Eurochild, are exploring the possibility of an action research project focused on evaluating the impact that social protection policies have on children and their families and the ways in which these policies work to lift children out of poverty. Using a participatory approach and through direct engagement with children and young people, Eurochild would like to build capacity within the children’s sector to promote a child right’s approach to welfare and activation policies. Fighting discrimination and stigma surrounding public perception of social protection and families who receive it is also crucially important.

On the International Day of Families, the situation of 100,000s of children arriving in Europe from war cannot be far from our minds. The pressure on care and support systems in both transit and receiving countries is huge. Protecting the best interest of the child, including reconnecting and supporting families, remains our ultimate compass. 

Our political leaders must respond proactively and compassionately by investing in infrastructure and support for families, communities, professionals and volunteers.

Agata D’Addato

Eurochild Senior Policy Coordinator – Policy, Practice and Research

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news-1329 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Eurochild: What did the children's rights network achieve in 2015? http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-what-did-the-childrens-rights-network-achieve-in-2015/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=6e3798867274823ea607acf0ecb34a89 Eurochild released its 2015 Annual Report

Eurochild released its Annual Report for the year 2015 with highlights of its achievements in four strategic areas:

• Putting the child at the heart of policy making

• Building a community of professionals

• Giving a voice to children and young people

• Developing the Eurochild network

In 2015, Eurochild was successful in gathering the support of the European Parliament to address child poverty in the EU; in Greece, amidst cash controls, the network kept up the pressure to end institutional care for children; reforms have now received a green light from the Greek Ministry of Social Solidarity.

Eurochild also developed expertise among policy makers, researchers and practitioners around family and parenting support needs at the ‘Galway School'; and it expanded its network to 176 members across 32 countries.

“I'm delighted, thanks to our efforts to raise awareness of children's rights, that children and young people are getting privileged access to decision makers here in Brussels and bringing these experiences back home, to their towns, school councils and communities”, says Jana Hainsworth, Eurochild Secretary General.

This year, Eurochild is becoming even more participatory by involving children and young people in its bi-annual Conference, which this year will answer the question: “Children's Rights Matter: Why Europe needs to invest in children” on 5-7 July 2016 in Brussels, Belgium.

“I'm grateful to our members, supporters, friends and other organisations that supported our efforts and I look forward to more impactful and creative collaboration to respond to today's novel challenges”, concluded Ms. Hainsworth.

• Read the Annual Report 2015 here

• Discover the programme and register for the Eurochild Conference here

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news-1327 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Eurochild calls for children’s rights to be visible in the UK EU referendum http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-calls-for-childrens-rights-to-be-visible-in-the-uk-eu-referendum/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=8bb8a8e41a0b98fcfab17b66fc64b945 Eurochild calls for a child rights-based approach to be taken in the run-up to and after the UK EU referendum

The UK referendum on 23rd June 2016 to decide whether the UK should remain in or leave the EU is fast approaching. The date of the referendum was announced by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron on 20th February 2016, and since then has become a highly politicised debate with significant media attention and interest worldwide. 

As a network of organisations and individuals working in and across Europe to promote the rights and well-being of children and young people, Eurochild calls for the following in the run-up to and after the referendum:

For children to be visible in discussions and decision-making 

Eurochild calls for a child rights-based approach to be taken in the run-up to and after the UK EU referendum. In particular, as required by the General Principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC):   

The best interests of children and young people should be central to all debates and decision-making at all levels in the run-up to and after the UK EU referendum;

Efforts should be made to widen engagement on the referendum to children and young people, in a transparent, meaningful and ongoing way*. The voices of children and young people should be heard and fully taken into account, and information and resources on the EU referendum should be provided in an accessible and child-friendly format;

The principle of non-discrimination should be applied during all discussions and negotiations, to ensure that the needs and rights of the most vulnerable children and families, such as children in poverty, disabled children, children in care and refugee and asylum seeking children, are the primary consideration. 

 

*Taking into account the basic requirements as set out in General Comment 12 to the UNCRC on the right of the child to be heard. Click here

Click here to visit ME&EU, an online resource for young people that aims at giving young voters the key, relevant information which will aid and support them in making a decision in the run up to the Referendum.

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news-1325 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 What constitutes good education? A Working Group on the Quality of Childhood http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/what-constitutes-good-education-a-working-group-on-the-quality-of-childhood/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=9531b6bfab8d5adc562a85f804ffd847 While too much attention has been placed on examinations, socialisation, self-awareness, curiosity and subjectification are usually ignored.

This week of April 25th, Eurochild participated in the 58th session of the Working Group on the Quality of Childhood at the European Parliament, hosted by MEP Liisa Jaakonsari (S & D). The meeting was held in conjunction with the Alliance for Childhood European Network Group and Learning for Well-being and was centred on the main presentation entitled “What constitutes good education and what are the roles of measurement and evaluation in it?”, by Professor Gert Biesta, Professor of Education from Brunel University, London. 

Professor Biesta discussed the issue of the present day education system’s relationship with assessment. According to him, constant measurement within the schooling system can create a number of problems in educational practice and raises important questions about the quality of education on offer. He argues that when thinking about the purpose of education, we need to ask questions based on what we seek to achieve with educational endeavours and what human relationships are brought into the educational process.

Too much attention has been placed on students being successful in their examinations and “we need to re-engage with the question as to what constitutes good education.” He states that the quality of education is closely interlinked with the three different functions of education, that of qualification, socialisation and subjectification. Recently, excessive pressure has been placed on qualification and ideally there should be a balance between the three. 

However, looking at the value of education in a globalised world, he alerts us to the need for a broader frame of reference. He introduces another three domains into the framework and calls for education policy to encompass democracy, ecology and care. He says that valuing education in this way will help us to shift from an “ego-logical to a non-ego logical way of being in this world.” 

These messages are in line with Eurochild’s position (Eurochild’s child-centred investment strategy) and we argue that in today’s rapidly changing society, self-awareness, tolerance, an appetite for learning, curiosity and confidence, are among the most important attributes to develop during childhood. However, curricula are still predominantly driven by academic achievement, whilst important education is much more than developing knowledge and cognitive skills.

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news-1321 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 The Children with Disabilities Strategic Alliance has produced 6 Manifesto Asks for 2016-2020 http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/the-children-with-disabilities-strategic-alliance-has-produced-6-manifesto-asks-for-2016-2020/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=283f5c8801c43af188adaa7ca009bdc1 CDSA wants to ensure that policy impacting on the lives of children and young people with disabilities is informed by their needs and circumstances.

The Children with Disabilities Strategic Alliance (CDSA) brings together organisations from across the children’s sector and the disability sector. It is jointly chaired by Eurochild's member Children in Northern Ireland (CiNI) and Disability Action (DA).

CDSA wants to ensure that policy impacting on the lives of children and young people with disabilities is informed by their needs and circumstances.

This Manifesto sets out measures on a number of important issues that, with political will, can be taken forward over the next Assembly term to deliver real change for children with disabilities and their families. 

The 6 Asks: 

1. FAMILY SUPPORT

Family Support is crucial to the future development of children with disabilities. There remains a substantial absence of support for families following diagnosis.

CDSA demands that:

All children with disabilities should be recognised as children in need immediately following diagnosis in order to facilitate support for both themselves and their family. The child with disabilities and their family should be offered services, with signposting appropriate to the diagnosis through an agreed services pathway. Such services should include information, peer support, advice and advocacy services.

2. SHORT BREAKS

Short breaks are a post code lottery in Northern Ireland, and are often dependent upon the ability of the parent to act as the child’s advocate, rather than being offered as of right.

CDSA demands that:

A Short Breaks policy should be agreed between the Department of Health, health agencies and children

with disabilities and their families. A Short Breaks policy should broaden the definition of short breaks beyond overnight placements to include breaks that are fun, developmental, work for children with disabilities and their families and are available on an equitable basis across Northern Ireland.

3. REASONABLE ADJUSTMENTS

Changing society in order to ensure the inclusion of children with disabilities is a key concern, in particular promoting “reasonable adjustments” across a wide range of areas from education to leisure and transport.

CDSA demands that:

Government, the Human Rights Commission and the Equality Commission actively promote greater awareness of the need to develop reasonable adjustments across all sectors in Northern Ireland in order to facilitate the inclusion of all children with disabilities and their families. The Human Rights Commission, The Equality Commission and the CRPD related Independent Mechanism for Northern Ireland should facilitate children with disabilities and their families to advocate for reasonable adjustments and inclusion throughout society.

4. CHILDCARE

There are increasing numbers of children with complex health needs now being cared for at home by their families. These children are more likely to experience exclusion from mainstream support services due to the perceived risks and lack of appropriate training for staff in this area.

CDSA demands that:

Child care services (early intervention) and support services for families (respite care, personal assistance) are funded to ensure consistent service provision for children with disabilities.

5. POVERTY

There is a relationship between disability and poverty, children with disabilities are more likely to grow up in poverty than their non-disabled peers.

CDSA demands that:

The official statistics reflect the additional costs incurred by families with disabled children when measuring child poverty levels in Northern Ireland and ensure that families take up their full entitlement to disability benefits.

6. LISTENING TO CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES

There are many ways in which children and young people can contribute positively to community and society. However, children and young people with disabilities can be prevented from having their voices heard.

CDSA demands that:

There is adequate investment in participation initiatives that ensure the voices of children and young people with disabilities are heard and they are facilitated in every aspect to input in to

decisions which affect their lives.

Download the Full Manifesto Asks document here.

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news-1320 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 “Children’s participation is a process of recognising human dignity. ” - Gerison Lansdown http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/childrens-participation-is-a-process-of-recognising-human-dignity-gerison-lansdown/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=05ab38df98c1ba9ac50ff3fd088b94fd Member Spotlight: Interview with Gerison Lansdown, Chair of Child to Child

Gerison Lansdown was the founder director, 1992-2000, of the Children’s Rights Alliance for England, and, over the past 16 years, has worked as an international children’s rights consultant and advocate publishing and lecturing widely on the subject of children’s rights. She was actively involved in the negotiations for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and has produced a number of publications of the rights of children with disabilities. She is co-director of Child Rights Education for Professionals, a senior associate of the International Institute for Child Rights and Development in Victoria, was for nine years Vice Chair of UNICEF-UK and is on the editorial advisory board of the Canadian Journal of Children’s Rights. 

Gerison is Chair of Child to Child, a member of Eurochild; she is chair of the steering committee of CATS (Children as Actors in Transforming Societies) and co-chair of the Eurochild Participation Reference Group. We met up with her just after her meeting with the Children’s Advisory Group to develop participatory approaches for the Eurochild Conference ‘Child Rights Matter: Why Europe needs to invest in children’ taking place on 5-7 July in Brussels.  

1. What’s been the most positive development in progressing the right of children to participate? 

Article 12 in the UNCRC – right of children to be listened to and taken seriously was seen as the most radical aspect of the Convention. It suddenly transformed the perception of children from passive recipients of protection to being agents with recognition of active capacity, skills and perception and expertise in their own lives. The General Comment on Article 12 provided a definitive interpretation which recognised how broadly states, NGOs, professionals, parents needed to take this principle. We’ve been on a journey for the last 26 years in changing attitudes towards children and we have made progress. But we have a long way to go.

2. What does child participation mean and why is it so crucial? How do you respond to criticism that children do not always know what is best for them?

Children’s participation is a process of recognising human dignity. All of us, whatever age we are, are entitled to having our views heard. It’s about creating spaces, giving children info, respecting their right to be heard and listened to, giving serious consideration to their views, having the responsibility of feeding back to children.

Article 12 isn’t about granting children autonomy. When people are making decisions, whether it’s the court, doctors, teachers, parents, local authorities, governments - decisions that affect their lives of children, they should build into those processes space and time to ensure they hear what children say. The decision that’s then made will necessarily have to take account of other views, but part of the decision needs to recognise that children have a contribution to make. There are many examples where we can show the added value of children having been listened to. 

We have now witnessed, in the Catholic Church, in residential institutions, in families, all across the world, when children are systematically silenced, and they don’t feel safe to say anything, it’s possible to abuse them with impunity. Only by giving children a voice, and to know what their rights are, will you begin to end impunity. Children have less years of experience but they do have experience of their lives and that needs to be listened to. 

3. What are the limitations of children’s participation? 

There are barriers of attitudes, resources. Children have limited time, they have school, homework and many activities. Any kind of initiative needs to recognise these parameters. Working within these parameters you can do amazing things. For instance, Rights respecting schools led by UNICEF UK is a great initiative – children’s rights reflect the whole philosophy around how the school is run. Children are involved as peer counsellors, some are involved in recruiting teachers, and some of them sit on the board of governors. Children are a resource together with teachers in building a positive learning environment. 

We can go more in depth in creating a participatory environment. At the same time, adults are responsible for children. Participation is a right, not a duty. It has to be voluntary. We have to keep in mind children’s right to free time and play as well and not to overburden them. 

It’s important to recognise that even young children can be involved. We have seen democratic nurseries are possible. Most people do it instinctively, listening to the baby to understand their needs – whether its hunger or feeling cold. But maybe we stop doing it when children get older. 

4. You are part of the Eurochild Participation Reference Group and are currently focusing on participation at the Eurochild Conference. What can be expected from this? 

When people see young people engaged, it often switches on a ‘light bulb’. They begin to see the added value. I was at the Council of Europe conference in Sofia, Bulgaria earlier this month where the young people were the rapporteurs for each working group. I think people were generally amazed by how effective the rapporteurs were. 

The Eurochild Conference where third of participants will be under 18 years, will be transforming because you’ve never done anything like that. Once you’ve got a critical mass, it changes the whole agenda. 

In CATS (Children as Actors in Transforming Societies) which is the annual conference of children and adults in Switzerland, nearly half the participants are under 18 years. It creates opportunities for adults and children to genuinely learn together. It’s about transforming spaces, as partners, not just recipients. We would like to follow up to explore how it shifts agendas when they go home - in the way they talk, the way they think, and the way they act. 

5. How do you see networks like Eurochild and their role in strengthening CYP participation? 

The Eurochild conference this year will be a marker in the sand; the aim is to not go back. From here on, this is how a conference ought to be run. So you create a genuine space for young people to dialogue. Further on, we are exploring other ideas; how to establish an advisory group of children, to act as a sounding board, to respond to, for instance, EU laws under development. Having a sounding board of young people who can go back to their own countries and come up with ideas of issues of critical concern to them.

Similarly we talked about communications, young people could have an important contribution to the way you develop the brand, the messaging. And also in getting messages out, using digital media, they are very quick to use those mechanisms. Young people can work as a partner to the work of the network, help develop more child friendly documents. Recognizing it is a small team, progress in involving young people will need to be an incremental process, through trial and error, exploring where the benefits have most impact. 

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Do you want to involve children in your work?

Here are some resources to help you, as recommended by child participation expert Gerison Lansdown: 


Child participation Assessment tool to help you advocate your governments to engage children: here

Child participation Monitoring and Evaluation tool – to monitor the work you do, as an NGO, or a school (Available in ENG, FR and ESP): here

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news-1318 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Eurochild Conference receives patronage of Slovak EU Presidency http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-conference-receives-patronage-of-slovak-eu-presidency/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=09628e0ac0f9975940fb6b9ae5e996b0 The closing session will see high level EU and national decision makers responding to the questions of children and young people.

The Eurochild conference Children’s Rights Matter: Why Europe needs to invest in children is delighted to hold its closing session of the conference under the auspices of the Slovak Presidency in the Council of the European Union. Taking place on 5-7 July 2016 in Brussels, the Conference closing session will be one of the first key events under the auspices of the Slovak Presidency which begins on 1 July 2016 and lasts six months. 

The patronage of the Slovak Presidency will offer a uniquely European perspective to the closing session. The closing session will see high level EU and national decision makers responding to the questions of children and young people who will be acting as rapporteurs and compiling views of children at the conference. 

The conference is supported by an advisory group of children and young people who are active locally in municipalities, children’s parliaments and youth councils or are simply passionate individuals wanting to be part of the dialogue.

The Eurochild Conference 2016 is co-hosted by Kind en Gezin and Office de la Naissance et de l’Enfance (ONE), the governmental agencies offering services to children and families. 

Early bird registrations are open now. Please find all information on the Conference website here.

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news-1310 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 SOS Children’s Villages International presents training manual for Care Professionals http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/sos-childrens-villages-international-presents-training-manual-for-care-professionals/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=13b1e4d314b33cbb161ff2bbee3fb946 The manual for professionals working with children in alternative care has been presented at the CoE’s Conference in Sofia.

SOS Children’s Villages International presented “Realising Children’s Rights: A Training Manual for Care Professionals Working with Children in Alternative Care” during this year’s Council of Europe’s High Level Conference in Sofia, 5-6th April. The manual has been drafted together with more than 40 partners at national level and with children and young people with alternative care experience within the EU-funded two-year project “Training Professionals Working with Children in Care”, a project that is supported by Eurochild and the Council of Europe. 

The handbook is for trainers of care professionals and it is on how to adopt a child rights based approach to their daily work with children and young people entering, living in and leaving care. Its focus lays on the four guiding principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, these being right to life, survival and development, right to participate, right to non-discrimination and best interests of the child. During the training, participants deepen their knowledge on children’s rights in alternative care and receive practical tools for their work with children and young people. 

The manual is currently pilot tested by running trainings in the eight project countries – Latvia, France, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Hungary and Estonia – for more than 900 care professionals. The manual together with the training will be assessed against its impact on the care professionals’ practice. Once the results are out, the training handbook will be available online no later than November 2016. 

Such a tool for training care professionals to embed a child rights approach in their daily work with children comes at a perfect time and will be very instrumental in supporting the implementation of §31 of the new 2016-2021 Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child (the so-called “Sofia Strategy") which focuses on the situation of children in all forms of alternative care and specifically states that the Council of Europe will “provide guidance to professionals in this field in implementing a child-rights based and participatory approach to their work”.

For more information click here.

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news-1306 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Dyslexia International released a new online course http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/dyslexia-international-released-a-new-online-course/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=94da7a87830b0a1aff222095ea051d78 Online course on Supporting children with difficulties in reading and writing. Eurochild member Dyslexia International released an online course on Coursera.org entitled ''Supporting children with difficulties in reading and writing''.

''Our MOOC co-produced with the Coursera team at the University of London 'Supporting children with difficulties in reading and writing' (which has a significant input on bi-liongualilsm has met with huge success in terms of positive feed back from 160 countries - as indeed do our original 'Basics for teachers - ' (in EN FR and PORTUGUESE online - with print-out version o the content offered in SPANISH) .

Worth noting: All our Open Courseware and Open Educational Resources are offered under CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE therefore can be adapted to local linguistic and cultural requirements. We ask only that adaptation are not used for profiteering/commercial use, and are accredited to DI as source. ''

For further information and to access the course please click here.

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news-1304 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Involving children in a new Strategy for Children’s Rights http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/involving-children-in-a-new-strategy-for-childrens-rights/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=450175ab6409950070e709dfa3e44d1d A delegation of 10 children from across Europe will engage with experts and officials in Sofia, Bulgaria next week at the launch of the CoE Strategy for the Rights of the Child 2016-2021.

Eurochild has, together with expert facilitators and the support of our National Partner Network in Bulgaria, National Network for Children, selected and prepared 10 children from across Europe to participate in the High-Level conference on 5-6 April. Aged 14 - 17 years, the children come from Estonia, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Cyprus, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Mia from Estonia, has been involved in the piloting process of the Council of Europe child participation assessment tool. Lily and Jane from Ireland have been involved in the development of the Irish national strategy on child participation. Fahima from the Netherlands has been involved in a youth taskforce on child abuse.

Nick from the Netherlands has been active in the Dutch LGBT movement and was the initiator of Pink Friday at secondary schools. Elena is a member of the Cypriot children's parliament. Zgjim from Kosovo has been at Children as Actors for Transforming Societies Conference (CATS) in 2015 and was a rapporteur for CATS at the European Parliament last year (pictured).

Nermina has been active with SOS Children's Villages in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Plamen comes from one of the smallest towns in Bulgaria and he is chairman of the youth club in Municipal school board in Bolyarovo. He is also an active member of our youth network Megaphone. Yoana, also from Bulgaria, is the Vice Chairman of the Board of children in the State agency for Child protection.

The children and young people will present their work and experiences at the workshops at the conference and report back to the plenaries at the end of each day. 

The Strategy on the Rights of the Child will define the work of the Council of Europe and its 47 member states to advance children’s rights during the period 2016-2021. 

Read more about Children as Actors for Transforming Societies here

Watch the video of children speaking at the European Parliament, Brussels here 

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news-1294 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Homelessness among youth can be reduced with after care mechanisms http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/homelessness-among-youth-can-be-reduced-with-after-care-mechanisms/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=eb3c220d9d64a127f72159bf5839d82b Studies show that people who have experienced homelessness have spent time in an institution prior in their life.

Young people leaving alternative care facilities often lack social network or family to rely. This period of attaining independence is highly vulnerable and therefore, sufficient guidance is needed. Studies show that people who have experienced homelessness have spent time in an institution prior in their life. There is a strong need for after care mechanisms so that youth care leavers will enjoy the same rights as all other children leaving their parents’ nests upon reaching adulthood.

On 14 March, Katerina Nanou from Eurochild Secretariat participated at the European Youth Care Platform Conference Accelerate to independence: 'After Care Guarantee' in Youth Care. 

Some of the recommendations presented emphasized on a long term response system which will focus on prevention, intervention and long term integration of children leaving care. Youth care policies should provide for the possibility to extend care in certain situations and to allow support to young people who may need to return after leaving care. Children in foster families also have needs and should have the same rights as other children leaving care. 

At the conference, youth care leavers presented their recommendations; some of them included their need for housing as most important, the need of an after care worker and the possibility for children to be able to choose their mentor. European Commissioner Marianne Thyssen in her speech mentioned that the Commission wants to reach out to most vulnerable youth who are currently not covered by the EU Youth Guarantee.

Read about Eurochild’s work on ending institutionalisation and strengthening families here

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news-1281 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 How can the European Pillar of Social Rights protect and promote children’s rights? http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/how-can-the-european-pillar-of-social-rights-protect-and-promote-childrens-rights/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=7a90a958fb061aa05609f0758fd474d6 Eurochild welcomes the European Pillar of Social Rights, a new initiative aimed to act as a framework to screen employment and social performance in the EU. Here is what the children’s rights sector expects.

Eurochild welcomes the European Pillar of Social Rights, a new initiative aimed to act as a framework to screen employment and social performance in the EU. It acknowledges the positive impacts that sound social policies and social protection systems can have on making our society and economy more resilient.

The preliminary outline and content of the Pillar is very comprehensive and the three main themes which encompass 20 different policy domains, including childcare, cover a broad spectrum of issues. These 20 policy domains can be seen as an effective way to create a new set of benchmarks and indicators for measuring progress within different areas of social policy. 

How can the European Pillar of Social Rights effectively protect and promote children’s rights? Here is what the children’s rights sector expects: 

Put children first

The Pillar should be underpinned by a child-rights approach. Investing in Europe needs to start by investing in children, families and communities. This is crucial to achieve social cohesion and inclusion, as well as economic growth and prosperity - now and in the longer term. The new initiative should build on and reinforce existing principles that have been established in the Recommendation ‘Investing in Children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage’. We hope that with this new initiative the Commission will not lose sight of prioritizing the implementation of the Recommendation on Investing in Children and its holistic approach. 

The Social Pillar must have ‘teeth’ to ensure all EU action contributes to social objectives

The Social Pillar should be a reference for all EU policy, legislative and funding activities. It remains uncertain whether there will be concrete efforts and instruments to prevent trade, fiscal and finance policies from undermining social efforts and overshadow social goals and priorities. 

Ensure that the Pillar reinforces implementation of existing EU social policy instruments

The social rights tool should strengthen the social dimension of the existing European Semester process and help achieve the EU 2020 targets on education, employment and poverty. It should reinforce efforts to implement the Social Investment Package of February 2013 and in particular the Recommendation on Investing in Children. (Read Eurochild report on European Semester 2015)

Develop inclusive and comprehensive policy responses

The Pillar of Social Rights must support efforts of EU Member States to improve reception conditions and services for integration of migrants and refugees, including unaccompanied children and those travelling with their families. 

Foster civil dialogue and participatory democracy

The Pillar should put a stronger emphasis on citizen and civil society engagement and empowerment. Eurochild invites the European Commission to continue strengthening the role of civil dialogue and participatory democracy in policy processes and governance, and fostering a meaningful engagement of the civil society, especially children and young people themselves.

Eurochild network will present these messages at the Annual Conference on Inclusive Growth organised by the European Commission in Brussels on 21 March 2016. #ACIG2016

Click here to watch the video ''European Pillar of Social Rights – Why is it important to you and your organisation? Interview with Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild''

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news-1272 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Growing up unequal: The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study releases new data http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/growing-up-unequal-the-health-behaviour-in-school-aged-children-study-releases-new-data/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=e68ee005e69301a2c54e9c8a4fa9d273 The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study on gender and socioeconomic differences in young people's health and well-being has been launched.

Over the past 30 years, the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study has provided information about the health, well-being, social environment and health behaviour of 11-, 13- and 15-year-old boys and girls.
This week the latest international report, "Growing up unequal: gender and socioeconomic differences in young people's health and well-being", has been launched in Brussels. 

The report releases data from 42 countries on a range of new topics, such as peer relationships and family support, the school environment, migration, cyber-bullying and serious injury, with the more traditional data on alcohol and tobacco consumption, mental health and nutrition-related behaviour. The report provides data on gender differences and behaviour change in the 11–15-year age group, years that mark a period of increased autonomy that can influence how health and health-related behaviour develops and continues into adulthood.

The report highlights socioeconomic differences and variations between countries and regions. It identifies opportunities for policy interventions, as the findings underline the importance of the wider social context and the effect it can have on young people's health. 

Agata D’Addato of Eurochild contributed to a round table discussion on the findings of the report. HBSC has certainly travelled the distance in the right direction with this report, looking at a broad understanding of young people’s health and well-being and its multi-dimensionality & addressing important strengths-based dimensions.

It is crucial to make this precious data source policy relevant. Good data are vital to ensure effective monitoring of the implementation of policies for children and young people and to inform evidence-based policy and services.

The HBSC International Report can be downloaded here

You may also want to look at our info-graphic on the Child Poverty Cycle which uses some data from the report.

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news-1271 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 'A universal benefit for each child', David Ruiz, FEDAIA http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/a-universal-benefit-for-each-child-david-ruiz-fedaia/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=712ada19350a5087b8c792f9b195be28 Interview with David Ruiz, Vice-President of FEDAIA (Federació d'entitats d'atenció a la infància i l'adolescència). Eurochild member FEDAIA is the platform that brings together Catalonian organisations that work with children, youth and families at risk of social exclusion or neglect  
1.Can you explain briefly what role FEDAIA plays in Catalonia? What are the challenges you face regarding your work on child rights?

FEDAIA is a federation of Catalan organisations. We bring together non-profit organisations working with children or families that are at risk of social exclusion. In total we work with around 90 NGOs in Catalonia and these organisations provide services to 100,000 children and 35,000 families. The organisations promote equal opportunities for all children; they create awareness, stimulate autonomy and strive for better circumstances for these children. FEDAIA advocates and campaigns for the improvement of the situation of children and their inclusion in society.  We advocate on a political level, try to create awareness and think of models of intervention, but also promote dialogue between our organisations. We think along and help develop services the organisations provide to children and families. 

 

2.Last year FEDAIA launched the campaign 'La Infancia no potesperar' (‘Childhood cannot wait’) in Catalonia. Could you tell me something about the campaign and its impact? 

The campaign ‘La infancia no pot esperar’ is part of our advocacy work.  It aims to create social awareness of the situation of children and families in risk. Especially now, thinking of the impact the economic crisis has had, this campaign is important. The social policies on children and family rights in Catalonia and Spain were not really solid and therefore the effect of the crisis have been stronger than in other European countries.  Hence, the objective of the campaign is to put childhood on the political agenda. Childhood must be a political priority. Whether or not childhood gets the necessary attention can be seen looking at government’s budget proposals. To invest in children financially is a good and simple way to improve the situation of children. Everyone wants the best for children, but it has to be put into reality on a political level by investing more in them.

 

3.FEDAIA called on the government to take into account the needs of children and families and to include a universal income for children.  Could you tell us more about your proposal for a ‘Prestació Universal per a la Criança (PEUC)’ or Universal benefit for children?  

Our proposal for a universal allowance or benefit for each child tries to make the issue concrete by researching how much a child needs. So we work together with our organisations, for example with organisations providing residential care and see with them what a child needs. We received help from economic experts and established a figure for the allowance. We ask the government to at least pay 2500 euro per year per child. Obviously, in other countries a similar allowance already exists. That’s why we want to promote a strong family policy in Catalonia that ensures that the impact of the economic crisis has less financial consequences for children. The allowance children receive now is very little, and also one should take into account that the subsidies that families and children receive according to their social economic situation can be stigmatising as you first have to show that you are in financial need. We advocate for an allowance that is the same for everybody. 

4.Are you optimistic about the universal allowance? Do you think it will become a reality?

The current political context is quite complex, but we have seen that some political parties in Catalonia are open to our ideas.  We are advocating and try to make the universal allowance a reality. At the moment in Catalonia the idea of an equal income for all, or for people in more vulnerable situations, is being discussed. Yet, FEDAIA really tries to emphasize the focus on childhood and on children. We approach and treat the socio-economic issues that are being debated separately and from the specific perspective of the child. 

 

5.How does FEDAIA regard the issue of children in care and deinstitutionalisation in Catalonia? An example of work on deinstitutionalisation?

Fedaia promotes a series of programs aimed to prevent children from being institutionalized. They focus especially on what preventative steps can be taken on a local level so institutionalization is not necessary.  In Catalonia we have a great law (‘Derechos y Oportunidades en la Infancia’) that provides a number of programs focused on prevention that help children in situations of risk or neglect.  The law lists several programs relating to prevention, yet, in reality they are often not regulated and implemented. Through advocacy and by putting pressure FEDAIA tries to ensure that certain aspects of this legislation actually become implemented. We are interested in the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign because we also think that the best place for a child to be is in a family. An institution should be the last option. As an umbrella organisation we work both with institutions offering residential care and with NGOs that work on prevention. Our political advocacy so far has been directed strongly at prevention and working with families and we also promote alternative measures of child care. Of course in some cases it can be difficult to find an alternative for an institution. Luckily some institutions are becoming increasingly community-based. 


6.How do you regard networks like Eurochild?

I think FEDAIA is, like Eurochild, an ‘umbrella’ organization. We both serve as a network for other organisations.  You give us access to what happens at European level and I believe that is very important. Also, it puts us in contact with other organisations like for example at the recent Opening Doors meeting in Brussels. So, in this sense, there is an exchange of knowledge, of contacts and networks. FEDAIA is looking forward to engage more actively at the European level. Having networks at both national and international level strengthens the advocacy work in general. The implementation of the PEUC (the universal allowance for children) is carried out by one of our member organisations. You see that the working of our organisation is similar to that of networks at the European level. 

 

7.According to you, what role can the EU play regarding child poverty at the national/local level?

Sometimes things happen at the European level that escape our attention. I think European legislation ultimately is very important for local politics. It is necessary to stay alert and pay attention to what is happening so you are able to influence as much as you can at the local level. The economic theme is now very important and Europe provides funds for investing in children. You need to have financial resources in order to carry out your programs well. I think we should be even more attentive to what happens at EU level. However, it is true that sometimes your attention goes out to the work at home which sometimes can lead to less attention for what happens at the European level.

 

The interview was translated from Spanish

Website FEDAIA

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news-1269 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Meet Max and Laura: Watch the 'Level up' video http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/meet-max-and-laura-watch-the-level-up-video/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=c2a56bb129c4b1e08c038a020d13a83e Eurochild releases ‘Level Up' animated video to demand a better present and future for children in Europe

Eurochild, a Europe-wide child rights network with 190 members, invites you to meet Max and Laura, two children whose realities are shared by countless others across Europe. Inspired by a video game, Max tells his story where poverty triggers a host of other injustices.

Poverty affects one out of every four children in the European Union. When parents aren't supported, children bear the consequences. In the worst cases poverty and discrimination lead to children being separated from their families. In Europe today, one million children are estimated to be living in institutions, often with no personal attention or care.

“Poverty is no game. It's a scourge that has far reaching consequences in a child's life and often passes from one generation to the next. We work with our members to ‘level up' the capacity of individuals and systems to protect children from poverty and other violations of their rights and to support them in reaching their fullest potential. With this video, we hope to remind people that it's time to help every child level up”, says Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild.

The animated video was produced and directed by Martin Ferencei of Kovofilm and funded through the Without Violence fellowship. Alex Hayes, a school going boy in Prague, Czech Republic, lent his voice to the film.


The story of ‘Level Up'

A 10 years old boy, Max and his sister Laura would like to live happily with their family and spend their time playing and going to school. However, children in Europe can face real challenges; poverty led them to deprivation and has separated Laura from her family. Find out how Max and Laura fight the monsters and reach the final level! Watch the video here!

Eurochild is grateful to the Without Violence fellowship for funding and coordinating the development of this video.

Get involved with Eurochild: www.eurochild.org/getinvolved


Acknowledgements:

Funding and coordination: Fabio Venturini, Without Violence

Director and producer: Martin Ferencei, Kovofilm

Voice: Alex Hayes

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news-1270 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Children's Rights Alliance gives Government 'C' grade http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/childrens-rights-alliance-gives-government-c-grade/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=ac22f367e7c10abedb312bc85f3bb98f The Children's Rights Alliance released its Annual Report Card that scrutinises the government on its key commitments to children in the Programme for Government. The government receives 'C' grade for the fourth consecutive year

The most vulnerable children in our society have been left behind, and the incoming government must make children’s rights an urgent priority. That’s according to the Children’s Rights Alliance, which launched its Report Card 2016 the 14 March. 

The Report Card is the eighth in the series, and is assessed and graded by an independent panel of experts. The Government is graded on its progress on the implementation of commitments to children under the Programme for Government 2011-2016. 

For the fourth consecutive year, the outgoing government has received an overall ‘C’ grade from the Children’s Rights Alliance, reflecting a number of positive developments. However, according to this year’s Report Card, there are a number of key areas within which the Government has continued to fail the most marginalised groups and these need to be urgently addressed.

At today’s launch, Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said: “The timing of this year’s Report Card is unique. It is the first time in eight years that we have issued the findings while there is a hiatus in government. As we eagerly await the formation of a new Dáil, we are calling on the incoming government to ensure that children and young people are a key priority in the Programme for Government negotiations.  We need a Minister for Children and Young People with full Cabinet status. This is the only way that we will have a chance to change the lives of children most in need”. 

Child Poverty and homelessness

‘Child Poverty’ was awarded an ‘E-’ grade and ‘Child and Youth Homelessness’ dropped to an ‘F’, reflecting the inability of the Government to take decisive action to address this crisis. 

Tanya Ward continued: “Our Report Card has, once again, identified child poverty rates which we are facing in this country as a pressing issue that must be addressed (one in nine children is now living in poverty) and the number of homeless children rose by an incredible 90 per cent in the past year alone. We are starting to turn the corner when it comes to child poverty and the Government published a child-friendly budget for 2016, but the number of children experiencing homelessness is just not acceptable.

“The impact of the housing crisis has been devastating on families in Ireland and children in particular are suffering disproportionately. Emergency housing that is not family-friendly or child-appropriate can have severely negative impacts on a child – from the distress of upsetting their daily routine, to being removed from schools, friends, community and healthcare.” 

According to Ms. Ward: “The current upturn in the economy must not prove to simply push the most vulnerable even further into the margins of society. The last administration placed emphasis on improving the infrastructure to support children’s rights including the creation of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the establishment of the Child and Family Agency, Tusla and the introduction of progressive legislation heralding much needed, comprehensive family law reform. However, there are groups of children that have been left behind.”

 Grades and Recommendations 

According to the Report Card 2016, there are a number of key areas where improvements are needed including patronage and pluralism in education, the rights of Traveller and Roma children, and migrant children. Once again, children found themselves unable to access their local primary schools because of their religion. Momentum on this issue fell sharply over the course of the government and the grade for ‘Patronage and Pluralism in Primary Education’ dropped to a ‘D’. 

The situation for ‘Traveller and Roma Children’ and ‘Migrant Children’ only slightly improved, receiving an ‘E-’ and a ‘D-’ respectively. The Children’s Rights Alliance is calling for a number of immediate actions including: the implementation of a monitoring and evaluation mechanism for the national Roma and Traveller Inclusion Strategy; the delivery of the commitment to recognise Traveller ethnicity; and ensuring adequate and appropriate accommodation is provided to Traveller families by local authorities. Additionally, the Alliance is calling for the publication and implementation of a new integration strategy without delay in order to ensure that no families are living in the direct provision system for any length of time. 

Positive Developments: 2015 a landmark year

One ‘A’ grade appears in Report Card 2016, for the first time ever in the area of right to equality and non-discrimination. This reflects a number of important developments including the amendment to the Constitution providing marriage equality for same-sex couples, which has wide implications for LGBT children and young people.

Progressive legislation was enacted in the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 heralding much needed, comprehensive family law reform providing legal protection for children in various family types. As a result, the ‘Inequalities in Family Life’ section was the strongest performer in Report Card 2016.

Other areas doing well include ‘Education’, which has remained consistent under this Government. Within this area, ‘School Buildings’ received an ‘A-’ grade and this section has consistently gained high grades, reflecting progress made and the move away from prefabs across the country. ‘Child Literacy’ gained a ‘B+’ and ‘Early Childhood Care and Education’ received an improved ‘B-’ , a significant rise from last year’s ‘D+’ grade, as a result of investments promised in Budget 2016. 

In ‘Health’, the roll out of Free GP care to under-sixes and the commitment to extend this to under-twelves saw a slight improvement (‘B-’) in ‘Primary Care’. Movement on legislation such as the Public Health Alcohol Bill 2015 and the enactment of the Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Act 2015 saw the grade in this area rise to a ‘B’.

Tanya Ward added: “2015 was a landmark year in terms of the constitutional amendment on children, the Children and Family Relationships Act, the Children First Act and the marriage equality referendum. It’s crucial that we highlight the positive developments that have been made in this area and also in the areas of literacy, early childhood care and education as well as health, with the roll out of Free GP care.  

We are calling on the next government to translate these positive developments made by its predecessor, uphold its international obligations and make life better for all children – including those who need it most. All children should be cherished equally, and in a year that we celebrate 100 years since the 1916 Rising it has never been a more fitting time to uphold that statement.” 

A number of speakers were at today’s Report Card 2016 launch event, including: Ciairin DeBuis, StartStrong; Pat Doyle, CEO, Peter McVerry Trust; Paul Gilligan, Chief Executive, St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services; Professor Aine Hyland, Emeritus Professor of Education and former Vice-President of University College Cork; and Judge Catherine McGuinness, former member of the Supreme Court of Ireland, and Member of the Council of State.

The full 2016 Report Card from the Children’s Rights Alliance is available at: www.childrensrights.ie.   

Read the report card here.

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news-1267 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Lack of sufficient investment in children is barrier to realization of children’s rights http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/lack-of-sufficient-investment-in-children-is-barrier-to-realization-of-childrens-rights/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=06f70e7a8fdf15434e632378569cf176 NGOs make joint recommendation on OHCHR follow-up report on investing in children's rights at UN Human Rights Council

This week of March 7th, the UN Human Rights Council hosted its 31st session in Geneva and focused on a variety of children’s rights issues. The session commenced with the Annual Day on the rights of the child, which was dedicated to child sexual exploitation in relation to information and communication technology. The week has come to a close on Friday 11 March with the release of a Joint Oral Statement by Save the Children which is supported by 9 NGOs including Eurochild in response to the OHCHR follow-up report on investing in children’s rights.

A key message emerging from the Annual Day on the rights of the child was that the rights of children remain as ‘applicable online as offline.’ The session also witnessed the launch of the EU-UNICEF toolkit  which consists of eight modules, focusing on important areas which range from child participation to child impact assessments. The toolkit will help to support the effective implementation and best-practice of children’s rights worldwide.

As the week progressed, further discussions took place with a focus on violence against children. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on violence against children, Leila Zerrougi, stated that the Sustainable Development Goals agenda demands that children should have the dignity to experience a violence-free childhood. The SRGS for children and armed conflict led talks on children involved in armed groups and their treatment within the international human rights system. The Special Representative (SR) on Torture and the SR on the sale of children also led dialogues at the session, looking at issues faced by women and girls and the demand for sexual abuse respectively. Each thematic discussion was followed by state responses and questions. The SR on the sale of children led a subsequent talk on her report which found that the private sector plays an important role in enabling situations of child abuse. 

Eurochild is one of the nine NGOs which supported the Joint Oral Statement produced by Save the Children to the OHCHR and is entirely committed to all the recommendations of the statement on investment in children. The report calls on States to fulfil the rights of the child by shifting their approach to public spending so that resources are spent in an efficient, effective and equitable manner. The recommendations include a requirement to safeguard spending for children in times of financial crises by undertaking child rights impact assessments. The 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development also provides a framework which supports the poorest and most vulnerable children. The statement asks that UN Member States adhere to the best practice standards highlighted in the OHCHR follow-up report in addition to the commitments of the HRC resolution 29/19 on ‘Towards better investment in the rights of the child.

 

Read here the Statement on the OHCHR follow-up report on investment in children’s rights

 

Read here also the Joint oral statement on the '2030 Agenda and children’s rights: leave no child behind'

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news-1264 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 The Smile of the Child: Report on safeguarding unaccompanied children from going missing http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/the-smile-of-the-child-report-on-safeguarding-unaccompanied-children-from-going-missing/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=db76bc7fff63821af1d3156f455ab1f4 More than 89,000 unaccompanied children arrived in the European Union in 2015

Greek Eurochild member The Smile of the Child along with a number of children’s organisations released the report ‘Best practices and key challenges on interagency cooperation to safeguard unaccompanied children from going missing’

The report demonstrates that improved training on the prevention and response to child disappearance is needed for those working with the thousands of children who arrive in Europe alone. More than 89,000 unaccompanied children arrived in the European Union in 2015, which represents a dramatic increase from the 23,000 unaccompanied children arriving in 2014.

According to Europol, 10,000 of these children have disappeared within hours of being registered and only a handful have been found since. However, national reports seem to suggest that the number of missing unaccompanied children could be much higher, and that many children go missing before being registered by authorities.

Findings from an in-depth study on the issue were developed in the framework of the project “Safeguarding Unaccompanied Migrant Minors from going Missing by Identifying Best Practices and Training Actors on Interagency Cooperation” (SUMMIT), co-funded by the European Union. The report reflects insights from the actors who deal primarily with the reception of unaccompanied children and those who focus on the disappearance of children. It examines practices in seven EU countries - the UK, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Cyprus, Ireland and Greece.

It serves as a necessary mapping exercise of good practices, along with a manual for grassroots professionals to be published in the next weeks, to promote discussions and expert trainings between these actors across Member States.

In the study, the authors call for improved cooperation between law enforcement, social workers in shelters and reception centres, guardians, hotlines for missing children and other parties to better prevent and respond to the disappearance of unaccompanied children.

SUMMIT Project partners contributed to the publication, in particular the organisations Child Circle, NIDOS (NL), Defence for children-ECPAT (NL), TUSLA (IR) and KMOP (EL).

Please read the full report here

Website The Smile of the Child

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news-1263 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 CNAPE: France finally passes child protection law http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/cnape-france-finally-passes-child-protection-law/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=1bd92a1036332eadde4ddfe693336691 CNAPE (Federation des Associations de protection de l’enfant) celebrates late victory as French National Assembly passes law After more than a year and a half shuttling between the two chambers, the law on child protection was finally passed on final by the French National Assembly on 1 March. CNAPE deplores the long legislative process, but welcomes the adoption of a text that is largely in the right direction, and that includes more than half of the amendments that were proposed.

Read more on CNAPE’s website about the outcome of the long legislative process (in French)

 

 

 

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news-1255 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Children in Scotland calls for introduction of a national Children’s Food Policy http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/children-in-scotland-calls-for-introduction-of-a-national-childrens-food-policy/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b36cda8e821f6093f2476ad309ffe061 Addressing Scotland’s 'diet, obesity and poverty crisis'

Children in Scotland’s Chief Executive Jackie Brock argues that “specific, dedicated and targeted action is needed”, at Food Matters: Debating a Children’s Food Policy for the 21st Century, a conference held in Edinburgh  (Tuesday 8 March).

Ms Brock said: “Food and nutrition’s link to children’s wellbeing is a touchstone issue in Scotland in 2016. The consequences of our national diet are appalling for the long-term health and wellbeing outcomes for our children

According to the 2014 Scottish Health Survey 31% of children are now at risk of becoming overweight or obese – and this percentage is higher in areas of greater deprivation. We must recognise that specific, dedicated and targeted action as part of a children’s food policy is needed now.”

Ms Brock said that, in the light of previous strategies, a new policy of this type would only be effective if public, corporate and civic society were sincere about the scale of the problem and the need for change. She called on public bodies to recognise the impact of new legislation on how they prioritised good food and nutrition for children.

As a result of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, every public body in Scotland is now required to fulfil its public duty to meet a child’s wellbeing needs,” she said.

“How will they be able to do this without addressing diet and enabling children to access healthier foods?” A new food policy for children could also build on existing initiatives that help address health inequalities in Scotland, Ms Brock said.

One of the most significant of these has been the introduction of the Free School Meals Programme for P1-3s. NHS Health Scotland’s evaluation of the programme is published today and Dr Rachel McAdams, Public Health Adviser at NHS Health Scotland and author of the Evaluation of the Universal Free School Meals Programme, will be speaking at one of the conference workshops.

Other speakers include Dr Carrie Ruxton, Food Standards Scotland Board Member and award-winning Dietitian; Dr Catherine Calderwood, Chief Medical Officer; Lorraine Tulloch, Programme Lead, Obesity Action Scotland; and Dr Flora Douglas of Aberdeen University’s Rowett Institute.

Ms Brock added: “I look forward to using today’s conference to talk about the content of the Children’s Food Policy and how we can work with partners to develop it.”

(ends)

Media contact: Chris Small  

Website Children in Scotland

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news-1252 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Migrant status should not lead to institutionalisation of children, Brussels event highlights http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/migrant-status-should-not-lead-to-institutionalisation-of-children-brussels-event-highlights/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=3e7fee7ec482db58f4b65157b0ad896a This was the message launched by child rights stakeholders, service providers and EU officials at the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign roundtable on migrant children, which took place at the Committee of the Regions in Brussels on 1 March 2016 Migrant and refugee children have the same rights as other children, and their institutionalisation is incompatible with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). This is the message launched by child rights stakeholders, service providers and EU officials at the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign roundtable on migrant children, which took place at the Committee of the Regions in Brussels on 1 March 2016. The event was organised jointly with SOS Children’s Villages and hosted by Mr Luc Van den Brande. 

The current influx of refugees and migrants arriving at the shores are raising concerns around child protection. Almost 30% of asylum seekers are children and a growing number are unaccompanied children. Approximately 10,000 migrant children may have disappeared after entering in Europe according to Europol.

Providing quality care in the first hours can prevent children going missing and protect them from violence and exploitation, the event highlighted.  “Short term emergency responses need to keep long term consequences in mind” said Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General of Eurochild, Opening Doors leading partner.

Civil society experts from children and refugee rights organisations from Sweden, Austria and Greece presented the situation on the ground reporting key critical issues. For example, in Austria unaccompanied migrant children are treated differently and do not have the same rights as other children, said Stefan Bauer of FICE Austria. In Greece, migrant children aged 7-15 years are kept in detention centres where they are not offered formal education nor Greek language classes. This creates detachment from the local community, said Moawia Achment of the Greek Forum of Migrants.

It emerged that there is no ‘one size fits all solution’ and that individualized care according to the child’s needs is crucial. Specialised training for practitioners and interpreters dealing with unaccompanied children is necessary. Experience shows that children tend to trust people who speak their language or who share the same cultural background. 

Eurochild will prepare a position paper, jointly with SOS Children’s Villages to take forward the issues discussed at the roundtable.  

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news-1256 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Civil society says EU Semester has little attention for social aspects of economic policy http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/civil-society-says-eu-semester-has-little-attention-for-social-aspects-of-economic-policy/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=3cac242aa0725d75e4e2765d73bcef88 Eurochild member Defence for Children – Netherlands attended the Civil Society Dialogue Session at European Commission

The European Commission’s Directorate for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) organised a Civil Society Dialogue Session on 24-25 February in Brussels. The meeting was specifically targeted at national civil society representatives to improve stakeholder engagement in the European Semester. Eurochild encouraged its members to participate in this meeting.

Eurochild member Defence for Children Netherlands attended the meeting. DCI stated that it was fruitful to speak with the different civil society organisations present at the meeting. However, they were disappointed by the input of the speakers from DG ECFIN. The meeting focused mainly on procedural aspects of the Semester, with little attention paid to the actual social dimension of EU macroeconomic policy. Although risk of poverty and social exclusion were discussed, this was linked over and over again to economic policy. 

All civil society organisations present felt the Commission did not look sufficiently into the social aspects of economic policy and expressed this to the EU officials. DG ECFIN (and DG Employment, also attending the session) argued that with regard to social issues, the EU has little space for interference in Member States. In their view, the EU’s freedom to enact power or interfere has already been ‘stretched’ quite as far as possible.

During the session, DCI raised several times the EU Recommendation Investing in Children and its need for national level implementation which the Semester should push for. They also argued for indicators on the risk of child poverty and social exclusion to be included in the macroeconomic coordination process.

In the context of the EU Semester 2016, the European Commission promised to investigate in what ways civil society organisations can be involved in the process of engaging Member States to implement the Country Specific Recommendations. They are concerned, however, that at the moment the Country Specific Recommendations are barely being implemented by the Member States.



For more information contact: Pien Klieverik 

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news-1246 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Turkish Ministry of Education features Eurochild’s work in its bulletin to students http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/turkish-ministry-of-education-features-eurochilds-work-in-its-bulletin-to-students/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=c9cd4136c6929b7d707d3e117d936db2 Eurochild Secretary General Jana Hainsworth was interviewed for the e-bulletin that aims to raise awareness of lower secondary and secondary school students about the EU and education.

The project ‘Technical Assistance for Students Learning about the EU - Common Values, Fundamental Rights and Policies’ is implemented by the Turkish Ministry of National Education, General Directorate of the European Union and Foreign Relation and co-financed by the European Union and Republic of Turkey within the scope of IPA-I Programme. 

After having interviewed EU Commissioner of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Mr. Tibor Navracsics, Secretary General Jana Hainsworth was the second guest to introduce and explain Eurochild’s work to Turkish students through an interview in their monthly bulletin.

Jana explained how Eurochild engages and involves children in its work and mentioned the EU Parliament event on 20 November, Universal Children’s day, when 15 children from across the EU traveled to Brussels to speak to Members of the European Parliament. At the European Parliament the children shared their experiences of active participation and demanded that politicians take into account their views when taking decisions about their lives.

Download the interview here (in Turkish) (PDF)

Website here

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news-1245 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Joint statement on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and children's rights http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/joint-statement-on-the-2030-agenda-for-sustainable-development-and-childrens-rights/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=810fff59e5e12ee120fc9d29132375f9 On Monday 29 February Save the Children will make, on behalf of 13 NGOs, a joint statement at the UN Human Rights Council on the '2030 Agenda and children’s rights: leave no child behind' at the Annual high-level panel on human rights mainstreaming. Eurochild is one of the co-signers of the statement. Read the full statement below.

Mr President,

This statement is made on behalf of Save the Children and 13 NGOs.  

We welcome the 2030 Agenda’s ambitious plan of action for “people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership” and the firm commitment from all States to “leave no one behind” by ensuring that those furthest behind will be reached first and by meeting goals and targets for all nations, peoples and segments of society.

The ambition to tackle inequalities provides the international community with a key opportunity to advance human rights, including children’s rights, and to establish more inclusive and equitable societies. 

We call on States to step up to the challenge and implement the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets in a holistic and integrated manner, with a particular focus on realizing the rights and meeting the needs of the poorest and most marginalized people first. This includes introducing national interim equity or ‘stepping stone’ targets  that specify the progress that disadvantaged groups must make in order to be on track to achieve 2030 targets and to catch up with more advantaged groups.  

In particular, we call on States to put an end to extreme poverty in all its forms, by raising incomes, providing universal social protection systems and ensuring equitable access to quality essential public services, such as health, education, nutrition, water and sanitation and child protection, by removing key discriminatory and financial barriers that stop children from surviving, thriving and learning.

In addition, we recall HRC resolution 28/19 on ‘Towards better investment in the rights of the child’ and the financing commitments to development in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. We remind States that equitable and efficient resource mobilization and public spending is the most sustainable way through which services to children can be delivered and their rights realized. 

Finally, we call on Member States to adopt a robust system of accountability for the 2030 Agenda spanning from local through to national and international levels based on principles of universality, equality, transparency and participation and building upon existing international human rights obligations and mechanisms. It must be people-centred and allow for effective engagement by citizens, including children, in regular accountability processes at all levels.

Improving the lives and realizing the rights of the most deprived children today will create a better future for all children tomorrow.  

Thank you.

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news-1243 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 University of Deusto: Marie Skłodowska Call to recruit 8 early-stage researchers http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/university-of-deusto-marie-sklodowska-call-to-recruit-8-early-stage-researchers/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=86fdb19e35c9af8af41fe3610ee751f7 The University of Deusto has opened a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Call to recruit 8 excellent early-stage researchers

Supported and co-funded by the European Commission (Marie Skłodowska-Curie) and over 40 partners, the University of Deusto, the only Spanish university selected to develop this programme in the doctoral studies, has opened a call to recruit 8 early stage researchers for three years. The second call for recruiting a second cohort of 8 researchers will be launched in 2017.

The Deusto International Research School (DIRS) aims at attracting qualified international Early Stage Researchers for high quality PhD training. Selected researchers will enrol in an attractive and highly internationalised, inter-disciplinar and inter-sectoral research eco-system. PhD researchers will develop their work in one of the seven existing doctoral programmes linked to one the four focus areas: Health and Wellbeing; Human Rights, Peace and Conflict Resolution; Sustainable Development and Innovation; and Education and Lifelong Learning.

Following high quality European Commission’s requirements, the candidates will be selected via an open, transparent, merit-based, impartial, equitable and internationally advertised procedure, in order to avoid any kind of inequality or discrimination, guarantying a fair selection process.

Regarding terms and conditions, the selected candidates will sign an employment contract and will be hosted in an attractive research environment characterised by excellence, internationality, interdisciplinarity and cross-sectorality. In addition, the selected researchers will benefit from a shared supervision and mentoring process formally inscribed in the Doctoral Agreement and the individualized Personal Career Development Plan.

Full information on the vacancies and specific requirements is published on the website of DIRS-COFUNDPlease, check the website regularly for updates on this call. 

Website University of Deusto

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news-1242 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Solidarité Laïque: School Chemin des Dunes will be preserved but southern part of camp removed http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/solidarite-laique-school-chemin-des-dunes-will-be-preserved-but-southern-part-of-camp-removed/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b260b1e95f13d7f61232b1eff2ae38a4 Latest news on Calais refugee camp in France: Solidarité Laïque welcomes decision but says it is not enough

After having started a dialogue with the Inspection of National Education, Solidarité Laïque received confirmation this morning that the School Chemin des Dunes will be preserved. The same counts for all the other religious places where can be prayed.

Solidarité Laïque welcomes this decision but reiterates that this is not enough. Until good alternatives for fundamental rights of all migrants have not been implemented, it is necessary to preserve the southern part of the camp.

Solidarité Laïque demands: 

  • Cancellation of the deportation order on February 19
  • Good individual care of the fundamental rights of people currently present in Calais including the provision of professionals (social workers, educators , teachers ...) and heated rooms , equipped with sanitary and offering social spaces 
  • The protection of all unaccompanied children and the implementation of the right to education for children 
  • A commitment by France to implement its territory and within the European Union for a genuine policy of welcoming migrants

Read more on the website

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news-1241 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Successful event to follow-up on the Written Declaration on Investing in Children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/successful-event-to-follow-up-on-the-written-declaration-on-investing-in-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=eda47341f540f60dc82f1ee526fa4b19 Celebration of the success of the Written Declaration on Investing in Children in the EU Parliament

The European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights held a Roundtable debate with representatives of the Dutch EU Presidency, the European Commission, MEPs and civil society on 23 February 2016. The event comes as a follow-up to the success of the Written Declaration on Investing in Children.

The Declaration, which passed with overwhelming support from 428 MEPs last December, is the most signed declaration since 2011. It was supported by Eurochild and other partners in the EU Alliance for Investing in Children.

At the event, Eurochild presented the key messages of the Written Declaration, namely: 

  1. Give visibility to child poverty in the EU’s macro-economic agenda – for example by making child poverty a binding indicator in the social dimension of the European Monetary Union 
  2. Push for the Member States to set specific sub-targets to reduce child poverty as a contribution to the overall poverty reduction target of Europe 2020 – this would be important to include in an upcoming Europe 2020 review
  3. Ensure that the Commission dedicates sufficient resources to the effective follow-up of the Recommendation – for example drawing up a roadmap and further developing the portfolio of child well-being indicators included as an annex to the Recommendation; and strengthening mutual learning & exchange across MS to support progress.
  4. EU and national funding should be linked to the policy outcomes on investing in children. There is a need for better monitoring of how structural funds are being used to implement the Recommendation nationally;

Faryda Hussein representing the Dutch EU Presidency spoke about the commitment to take the fight against child poverty forward, as it closely matches their priority that no child should be left behind. They will also be promoting inclusive poverty strategies during their presidency. She emphasised that in tackling child poverty, taking the integrated three-pillar approach of the Recommendation on Investing in Children is as important as the volume of the intervention itself. In the upcoming Council Conclusions on poverty later this year they plan to include examples, using among others case studies from the EU Alliance Handbook!

Speaking on behalf of the European Commission, Emmanuelle Grange Head of Unit for disability and inclusion was more careful in committing to the messages in the Written Declaration, in particular on targets and indicators. She emphasised that countries need to set their national targets first, and that agreeing on indicators among 28 Member States would be difficult. She called on civil society to use the opportunities within the European Semester and the Structural and Investment Funds to promote investing in children; and asked MEPs to push more their national parliaments to work on child poverty.

There was broad agreement in the debate that followed that more and better indicators on child well-being are necessary for politicians, policy makers and practitioners equally to be able to effectively respond to children’s needs and take children’s views into account. The main conclusion of the event is the dedication of the EP Intergroup members to take the fight against child poverty and the promotion of child well-being further with the EU institutions, and with national decision-makers as individual MEPs. 

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news-1240 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Active - Sobriety Friendship Piece: Children of Alcoholics Week: Love and safety are not a privilege, but a right http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/active-sobriety-friendship-piece-children-of-alcoholics-week-love-and-safety-are-not-a-privilege/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=05ea75d6fc831ffdc06f64087446192e 'I just wanted for someone to tell me that my mum and dad loved me,and to tell me that it wasn’t my fault. I thought it was all my fault' - a child from the UK interviewed for the EMCDDA’s 'Experiences and Perceptions of European children on drug and alcohol issues'

Between 14th and 21st of February 2016 , Active - Sobriety, Friendship and Peace and its partners are marking the Children of Alcoholics week, an international campaign that aims to raise awareness and motivate policy actions for the millions of children around the world who are affected by addiction to alcohol in the family.

This year, under the slogan “All you need is Love”, the Children of Alcoholics week activities of Active – Sobriety, Friendship and Peace reflect on love and safety, as not just feelings that children experience, but also part of children’s rights.

'Every child has the right to a happy childhood and a right to receive help and support' – explains Kujtime Barushi, President of Active – Sobriety, Friendship and Peace. 'Sometimes it is a local youth organization’s seminar, or a festival in the municipality that is the only ‘safe haven’ for children of alcoholics. If we carry out all public activities, all youth activities, all EU-funded projects in an alcohol-free environment, we create a safe space for everyone'.

Read the full press release here.

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news-1238 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Conference puts spotlight on rights violations of children in custody http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/conference-puts-spotlight-on-rights-violations-of-children-in-custody/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=c1ee79bce0267ae826bd68f2ec74cd8e More than 1 million children are involved in criminal proceedings every year (12% of the overall number), MEP Caterina Chinnici says. There is a need to harmonise standards among EU Member States.

Detaining minors in centres only because of their migrant status is a clear violation of the rights of the child, said MEP Caterina Chinnici, chair of the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights speaking at the Conference “Children’s rights behind bars”.

The event gathered representatives from European institutions, the Council of Europe and members of civil society organisations working in the field of juvenile justice, childhood, mental health and disability.

“The Intergroup is now working on a Written Declaration on Enhancing cooperation in recovering missing children, namely unaccompanied minors”, MEP Chinnici added. She also recognized the importance of the European Commission Directive on Procedural Safeguards for Children and added that “more than 1 million children are involved in criminal proceedings every year (12% of the overall number)”. The Directive is the first EU document on this matter that aims at harmonising standards among member states. 

One of key issues discussed at the conference was the definition of “places where children are deprived of their liberty”. This definition is problematic, as also acknowledged by EU representatives, because children can be deprived of their liberty in official places (police stations, juvenile detention centres) but also in disguised places (for example education institution, health institution). The participation of representatives of both juvenile justice, disability and children organisations to the conference highlighted the need for synergies between the fields.  

More on the Conference “Children’s rights behind bars” 

See also the European project Alternatives to Custody for Young Offenders which focused on remand and intensive fostering as alternatives to custody for young people. Infographic with project results here.

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news-1237 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 One Family: Output and results of the FamiliesAndSocieties project http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/one-family-output-and-results-of-the-familiesandsocieties-project/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=5fd48d06f0aafc33db850e7aded80f7f In nearly all European countries, family forms have become more varied and individual and family life courses increasingly diverse.

January 26 the Third Annual meeting and a stakeholder workshop of the FamiliesAndSocieties project 'Changing families and sustainable societies: Policy contexts and diversity over the life course and across generations' took place in Vienna.

The main objectives of the FamiliesAndSocieties project are: 

  • to investigate the diversity of family forms, relationships, and life courses in Europe; 
  • to assess the compatibility of existing policies to family changes; and
  • to contribute to evidence-based policy-making

Outputs and results of the FamiliesandSocieties project are presented through a series of Work Packages; each with their own set of sub-objectives. This summary contains an overview of the main results from February 2013 – December 2015, which were presented in Vienna at the 3rd Annual meeting in January 2016.

Some of the key findings: 

In nearly all European countries, family forms have become more varied and individual and family life courses increasingly diverse

Need to be aware of different family forms and treat them equally; policy to support children irrespective of family forms they live in is imperative

An increasing proportion of women are breadwinners - between 20% and almost 50% for childless women and between 3 and 25% for women with toddlers, it may offset the motherhood penalty; supporting women’s employment and reducing the gender pay gap

Maternal education and socio-economic status play a (positive) significant role in child care usage and child outcomes, as well as in the time use of the child. However, disparities according to socio-economic and demographic characteristics can be offset by the provision of high quality child care

Family-friendly policies such as parental leave must consider both parents, as time investments from parents are separable. Moreover, they should consider the timing of intervention according to the effectiveness in improving child outcomes

Please click here to read all the outputs and results of the project.

Read here also Jana Hainsworth blog on the new EU Consultation on work-life balance.

 

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news-1235 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 SOS Children's Villages: Child rights trainings for professionals working with children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/sos-childrens-villages-child-rights-trainings-for-professionals-working-with-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=1b668c5cdc7e9a5a2f8370cdc119ac4a A joint European project on child rights-based care

After the successful completion of the training handbook, titled “Realising children's rights: A training manual for care professionals working with children in alternative care”, in September and a fruitful training of trainers in November 2015, supported by our project partner the Council of Europe, SOS Children’s Villages together with local partners has started to roll out child-rights trainings for professionals working with children and young people entering, living in or leaving care in the eight project countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, France, Italy, Latvia, Hungary and Romania). 

In each country, two local trainers coach more than 100 care professionals on children’s rights in alternative care. The trainings are based on the recently developed training handbook “Realising children’s rights”, which provides the trainer with methodology and exercises that will not only demonstrate to care professionals how to apply a child-rights approach to their daily work with children and young people but also what its benefits are for the professionals themselves. During two days, participants engage in the four guiding principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, these being 1) right to life, survival and development; 2) right to participate; 3) right to non-discrimination; and 4) right to have their best interests guarded. Each of these pillars are described and relayed to the care professional (throughout the instruction and training material) in a way that also draws on the realities of the care professionals’ working environment.

The training handbook together with a set of European recommendations including the evaluation of the trainings will be available to the public by the end of 2016. 

For more information, please click here

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news-1232 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Read here the eNews Bulletin from February 17 http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/read-here-the-enews-bulletin-from-february-17/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=fb6fffc592bedb71f650a16700194b9e Read here Eurochild's monthly newsletter featuring: Our new child rights drawing competition 'Sketch my rights', Jana Hainsworth's reflections on the EU consultation on work-life balance, a new Member Spotlight and the blog by Edel Quinn from Children's Rights Alliance on the EU Semester & advocating against child poverty in Ireland.

Dear friends & colleagues, 

Remember the maternity leave directive proposal that was scrapped? The Commission instead launched a new consultation (it closes today) which addresses work-life balance for working parents and caregivers. Jana Hainsworth has shared her reflections on the questions that frame this new consultation. Read the blog here.

Did you know that the poverty rate nearly doubled during the crisis in Ireland? And that one child in every nine lives in consistent poverty? Edel Quinn, Senior Legal and Policy Officer at our member Children's Rights Alliance, tells about how they acted in the European Semester to support national advocacy against child poverty. Read the blog here.

We are delighted that the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care received the Zero Project award on Independent Living and Political Participation. The European Expert Group, is an advocacy coalition of stakeholders representing people in care of which Eurochild is proud partner.

Finally, we are happy to announce the start of Sketch my rights', the drawing competition linked to our 2016 Eurochild Conference, Children's Rights Matter! We're inviting children and young people to sketch/draw/design their perspectives on the rights that matter to them! One child or young person has the opportunity to win a trip to the Eurochild Conference in Brussels in July!

Please help us to share this widely!

Warm wishes,

The Eurochild Team

 Click here to read the eNews Bulletin!
  
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news-1231 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Poverty in Ireland has a child’s face – how we use the European Semester process to help change that. http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/poverty-in-ireland-has-a-childs-face-how-we-use-the-european-semester-process-to-help-change/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=282c92dacd16ac82e65ec7ba0f74e026 Edel Quinn, Senior Legal and Policy Officer at our member Children’s Rights Alliance, tells about how they acted in the European Semester to support national advocacy against child poverty. Ireland experienced a devastating economic recession from 2008 to 2013. In 2010, the State entered a three-year European Union (EU) /International Monetary Fund /European Central Bank Troika economic adjustment programme, which provided a bailout loan to the tune of €70 billion. Having emerged from the programme at the end of 2013, Ireland is now the fastest growing economy in the EU. While the economy recovers for some, through my role at the Children’s Rights Alliance, I see that children of poor families continue to bear the brunt of decisions made by those who have the power to protect them. The child poverty rate nearly doubled during the recession and in 2016, one child in every nine lives in consistent poverty with disproportionally high rates among one-parent families. 

Due to Ireland’s participation in the Troika programme, 2014 was the first year that Ireland received Country-Specific Recommendations (CSRs) from the European Commission. The significant influence of the EU on national affairs as part of the Troika programme in particular, has brought into sharp focus, the importance of the EU as a medium for advocating for children’s rights. Because the bulk of our work is at the national level, navigating the complexities of the European Semester was not an easy task and the team at Eurochild provided us with critical support. During the Irish Presidency of the European Union in April 2013, we had the opportunity to work directly with Eurochild, UNICEF and EAPN in hosting a conference on child poverty and well-being in Dublin. This provided us with the opportunity to learn from representatives of the European Commission and our European peers and it to upskill our member organisations on the Semester.

Through our role as the only children’s organisation on the Community and Voluntary Pillar of Social Partnership (a process used to negotiate with government and achieve consensus on a range of social and economic issues) we analysed and made submissions on the European Semester and the National Reform Programme. We also raised the CSRs in meetings with departmental officials and ministers at the national level. Eurochild facilitated us in meeting key officials from the European Commission in Brussels to share updated information and advocate for a stronger children’s rights and child-centred focus to the CSRs.

We faced two key challenges in our advocacy work on the CSRs back home. In 2014 and again in 2015, where they related to children the CSRs focused on increasing work-intensity of households and addressing the risk of child poverty by tapering the withdrawal of benefits and supplementary payments upon return to employment and through better access to affordable full-time childcare. We found that officials tended to focus more on the labour market activation part of the CSR rather than on the child poverty part. We also found that there was a lack of ownership in government of the issue of child poverty and it was falling between government departments. We decided that our vehicle to address these issues was through a national child poverty target, set as part of a new national policy framework for children and young people in 2014 and we are currently working with government departments to ensure that this target is reached by 2020. In terms of their influence, there can be no doubt that the CSRs were a key driver in decision-making in recent budgets, particularly through a new initiative on tapered payments in Budget 2015 (the Back to Work Family Dividend) and most significantly in a new childcare package announced in Budget 2016.  

Eurochild’s Semester Report has been an excellent tool for us to take stock of our own activities on the European Semester and to learn from other countries, who have been engaged in the process for a longer period of time. Combatting child poverty and improving childcare are at the heart of our advocacy work with election candidates in our general election later this month. We hope that in our input to the next Semester Report, we will be able to tell you that these issues are at the heart of the work of the new government also.

 

Edel Quinn is the Senior Legal and Policy Officer at the Children’s Rights Alliance in Ireland.

The Children’s Rights Alliance unites over 100 members working together to make Ireland one of the best places in the world to be a child. We change the lives of all children in Ireland by making sure that their rights are respected and protected in our laws, policies and services.

 

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news-1230 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 "My dream is that one day every single child will be appreciated by every adult" - Dana Rušinová, Director of the Coalition for Children Slovakia http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/my-dream-is-that-one-day-every-single-child-will-be-appreciated-by-every-adult-dana-rusinova/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=a15c66fffd636b4b299ff72b92e82c61 This month we interviewed Dana Rušinová, Executive Director of the Coalition for Children Slovakia, a Eurochild National Partner Network. Dana calls for more attention on children’s rights, “after focusing on fighting for gender equality, human rights and environmental problems, in Slovakia it is time now to prioritise children’s well-being”. Dana also tells us about her second job as Executive Director of the Children of Slovakia Foundation and about her vision on the future of children’s rights in her country. 1. Could you tell us about your background, what brought you into children’s rights sector?

The most helpful experience for me is that I am a mother of two children who go to a Montessori school. Each child needs an individual approach, because they all have different talents. Although as a child I was placed in classes for children with special talents, today I cannot accept the idea of this kind of division in education. Children need to grow up and learn in a diverse environment with children coming from various social backgrounds. Otherwise they will suffer long in their adulthood due to a lack of understanding by others.

2.Can you explain briefly what role the Coalition for Children plays in Slovakia?

After focusing on fighting for gender equality, human rights and environmental problems, in Slovakia it is time now to prioritise children’s well-being. The potential of the Coalition is enormous. We wish to increase the awareness of children’s rights among both the lay and the expert public, but mainly among politicians and civil servants. Through our active work, we want to convince them that civil society organisations (CSOs), devoted to children and youth, have an irreplaceable role as partners in designing and implementing systemic change but also in providing public services to children and families. 

 We wish to promote both “top-down” and “bottom-up” innovation. As the Foundation’s Director, I can initiate educational and grant programmes to support such projects. The goal of the Coalition is to network people and promote the need of advocacy activities among CSOs. I very much appreciate that Eurochild builds the capacity of its members, because, in my country, I can see that organisations working with children have less impact than other types of CSOs. 

Also, we wish to be pointing out mistakes made by public institutions in the protection of the rights of the child. Our goal now is to support the Children’s Commissioner in Slovakia. Which was  elected with 14 years delay since  the recommendation of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2001.

3.Recently the European Commission supported a seminar on the EC Recommendation “Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage”.  What does the Slovakian government do to implement the recommendations? 

The seminar was great! It presented possibilities on how to use the European funds in the implementation of the Investing in Children Recommendation in Slovakia. The participants’ vivid discussion confirmed the interest of public administration authorities in building partnerships with civil society, mainly in projects focusing on Roma children but also in social projects in general. It also made evident that the European funds are still very hard to access by most of CSOs, one of the reasons being the requirement of highly sophisticated financial management of projects. 

We also understood that the Investing in Children Recommendation is in fact a tool to meet the needs of children and the protection of their rights. The Recommendation is, I believe, a great success of the Eurochild’s advocacy activities. In addition, it recognises that investing in children is the most effective investment in the future of Europe.

4. According to you, what role can the EU play in the area of child protection and children’s rights? 

I can see that our Government tries to implement the EU requirements and recommendations, of course, in a form adjusted to Slovak reality. Therefore, I consider the Investing in Children Recommendation as well as the regular monitoring of its implementation in partnerships with CSOs as a useful tool to foster change in the field of children’s rights. In my view, the EU can play an important role in challenging its Member States by making the European funds more accessible to CSOs, mainly in the form of grants administered by experienced local foundations.

I welcome the new priorities for European cooperation in education and training (ET2010).  They address inclusive education for all children, which should reflect the individual needs and develop the unique potential of every child.  Education should be based on real life, including labour market needs, and develop life and social skills. 

5.With regard to your work, how do you see the role of networks like Eurochild? Do they help the Coalition for Children Slovakia - and in what way? 

I welcome the networking among our members but also with the representatives of international institutions. An example is the cooperation we started with the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC). Considering the fact that the first office of the Children’s Commissioner is soon to be opened in Slovakia, the Coalition deems these contacts as very important. In my view, there are two areas where Eurochild could help our work on the EU level: it can create more awareness about the fact that the implementation of the Investing in Children Recommendation needs to be carried out in partnerships with CSOs. Secondly, it can help to promote more effective and targeted use of EU funds and other financial mechanisms in dealing with problems of children and youth, in order to help better CSO accessibility.

6. What is the achievement of your organisation that you are most proud of?

The year 2015 was a very successful one. The Act on the Children’s Commissioner, which we helped drafting, was adopted by the Parliament. One of the legal requirements for adoption was that each candidate has to have positive references from at least five relevant CSOs. We are also very happy that the Slovak Parliament adopted the Amendment to the Act on Family which reflects the requirements of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and improves the level of social-legal protection of children in Slovakia. We were involved in consulting the content of the Amendment. 

Above all, however, we are proud of our first Complementary Report on the Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Slovakia in Years 2007 – 2015”, written from the viewpoint of CSOs. Where we identified ten main problems in the protection of the rights of children in our country.  Forty experts from twenty-six organisations were involved. Last October, we presented the report at the pre-session meeting of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva, the members of which appreciated its comprehensiveness. Several of our recommendations were reflected in the additional questions the Committee requested to be answered by the Slovak Government before the Committee’s official meeting in summer 2016. 

7. What are your hopes/dreams for the future for children in Slovakia?

My dream is that one day every single child will be appreciated by every adult. That adults will do everything and anything to assure that children have happy childhoods and will be able to perceive the uniqueness of each child and provide them with the time they need for whatever they are doing at the moment. Also, that a disabled child, an ill child, a child from a socially disadvantaged background, or a child facing crisis will always have people around, ready to help mitigate the consequences of their difficult situation. I think we can get there. Major changes require endurance: that’s why I am not frustrated by the vision of a far future; because I can perceive every single step as taking us nearer to it.

 

      

 

Website of Coalition for Children Slovakia 

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news-1228 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Does the Commission’s 'New Start' get the starting point right? http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/does-the-commissions-new-start-get-the-starting-point-right/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=d52e223623b12295089e01c134277cb8 On Wednesday 17th February, the European Commission closes its public consultation on a new initiative aimed at addressing women’s labour market participation and enabling working families better balance their caring and work responsibilities. It replaces the EC’s proposal for a maternity leave Directive which got blocked in the European Council. It has been labelled ‘A New Start’.

On Wednesday 17th February, the European Commission closes its public consultation on a new initiative aimed at addressing women’s labour market participation and enabling working families better balance their caring and work responsibilities. It replaces the EC’s proposal for a maternity leave Directive which got blocked in the European Council. It has been labelled ‘A New Start’.

Children are one of the biggest groups who need care. As a network promoting the rights and well-being of children one can’t help but wonder if the European Commission has correctly framed the challenge of valuing care and work, and therefore whether the response will be appropriate and fit for the future.

The driver behind the initiative is to get women into a job – seemingly any job. Anything to help the EU reach its employment target of 75%. The road map goes back to referring to the ‘growth and jobs’ agenda. Yet, the Europe 2020 strategy – albeit not perfect – set a more balanced approach to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The analysis fails to adequately explore the societal and economic value of unpaid care both in the family and in the community.

As Eurochild we have fought long and hard at EU level for recognition of children as individual rights holders. When child poverty climbed the political agenda, driven by concerns over lost human capital, we argued that a good childhood in itself has value. The Recommendation on investing in children went some way to acknowledging that holistic approach.

For children to reach their full potential, they need high quality early years education and care, more learner-centred education, access to leisure, cultural and sport activities. However, ultimately parents carry responsibility for their children’s care. They need the financial means, time and support necessary to do so effectively. 

Children’s experience of family life is probably the single most important factor in their well-being and development. Even as a growing proportion of children’s lives is spent outside the family home, it is family relationships that enable, or indeed hinder, children’s ability to flourish. Parents not only need more time to spend with children, but they also need to be emotionally available. This requires that society values and supports parents in their nurturing and caring role.

This is by no means a call for women to return to the “good old days” of being full-time carers. Even during a child’s first formative months and years, an infant will benefit if his/her mother feels fulfilled in her professional life and receives high quality professional care. Indeed the story of women’s emancipation is closely intertwined with the realisation of children’s rights. Every individual should be supported in realising their full potential both in their caring and professional responsibilities.  This is simply a call to re-balance the value of unpaid care with the value of work. Both have huge societal and economic value. Maybe if that message came out more loudly and clearly in the framing of this new initiative both women and men would be better equipped to make choices that both they, and those they care for, deserve.

With respect to the specific proposals envisaged within this new initiative, Eurochild makes the following recommendations:

  • New EU legislation is necessary to create a level playing field across Europe, avoid downward competitive pressure and to reinforce gender equality.  
  • We advocate for a minimum maternity leave of 24 weeks taking into account WHO and UNICEF recommendations around breastfeeding for the first 6 months of a child’s life and the growing body of neuroscience pointing to the importance of early childhood experience and brain development.
  • Recognising the current impasse at EU level, maternity leave duration as well as guarantees on provision of early years care and education once leave entitlements could be considered as one of the benchmarks included in the new Pillar of Social Rights.
  • Regarding parental leave, in line with the UNICEF Report Card no. 8 on the child care transition, the benchmark on parental leave should be entitlement to at least one year. Part of that should be reserved exclusively for fathers to incentivise men to embrace fully their care responsibilities.
  • There should be more regular and politically visible monitoring of implementation of the Barcelona targets, but this should be coupled with application of the European Quality Framework on early childhood education and care (ECEC). 
  • The Semester Process and Country Specific Recommendations should be used more effectively to raise issues of the availability, quality and accessibility of care, as well as disincentives for second earners, but this should be coupled with a balanced assessment of how informal family- and community-based care is valued and supported.

Want some background information? Read it here:

Eurochild position on the amendment of Council Directive 92/85/EEC on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding, October 2009. 

Proposal for key principles of a Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care, October 2014


Is Europe doing enough to invest in children? 2015 Eurochild Report on the European Semester 

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news-1224 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Sketch my rights: Drawing competition for children! http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/sketch-my-rights-drawing-competition-for-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=a7b8376fbb302b772e53c6946f5d2a4d Are you passionate about children’s rights? Send us a drawing of a right you think matters most to you! Your drawings will feature in our conference materials and you could win a trip to meet European officials and other young people like you in Brussels!

Are you passionate about children’s rights? Send us a drawing of a right you think matters most to you! Your drawings will feature in our conference materials and you could win a trip to meet European officials and other young people like you in Brussels!

One participant will win a trip to Brussels for two people (one child and one accompanying adult) to attend the Eurochild conference “Children’s Rights Matter: Why Europe needs to invest in children” on 5-7 July 2016. At the conference the winner will get to speak to EU decision makers and officials about his/her passion for children’s rights.

The winner will also be actively engaged in the preparation of the Conference and support the Eurochild team to prepare attractive, fun and original communication materials such as posters, flyers, etc. Please note that the Eurochild Conference is reserved to children older than 12 years +.  An alternative and equally rewarding prize will be assigned to a winner younger than 12. The jury could allow a younger winner to attend if the jury is confident that a meaningful participation of the child is possible. 

The drawings will feature on:

  • Eurochild’s social media pages, including Facebook and Twitter
  • Eurochild website, newsletter
  • Eurochild Conference flyer, publications and programme (if selected)
How to participate?

Fill in the form (here) and upload your creation here by 15 APRIL 2016.

On your drawing you can use colours, illustrations, drawings, background, textures and other things that come up to your mind! You can take inspiration from the slider above and create your own version! 

The image has to relate to one of the conference themes:

  • children in poverty,
  • children on the move or migrant children
  • children in care or in risk of going into care


The winner will be announced on 6 MAY 2016.


Click here to read all the details and upload your drawing!
 

Info en Francais ici! 

Uitleg in het Nederlands hier!

Eurochild will sponsor the winner and one accompanying adult with accommodation and free entrance at the conference on 5 and 6 July 2016; this includes dinner on 5-6 July and lunch on 6 July. Eurochild will also sponsor travel costs from your place to Brussels and to the conference (local transport). Other daily expense will not be covered.

For questions please contact: Nicolas.Meslaoui(at)eurochild(dot)org

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news-1222 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 SOS Children’s Villages - Submit Expression of Interest: Consultant, Deadline 26 February http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/sos-childrens-villages-submit-expression-of-interest-consultant-deadline-26-february/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=64b6baab032e354ed989c97abc2c5f56 Consultancy to analyse the outcomes of the Child Rights Training of Care Professionals and develop resulting Recommendations and Guidelines

SOS Children´s Villages International is currently undertaking the development of the project “Training Professionals Working with Children in Care” under the framework of the European Commission´s Fundamental Rights Programme concerning the rights of the Child. 

Based upon the already developed “Securing Children´s Rights – A Guide for Professionals Working in Alternative Care, SOS Children´s Villages will undertake the development and rolling out of training modules aimed at care professionals to adopt a child rights based approach to their practice with children and young people in Alternative Care. The project, titled, Capacity Building of Care Professionals is funded through the European Commissions Fundamental Rights Framework Programme on the Rights of the Child. The project has activities in 8 partner countries Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia and Romania. 

Read all the details here

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news-1220 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 FEDAIA asks Catalan Government to address the needs of children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/fedaia-asks-catalan-government-to-address-the-needs-of-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=d88ffb43885a0756000c034b0f033224 Catalan children’s rights organisations ask new government to take children into account

The Federation of Care for Children and Adolescents (Fedaia) has demanded the new Catalan Government and the political groups represented in the Parliament "to take into account the needs" of children and families in the new budget that is being negotiated these days.  They also asked the government to consider the implementation of a plan for ‘social shock’.

In a statement, the Federation says that the government should have a clear plan for the allocation of a budget that meets the needs of children: "Children must be a social and political priority ", said the president of the Fedaia, Conxi Martínez. A new budget must include funding for the deployment of the Child Act, “a tool for fighting poverty and social exclusion."

 

(Translated form Spanish)

Read more here in Spanish or Catalan 

Website of Fedaia

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news-1218 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Eurochild General Assembly: Postponed till May 2016 http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-general-assembly-postponed-till-may-2016/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b1c3a51e627329691796decec32f9287 The General Assembly will take place in May

The General Assembly which was provisionally planned for 25-26 April 2016 in Brussels must now be postponed to the month of May, owing to exceptional circumstances. A large international trade fair taking place at the same time has made travel and accommodation costs in Brussels impossibly high. As a result, we are forced to move the 2-day General Assembly and Members’ Day to a date in May. 

Members will be informed about the new dates in May by next week via email.  

Apologies in advance to those who have already booked travel to Brussels. If you have done so, please contact andrea.witt(at)eurochild(dot)org at the earliest. 

This year, the Eurochild General Assembly will vote on a new Management Board.  We hope that you can reorganise your calendar for the new dates and will be able to join us in Brussels for this crucial yearly meeting of members.

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news-1217 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Mythbusting: Children in institutions in Western Europe http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/mythbusting-children-in-institutions-in-western-europe/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=edc9020787edba39d2dee9839c061f47 Eurochild has joined a pioneering Task Force on ending institutional care in Western Europe, to bust the myth that deinstitutionalization is only a concern for Eastern European countries

Many children, people with disabilities, people experiencing mental health problems, are institutionalized in Western European Countries where their rights are clearly violated. For instance, more than 100,000 children in France are stuck in residential care. (Read National Surveys on Children in Alternative Care, 2010 2nd Edition).

This taskforce is run by the European Expert Group on transition from institutional to community based cared.

Katerina Nanou from Eurochild Secretariat participated in the 2nd meeting of this Task force on deinstitutionalization in the West earlier this week. The work and the material produced from this Task force will contribute to the work of the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children Campaign and to Eurochild’s working group on Children in Alternative Care.  

Other EEG members participating in this Task Force are: European Network on Independent Living, The European association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities, Office of High Commissioner of Human Rights, European Disabilty Forum and Mental Health Europe. 

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news-1215 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Solidarité Laïque and its members resent the way migrants are treated in Calais http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/solidarite-laique-and-its-members-resent-the-way-migrants-are-treated-in-calais/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=dfca12fff002714bc0465a79ea1a0634 Calais refugee camp: Solidarité Laïque reminds the state and local authorities of their obligations. UPDATE: Sign petition against destruction of the southern part of the Calais camp and the School Chemin des Dunes

Update: Solidarite Laique expresses its greatest concerns on the impending destruction of the southern part of the Calais camp and the School Chemin des Dunes.

The prefect of Pas-de-Calais, Fabienne Buccio, announced Friday that the migrants who live in the southern part of the camp have to leave within one week. This concerns between 800 and 1000 people installed on 7 hectares in tents or shacks. Also the School Chemin des Dunes is located on this part of the camp.

Solidarite Laique relays the petition initiated by the association "L'Auberge des migrants'. Thank you for signing the petition and sharing as much as possible with your network.

Please see here Solidarite Laique's statement on their website.

______________________________________________________________________________________

 

Solidarité Laïque and its members resent the way migrants are treated in the Calais refugee camp. It is not in accordance with the law, neither domestic law nor international law. Children's rights and more particularly the right to education for all, but also the protection of unaccompanied foreign minors, are not being respected.

Thanks to donations, Solidarité Laïque helps opening the School of the Chemin des Dunes in the Calais camp. The school in the Calais camp is an initiative of Zimako Jones, a Nigerian refugee. The school will be inaugurated 6 February. This should be a first step to address the emergency that must however not disengage the state from its responsibilities regarding the right to education and the care of minors. The school is an interim solution, it is not intended to be permanent and is not satisfactory.

 

Read the statement here (in French)

Read about the School Chemin des Dunes here and watch also the video

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news-1214 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 FICE: Children’s rights leaders in Spain take up roles in the new Catalan government http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/fice-childrens-rights-leaders-in-spain-take-up-roles-in-the-new-catalan-government/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=57cf5762ae54f2ac41bb16583ec975ac FICE leaders obtain position in Catalan government Ricard Calvo, president of FICE Spain and Josep Vidal, representative of Plataforma Educativa in FICE Spain, have both obtained a position in the new Catalan Government. Ricard Calvo will be the new Director General of Infancy at the Catalan Government. Josep Vidal will be Director General of social issues. We wish them all the success and look forward to their contribution to the integration of children’s rights in the work of the government. 

 Read more here (in Catalan)

 

 

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news-1213 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Preparing together with children for the CATS Conference 2016 http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/preparing-together-with-children-for-the-cats-conference-2016/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=f04e3462eea50b2807036d18ad583a52 10 children and young people joined the Core Team to support the organisation of the 2016 CATS conference

Eurochild participated in the CATS Core team meeting in London from 27-29 February. An exciting meeting, as 10 children and young people joined the Core Team for the first time to support the organisation, running and evaluation of the CATS Conference 2016. The theme of this year is “Local to Global: How can we influence policy?” and is linked to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Eurochild supported the participation of two young people at the meeting (Kassandra Beltran from the Cypriot Children’s Parliament and Sean Downey from EPIC Ireland). The CATS Core team is planning interesting, participatory activities for this year’s weeklong conference.  Some features will include the organisation of a Children’s Parliament as well as a CATS Human Library where participants will have the opportunity to ‘read’ personal stories in which books are people and reading becomes a conversation.  

Interested in participating? Registrations have begun!

 

CATS workshop – Paris 

In March a CATS Workshop will take place in Paris. This workshop is supported by the Council of Europe and aims to develop the CATS Conference into a programme.

 

Read more about CATS here

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news-1209 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Greek Minister announces plans to reform state-run institution for disabled children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/greek-minister-announces-plans-to-reform-state-run-institution-for-disabled-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=eb2eb068a621b3e48a8c86cf44925f24 As NGOs confirmed the lack of alternative care for children living in institutions a conference last week, the Greek Ministry announced reforms, starting with a state-run institution for disabled children in Lechaina.

Katerina Nanou from Eurochild secretariat presented results of the first pan-hellenic study of institutional and residential care in Greece at a conference hosted by Lumos in Athens. The study which found 2825 children living in 85 private and public run institutions in Greece in 2014 reached to similar conclusion to the Lumos research which was conducted in 2015. Both research studies concluded that institutional and residential care in Greece is mostly run by private initiatives and there is limited public supervision of quality.

Furthermore both research studies concluded that there is a lack of alternative types of care for children living in institutions for children with and without disabilities. You can find more about the study carried out by Opening Doors national campaign coordinator in Greece by Roots Research Center here.

Importantly enough, at the end of day 2 of the conference, Dimitrios Karellas, Secretary General of Ministry of Labour, Social Insurance and Social solidarity announced the first deinsitutionalisation project which will take place at the State-run institution for disabled children in Lechaina. Lumos along with Institute of Child’s Health will proceed on the project with the support of the Ministry. 

 

Read the news article by Lumos here

Find out more about the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign here

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news-1207 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 EC annual publication on Employment & Social Developments overly labour market-driven http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/ec-annual-publication-on-employment-social-developments-overly-labour-market-driven/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=0816398b0fa3f53937e3a42bd7ef59ec Eurochild is disappointed at the failure to adequately address tackling child poverty and promoting child well-being in the 400-page report

Eurochild attended the presentation of Employment and Social Developments 2015 by the European Commission. The annual review, prepared by Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion addresses a range of issues. 

The report starts by looking at the contribution of entrepreneurship and self-employment to job creation and growth and the need to tackle the difficulties faced by the self-employed and notably micro and small companies. It then looks at the role of labour legislation in supporting more and better jobs and the need to strike the right balance between flexibility and protection. It then moves on to look at the best actions to avoid unemployment turning into long-term unemployment and inactivity. 

More broadly, given technological advancements, globalisation and an ageing population, which translates into a reduction in the working-age population, it argues that the EU needs to increase employment and increase productivity. Mobility and migration can play an important role here. In relation to this, the report highlights that Europe needs to improve skills and better match skills with evolving demands. It also needs to promote labour market participation of older workers and women.

Social policies, including family policies – bringing as an example, child care and long-term care – are mentioned solely within the scope of supporting longer working lives and increasing employment of women. The benefits to children’s development, or breaking the cycle of disadvantage are not seen as positive effects for improving childcare. A more comprehensive approach should be takenby the Commission when engaging with social protection and its upcoming development of a pillar of social rights.

Find the publication, and an executive summary here

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news-1206 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Joint Action for Mental Health: Young people and the role of Schools http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/joint-action-for-mental-health-young-people-and-the-role-of-schools/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=a24c68db512b7f477c615b5753c29c99 The Joint Action programme on mental health was launched in 2013. A final conference was organised last week in Brussels

To support the endorsement of the Joint Action recommendations by Member States & the EU, a conference was organised last week in Brussels. 

Mental disorders are highly prevalent in Europe and impose a major burden on individuals, society and the economy. They represent 22% of the EU’s burden of disability, as measured in Years Lived with Disability.

A number of policy recommendations based on the work of the Member States & the EU on the Joint Action for Mental Health and Well-being have been endorsed and set forth in the European Framework for Action on Mental Health and Wellbeing, which was released at the final conference last week in Brussels. Agata D’Addato represented Eurochild in the panel debate on mental health of young people and the role of schools.

The Joint Action for Mental Health and Well-being was launched in 2013 and has now come to an end. The program aimed at building a framework for action in mental health policy at European level. 51 partners representing 28 EU Member States and 11 European organisations, including Eurochild, were involved under the coordination of Nova University of Lisbon. The Joint Action addressed issues related to five areas, including promotion of mental health in schools.

At last week’s conference Eurochild’s highlighted the following points:

  • Strengthening the education focus on life-skills & well-being
  • Adopting a whole school approach with a focus on effecting systems change rather than discrete interventions (shift from programmes to systems)
  • Ensuring social policies and services  (Family & Parenting Support)
  • Anti-stigma and anti-discrimination campaigns targeting & involving children
  • Strengthening networks of research and involve multiple sectors and stakeholders, including children themselves

Read the report “European Framework for Action on Mental Health and Wellbeing here

In the framework of the Dutch EU Presidency a conference will be organised on 17 February in Maastricht to highlight the different policy challenges regarding mental health problems of young people. 

You can register for this conference here  

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news-1202 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Start Strong launched its Early Years #GE16 Campaign http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/start-strong-launched-its-early-years-ge16-campaign/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=3ed0f3a8575f951658acdc32b51e3ec2 Early Years #GE16 is a campaign to ensure affordable, accessible, quality early years services and to strengthen family leave in Ireland

The Promise to Children calls on all parties and candidates in the forthcoming General Election 2016 in Ireland to promise that, if elected, they will:

  • Make early years a priority by increasing investment to ensure affordable, accessible, quality early years services and by continuing  to strengthen family leave.

Increase investment to the OECD average (0.8% GDP) within the lifetime of the next government, moving to the UNICEF benchmark of 1% of GDP within 10 years.

 

 

Read more on the Early Years #GE16 Campaign here

Read here the Early Years Promise to Children

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news-1201 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 'Investir dans l'Enfance: un enjeu europeen et international' http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/investir-dans-lenfance-un-enjeu-europeen-et-international/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=5c00cfa999a8b725679b8c30580e6f1c Eurochild's national partner network in France, Federation of Associations of Child Protection, or CNAPE, published its FORUM magazine with two articles by Eurochild on investing in children

The magazine contains the following two articles:

"L'Europe peut bâtir un meilleur futur en investissant dans l'enfance" by Agata D'Addato.

"Les mécanismes internationaux de droits de l'Homme exhortent les gouvernements à investir dans l'enfance" by Aagje Ieven.

The two articles offer an overview of European and International instruments and networks to assist France in realising the rights of children. 

 Read the magazine here. 

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news-1200 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Young journalists report on France’s review at UN CRC Committee: 'We wait for concrete action' http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/young-journalists-report-on-frances-review-at-un-crc-committee-we-wait-for-concrete-action/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=a20614e66c673e5fe6168d18ff98c98d Four high-school journalists traveled to Geneva to meet the UN CRC committee for its review of France’s record on children rights. The young journalists commented: “If we are to recognize the government efforts towards children, we are still awaiting the fulfillment of many wishes, which are only applied in the law."

Solidarité Laïque, together with DEI France, joined a National Coalition on the Rights of the Child entitled ‘Agir Ensemble pour les Droits de l’Enfant’ (AEDE). AEDE wrote a report on the situation of children in France over the period 2009-2015 and proposed concrete recommendations for action. Last June the Coalition was interviewed by the UN. The French government was questioned last week. 

Four high-school journalists accompanied the Coalition to the UN in Geneva while France was invited to comment on its implementation of children's rights. The children expressed their view on how their country enforces child rights and in particular criticized the lack of consideration of children from minority backgrounds.

 

(Translated by Eurochild)

 

Read excerpts from the article (in French).

Report of the National Coalition (in French)

Listen to the interview with Florine Pruchon on radio France Culture (at 6.36)

 

Read here also the interview conducted by Solidarite Laique with Human Rights Defender Genevieve Avenard ahead of the UNCRC meeting in Geneva. 

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news-1199 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 1986-2016: Amici dei Bambini celebrates its birthday http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/1986-2016-amici-dei-bambini-celebrates-its-birthday/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=62c1d0105f26f910dfa724d2f3112622 Amici dei Bambini is celebrating its thirty years commitment to give every child a family. Amici dei Bambini turns thirty. In 30 years the world has changed, but the challenge to the abandonment of the child is not yet won. It is for these children that Amici dei Bambini was born on January 21 1986 and still continues its mission: to give a family to every abandoned child in the world.

Read more here! (in Italian) 

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news-1198 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Award: Zero Project Innovative Policy & Innovative Practice 2015 http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/award-zero-project-innovative-policy-innovative-practice-2015/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=2b80f5575e8b04d5495d21dc7b61a5e0 The European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based care received the Zero Project award on Independent Living and Political Participation in 2015

The European Expert Group, of which Eurochild is part, was nominated Innovative Practice in 2015 for “Diverting EU funds towards community-based care”. 

In 2015, the Zero Project selected 39 Innovative Practices that positively impacted the rights of persons with disabilities to live independently and/or supported their political rights.

The co-chairs of the European Expert Group, including Maria Herczog, President of Eurochild, thanked the Zero Project on a video available here.

The Zero Project, an initiative of the Essl Foundation, focuses on the rights of persons with disabilities globally. It provides a platform where the most innovative and effective solutions to problems that persons with disabilities face, are shared. Its sole objective is to assist in creating a world without barriers.

Read more on the Zero Project here.

 

ZERO PROJECT 2016: Call for Nominations on Early Childhood Intervention – Deadline (Extended): 31th January 2016 

The Zero Project and EASPD would like to invite leading experts and organizations to nominate innovative practices concerning on Early Childhood Intervention. Read more on the call for nominations here.

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news-1212 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Eurochild gets ready for 2016: Editorial from our January Newsletter http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-gets-ready-for-2016-editorial-from-our-january-newsletter/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=9dcd14e43aa80ab28f594f6c42a454de Read our eNews Bulletin from January!

Welcome back! We have so much to share with you! 2016 is a big year for Eurochild as we hold our bi-annual conference this year in Brussels with our hosts ONE and Kind en Gezin – Children’s Rights Matter. And we are delighted to receive the Royal Patronage of the Queen of Belgium!

Our policy team has produced a few reports in the last few weeks – Recommendations to the Dutch EU Presidency, which took over from Luxembourg at the start of this year. You can also read our scorecard on how Luxembourg and Latvia fared on children’s rights during their Presidency. We also released our Report on the European Semester; it’s a critical assessment of how the European Commission’s Investing in Children Recommendation is being implemented across EU countries.

This year, we begin research as part of an ongoing project to measure the long-term economic & social value of investing in children. The outcomes of this project will be crucial for our future advocacy. And the next phase of the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children, our campaign on deinstitutionalisation, kicks off in March! Here’s a handy guide of key events in 2016!

Want to learn about the children’s rights sector in Northern Ireland? Read our interview with Pauline Leeson CBE, Chief Executive of Children in Northern Ireland and Board member of Eurochild!

Wishing you a bright and prosperous year! 

Prerna Humpal, Head of Communications, Eurochild

 

Click here to read the eNews Bulletin.

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news-1193 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 "Childhood can’t wait. We need to make changes for children and young people now", Pauline Leeson http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/childhood-cant-wait-we-need-to-make-changes-for-children-and-young-people-now-pauline-leeson/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=7f9386e0f73c5423179726a8170abb4b Interview with Pauline Leeson, CBE - Chief Executive of Children in Northern Ireland (CiNI) and Board Member of Eurochild  
1.Tell us about your background, what brought you into children’s rights sector?

I am a social worker and I have been with CINI since 2008. I have worked with both statutory authorities and NGOs in child protection, residential work, fostering and family support but my work with the single homeless and Irish Travellers highlighted for me the importance of children’s rights and social justice.

 

 2.Can you explain briefly what role CiNI plays in Northern Ireland? 

CiNI is a national network with 160 members. We believe in putting children at the centre of decision making and policy making. We are a representative organisation advocating for children’s rights through policy, information, training and participation. We build capacity in the children’s sector through a regional learning and development programme and we work closely with our politicians through the All Party Group for Children and Young People which we service in the local Assembly in Northern Ireland.

Collaboration is important for us – alliances with other NGOS in our disability, early years and child poverty work have been crucial in influencing policy and legislation. We also work closely through the Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership with statutory authorities, particularly in health, to advocate for positive change. It is essential that we identify and work with champions across all sectors for the benefit of children and young people. Everyone can be an advocate for children and it is important that we recognise this potential and work collectively to value children’s lives.

 

3.What are the achievements of CiNI that you’re most proud of? 

There have been two major achievements in 2015. At a European level the Investing in Children Recommendation provides a framework for us to engage with local governments on child poverty. The UK Alliance produced a conference report which gave us the opportunity to highlight good practice and outline legislation and policy needed to tackle child poverty. We will build on this joint work with Eurochild by hosting a conference in Belfast on Child Poverty in Northern Ireland. Secondly, we are delighted with the recent adoption of the Children Services Cooperation Bill, which was led by the Green Party through a Private Members Bill. It was brought forward with the agreement of all political parties and is a huge achievement in terms of putting a statutory duty in place for public bodies to cooperate to improve outcomes for children joint planning and delivery of services to all children.Children in poverty is a major concern for us here – 21% children in Northern Ireland are living in persistent poverty. With this Bill, we can start to make good practice common practice in terms of integrated working to improve the well-being of children and young people in Northern lreland. The challenge now will be to implement the Bill and monitor its progress in terms of the impact it has on children’s lives.

 

4.In May, CiNI is organising a Child Poverty Conference. Could you tell me something about the objective of this conference? What do you hope to achieve true it?

CINI is organising a Child Poverty conference in Belfast in May with the Child Poverty Alliance, the Children’s Commisioner and the Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership.  It is funded partly by Eurochild and it looks at the European Commission Investment in Children Recommendation and its practical application in a member state following the UK Alliance conference in Cardiff in 2014. For CINI, in a devolved administration, this conference aims to encourage the development of child poverty strategies at local council level in Northern Ireland. We want to bring policy makers, politicians, children and young people, the community and voluntary sector , academia and business together to share learning and provide evidence which can inform action plans at local level to reduce poverty. This is an opportune time to begin the discussion as community planning is being introduced at a local council level. Also, a new Department for Communities is being set up which will include responsibility for tackling poverty and a new Children and Young People’s strategy is being developed with the benefit of the underpinning legislation of the Childrens Co-operation Services Bill and its requirement for public bodies to work together to improve outcomes and the well-being of children and young people.

 

5. According to you, what role can the EU play in the area of child protection and children’s rights at the local level?

Eurochild has played a significant part in placing child poverty and well-being firmly in a children’s rights framework which has been hugely influential in perceiving children as individuals with the right to be valued, to be treated fairly and to flourish. Eurochild has also been the catalyst at European level for collective action for children’s organisations to bring their experience, their voice and concerns about social inclusion to a wider stage where decisions are taken which will influence national government policies on issues affecting children, young people and their families. 

 

6.What do you think the EU role plays more in general?

The EU can share knowledge, evidence, expertise and give support. I think it is very important that they issue directives that help and guide national governments to look at issues such as child protection. In the UK there is a big challenge and debate around physical punishment, as the defense of reasonable chastisement at home has not yet been removed from legislation. I like the work the Council of Europe has done in terms of guidance and the practical materials they produced for children and parents. On a legislative basis, the role of the EU is also to put some pressure on national governments to look at issues like child trafficking, bullying particularly online safety which does not recognise any national barriers.  

 

7. How do you see the role of networks like Eurochild? 

Eurochild, like CINI, is a representative organisation. It is our job to provide a voice for our member organisations but also for children and young people. I am very proud of the recent messaging of Eurochild on refugees and migrants. It is a challenging time for Europe but we must retain our humanity. What makes us unique is that we challenge inequality, we advocate and influence for positive and lasting change and we develop networks to share knowledge and collectively achieve positive change for all children and young people. Childhood can’t wait. We need to make changes for children and young people now

 

8. You are a Eurochild Management Board member. How does this role add value to (or change your perspective on) your work at the national level in Northern Ireland? And what would you say to anyone considering nominating themselves for the new Management Board this year?

From my experience as a Board member I have had the opportunity to observe closely how the European Commission works. That has been helpful in terms of translating the learning to a national level through our network. It also made me more conscious of the valuable role of our MEPs. I am very proud of Eurochild’s contribution to the setting up of the Inter Group on children and the success of the Recommendation on Investing in Children which will have significant implications at policy level in member states.

Being a board member of Eurochild is an exciting opportunity! I have had a wonderful experience working closely with Jana and her exceptional staff team. I have also enjoyed and benefitted from the wisdom of other Board members. Board members play an important role in Eurochild. You are the voice of members at a strategic level. You are there to support the staff and the organisation. It has been a privilege to serve Eurochild as a Board member and as a national network and I look forward to many years of collaboration and partnership ahead. 

 

Website of Children in Northern Ireland

 

We are seeking nominations of members or candidate members for the positions of President, Treasurer and 3 (regular) members of the Management Board. Please read the call here. 

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news-1192 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 For Our Children Foundation Conference: "Children’s Rights Are Our Responsibility" http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/for-our-children-foundation-conference-childrens-rights-are-our-responsibility/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=87f846731595417b208f332efc972552 Deinstitutionalisation and corporate social responsibility were on the agenda of this conference hosted by For Our Children Foundation in Sofia. The event concluded the organisation’s year-long project "The Media, Business and I FOR Our Children."  

On 15 January representatives of the corporate sector, the media, national and local authorities and non-governmental organisations in Bulgaria exchanged ideas on how to work together for the cause of children's rights at the conference "Children’s Rights Are Our Responsibility", organised by For Our Children Foundation.

The President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev sent a greeting message to the conference participants, pointing to the successes of the government in reforming the child protection system, but also stressing that more efforts are needed to ensure the sustainability of the reform and the new social services that were created to support early childhood development and prevent child abandonment. The State Agency for Child Protection Eva Zhecheva also greeted participants, focusing on the successes of the nation-wide deinstitutionalisation reform over the past five years.

The conference also included the participation of children. Several groups of children from different regions in Bulgaria prepared presentations in which they set out their recommendations for businesses, media and society as a whole. Businesses were invited to invest more in lasting change for children, the media was asked to reflect more closely the true nature of what it means to be a child deprived of parental care, while society as a whole was called on to realise that children at risk are not different than all other children and they must be supported rather than stigmatised.

The presentation of Dr Maria Herczog, President of Eurochild, was dedicated to the right of children to grow up in a family environment, as guaranteed by the laws and policies of the UN and the EU. Dr Herczog noted with pain that there are still millions of children around the world who grow up in institutions, with a large number of these institutions not even subject to state control or falling under legal regulations. Against this background, she stressed the need for the right of children to a family to serve as the basis of all government policies in this area. Dr Herczog presented Eurochild’s Opening Doors for Europe's Children campaign, which is dedicated to the transition from institutional to community-based care and is being conducted in 12 European countries, including Bulgaria.

Dr Julie Belanger, Research Leader at RAND Europe, spoke about the European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC), which was established in 2013 after the adoption of the European Commission’s Recommendation “Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage”, with the aim of supporting Member States in the implementation of the recommendation. The other keynote speaker of the conference was Prof. CB Bhattacharya, Professor of Marketing, Pietro Ferrero Chair in Sustainability and Founding Director of the Center for Sustainable Business at the European School of Management and Technology. Professor Bhattacharya is a world renown expert in corporate social responsibility and sustainable development and in his presentation he set out the global trends in corporate social responsibility and the key factors for its successful implementation.

Angelos Sanopoulos, an expert with over 16 years experience in EU-funded programs and the monitoring and evaluation of EU Structural Funds, presented a study on the costs and benefits of different forms of care for children at risk. The results presented show that foster care has the best cost-benefit ratio as compared to all other forms of care, while institutional care has a significantly worse ratio. There are more than 2,200 children in Bulgaria who are living in foster families, which represents a significant growth – in 2010 there were only around 100 children.

The key messages and highlights from the conference and the other events that took place as part of the For Our Children Foundation project will be summarised and presented in the handbook "Children's Rights Are Our Concern", the publication of which is forthcoming.

 

 

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news-1190 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Eurochild recommendations to the Dutch EU Presidency http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-recommendations-to-the-dutch-eu-presidency/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=2d3d86e7d5fff247504c04f3f556a1a8 The recommendations highlight how the Dutch Presidency can guide EU member states in the implementation of the Investing in Children recommendation. The Latvian and Luxembourg EU Presidencies have also been assessed on this occasion. Eurochild released its recommendations to the Dutch government which has taken over the presidency of the Council of the EU for the next six months until July 2016. The recommendations highlight how the Dutch Presidency can guide EU member states in the implementation of the European Commission Investing in Children recommendation, use the European Fund for Strategic Investment to invest in early years and make children visible in the European Semester process.

Read the recommendations here.

 

Scoring the EU Presidencies

Eurochild assesses the performance of EU Presidencies over their six-months tenure based on four criteria:

 

  • The extent to which they listened to, and involved children and young people themselves;
  • Their vision and leadership for a strong children’s rights strategy at EU level;
  • Their support for stronger action and cooperation at EU level to fight child poverty;
  • The extent to which children’s interests are reflected in the broad Presidency programme.

On this occasion, Eurochild has released its scorecard assessing the performance of the previous two EU Presidencies, Latvia and Luxembourg, from a child rights perspective.

 

You can find the scorecards here

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news-1189 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Meet our new Participation and Network Development Officer http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/meet-our-new-participation-and-network-development-officer/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=c66b5a82029bfdbd1475d67e3e0c6cfe Nicolas will be responsible for embedding children and young people’s participation in the work of Eurochild, and improving our engagement with our network of members. Nicolas Meslaoui has more than 6 years’ experience in increasing child and youth participation and strengthening networks. He has experience of facilitating capacity building workshops, mentoring child and youth groups in transnational settings. Most recently, he was working for the Global Partnership for Children and Youth in Peacebuilding in Colombia. He speaks several languages – English, French, Spanish, Dutch, some Arabic and is Belgian!

 We are delighted to have Nicolas joining us for this very novel role that will be divided into two: embedding children and young people’s participation in the work of Eurochild, and improving our engagement with our network of members.

 Overall, he will support child and youth participation in this year’s Eurochild Conference and the CATS conference and support the development of policies on child protection for the conference and more broadly, for Eurochild. In the area of network development, he will take over the members’ database and support the Members’ day (at the General Assembly) preparation and thinking around the processes needed for better engagement of members in the Eurochild network. 

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news-1183 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Universal Education Foundation launches first issue of online magazine http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/universal-education-foundation-launches-first-issue-of-online-magazine/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b63c71d516494d0c3a42eb21451d8f21 The Learning for Well-being Magazine will illustrate and explore the principles and practices underpinning Learning for Well-being.

Aimed at professionals working in different sectors, interested academics and researchers, international experts and government officials, and many others, the purpose is to: 

  • enliven and deepen the understanding of L4WB through demonstrating projects and other initiatives which illustrate the principles
  • share and discuss related research
  • engage in critical reflection on policy implications
  • contribute to tools for professionals’ development 

Each issue of the magazine will centre on a different theme. Authors from a range of different sectors and from different countries will be invited to contribute, so that differing perspectives are represented.

This first issue takes as its theme 'Measuring What Matters', one of the principles of Learning for Well-being, because ensuring the conditions for feedback is essential for the well-being and sustainability of any system, including the systems that are individual human beings.

 

Click here to read the magazine.

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news-1181 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Solidarité Laïque interviews Human Rights Defender Genevieve Avenard http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/solidarite-laique-interviews-human-rights-defender-genevieve-avenard/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=944efcc78fb3579859b6e3e4be511207 Ahead of the UNCRC meeting in Geneva where France presented its report, Solidarite spoke with Human Rights Defender Genevieve Avenard While France presented its report on the implementation of the International Convention on Children's Rights at the United Nations in Geneva on 13-14 January, Solidarite Laique had an exclusive interview with the Human Rights Defender Genevieve Avenard.

Read the interview here (in French)

 

Website of Solidarite Laique

 

 

 

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news-1179 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Members share their moment of pride! http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/members-share-their-moment-of-pride/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=dfd52e9549fba8020c24b2f94293a819 At the end of 2015 we presented 15 moments we were most proud of. We asked our members to share their own moments with us. Here are some moments in which our members take pride!

 

Pauline Leeson, Children in Northern Ireland

One of the foundations of our daily work at CiNI is working in partnership to achieve our vision. We were so proud when the Children’s Services Co-operation Bill received Royal Ascent on 9 December 2015.

Read more here.

 

Society "Our Children" OPATIJA (Croatia):

On 10 December, Human Rights Day, the Society ‘Our Children’ Opatija was bestowed with a prestigious World Award in the category “Leadership in Civil Society” from Child and Youth Finance International at the House of Lords in London. 

Read more here.

 

Pien KlieverikDefence for Children International (Netherlands):

Through our legal Children's Rights Helpdesk, children who were living in institutions, got to return to their families or live in foster care. The best interest of the child was the primary concern.

 

Maud StiernetLa Porte Ouverte (Belgium): 

Our best moment was our yearly encounter with foster families: listening moments, sharing strategies. Read more about Maud's work here

 

Danijela ŽagarOmbudsman for Children (Croatia):

Participation of the Network of Young Advisors to the Croatian Ombudsman for Children in the project ENYA 2015 LET'S TALK YOUNG, LET'S TALK ABOUT VIOLENCE! which was led by European Network of Ombudspersons  and supported  by the European Commission.

Read more here. 


In December, representatives from all the Örebro county's municipalities and the voluntary sector took part in a Conference ‘’Why should we offer parenting support during the child's entire childhood?”

 

Kyriaki Patsianta, Network for Children’s Rights (Greece):

"Network for children's rights" received the “Models of Excellence” award on November 2015. The award was handed out by the President of the Hellenic Republic.

 

 

  • Do you wish to share a moment of pride? Members are invited to send their submissions here 
  • Check out our 15 moments from 2015 here 
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news-1178 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Eurochild Calendar 2016 http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-calendar-2016/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=fdefd1c07e905937ebc0e22c2c92b8bb Our 2016 calendar is packed with lots of events aimed to develop great practices and policies around children’s rights! Get ready for the bi-annual Conference taking place in Brussels this year with a focus on children’s participation; elections for a new Management Board take place at the General Assembly; our yearly CATS conference returns to the Swiss Alps; and we have a number of member-led events across Europe!

 

  Save the dates and keep an eye on our website & your inbox during the year for more details!

 

  • 1-3 March - Presentation of Opening Doors Phase II, Committee of the Regions Brussels

 

Upcoming member led events (provisional agenda):

  • “Translating international and European commitments on child poverty to reality at the national level”, (working title) Dublin -  Before June, Children’s Rights Alliance 

 

More info on the Member led events will appear here.

For Eurochild events click here.

Eurochild Twitter

Eurochild Facebook

 

Subscribe here for our monthly newsletter (scroll down!).

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news-1177 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Investing in Europe’s children – Excerpts from an interview on the Dutch EU Presidency http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/investing-in-europes-children-excerpts-from-an-interview-on-the-dutch-eu-presidency/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b2d49f0d0159bc01aeee12bde76b999f The Dutch magazine ‘Right!’, which is produced by our member Defence for Children International-Netherlands, interviewed Eurochild Secretary General Jana Hainsworth on the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which begins on 1 January 2016. Here are some excerpts:

Excerpts from the interview, translated from Dutch:

The Dutch Presidency and children’s rights

“Children are not an isolated issue, but an aspect of policy in many areas, like gender policy or the rights of people with disabilities. Therefore it is difficult for advocacy groups that work with these types of issues to make their subject a priority policy at the European Commission. In the field of children's rights, nevertheless a lot of work has been done that serves as a guideline, for instance when it comes to the prevention of violence against children, child-friendly justice systems or youth participation. Netherlands, as future president, thinks, just like the European Commission, that Europe must work with what they already have, rather than proposing new strategies. They want to narrow the agenda and focus on the essentials. Since the Netherlands takes the principle of subsidiarity very seriously -the principle that Europe does not do things that Member States themselves can do - I think children could fall outside the scope of Europe. Having said that, we should take into account that for example poverty reduction is one of the sub-priorities during the presidency of the Netherlands."

Refugee children

"It will not be easy to have a great impact in a period of six months, but the president can have an impact on the tone and the way specific topics are addressed. With regard to this, I hope that the Netherlands wants to be our ally in protecting children's rights and prioritising the interest of the child. We would like to see that the Netherlands, as President, stresses that any minor refugee who enters Europe is a child with the same rights as any other child, it is first a child, and then a refugee. We must ensure that refugee children are cared for properly and that they have the opportunity to build a good life, if we don’t do that the consequences for the European Union are incalculable."

Exchange of ideas or making policy

The Dutch Presidency sees a limited role for itself to reach agreement on reducing poverty, but this makes their goals also accessible. In that sense there is an extra opportunity during this presidency to put child poverty on the agenda of the European Commission and of all Member States. Also, it gives a chance to highlight how important it is to put children at the centre in European and national policies on poverty reduction. As I have said this is about the exchange of good examples. To this end, over the next six months the Dutch government can make use of the help of Eurochild and other Dutch social organisations. Setting up structural activities to enable Member States to share experiences with regard to fighting poverty among children, would be a first positive step.

Read the full interview (in Dutch) here

 

Background: 

Eurochild produces a set of recommendations at the start of each EU Presidency, followed by an assessment of their performance based on four criteria: 

  • The extent to which they listened to, and involved children and young people themselves
  • Their vision and leadership for a strong children’s rights strategy at EU level
  • Their support for stronger action and cooperation at EU level to fight child poverty
  • The extent to which children’s interests are reflected in the broad Presidency programme.

Our recommendations to the Dutch presidency are forthcoming. 

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news-1167 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 EU Semester Alliance issued its joint position on Country-Specific Recommendations 2015 http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eu-semester-alliance-issued-its-joint-position-on-country-specific-recommendations-2015/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=08f3be1cf65d3313acbefbeee9af5dae Eurochild is part of the Semester Alliance. The EU Semester Alliance addressed 7 key messages on the political substance of the CSR process to Heads of State and EU officials

Ahead of the EU Council endorsement of the 2015 Country-Specific Recommendations, the EU Semester Alliance addressed 7 key messages on the political substance and the democratic governance of the CSR process to Heads of State and top EU officials.

In their response, the European Commission, the European Council and the European Parliament reiterated their commitment to strengthening civil dialogue and promoting inclusive and sustainable growth. Will this engagement be enough to change social realities on the ground for the better?

The EU has so far failed in implementing its legal obligations – as enshrined in the Treaties and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights – to ensure people’s right to live in dignity. The pressure on public budgets through the European Semester is increasing the risk of human rights violations for many population groups.

Refocusing the Semester through a limited number of CSRs to only cover key priority issues is detrimental to the development of policies that will address the persistent social inequalities within and among Member States.

There is still much room for improvement in the key areas addressed by the EU Semester Alliance’s original letter, as indicated by the street light approach in this publication:

1.Social and sustainable macro-economic policies

2.Adequate social protection to fight poverty and social exclusion

3.Quality Employment

4.Promoting Inclusive Education

5.Promoting Gender Equality

6.Investing in resource efficiency and tackling climate change

7.Participative Governance

Open the Semester Alliance joint position on CSRs 2015 here

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news-1168 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Central Union for Child Welfare Finland reflects on Galway School and Family and Parenting support http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/central-union-for-child-welfare-finland-reflects-on-galway-school-and-family-and-parenting-support/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=3ab1eed469f219ac9c64f059a63c9e84 What do you take back home – was the question that we had to reflect over at the end of the 3 days seminar “Child Rights in Practice and Research’ – Realising children’s rights through empowering parents and families” in Galway. Hereby, we would like to share few essential points and hopefully spark a debate

The seminar was intense and the question of child’s rights was discussed from the perspectives of policymaking, research and practice. The participants were invited from all over Europe but the majority was representing the Eastern Europe.

Back to basics

Many Eastern European and former Soviet Union countries are in the process of developing their social and welfare reforms. Most of these counties are implementing the de-institutionalization reform, which aims to remarkably reduce the amount of children’s home institutions in their countries. Without a doubt, this is a good direction. On the other hand, we should be able to ask ourselves, can all of the children be placed into the foster families and is it always in their best interest?

During the seminar a broad spectrum of different types of parenting support and evaluation programs were presented. The discussion, that is what we were told, had been heard before. The idea of randomized controlled trials is in the focus. Some are not so enthusiastic about it, but still, it dominates. There are more than possible chances, in which we end up having dogs wagged by their tails. On our way back we even speculated that after 200 RCTs, 600 000€ each, we will end up concluding that a child needs love. That, however, we knew from the beginning.

Professor Andy Bilson’s research showed the negative impact of the out-of-home care on the future of children. Andy’s contribution was a piece of unpleasant truth for anyone who thinks that we only need some adjustments. Especially one of his slides, the one we called the wet blanket one, concluded the outcomes of out-of-home care in a remarkable manner. The basic idea is, that out-of-home placement always has detrimental outcomes. This, of course does not necessarily mean that it is always a bad choice in individual decision making.

Bilson’s contribution pushed us to suggest that instead of developing more of complex evaluation programs we should be putting more effort into strengthening the basic structures of welfare state. These structures, such as basic social welfare system can provide a solid platform for the implementation of the evidence-based programs that can be enrolled into the system. Not the other way around.

In Finland we have an ongoing process of developing Family centers. In Galway we realized that we have gathered information for Family centers about our services, support and activities only on individual family level and group level (peer, therapeutic etc.) but not so much on community level. Lynn MacDonald from the University of Middlesex (London) gave us a presentation about Families and schools together -program (FAST) that brings parents, children, teachers and the wider community together. It is important not only to develop basic structures and evidence-based programs but also support social capital between families and strengthen civil society. And that developing should be based on participation of all stakeholders, NGO’s and especially children and families.

 

Julia Kuokkanen, Special Advisor

Ulla Lindqvist, Program Manager

Petri Paju, Researcher

 

Click here to go to the blog 

Website of Central Union for Child Welfare Finland

 

Read more about Galway School 2015, co-organised by Eurochild

Presentations from the speakers are available here

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news-1166 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 ‘Residence Jeunes du Monde’ wins award ‘Trophée Directions 2015’ http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/residence-jeunes-du-monde-wins-award-trophee-directions-2015/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=fc8bbef790da0ffc014fbc874892379e Residences Jeunes du monde’ is a deinstitutionalisation project created by ADAEAR, a French association working with adolescents

The project on deinstitutionalisation ‘Residence Jeunes du monde’, created in 2014 by M.E.C.S (Maison d’enfants a caractere social) – Association pour les Droits et l'Accompagnement de l'Enfant à l'Adulte en Rhône-Alpes, or, ADAEAR, is the 2015 winner of the Trophée Directions. ‘Residences Jeunes du Monde’ welcomes adolescents between age 16-25 years who come from different backgrounds and countries and are invited to discuss and share experiences on the issue of social mobility.  The objective of ‘Residences Jeunes du Monde’ is to prepare children and adolescents for adult life and enhance their social competences. 11 projects were nominated out of 100 national projects.

Dans notre contexte politique, la question de la mobilité et du vivre ensemble parait incontournable’, says Director of ADEAER Frédéric WEBER. (In the political context we are living in, the issue of social mobility seems inevitable). 

Read the article here (in French).

Watch the video

M.E.C.S LA MAISON – ADAEAR: The ADAEAR (Association pour les Droits et l'Accompagnement de l'Enfant à l'Adulte en Rhône-Alpes) association ensures the care and management of children's Homes. Its purpose today is to contribute to the care of children with disabilities, including the creation and management of facilities and services. The M.E.C.S. La Maison has a special focus on participatory approach by developing and promoting non-formal education. ADAEAR is a candidate member of Eurochild.

   

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news-1165 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Is Europe doing enough to invest in children? http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/is-europe-doing-enough-to-invest-in-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=fa80517e8a1c390279e580a658df7732 Eurochild releases 2015 Report on the European Semester

In its latest report, Eurochild looks at how the European Semester can deliver better for children. In a situation where more than one child in four is growing up in poverty and social exclusion, Europe needs urgently to prioritise efforts to ensure all children have equal opportunities.

Eurochild’s report brings together the assessments of 25 contributors from 23 EU Member States.  They looked at the extent to which the European Commission ‘Recommendation on Investing in Children: Breaking the cycle of disad¬vantage’ (2013) has been implemented in their country and whether the European Semester process is helping or hindering the achievement of positive outcomes for children.

The key message of this report is that Member States need to prioritise investment – of both national and EU resources – in children, in line with national integrated strategies for tackling child poverty and promoting children’s well-being. If efforts are fragmented, piecemeal or not backed up by adequate funding they will be insufficient and ineffective.

Despite the EU policy guidance in place since 2013 in the form of a Recommendation and despite its clear links to EU policy monitoring and funding, there is little evidence of any improvement in the situation of children in Europe. Coherent child-focused strategies are still missing in many Member States, and when such strategies have been put in place, full implementation and financial backing is weak. 

The Semester is supposed to help deliver economic progress in a way that supports social inclusion and environmental sustainability” said Jana Hainsworth, Eurochild Secretary General. “Investing in children is the best way to achieve long-term social and economic goals. Our members offer suggestions for Country Specific Recommendations in 2016 which can better guide Member States in their reforms and public spending plans.”

The report documents political commitments and measures taken to tackle child poverty and promote child well-being across the EU since the adoption of the Investing in Children Recommendation. This overview is contrasted with an assessment of the 2015 National Reform Programmes and the 2015 Country Specific Recommendations.  Eurochild members then offer alternative CSRs based on their knowledge and expertise on what needs to be prioritized to improve the lives of disadvantaged children in their countries.

Finally the report assesses stakeholder engagement in the Semester process and in the monitoring of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) and explores how to make better use of EU funding opportunities to stimulate investment in children including the ESIF and the new European Fund for Strategic Investment.

 

NOTE TO EDITOR:

 

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news-1162 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 What are we proud of this year? 15 moments from 2015 http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/what-are-we-proud-of-this-year-15-moments-from-2015/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=306b9d0b40379f2bcf1d3cd7d635e748 15 moments from 2015 that we are proud of!

Putting children’s rights and well-being at the heart of policy making

1.The first European Parliament resolution specifically on child poverty since 2008, is adopted showing the clear support of the European Parliament for the need for action! 10 days later, the Written Declaration on Investing in Children, which seeks national targets on child poverty is adopted with overwhelming support – garnering 428 signatures, making it the most signed Written Declaration since 2011. We supported the gathering of signatures along with the EU Alliance for Investing in Children. 

2.Eurochild breaks silos by showing how the EU’s Investment Plan can influence children’s lives in a positive way and offer potential for innovation, development and growth! We produced a paper on Child centred Investment Strategy and shared it in key meetings with EU Commissioners Navracsics (Education and Training) and Katainen (Investment). 

3.For the first time, a UN resolution focuses on the importance of investing in children. The UN Human Rights Council, earlier this year, called for support for children to be cared for by their own families and communities, recognising the importance economic and social returns of such investments. This reflects the contribution of our campaign on ‘Opening Doors of Europe’s Children’

4.17 National Partner Networks, that represent the voice of children’s rights sector in their countries, spoke to Slovak Ministers earlier this year to demand focus on children’s rights during Slovak Presidency of the EU in 2016.

5.We made sure children don’t get lost amidst the Greek financial crisis! We co-funded a study on situation of children in alternative care and raised a Call to Action to the Greek government at a seminar in Athens, to prevent deprioritising children’s protection under the Troika deal. The study’s recommendations were supported by the Greek Ombudsman for Children and the Ministry for Labour has setup a working group to address reforms in child protection system.

 

Building a community of professionals that integrate children’s rights into their work

6.In Galway earlier this month, we, along with UNESCO Child and Family Centres and Council of Europe, brought together 16 national delegations of practitioners, policy makers & researchers to discuss inspiring practices of responses to the needs of families and parents. 

7.We offered technical knowledge on conditional cash transfers, early childcare services and child poverty to three peer reviews hosted by Hungary, Czech Republic & Belgium. These peer reviews are aimed to help EU countries learn from each other on key issues relevant for children. 

8.Several academic articles published on work undertaken by Eurochild including in high-ranking International Journal on the issues of children’s participation and decision making. 

9.Euronews produced a show debunking myths around child poverty and offering perspectives of children and experts! 

Giving a voice to children and young people

10. 15 children and young people travelled to the European Parliament and received a commitment from Members of the European Parliament that children’s participation will be discussed at the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights.

11. Our Children’s advisory board started actively contributing to the design of the Eurochild Conference 2016 which is now under the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen of the Belgians!

12. Teaching advocacy to children and young people in the middle of the Alps! This year, Eurochild sponsored the participation of 5 children’s delegations, supported the preparation and promotion of the event, and held a week-long workshop on advocacy for children’s rights at CATS (Children as Actors in Transforming Society), a unique international initiative that hosts an annual meeting of children in Switzerland.

 

Developing the Eurochild network

13. Oak Foundation has offered Eurochild a new grant to strengthen our work on children’s and young people’s participation and membership engagement! 

14. Membership of Eurochild expands to 190 members in 33 countries! 

15. We prepared our work plan for 2016 in consultation with a detailed survey and consultation with our membership! 

 

Click here to see the moments of pride that our members shared!

 

 

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news-1211 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Celebrating Human Rights Day: Editorial from our December Newsletter http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/celebrating-human-rights-day-editorial-from-our-december-newsletter/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=3d0b8ab2a4db7db46cfbb826b9df9e97 Our eNews Bulletin from 10 December 2015!

Today is Human Rights Day! And it’s a special one as we celebrate the support of the European Parliament on the issue of child poverty. The Written Declaration on Investing in Children has been victorious! With 428 signatures, it is the most signed Declaration since 2011!   “The voice of the European Parliament is loud and clear”, said Eurochild Secretary General Jana Hainsworth.

To make sure the signatures translate into real protection of children living in or at risk of poverty, we will hold an event in early 2016 to build on this momentum and remind the European Commission and EU Member States of the need for national targets. 

I am also delighted to share news of our flagship conference. I invite you to save the date for our next Eurochild Conference on 5-7 July 2016 ‘Children’s Rights Matter: Why Europe needs to invest in children’, organised with our Belgian co- hosts Kind en Gezin and Office de la Naissance et de l’Enfance, under the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen of the Belgians! The conference will focus on children’s participation before, during and after the conference!

Before we rush into 2016, we managed to reflect on this year. So, I leave you with 15 moments from 2015 that fill us with pride!

As this is the last eNews Bulletin of the year, on behalf of the entire Eurochild network, I wish you a peaceful and joyous break! See you in January!

Prerna Humpal, Head of Communications, Eurochild

 

Click here to read the eNews Bulletin

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news-1161 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Galway School - Family and parenting support central to pursuit of realizing children’s rights http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/galway-school-family-and-parenting-support-central-to-pursuit-of-realizing-childrens-rights/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=99ef0ebef1a4e83d031a38656e206041 Key issues & lessons from the discussions at Galway School 2015 on family & parenting support

Eurochild, in cooperation with Unesco Chairs Global Network, Council of Europe and Unicef Office of Research, organized the first edition of the Galway School "Child Rights in Practice and Research: Realising children’s rights through empowering parents and families’, hosted by the Unesco Child and Family Research Centre on 1-4 December.

Eurochild sees family and parenting support as central to the pursuit of realizing children’s rights and promoting well-being across Europe. The event was attended by over 70 participants including policy makers, ‘policy literate’ practitioners & researchers, and provided an excellent opportunity to debate important questions around the best interest of the child, building an economic case for child centred family and parenting support, integrated transfers and services for better child outcomes, evaluation methods and use of evaluations for advocacy purposes.

The presentations and video material are now available on our website (in the Policy Library), while the conference proceedings will be published in September 2016. You might also wish to read Eurochild’s reflections on the Galway School & follow the discussions on twitter #Galwayschool2015

Some of the key issues & lessons which emerged during the discussions:

  • Core emphasis on prevention & need to focus resources toward prevention & early intervention.
  • Human engagement and practice wisdom & the need to encourage reflective practice.
  • Systems developing and cycles of developing systems (what comes first? Policies? Practice? Evidence?).
  • Co-production - parents and children need to be engaged from the very beginning. Importance of the ‘value context’ for government. Not enough to bring the economic case alone – important for politicians and professionals to know the value and economic contexts.
  • Need for moral imperative considering child welfare; system in child welfare systems are alarming.
  • Working within the communities - there are no problems that are not better solved with the inclusion of community.
  • Local ownership of development is infinitely better than that dictated from the outside.
  • Need to integrate community and local based solutions to national and international policy.
  • Economic case is important, but nonetheless only a piece of the argument. 
  • How can attitudes and convictions about children, childhood and the family can be changes to achieve greater public commitment to children?
  • Need for supportive actions rather than intrusive policies and interventions.
  • Efficient parenting interventions have to be part of a wider family support framework within a multifaceted approach that promotes child rights.
  • Need to adapt responses to unique cultural, political, and environmental contexts.
  • Need for interagency coordination and collaboration for dynamic responses to existing and emergent needs.
  • Evaluation can be likened to a good photograph, but also need to remember it is not the actual wedding. Evaluations not sufficient – need to look at research on bigger picture so get to know the context of the photograph! 
  • Need to move away from stereotypical view of evaluations, and this discussion of alternative approaches to capturing this realistic photograph needs to take place at high level i.e. circles of influence in the world of evaluation.
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news-1159 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 ‘You cannot promote foster care without promoting qualitative foster care’, Maud Stiernet http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/you-cannot-promote-foster-care-without-promoting-qualitative-foster-care-maud-stiernet/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=de5308f0da04e06072861b82b7a9b5eb In this interview Maud Stiernet speaks of her work as Chair of the Belgian NGO La Porte Ouverte. La Porte Ouverte is a full member of Eurochild since April 2015 and is based in Battice, Belgium (Wallonia)
 
Maud, what is your role in La Porte Ouverte? Can you describe briefly what you do? 

We are an NGO that brings members together who are all foster families. I communicate La Porte Ouverte’s message, advocate and bring the different ideas from the members together to improve foster care. Our members are very diverse, they represent society very well. We work with foster families from all kind of backgrounds. For example, kinship families, single foster parents, really any kind of family situation is represented. It is very interesting to work with them and to gather these different opinions.


You yourself are a Foster mother. How does that influence your outlook on your work?

Yes, that’s true. Combining personal life and advocacy is not always easy. I am a foster mother and at some point I decided I did not only want to witness what was happening in alternative care but do something. I then started volunteering for La Porte Ouverte and tried to see how I could align the professional and the personal without mixing them, but the two reinforcing each other. I have to bring an authentic message across, but when I speak for a group of people I cannot speak only from my emotions. It is easy to communicate messages when they are true to you, on the other hand you need to represent all the members.


This year a 3 years old foster child in Wallonia was supposed to be taken away from the foster parents and placed in an institution. After a decision from the judge the child eventually could live in a family again. Can you tell me a bit more about the decision?

Yes, the child was placed with a foster family again. This is of course not an isolated case of ‘reinstitutionalization’. If placement services want the child to go back to an institution, we have to see if and how we can empower foster parents. The particular case with the child was a short-term placement, and the foster family said that if there was no other alternative for the child they wanted to become long-term foster parents. Placement services still wanted the child to go to an institution, saying short-term foster parents could not become long - term, so then La Porte Ouverte assisted the family through research, lots of reading and finding the right people the foster family could receive advice from. Eventually, the family wrote a well-motivated letter to the judge and in the end the judge agreed to leave the child with his foster family. 

 

What are the difficulties with such types of cases?

In the majority of the cases the child goes back to the biological parents. Sometimes, if the situation hasn’t improved then the child ends up in an institution again. The problem is that in this process, the former foster parents are not even contacted, nor informed. That is a pity because after some months, or even years they still can feel very involved. Of what I know, many of these foster parents would have liked to have been informed as they might have taken the child into family care again. These kind of situations in which for example the family cannot go easily from short term to long-term care, or circle situations in which the child goes from foster family to biological family to institutions are very sad, as it ‘loses’ the child in a way.

 

What is the biggest challenge for La Porte Ouverte in carrying out its work?  

Especially in French speaking countries in Europe there is the problem of, what you can call, ‘ballotage’; the child doesn’t have a fixed place.  Authorities do not always strive for permanency. Foster families need to be well informed to be able to tell the judge what they think.  This also implies that they need to have the time and energy to go to court.  70% of foster families in Wallonia-Brussels are kinship families: relatives, neighbours or people the child already knows. These families sometimes come from the same socio-economic index as where the child came from and also need some guidance themselves. For half of the foster families in Wallonia there is no accompaniment or support. Normally, for a foster family there should be a follow-up by a placement service. Here families receive the regular social assistance, but no help from social workers or people who have been specifically trained in foster care and who have experience working with and ‘in between’ two families. 

A challenge eventually is also the lack of political will. We cannot do without changes in legislation. We can base ourselves on international and European legislations, but these are not always well-known in our own country. I think this is the trickiest part of the work. Legislation in Brussels is different from the Walloon one. In terms of youth help and even in terms of juridical recourse. Imagine when you have to help a foster brother and sister living in two different regions and you try to explain why it takes months for one child to get permission for a school trip, where the other got it in one week. I do not gain anything if I cannot get different groups together around the child. At a Wallonia-Brussels (regional) level, Youth Help legislation should include quality standards for foster families and foster youth regarding support, training and participation. At a Federal level, Belgium is preparing a legal basis for foster families so that their co-parenting role can be recognized and that the child in care can live a normal life and benefit from decisions regarding school or medical treatments.

 

*image taken from traditioninaction.org

 
Who are the stakeholders for you to target when advocating for foster care?

At the moment I am asking the academic world in Wallonia to address foster care and include foster families into studies on ‘regular’ family issues.  I would like them to develop studies on the topic of attachment and something which remains understudied probably in whole Europe: siblings in foster care. I refer here to the relation between biological children of the foster family and the foster children on the long run.  These relationships have a great impact on their lives. In academia the institutional world is analysed, but foster care is often studied apart, not in an interdisciplinary and plural way, or does not focus enough on a specific aspect of foster care, such as attachment. 

 

In Wallonia there are many children in need of a foster parents but there aren’t enough foster families.  How do you promote foster care? 

This is quite ambiguous in Wallonia-Brussels. Foster care is being promoted through campaigns but at the same time institutionalisation continues. It is very nice to promote foster care, but you cannot promote foster care without promoting qualitative foster care. You cannot recruit new families and not support nor train them. Now there is a focus on prevention and helping children and families in their own environment, this is very important, and we support this. We want to put the family forward. The institution should be the last option. Yet, when is said that there are not enough foster families, then we should look for the reasons; there is no parental leave for all foster parents, it requires a lot of administration and foster families do not have enough rights. If you want to support families and foster families, you need to promote deinstitutionalisation in terms of the interest of the child and not just as a cost-saving measure.

 

With regard to your work, how do you see the role of networks like Eurochild? Do they help La Porte Ouverte - and in what way?

The final objective for us is the interest of the child. But to put that into words, it is good to have theories and policies to base ourselves on. Eurochild not only provides us with theory but also concrete practices on how to deal with certain aspects. For example, how to make children participate and how to translate the voice of the child in practical terms. It gives us both a theoretical framework and examples on how this was implemented in other countries. We are a small NGO, so we don’t always have the time and the resources to participate in everything. But what I appreciate is that you communicate a lot in ‘second instance’, so if we are not available to attend somewhere, you often provide the possibility to follow seminars via web streaming so we can still benefit from it. 

 
When is foster care a success? I read you speak of the child ‘integrating the story’.  

We say that foster care is often a success when the child ‘integrates his story’. Of course the child will always question the situation and have difficult moments, but he should feel he is allowed to ‘play’ with the situation: the situation does not always need to be so ‘loaded’ for foster children. It is important he can draw, write about it, whatever the child likes, and make his own story. This ‘narrative process’ is key. It provides a structure and enables the child be an actor by creating his own story and that is really beautiful to see.

                                                                                                                                                 

What are your hopes or dreams for the future?

I hope that families will be put first. But one should not forget that there are children who do not have or live in a family. Ultimately, I hope it will become easier for a foster child to be a foster child. I would even say, I hope that a foster child will be able to be proud of being a foster child. That having a foster family can be seen as a strength or that it is ok to have two families. In this way, the child can consider the foster family maybe like an added value instead of a handicap.  I think that even worse than judgment of foster children is determinism. It is good to protect a vulnerable child, but at the same time he or she is also very often seen as a victim or a troubled child. Foster children should not suffer from this kind of discrimination. Make them feel proud instead of stigmatizing them.

 

 

                                  

                                                   Drawings by foster children, provided by Maud Stiernet

 

 

 

Click here to go to the website of La Porte Ouverte.

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news-1156 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 A portrait of poverty: Europe’s women & children – Euronews, Real Economy http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/a-portrait-of-poverty-europes-women-children-euronews-real-economy/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=4e4921451040b754fb8e00c1402e5967 Interview with Eurochild Secretary General Jana Hainsworth with Euronews! Eurochild Secretary General Jana Hainsworth was interviewed for Real Economy, a show about macroeconomic issues and their impact on people for Euronews.

Watch the full show and interview, available in 13 languages here.

 

 

 

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news-1163 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 European Anti-Bullying Network - 2nd International Conference http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/european-anti-bullying-network-2nd-international-conference/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=5925af2de50bf3eb857e0bc0d4e1ae56 ‘Placing Bullying as a Priority in the European Agenda’

The 2nd International Conference of the European Anti-bullying Network was held at the heart of EU institutions, the premises of the European Parliament in Brussels, under the aegis of Greek MEP Miltiadis Kyrkos (S&D Group) and with the participation of Greek and other Members of the European Parliament, as well as representatives of international, European and national organizations active in the field of children’s rights.

Agata D’Addato attended the conference on behalf of Eurochild. The Smile of the Child, Greek member of Eurochild, holds the presidency of the European Anti-bullying network. 

In some EU countries, ‘45% of boys and 35% of girls in school are victims of bullying’, said MEP from Malta Miriam Dalli. According to data from Beat Bullying – a UK organisation - 34% of adults consider bullying as a normal aspect of child's development. 

Key messages conveyed at the conference: 

  • When we talk about bullying we tend to over-emphasize vulnerability & protection of victims, as opposed to taking a systemic approach which would seek to address tolerance of bullying behavior, and instead build a caring culture, which puts children at the centre and creates an environment where children flourish.  
  • A strong link needs to be made between addressing bullying in schools and addressing bullying in the wider society. The work to prevent bullying is inextricably linked with fostering well-being and inclusion. 
  • Bullying must be tackled through prevention. We should be strengthening the education focus on life-skills & well-being and b) ensuring social policies include Family & Parenting Support.

Click here to read the full press release by The Smile of The Child.

If you want to know more about Eurochild’s work on Family & Parenting Support read more here. 

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news-1153 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 European Parliament echoes “invest in children"! http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/european-parliament-echoes-invest-in-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=c7db7ad7ceee0d5b1d0c32767534f30c In a historic move this week, the majority of Members of the European Parliament signed a declaration promoting investing in children

Final updateWith 428 signatures, the Written Declaration on Investing in Children is the most signed declaration since 2011. 

In a historic move this week, the majority of Members of the European Parliament signed a declaration promoting investing in children. The Written Declaration, designed to raise political awareness towards the European Commission and the Member States, calls for social and macroeconomic policies to protect children and their families as a political priority, especially those living in poverty. 

More than one child in four is at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the European Union. Poverty experienced during childhood often has life-long consequences and is then passed from one generation to the next. 

The voice of the European Parliament is loud and clear: we need to invest in the children of today. Organisations working to end child poverty and promote child well-being across Europe are encouraged by the support MEPs are giving to this cause. We now look to the Member States and the Commission to make progress on the content of this initiative” said Jana Hainsworth, Eurochild Secretary General.

Among others, the Written Declaration calls on the European Commission to introduce specific indicators on children at risk of poverty; and urges EU Member States to use EU funding to implement the Commission Recommendation Investing in Children: Breaking the cycle of disadvantage. This will be relevant also in light of the new Sustainable Development Goals, urging all Member States to reduce at least by half the proportion of children living in poverty by 2030.

Commitment of the European Parliament to end child poverty and break the cycle of disadvantage is at its peak this year. The recent resolution on reducing inequalities with a special focus on child poverty and this Written Declaration shows MEPs are loyal to their constituents in promoting issues that concern 28% of the EU’s child population: poverty and social exclusion. 

We, MEPs want child poverty to be given the political attention it deserves. We must make investing in children a priority if we want Europe to prosper” said MEP López Istúriz-White, the first co-signer of the initiative. “In my country, Spain, economic recovery is starting to take off, and this should positively impact on the fight against child poverty. A robust economic recovery has to be inclusive, that is why it is crucial to give equal opportunities to all children.” 

The EU Alliance for Investing in Children wishes to acknowledge those 414 MEPs who gave their name to this initiative and especially those 11 MEPs who launched it 3 months ago. 

The proposals for action in the Declaration are aimed both at the EU and its Member States. With the support of the Parliament, the time is right to translate the commitments into concrete results for children.

 

NOTES TO THE EDITOR 

The EU Alliance for Investing in Children, brings together European networks which share a commitment to end child poverty and to promote child well-being across Europe and support the full implementation of the European Commission Recommendation “Investing in Children – Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage”. 

Partners of the EU Alliance for Investing in Children include:

Alliance for Childhood; ATD Quart Monde; Caritas-Europa; COFACE – Confederation of Family Organisations in the European Union; Don Bosco International; Dynamo International – Street Workers Network; EAPN – European Anti-Poverty 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; Eurochild; 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; Save the Children EU Office; SOS Children’s Villages International; UNICEF EU Office.

The Written Declaration on Investing in Children was launched by MEPs Antonio López-Istúriz White, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Caterina Chinnici, Jean Lambert, Julie Ward, Gabriele Zimmer, Mairead Mcguinness, Jana Žitňanská, Filiz Hyusmenova, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Nathalie Griesbeck, on 7 September 2015. 

To find latest number of signatories of the Written Declaration on Investing in Children please consult the European Parliament’s website.

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news-1144 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Include and Empower - Press release on Children in Scotland’s Conference http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/include-and-empower-press-release-on-children-in-scotlands-conference/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=40a568d7cd268e4e24573d832ff2d177 Children in Scotland, in partnership with Eurochild, organised a conference on 3-4 Dec ‘Include and Empower’ on the rights and wellbeing of disabled children

A headteacher’s promise that every pupil will succeed can do more to raise attainment than standardised testing, according to a leading education expert.

Speaking at Include & Empower, an international conference in Edinburgh on improving the rights and wellbeing of disabled children, Professor Julie Allan will describe how this, combined with a commitment to inclusive education, has led a Swedish municipality to move from the bottom to the top of national league tables in three years.

Barriers to succeeding at school are individual to each and every child”, says Professor Allan, Head of the School of Education at the University of Birmingham and Visiting Professor at the University of Borås in Sweden. “The pressure of standardised testing can lead both teachers and parents to identify ‘problems’ with individual children, which are not necessarily there. This can lead to more children being labeled as having additional support needs.

“By contrast, a headteacher promising pupils, parents and the wider community that every child in their care will succeed shifts the focus from making sure children are able to pass a particular test to making sure they succeed in a much more holistic way.

This is what happened in Essunga, Sweden, where a primary school headteacher made a very bold, public promise to pupils, parents and the wider community in 2007 that every child in his care would succeed at school. He and staff repeated this promise to pupils on a daily basis. Simultaneously he introduced inclusive education measures such as removing special classes, redistributing specialist teachers into mainstream classes, making sure pupils felt they could ask for help, giving teachers more time to study, discuss and plan, and ensuring they were precise about what each child needed to do to achieve the goals for their lessons.

Professor Allan has been involved in a research project that will follow the pupils' progress until they are 20 years old. Now at upper secondary school, they have described their primary school teachers as “nagging” but said it motivated them and “penetrated their consciousness with messages about the importance of working and making an extra effort to succeed in reaching personal goals”.

By 2010 the municipality's exam results put them at the top of Sweden's league tables.

Sweden has a history of commitment to democratic and inclusive values, but some believe the concept is being challenged by the increasing emphasis on early testing and basic skills.” said Professor Allan. “Essunga shows the success that can be achieved through real commitment to inclusive education. My research has been focusing on how the pupils in Essunga have experienced this success and they show real commitment to achieving personal goals and helping each other succeed.”

Earlier this year, First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced plans to reintroduce national standardised assessment in primaries one, four, and seven and in S3. Children in Scotland has voiced its concern that a renewed focus on performance comparison will lead to “unhelpful” league tables, and will not be in the best interests of the child.

Look here for more information on the conference Include & Empower. 

Website of Children in Scotland

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news-1151 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Galway School: Policy, practice & research meets Family and Parenting support needs http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/galway-school-policy-practice-research-meets-family-and-parenting-support-needs/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=e800be312bd13d3baea5ba1c2a5c3467 The Galway School brought together some 70 researchers, practitioners and policy makers from 16 European countries to discuss how to realise the rights of children through empowering parents and families

We explored concepts and shared practices, recognising the enormous value of learning from other countries and cultures and from the different perspectives of academia, policy and practice.

As an event dedicated to the realisation of children's rights, the situation of 100,000s of children arriving in Europe from war torn countries was never far from participants minds.

Both in transit and receiving countries the pressure on care and support systems is huge. Protecting the best interest of the child, including reconnecting and supporting families, remains our ultimate compass. Participants recognised the importance of reconnecting with our common humanity and taking action as individual citizens.

Participants also wanted to urge our political leaders to respond proactively and compassionately by investing in infrastructure and support for families, communities,  professionals and volunteers.

Access all the presentations by experts at the Galway School here

Discover discussions on Twitter #GalwaySchool2015

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news-1149 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Closing the Door on St. Patrick’s Institution is a Welcome Move for Children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/closing-the-door-on-st-patricks-institution-is-a-welcome-move-for-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=2644db7c95a4287b95be1ccc2299cc1a The Children’s Rights Alliance has warmly welcomed the publication of the Prisons Bill 2015 by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald T.D. This Bill allows for the complete and long overdue closure of St Patrick’s Institution

Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, says: “Up to now, St. Patrick’s Institution has represented one of the most serious children’s rights breaches in Ireland. Young people aged 16 and 17 years have been routinely imprisoned within the facility, which is effectively an adult prison. The Institution has also been heavily and repeatedly criticised over the years by a slew of independent inspection reports for its failure to protect children’s rights.

Delivering on one of the most important Programme for Government commitments, we are delighted that the Bill will repeal all court powers of detention at the Institution and allow it to be completely closed by Ministerial order. 

Closing St. Patrick’s is not a politically popular move but it is definitely the right thing to do for children. We commend the Government and Minister Fitzgerald for their commitment to progressing this important Bill.

It is now vital that every effort is made to ensure that the National Children Detention Facility for those in the youth justice system embeds children’s rights principles into all elements of its operation and regime.”

 

Click here to go to the website of Children's Rights Alliance. 

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news-1146 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Children and climate change: Solidarité Laïque wants to give children a voice during COP21 http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/children-and-climate-change-solidarite-laique-wants-to-give-children-a-voice-during-cop21/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=94047effd0f82efa46396df3ee5ae8e1 Solidarité Laïque wants to be the spokesperson for children and give them a voice on the issues that affect them at the COP21. The children will meet Minister Laurence Rossignol and present them their manifest for climate change.

"Explain the world to children is good. Listen to what they have to say is better!" Solidarité Laïque wants to give them a voice on issues that affect them. “Ahead of  the climate conference in Paris, COP21, we went to meet them in schools, holiday and leisure centers to raise awareness of global warming and their rights, says Florine Pruchon , project manager at Solidarité Laïque. These workshops provide them tools to think about the climate. "As the International Convention on Children's Rights recommends, the next step is to consider their demands and proposals"

Eurochild co-organised a workshop in Paris this October in which the children participated. Watch the video here!

Go to the website of Solidarité Laïque to read this information in French.

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news-1145 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Child to Child: Include children with disabilities http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/child-to-child-include-children-with-disabilities/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=9afdfec05c23bc95d92d0f3285ffaadf On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Child to Child reflects on the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which have vowed to "leave no one behind"

Tricia Young, Director of Child to Child:

It is crucial now that children are meaningfully involved supporting the development of the national frameworks that will guide local implementation of the Goals and holding those responsible for their implementation to account.

Children must be involved in all of these various processes. This includes children with disabilities who, as we know, are some of the most vulnerable children in the world. They must be recognised as partners if we are to realise the ambitions set forth in the Goals. They must be listened to and taken seriously if we are to create a better world for all by 2030.

I am proud to say that since March 2013, Child to Child approaches have been used in Northern Uganda to promote the inclusion of children with disabilities. We have been working in partnership with AbleChild Africa and the Ugandan Society for Disabled Children on an initiative funded by UK Aid. 

This project has significantly increased the numbers of children with disabilities enrolling in school (a 68% increase in the first year). It has also facilitated their inclusion within the wider school community by 'buddying' children and young people with disabilities together with those without disabilities. They have made new friends, in some cases for the first time. This is obviously transformative - who can imagine being a child without friends to play with? These new friends are supporting them in their learning, helping them going to school, and most importantly treating them equally, with respect and dignity. As a result there is a significant increase in the acceptance of people with disabilities within the wider community - a change spearheaded by children themselves. This is, once again, an amazing example of children working together to change their lives.

Website of Child to Child

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news-1152 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 The EU Semester Alliance held its first stakeholder dialogue meeting http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/the-eu-semester-alliance-held-its-first-stakeholder-dialogue-meeting/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b51850b391d9cc9c40dfe74980ec2cba Dialogue meeting with key representatives from the European Commission and the Council of Ministers

The EU Semester Alliance held its first stakeholder dialogue meeting with key representatives from the European Commission and the Council of Ministers engaged in the Semester process. This first roundtable exchange discussed the latest developments and changes in the 2016 European Semester, in the light of the 5 Presidents Report, including a first reaction to the new Annual Growth Survey based on the Alliance’s joint letter to President Juncker,  set within the broader context of how to progress on a more democratic, social and sustainable Europe.

The aim was to start a regular dialogue between representatives of the 16 member organizations of the Alliance (see below) and key officials in the EU institutions on key concerns related to the European Semester.

A key concern for the Alliance is how to increase the opportunities for civil society and trade unions to engage with and influence the Semester, at national and EU levels. The meeting was well-attended and warmly welcomed by all participants. Operating under Chattam House rules, the format enabled a direct exchange of information and views between the Alliance members and the Institutions on, the opportunities and threats posed by new EU initiatives, and discussion on  what more could be done to  make progress. The Alliance intends to continue the model of exchange with other key representatives in 2016.

This first roundtable meeting was hosted by Green Budget Europe.

The EU representatives were Michele Calandrino, Policy Officer from Directorate D, Policy Coordination 1: Europe 2020, European Semester and Economic Governance, in DG Secretariat General  and Muriel Rabau, SPC member for Belgium and Vice Chair of the SPC Bureau.

For further info please contact Réka Tunyogi.

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news-1148 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Training helps – Outcomes of Expert group meeting on deinstitutionalisation http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/training-helps-outcomes-of-expert-group-meeting-on-deinstitutionalisation/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=990c851ef78183bf38db22ce5b117068 Training on deinstitutionalisation: European Expert Group and European Commission exchange views

On November 27th the European Expert Group on deinstitutionalisation met with Commission officials to exchange information and views on the state of play of deinstitutionalisation processes across Europe. EC and ngo representatives discussed the concluding observations, and followup by the Commission, of the UNCRPD committee's first review of the EU; the Group presented the links between poverty and risk of (re-)institutionalisation before exchanging information on particular countries that was obtained from local organisations.

The meeting also demonstrated that the October trainings of EC desk officers, had been effective and helpful - as the Polish desk communicated that the training had enabled them to deny ESIF funding for a project intended to build "small group homes" which were, in essence, institutions in disguise.

 

Read more here about the training of EU Commission Staff on deinstitutionalisation in October 2015.

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news-1133 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Statement by Children in Scotland on UK Government’s Spending Review http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/statement-by-children-in-scotland-on-uk-governments-spending-review/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=2f7b53c08e1917d72683397876ff040a Reverse on cuts to tax credits welcome but not all it seems, charity warns

Following George Osborne’s announcement in today’s spending review that plans to cut tax credit cuts have been abandoned, Children in Scotland Chief Executive Jackie Brock said: 

In Scotland, 360,000 families rely on tax credits to boost their income. Removing this vital lifeline would have been a devastating blow. We welcome the reversal of the proposed cuts, and are glad that the UK Government has seen sense on this issue.

However, this is not an end to the cuts – simply a postponement. Thousands of low income and vulnerable families who will qualify for Universal Credit stand to lose out when the new system is applied across the UK in 2018.”

Commenting on the Chancellor’s claim that child poverty has reduced, Ms Brock said:

Child poverty across the country has marginally reduced, but figures consistently tell us that one child in five in Scotland is living in poverty. This is one too many. We must work together to tackle this shameful inequality and urge politicians both north and south of the border to ensure that children and families remain a top priority.

 

Click here to go to the website of Children in Scotland. 

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news-1132 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Child poverty: European Parliament adopts long overdue resolution http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/child-poverty-european-parliament-adopts-long-overdue-resolution/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=595244b3d967e1c567857e1f26fab36e Eurochild welcomes the adoption of the European Parliament Resolution 'Reducing inequalities with a special focus on child poverty', the first resolution specifically on child poverty since 2008. Eurochild welcomes the adoption of the European Parliament Resolution Reducing inequalities with a special focus on child poverty by rapporteur Inês Cristina Zuber. The resolution, adopted today by large majority is the formal endorsement of the 2013 European Commission Recommendation Investing in Children: Breaking the cycle of disadvantage. This is the first EP resolution specifically on child poverty since 2008. 

“This resolution has been long overdue but is even more welcome now” – said Jana Hainsworth, Eurochild Secretary General. “Since the crisis we have experienced a drastic increase in child poverty levels across Europe. This is unacceptable. Those 26 million children who face the risk of poverty and social exclusion on a daily basis need to be heard by EU decision-makers.”

The resolution calls for a roadmap to help EU Member States implement the Commission Recommendation. It recommends establishing EU and national (sub-) targets for reducing child poverty and developing indicators to measure children’s well-being. The resolution urges Member States to make use of EU tools such as the Europe 2020 and the European Structural and Investment Funds.

“Ending child poverty requires resources. All existing funds and policies must work together to guarantee all children, equal access to quality health, education, care so that they can reach their fullest potential”, says Ms Hainsworth.

“The resolution is a reflection of the European-wide need to put children at the heart of policy-making. It echoes the messages of the Written Declaration on Investing in Children, which already has the support of one third of all MEPs”, added Ms Hainsworth. 

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news-1125 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 With Children, For Children: Demonstrating Participatory Practices at the EU http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/with-children-for-children-demonstrating-participatory-practices-at-the-eu/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=6b09e2107dbf444c5c4618cce9c8fefa Children demand dialogue with EU officials and better processes for participation

On 18 and 19 November Eurochild, together with its members Universal Education Foundation (UEF) and European Child Rights Unit, and Julie Ward MEP welcomed children from across Europe (Italy, Moldova, Kosovo, Bulgaria, France, Lithuania, the UK and Ireland) to Brussels to talk with Members of the European Parliament and European Commission officials about their involvement in decision-making processes. 

The children started on Wednesday afternoon with a workshop at the European Parliament, where they shared experiences of their involvement in CATS (Children as Actors for Transforming Society), in research, in Investing in Children schemes in the UK and in a project against violence in Italy. Children and adults exchanged experiences on children’s participation in small groups. They also shared obstacles that prevent the meaningful participation of children and gathered ideas on how decisions made at European level affecting children and young people can be improved.

 

Children’s reflections:

 Children are not perceived as a priority for the European Parliament, since not many MEPs turned up. Children felt that they were talking amongst themselves.

  • Children and young people would like to have more of a dialogue with MEPs and adults in general: “we need more interaction of children with adults”. They raised the question how this could be realised.
  • More funding and support is needed to enable their participation at European level.  
  • Several children raised the idea to set up a European children’s council or parliament, where children from national children’s councils and parliaments would be united and consulted on European issues. 

On Thursday morning, the children had breakfast with six European Commission officials from DG Justice, DG Education and Culture and DG Employment and Social Affairs. The key outcomes from the workshop at the European Parliament were presented, followed by informal roundtable conversations, where Commission officials talked about their work and how it affects children. The children shared their participatory experiences with the officials. They said that building mutual trust in public service provision such as schools and health care institutes between children and adults needs to be a stepping stone for recognising children as equal rights holders.

 

EU Commitments:

 Anna-Maria Corazza Bildt MEP and co-chair of the parliamentary intergroup on children’s rights said that the intergroup would place children’s participation on its agenda. She also suggested that children and young people use social media to contact MEPs.

  • Martine Reicherts, Director-General of DG Education and Culture, raised the importance of involving children and young people more especially given their interest in politics and decision-making. 

Representatives of the Commission from various fields echoed children’s rights to be heard on matters that affect their lives. One of the DG Justice officials commented that the exchange with children made her realise that the European Commission cannot only consult with expert stakeholders before legislation is made and while this is monitored, but should also consult with children when legislation is affecting them. In future she would add children to her list to be consulted. 

Throughout the meetings children were interviewed and filmed by the Kids Correspondent Tako Rietveld. A video will be released later today to show the children’s experiences over the two days.

Have a look at all the photos here and watch the video of the event!

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news-1118 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 All children in Serbia are equal - but some are more equal than the others http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/all-children-in-serbia-are-equal-but-some-are-more-equal-than-the-others/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=3ecfd391b7a5aae097f7a86b153c6204 Network of Organisations for Children of Serbia (MODS) statement regarding Universal Children's Day

On the Universal Children’s day, Network of Organizations for the Children of Serbia (MODS) regrettably reminds that there are many children in Serbia who are unable to exercise their rights. Some of these rights, according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, are – the right to live, the right to have the name, the right to live with their parents, the right to express their opinions, the right to be healthy, to receive the medical treatments and rehabilitation, to get the education, to be able to play, rest, the right to be protected from economic exploitation, to be protected from all forms of the physical or mental abuse...  Unfortunately, the available data show that many of children’s rights are endangered, or not available to every child. In other words, all children in Serbia are equal, but some are more equal than the others. 

The children who are being raised in poverty are less likely to have the same level of education as the children from wealthier families. Also, they are more likely to have smaller salaries than wealthier children later in life, and this difference grows bigger and bigger with time. The poverty risk rate of children in the Republic of Serbia is substantially higher in comparison to 28 members of European Union in 2012. (30% in comparison to 20,8%).

It is estimated that 6.041 children is separated from their parents. 15% of those children are placed in residential institutions. However, there is a trend of increased number of children which are taken from their biological families who are using the services of residential placement. In 2013, 1.202 children were taken from their biological families. 435 children were taken due to the severe neglect and abuse. The analysis shows that only in 15% of cases there was a long-term support to the family prior to displacement of the child and that in 19% of cases, no measures to strengthen the family were taken. There is also not enough support to the young people who leave the residential institutions and foster homes, which are the temporary measures of child care.  

Family support services have been unjustly neglected in the course of the Social welfare reform. It is very important that these services become the priority in the further development of Social welfare, in order to provide further support to the deinstitutionalization of these services and to the right of a child to live in a family.  

The reality is that the public kindergartens are mostly attended by children (3-5 years) from the wealthiest families (82%), while the number of children from the low-income families is very small (8,6%), and extremely small in case of Roma population children (5,5%). There are two very important strategic documents in Serbia which will expire in 2015 – National plan of action for children, in which the general strategy regarding children was defined for the period 2005.-2015, and the National strategy for the prevention and protection of children from violence 2008-2015.

 

Therefore, we invite the Government of Republic of Serbia and the ministries in charge, to plan and implement the measures in such a way that:

 

  • all children in Serbia exercise their rights under equal conditions,
  • the resources for children are put to better use,
  • the funds allocated for children are adequate and that they ensure that all children live in a family and their community, 
  • the procedures for obtaining the child allowance are simplified, that the right to child benefit is extended and increased for the amount of the purchase of textbooks and school supplies,
  • the coordination of all the systems involved in the protection of children’s rights is improved,
  • the children are finally given a priority at the state and local levels without any discrimination

 

Website of MODS

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news-1137 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Inclusion Europe Seminar: supporting people with intellectual disabilities to live independently http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/inclusion-europe-seminar-supporting-people-with-intellectual-disabilities-to-live-independently/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=ddddf85c28611a3601bf8a10beb8458c The importance of inclusion of disabled people in the community and the need for active participation in the decision making about their lives On 19 November Eurochild attended a policy seminar organised by Inclusion Europe at the European Parliament. The Seminar focused on Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) and particularly on the involvement of the community in supporting people with intellectual disabilities to live independently. Speakers included Jan Jarab, Regional Representative for Europe of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, representatives from the Disability Unit in the European Commission, as well as heads of European-level Disability NGOs, project partners and self-advocates. 

Across the EU, persons with all kind of disabilities are still living in institutions and it was highlighted that, despite the changes in regulations, ESI funds are still used for maintenance of institutions. Member States need to invest their money in community based services and not in the reform of institutional care. In accordance with the UNCRPD’s “social” view on disability, a key message of the seminar was that it is the environment that needs to change and not the people. 

Examples of person-centred planning from a large number of countries were presented. Self-advocates that have spent most of their lives in institutional care shared their experiences from both institutional and community living. They emphasised the importance of inclusion of disabled people in the community and the need for active participation in the decision making about their lives.    

Hosting MEP Richard Howitt stated that EU money should be spent to enable and stimulate  independent living and that the concept of independent living needs to become a European concept.  Annelisa Cottone from the European Commission announced that a public consultation on the EU Disability Strategy will be launched before the end of the year.

 

Click here to go the website of Inclusion Europe.

 

Read more about our work on deinstitutionalisation. 

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news-1117 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Eurochild president speaks at World Conference of the International Foster Care Organisation, Sydney http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-president-speaks-at-world-conference-of-the-international-foster-care-organisation-sydney/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=e70421165138d3df75259eebd3f6dfc2 Eurochild President Maria Herzog spoke at the World Conference in Sydney

At the World IFCO Conference ‘Tell Someone Who Cares’ experts from all over the world presented their views on foster care and child care, including Eurochild President Maria Herzog who spoke on the challenge of ending institutional care: ‘Achievements and challenges in De-institutionalisation programs globally with special focus on Europe’.  

To date, millions of children are deprived of family care worldwide, many of them living in institutions and orphanages which are often not regulated, licensed or supervised. Also in Europe, 500,000 children are living in institutions, separated from their families. Very few of these children are orphans. 

She highlighted the developments and achievements to end institutional care for children in Europe and mentioned the Campaign ‘Opening Doors for Europe’s Children’ which is led by Eurochild and Hope and Homes for Children (HHC) in partnership with organisations at national level to ensure that EU policy guidance and funding tools are used effectively to deliver the best outcomes for children and families.

The International Foster Care Organisation (IFCO) is an international network dedicated solely to the promotion and support of family based foster care across the world. They are a volunteer and member based organisations providing a multi-cultural platform for young people, foster carers, social workers, academics, researchers, volunteers, media, policy makers and others to network and share information on a global basis.

Read more about de-institutionalisation and children in alternative care here.

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news-1114 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Diary Notice for Press and Broadcast Media: 18 November 2015, European Parliament, Brussels http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/diary-notice-for-press-and-broadcast-media-18-november-2015-european-parliament-brussels/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b063b7497fcc155031246cf6c84e8edc Ahead of Universal Children’s Day which takes place on 20 November, 15 children and young people from 7 countries including France, Kosovo, Moldova, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania and the United Kingdom will arrive in Brussels for a two-day event on 18-19 November 2015.

The children aged 12-18 years, will meet EU officials and representatives at the European Parliament to speak about their participation in children’s rights research and cooperation with national and EU decision makers.

Where and When?

Accredited journalists and camera crews are invited to the European Parliament in the Library Reading Room from 17.30 -18.30hrs to interview children about their participation in forging strong democracies. 

On this occasion, there will be a launch of the publication The EU as a Children’s Rights Actor: Law, Policy and Structural Dimensions.

Children’s experiences of participation

The children and young people will share their experiences of participation in two unique experiences:

CATS: “Children as Actors for Transforming Society” is a programme promoting child participation worldwide. It gathers a vibrant international community in a yearly flagship conference, where children and adults come together to forge intergenerational partnerships for a more just, inclusive and sustainable society. CATS is recognized as an exemplar of good practice by constantly striving to involve children in the planning, implementation and evaluation of all components of its programme.

ESRC Seminar Series: A two year Seminar Series on the theme of “European Responses to Global Children’s Rights Issues: Exchanging Knowledge and Building Capacity” (Nov 2013 - July 2015). This series of six seminars stimulated critical discussion and interdisciplinary exchange relating to the role of the European institutions – notably the European Union and the Council of Europe - in shaping children’s rights.

 

Organisers: Eurochild in collaboration with UEF, ECRU (University of Liverpool) and hosted by MEP Julie Ward.

 

More info on the programme here

 

For interviews or more information, contact:

Prerna Humpal

Head of Communications, Eurochild

Office: +32 (0) 2 211 0553

Mobile : +32 (0) 486 355 083

Email: prerna.humpal(at)eurochild(dot)org

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news-1113 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 CATS features in publication of World Innovation Summit on Education http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/cats-features-in-publication-of-world-innovation-summit-on-education/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=f1bc025f05ee1eb6e90f93d284ac56ec CATS Conference featured as good practice in WISE report

The World Innovation Summit on Education started publishing a series on the world of education. One of the issues is dedicated to the relationship between Learning and Well-being, with a focus on school-aged children. CATS, a yearly conference that Eurochild co-funds and steers, is featured in the publication as good practice, on the basis of being anchored on children's agency and participation, as a foundation for both learning and well-being.

The understanding of well-being as an important goal for individuals and for communities has gained real traction in recent years. Yet the idea of “learning for well-being” is still only at the margins in schools the world over. Curricula for twenty-first century skills continues to focus primarily on the academic subjects and on transversal skills such as critical thinking and problem solving while programs that support well-being tend to be extra-curricular.

This report examines how to define, measure and foster learning for well-being in schools and through policies. It analyses six case studies of positive practices from different regions and identifies some of the common principles that can serve as a framework for innovators working in other contexts. It also develops recommendations to actively promote well-being at the level of international frameworks, national education policies and schools.

 

Read the report here.

Read about CATS 2015 conference here.

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news-1128 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Solidarité Laïque en deuil http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/solidarite-laique-en-deuil/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=40eee7d1a6a3d7ffe1a26faec788205f Read below the statement of our French member Solidarité Laïque

Solidarité Laïque tient, au nom de ses organisations membres et de ses adhérents, à exprimer sa profonde compassion et sa solidarité envers les familles des victimes des attentats perpétrés à Paris.

Ces actes odieux n’ont pour but que de dresser les Français les uns contre les autres et provoquer des réactions de repli identitaire et de violence envers certaines parties de la population.

Il faut, malgré tout, garder raison et ne pas tomber dans le piège de la haine qui ne ferait qu’aggraver la situation.Les auteurs de ces attentats sont des adversaires de la Démocratie et sont porteurs d’une démarche totalitaire qui veut atteindre les valeurs de liberté, d’égalité et de fraternité.

Solidarité Laïque, avec ses organisations membres et ses adhérents, appelle à l’unité de la communauté nationale dans toutes ses composantes à faire preuve de courage, de dignité pour renforcer la nécessaire cohésion que les circonstances appellent.

A l’initiative du Président de la République, le gouvernement, vient d’annoncer des mesures de sécurité d’urgence au plan national. Il faut également qu’il amplifie son action au plan international pour promouvoir les mesures qui permettront de bâtir un  monde de paix.

Dominique Thys, Président de Solidarité Laïque

 

Website Solidarité Laïque

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news-1105 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 A day with children, for children: Editorial from our November newsletter http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/a-day-with-children-for-children-editorial-from-our-november-newsletter/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=604d250e02f324a7ca9f35fcc6ef75f0 Read our eNews Bulletin from 9 November, featuring a new Member Spotlight!

Dear friends and colleagues, 

On the 20th of this month, we will mark Universal Children’s Day – a day to celebrate the UN convention that guarantees certain rights to all children. There are promising developments that we can celebrate this year – like the Sustainable Development Goals which give us crucial momentum to address challenges like increasing child poverty. We have joined a Global Coalition against Child Poverty to engage Europe in this fight.

But there is much more work to do. Engaging children and young people in decision-making is a real opportunity to build stronger societies with engaged citizens in the future. Yet we are far from building children’s active participation into our responses to the challenges they face. So, in advance of Children’s Day, we are co-organising a set of events where children will themselves show to EU officials at the European Parliament and the European Commission, how their participation in issues that affect their lives can bring about positive outcomes: With Children – For Children.

This week, the EU has the opportunity to protect the rights of children on the move and end the daily tragedy of children dying at sea. As European and African leaders meet in Malta this week, we are urging them, along with 58 other organisations, to take 10 steps so that children who have travelled far and in dangerous conditions can feel safe, protected, with their families and can exercise the rights guaranteed to them. We invite you to share the letter with your government!

Let’s make this day worth celebrating!

Warm wishes, 

Prerna Humpal, Head of Communications, Eurochild

Read the eNews Bulletin here!

 

Sign up for our Newsletter!

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news-1104 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 “Child participation is a way of thinking and in fact, not costly”, Norah Gibbons http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/child-participation-is-a-way-of-thinking-and-in-fact-not-costly-norah-gibbons/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=4c0529f85a3d89e5ab418536c1eedc4f Norah Gibbons, (Candidate) Honorary member of Eurochild and Chair of Ireland's Child and Family Agency, speaks of her work and the role the EU and children's rights organisations can play in child protection and promoting children's rights. “We can’t impose solutions- they must be tailored.”
 
1.Tell us about your background, what brought you into children’s rights sector, & your current role in Tusla (Child and Family Agency of Ireland)? 

I am a trained social worker with experience in statutory bodies in England and the NGO field in Ireland. As a social worker, I got involved in child protection. I worked in the placement and support of children in the care system in England. This is where I saw the loss of identity amongst children in care. This wasn’t understood at the time. As these children grew up, they didn’t fit in anywhere. They were unsure of their roots and identity. I recognized this need and wanted to link them back to this identity – to their roots, in name and in fact. 

“As a social worker, I got involved in child protection… As these children grew up, they didn’t fit in anywhere. They were unsure of their roots and identity.”

When I returned to Ireland, I worked for Barnardos, a large children’s rights charity. And after I retired, I was invited by the first Minister for Children to become the chair of Ireland’s first Child and Family Agency – Tusla, which was inaugurated on 1 January 2014. This new agency brought together 3 separate agencies and has a strategic plan focused on three areas – early intervention; child protection when family care is no longer an option and children’s attendance in education.

The Board of Tusla is responsible for developing a strategy for child welfare and protection in Ireland and overseeing the implementation of the strategy in conjunction with all our partners including the Irish Government. Tusla’s challenge is to deliver this plan in a cohesive way and offer seamless service to all children. 

 

2.The Irish government recently adopted its budget for 2016. Childcare provisions were a hot topic this year as always. Do you think children’s rights are given adequate attention in Ireland’s economic policy? If not, why not? If yes, how?

The period of severe austerity from 2008 hit children with increasing homelessness and poverty. The 2016 budget, adopted last month, is the first budget that has improved life chances for children. It does not solve all problems but it does improve things significantly, both directly through monetary allowances, and indirectly, through services. It is a significant start. Additionally, we now have a specific Minister for Children, a department and a national policy with an attached budget. Early years is a focus and paid paternal leave has been introduced. Quality of early years education and care is equally important. Funding to integrate children with disabilities into the early years programmes is very important.  

“We’re always hearing the need to do more with less. But at some point, we do also need more resources”

We’re always hearing the need to do more with less. But at some point, we do also need more resources and this budget gives a fresh impetus. Money is being put back into families. The children’s allowance is back up to 2008 levels and we are focusing on addressing food poverty through the school meals programme. The solution should be based on two approaches – more money for families and more and better services.

 
3.Child poverty is rising in Europe. In your view, how can we stem the tide of this growing problem? 

Child poverty isn’t just deprivation in the now it works against the participation of children in society. Parents have no means to allow their children to engage in society. Over time, it can disable the child as a citizen. 

In the EU we need to address it with a two-pronged approach – increased amount of money available to families and secondly, the services available locally for children. For services to work, we need data. The long term outcomes for children in poverty are negative whether you look at health, justice. Governments have to think long-term and in outcomes, rather than short term economics. In the long term, this will disadvantage society, increasing the costs of remedial services with poorer outcomes.

 

4.With your experience of working in both non-governmental & state-led bodies, what is the most effective way of collaboration between state bodies and civil society? 

NGOs are advocating to people who want the same results, but we need to find a win-win approach. NGOs have to be well-informed, work with specialists and offer workable solutions. Change is incremental; so setting out steps to get to a policy change is crucial. And as they say, don’t waste a good crisis!  You have to be alert to avoid reversals. Europe has slipped back in terms of addressing poverty. 

“Europe has slipped back in terms of addressing poverty.”

NGOs must call out problems when they see it; but they must also call out the steps and prepare to support the changes and look around the corners for new and emerging problems. For e.g. food poverty wasn’t discussed in Ireland in the past. Children may not have been starving but they were not getting the right food, which has now contributed to the problem of obesity. NGOs have rightly identified the need for school meals to ensure quality and nutritious food.

 

5.What role can the EU play in the area of child protection and children’s rights?

It can be difficult for citizens to connect to the EU; but the EU grouping of countries has the opportunity to highlight issues and share expertise, while honouring cultures of different countries. 

“We can’t impose solutions – they must be tailored”

We can’t impose solutions – they must be tailored. The EU has an important role to play in collection of data to see where countries stand in relative terms. It also has to show the way forward, knowing that all countries won’t work in the exact same way. It needs to uphold and promote the principles of non-discrimination and equality. We can’t dumb down those essential rights. And this allows the EU to put pressure on individual governments and offer help within the European family.

 

6.Ireland launched a national strategy on children’s and young people’s participation in decision making and has become a pioneer in Europe. How can this be expanded? (Read the national strategy here)

This national strategy is a real success story that shows what political will can bring about. Such a strategy should ideally open up opportunities to all children – whether they are from traveller community, a migrant or a refugee. 

“Child participation is a way of thinking and in fact, not costly.”

Child participation is a way of thinking and in fact, not costly. It means planning your activities and creating consultations that are child-friendly. Evidently, this takes time. And it can be instrumental in changing the way we respond to arguments which in fact can be detrimental to children’s rights. Take for example, the way children got engaged in debates on the same-sex marriage referendum in Ireland this year. Young people from same-sex families were speaking out, offering personal experiences to show the reality to people who held pre-conceived notions about it being detrimental to children. They saw that children had a real stake and were informed about their actual views.

 
7.How do you see the role of networks like Eurochild? 

Networks are extremely important as they represent broader voice of civil society. Their strength is in their ability to engage members’ voices and do things that individual organisations can’t on their own. For example, the Children’s Rights Alliance of Ireland (a national partner network of Eurochild) has been instrumental in gathering the opinions of network members for the alternative report of Ireland to the UN CRC Committee. 

“Eurochild’s role is to represent a balanced, courageous argument as an independent entity while working in partnership with EU institutions.”

Eurochild’s role is to represent a balanced, courageous argument as an independent entity while working in partnership with EU institutions. We should recognise the value of each network and no network should be an end in itself. Eurochild, as an advocacy network, has a long road ahead and it must stick to it in the face of pushbacks and support governments when they are implementing solutions. The flow of information is important for a network – it should transform knowledge to make it useful for its national stakeholders. Eurochild has potential to offer resources that can be helpful for members. It needs to appeal to more organisations and keep dialogues open. And maintaining independence is important, while not being aloof. 

Mutual interdependency is basic and it must continue to look for allies. And it should be able to challenge those who are inimical to children’s rights.

 

8.What’s been the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt through your work in this sector?

Listening to voices of people who have experienced the child protection services – that has been the most valuable lesson for me. 

I was appointed to the Committee to inquire into Child Abuse in Ireland and had the opportunity to speak to over 800 adults who as children were raised in institutional systems. It was a humbling experience. 

“Children have one childhood. You have to make it as good as you can during this childhood”

It brought home to me that children have one childhood. You have to make it as good as you can; if not, they pay for it for the rest of their lives. So, the right systems and the right people must be in place to make sure children’s lives aren’t blighted. 

We need to ask ourselves every day – what does a national policy do for children; who is it serving? Who does the budget serve? And who is it excluding?  So, child proofing our policies is one way. And these questions are for everyone in the child rights sector. If we want to contribute, we have to work together and not give up; never stay on the sidelines.

 

ENDS

Interview conducted 2 November 2015

Norah Gibbons will speak next month at the Galway School ‘Children’s Rights in Practice and Research’ on family and parenting support. More details available here.

 

HONORARY MEMBERS: Eurochild expressly invites accomplished individuals selected by the Management Board for their significant contributions towards children’s rights & well-being in the European context, awarding them with honorary membership to the network.

Owing to her significant contributions to the children’s right sector, Norah Gibbons has been invited to join the Eurochild network as an honorary member. Norah Gibbons is the third candidate honorary member, following former Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg and Professor Eugeen Verhellen.

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news-1102 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Eurochild to participate in EC Peer review on provision of quality early childcare services http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-to-participate-in-ec-peer-review-on-provision-of-quality-early-childcare-services/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=60e87581c57ae6c38286126ec1204157 Eurochild is invited to contribute to a peer review on quality early childcare services Eurochild is invited to contribute to a ‘peer review’ on quality early childcare services. Peer reviews allow one member state to offer what they consider to be good practices to other member states. The Czech Republic is hosting this peer review on 10-11 November 2015. Eurochild will be represented by Marion Mcleod from Children in Scotland, co-chair of Family and Parenting Support Thematic Working Group and active member of Early Years Education and Care Thematic Working Group. You can read the discussion paper developed by the thematic expert here. A comments paper from Eurochild is being finalised. 

Representatives from governments and stakeholders from different EU countries will debate on the Czech approach to early years policy and practice and compare it with their own national approaches to investing in quality early childcare services.

This is the third in a series of peer reviews organised by the European Commission on social protection and social inclusion that Eurochild has contributed to this year, first of which was in Brussels in January to review Belgium’s ‘Children First’ programme and the second in Budapest, Hungary last month on the theme of conditional cash transfers

 

Update: You can now read our comments paper here

Discover our policy library on Early years education and care here.

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news-1100 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Insights into EU social governance from Joint Conference by EESC and Luxembourg EU Presidency http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/insights-into-eu-social-governance-from-joint-conference-by-eesc-and-luxembourg-eu-presidency/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=945d78508674b6d1a3786685a2b95d35 Joitn conference to promote dialogue with stakeholders on key new inputs related to the EU’s Social Agenda

On 4 November in Luxemburg, the EESC and the ESC of Luxembourg held a joint conference on "Common social values and principles & social governance". The event's aim was to promote dialogue with stakeholders on key new inputs related to the EU’s Social Agenda: the EESC opinion on "Principles for effective and reliable welfare provision systems", an academic contribution on "Common social values in the EU" which was supported by the Luxembourg Presidency and the ESO study "Socializing the European Semester? Economic Governance and Social Policy Coordination in Europe 2020".

Apart from the 3 main papers by Fran Bennett for the Lux Presidency, Bart Vanhercke/OSE on socialising the semester and EESC opinion, there were useful updates and inputs from the European Commission, the SPC and EESC President.  

Main points:

- More information was given on the Commission social standards/social pillar - Social Triple A. The Commission said it will have 2 pillars - benchmarking and re-packaging employment rights (ie health and safety). The benchmarking package is likely to focus on minimum income, unemployment benefit, access to childcare services. The underlining frame is the Flexicurity Communication from 2008 - so no broad approach to social protection. The instruments are not clear yet, but likely to be monitored through the European Semester. Timing is also not clear. He said there could be indications in the AGS next week, but also with a Communication on Modernizing social protection due early in 2016. The upcoming Labour mobility package is also linked.

- The Semester is absolutely seen as the main tool and focus. The new changes in  the Semester process following the 5 Presidencies report, with the earlier publication of the country reports were seen to be the main focus. Both Bart Vanhercke from OSE and Nicholas Costello from the Commission said openly, that there was no excuse for MS not to engage stakeholders now. All referred to the need for guidelines and other measures.

- The EESC paper by Schluter is very useful in terms of principles on access to social protection, although issues were raised by participants about its lack of support for EU wide instruments, backing subsidiarity.

- The EESC President - Georgios Dassis - made a strong call for action, particularly on an EU minimum income scheme financed through the EU as the basis for social standards and a decent life.

Also see here.

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news-1098 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Eurochild asks for EU wide data collection on children with disabilities http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-asks-for-eu-wide-data-collection-on-children-with-disabilities/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=1ebd0a33bc932cb744f5025dfae41ba9 Meeting to discuss the follow up of the recommendations of the UN Committee on 26 Oct 2015

The Disability and Social Inclusion Unit of European Commission's DG Employment organised a meeting with NGOs to discuss the follow up of the recommendations of UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 26 October 2015. Opening Doors campaign coordinator Aagje Ieven attended the meeting for Eurochild alongside representatives of the two other organisations co-chairing the European Expert Group on Deinstitutionalisation, European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) and European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD), as well as the European Disability Forum, Mental Health Europe, Inclusion Europe, AGE, and several others.

The purpose of the meeting was to kick off a dialogue with civil society on the follow-up and was part of regular structured dialogue meetings with civil society launched recently by DG Employment, which will be followed by other meetings.  NGO representatives and EC desk officers discussed measures the EC could take to ensure respect for the rights of people with disabilities.

Aside from ensuring better followup of its commitment to deinstitutionalisation and the partnership principle in (monitoring) the disbursement of EU Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), Eurochild proposed better EU wide data collection on children with disabilities, and particularly those staying in institutions. 

- Read the recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities here.

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news-1094 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 What are you doing on 20 November, Universal Children’s Day? http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/what-are-you-doing-on-20-november-universal-childrens-day/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=f732cb5a70e4fb38d220a63ef3313289 The one thing all children have in common is their rights. Every child has the right to survive and thrive, to be educated, to be free from violence and abuse, to participate and to be heard - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 20 November is the Universal Children’s Day. On 14 December 1954, the General Assembly recommended that all countries institute a Universal Children's Day, to be observed as a day of worldwide fraternity and understanding between children. It recommended that the day was to be observed also as a day of activity devoted to promoting the ideals and objectives of the Charter and the welfare of the children of the world. The date 20 November, marks the day on which the Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989.

In advance of Universal Children’s Day 2015, Eurochild is co-organising a workshop ‘With Children- For Children’ on 18 November at the European Parliament followed by a meeting between children and EU officials on 19 November in Brussels. Concrete examples of participatory practice will be presented and shared by children. The events envisage for EU officials and MEPs to explore ways to respond to these experiences and take them forward in making proactive efforts of engaging children in decision-making, monitoring and evaluation within their daily work.

What are you doing on Universal Children’s Day? Let us know what activities you will be engaging in on the 20 November!  Send us an email!

 

Here is how some of our members will celebrate Children’s Day:

CYPRUS: Pancyprian Coordinating Committee for the Protection and Welfare of Children

National Children’s Week

The PCCPWC organises, since 1979, the National Children’s Week which this year will take place between 14 -22 November. This year the Committee scheduled the following events:

  • November 14/15 – Annual Conference: “Investing in Children – Public Services and the implementation of Children’s Rights”
  • November 20th: The Cyprus Children’s Parliament accompanied by a group of 50 children from all over the island, visit the President of the Republic and hand a Memorandum on steps to be taken towards the well-being of all children residing in Cyprus. This year’s Memorandum focuses specifically on migrant and refugee children as well as child poverty and exclusion.
  • November 21st: All 6 Cypriot MEPs are invited to a public event along with the Cyprus Children’s Parliament, the Commissioner on Children’s Rights and the media in order to sign the European Parliament Written Declaration on Investing in Children
  • November 24th: Annual Official Meeting of the Children’s Parliament in the Parliament building under the presidency of the President of the House of Representatives. Children Parliamentarians discuss their proposals in the presence of adult Parliamentarians and their reports are disseminated widely to MPs, Ministers and the Media.

 

CROATIA: Ombudsman for Children of the Republic of Croatia 

  • The central event aimed at marking the Universal Children’s Day will take place on 20 November 2015 in our office in Zagreb (premises of ‟Little House of Children's Rights“). Secondary school students of School of Fine Arts in Split created illustrations regarding the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which will be used to create 2016 Calendar of the Ombudsman for Children entitled “I know and I respect children’s rights”. The opening ceremony of exhibition of their art works will take place on 20 November 2015 in our office in Zagreb.
  • On the same day we will organize a meeting with children - members of our Network of Young Advisors (NYA). The final movie, a product of child/young people participatory project realised by ENOC with the support of the EC (ENYA 2015 “LET'S TALK YOUNG, LET'S TALK ABOUT VIOLENCE!”) will be presented to children along with the video messages from children produced on the occasion of an ENYA Forum that took place on 28-30 June 2015 in Athens.  
  • Also, we will organize a workshop with children which will result in creating a written document, referring to expectations of children from adults in cases of bullying, with focus on those forms of violence that are less visible – psychological bullying.

 

BULGARIA: National Network for Children

VOICE IT: Your Opinion Matters

Sofia, Bulgaria, National Palace of Culture, hall 8,  20 Nov 11.00-18.00

Our event will be youth-centered but opened for everyone! There will be lots of different sessions, discussions and methods of participation so that every child, teenager and adult enjoys their stay and learns a lot about his/her rights in a creative way!

The day begins with a press-conference and continues with our big opening which will introduce what is ahead for our participants for the day. Everyone will be able to see 6 videos, made by young people, supported by the NNC and to listen to 4 different presentations carried out by young people from the NNC’s youth network “Megaphone”. There will be 17 different stands on our event where the different organizations of the NNC will show their work. Throughout the day a team of young people will ask questions and photograph our event – they will also take interviews at our “Media corner”. There will be two workshops opened for all people who want to join - “Let’s get the rights out of the corner” and „Right of opinion: how, where?“. Actors from an open forum theatre will perform.

A discussion on the right of opinion and the different ways that you can exercise it in Bulgaria will take place. One of the two facilitators of the discussions will be a young person – member of the National Youth Council of Bulgaria. There will also be an adult corner which will again be co-facilitated by young people. The adult corner aims to raise awareness of the importance of Children and Youth Participation and to give space for the adults to discuss how and why they should promote it!

We are sending an open invitation for everyone interested in our event and in the Rights of the Child to join us on the 20th November, 2015, in Sofia, Bulgaria, at the National Palace of Culture, hall 8. We start at 11 o’clock and finish at 18.00!

 

 

 

 

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news-1093 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Childcare Alliance welcomes new group to take forward childcare reform in Scotland http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/childcare-alliance-welcomes-new-group-to-take-forward-childcare-reform-in-scotland/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=0e2e95f59b3f9e8a5ff7add4480c8ab0 Announcement of Minister for Children and Young People at CIS annual conference

Jackie Brock, chair of the Childcare Alliance and chief executive of Children in Scotland, has welcomed the creation of a new group set up to review Scotland’s childcare system. The new Early Learning and Childcare Strategic Forum was announced today by the Minister for Children and Young People, Aileen Campbell, at Children in Scotland’s annual conference. The announcement follows the publication, in June, of a series of recommendations from the Commission for Childcare Reform on how best childcare provision in Scotland could be organised, delivered and paid for. 

Ms Brock said: “We welcome this new group and look forward to reporting on the progress of the 51 recommendations that are in the Commission’s report, and which make up the group’s remit.

“Reforming childcare is a key route into supporting vulnerable children and their families and ensuring that profound inequalities are addressed. Maintaining the status quo is not an option.

“We look forward to more detailed proposals from the Scottish Government, and to the review of the early years workforce by Professor Iram Siraj.”

 

In June the Commission for Childcare Reform made a number of calls, including:

•Families should be able to access up to 50 hours of free or subsidised childcare a week throughout the year.

•The net cost to parents of childcare should be on a sliding scale that takes account of income to ensure affordability for all families, with priority given to smoothing cost burdens for all families and supporting those families who live in or near poverty.

•A child account should be established for each child, to provide a transparent route through which all money (public or private) that is used to pay for, or subsidise, childcare is channelled to providers. 

•The Scottish Government, working with the UK Government, local authorities and providers, should commission a fundamental review of all aspects of childcare funding.

 

Look here for more detailed information on the conference.

Children in Scotland’s annual conference 'Gamechangers: Transforming the Children's Sector' takes place on Wednesday 4 & Thursday 5 November at Celtic Park, Glasgow.

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news-1092 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 ENGSO Youth is looking for Young Delegates of Youth and Sport http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/engso-youth-is-looking-for-young-delegates-of-youth-and-sport/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=3797cb475e903eb18e0820af1397b051 Join ENGSO Youth today in 3 steps - Call for Young Delegates is open!

ENGSO Youth is looking for individuals with an interest in the field of youth and physical activity, to represent the organisation at conferences and meetings as well as to be the core consultants on youth and sport - using their expertise in relevant fields. 

If you believe you are the next ENGSO Youth Young Delegate, ready to represent, inspire and invest in developing youth in sports, #BeActive, make these 3 steps forward and apply. 

Deadline 5 December 2015.

Look for more information here & read our interview with ENGSO Youth!

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news-1095 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Children in Northern Ireland's Calls to Action help Children’s Bill become law http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/children-in-northern-irelands-calls-to-action-help-childrens-bill-become-law/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=8168451e2f9199538c719cced00e6420 “Children's services right is essential for the flourishing of society”, Steven Agnew In a first for the Green Party in Northern Ireland, Steven Agnews' MLA Children’s Bill was passed by the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Bill stems from the work of the All Party Group on Children and Young People and CiNI's Policy Calls to Action which was developed by the Policy Sub Group. 

 

I am overwhelmed at the support that the Children’s Bill has received,” Steven Agnew MLA said.

The Children’s Bill is just the fifth private member’s bill to be passed in the Northern Ireland Assembly and it has been my privilege, as the only Green MLA, to successfully bring the legislation forward.

The passing of the Children’s Bill shows just what local politicians can achieve when they work together.

I am proud that the Green Party has been to the fore in making a real and lasting difference to thousands of children across Northern Ireland.

I would like to thank everyone who has made the Children’s Bill a reality, from my colleagues across the political spectrum to the many children’s sector organisations which have been campaigning for better services for children for many years.”

 

The Children’s Bill has cross-party support in the Assembly and from OFMDFM, as well as the support of the children’s sector, including organisations such as NICCY, the Children’s Law Centre, CiNI and Start 360.

 

Read The Green Party's declaration here.

Website of Children in Northern Ireland. 

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news-1091 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Joint open letter to the EU Council: Ensure children’s rights in the EU’s migration policy http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/joint-open-letter-to-the-eu-council-ensure-childrens-rights-in-the-eus-migration-policy/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=fde7226cb056678f7b6037d5310691cc 10 actions points that the EU must implement to ensure children’s rights in migration policy

Significant numbers of children from third countries migrate to Europe, for a variety of reasons, travelling with their families, alone or separated from their family. Between January and August 2015 alone, 174,235 children sought asylum in the European Union, representing one in four asylum seekers.

Over the past few months, several European Council as well as Justice and Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs Council meetings have been convened to discuss and develop immediate responses and policies to address the recent increase in migrants and refugees arriving to Europe.

Eurochild, together with other leading organisations in the fields of human rights, child rights, health and social inclusion, including UNICEF, OHCHR and the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children, wrote an open letter to raise concerns over the lack of attention afforded to children’s rights in these policy discussions and developments. Children should be treated equal, regardless of their migratory status, nationality or background. Yet the current package of policies reinforces a very differentiated treatment of children. Child rights safeguards and impact assessment must therefore be integrated in all migration-related policy and practice.

 

Together, we call on the EU and its member states to implement the following ten actions:

 

1. Consider children’s rights and views, and guarantee their best interests when making decisions,including on immigration and asylum applications and in any decision to move a child or family to another country. The best interests of the child must never be outweighed by migration and border control concerns.

2. Meet immediate humanitarian and reception needs, while also investing in systemic reform toensure access to services in a sustainable way, and to facilitate integration.

3. Ensure that all children have non-discriminatory access to services, such as health care, including mental health, and education, and have adequate accommodation together with their family.

4. Ensure effective protection of all children from all forms of violence, abuse and exploitation anddiscrimination, including gender-based, and access to justice for acts of violence or other rights violations.

5. Ensure that no child is detained or subject to other punitive measures because of their or their parent’s residence or migration status.

6. Protect family unity when in the child’s best interests, including by ensuring that no child is separatedfrom a parent by immigration-related detention.

7. Provide adequate search and rescue and humanitarian assistance to prevent all avoidable deaths,whether at sea or on land.

8. Provide regular and safe ways for children and their families to come to Europe to seek protection

and join family members and open more rights-respecting avenues for work and study.

9. Ensure that all agreements with countries of origin and transit include child rights safeguards and pay particular attention to the needs and rights of children. Children and their families should not be returned to a country where there is a risk of human rights violation (non-refoulement).

10. Empower children to access justice, and have their views heard, including through providing information and access to legal representation in all proceedings that can affect their status, rights and freedoms.

 

Read the Joint open letter to the European Council here.

 

Members are invited to share this letter with their governments ahead of upcoming meetings at European level, in particular when discussing drivers for migration at the Valletta Summit on 11-12 November and the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 3-4 December.

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news-1090 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Workshop on Investing in Children by Solidarite Laique & Eurochild http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/workshop-on-investing-in-children-by-solidarite-laique-eurochild/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=79c3581735bdda2f892c3fc0ce607f24 With over one hundred people participating, the event in Paris, organised by Solidarite Laique & Eurochild, was a real success in building awareness

On 22 October, Solidarité Laïque, with the support of Eurochild, organised the workshop “Investing in children: building a society sensitive to children’s rights”. The event enabled participants including young people, civil society and public administration at many levels (EU, national, regional and local) to exchange views and practices on children’s rights in the attempt to see how EU policies and instruments can support projects in France. The workshop featured three main topics: poverty and decent living conditions, education, and children’s participation. 

The day began with an informative panel on the EU instruments to address poverty and promote the well-being of the child. Among other things, the panel discussed the Commission Recommendation “Investing in Children”, the work of the EU Alliance on Investing in Children and the recently published Implementation Handbook to turn the recommendations into reality for children. The French translation of the advocacy toolkit was also released on this occasion to enable civil society to get involved. Representatives from the European Commission (DG Employment and Social Affairs and Inclusion) and the Representation of the European Commission in France presented the European Semester process and the EU funds. 

Parallel to the workshop, activities for children were organised. In the morning, children took part in the workshop “Respecting my rights by acting for climate” and came up with concrete ideas on how to fight climate change. The awareness-raising on their rights undertaken in the previous weeks fed into a play where they could express their points of view.

Watch here the video produced by Eurochild in which children are interviewed on their views on addressing climate!

With over one hundred people participating, the event was a real success in building awareness around the ways in which children and adults can use policies and global debates to inform and empower themselves on the rights of the child. 

Read the European Commission Recommendation ‘Investing in Children

Read about the EU Alliance for Investing in Children

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news-1085 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Eurochild supports International day of Action for Trans Depathologisation http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-supports-international-day-of-action-for-trans-depathologisation/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=8560e1c9fc67e8b147714e4f1ce5b72e Transgender Europe calls on WHO & governments to ensure that gender variant children are not labelled as sick

On this International Day of Action for Trans Depathologisation, Transgender Europe calls on the World Health Organisation and governments to ensure that gender variant children are not labelled as sick. Eurochild offers its support to this statement. 

While TGEU welcomes that trans-related diagnoses will no longer be considered a mental health issue in the revised text of the International Classification of Diseases, we remain concerned over a proposed diagnosis targeting pre-puberty children who show gender non-conforming behaviour. Unlike the new adolescence/ adulthood diagnosis which enables access to necessary trans-related medical care, the category for pre-puberty children does not have proven clinical utility. 

The proposed diagnosis counters the Convention on the Rights of the Child that states “In all actions concerning children […] the best interest of the child shall be a primary consideration.” States must protect the child’s best interest in all its actions. When it comes to the best interests of a gender-variant child, primary consideration must be given to whether a suggested action or decision has the potential to harm these children. 

The European Parliament has also spoken against the diagnosis. In September 2015 (see the TGEU statement on Ferrara Report) it “call[ed] on the Commission to intensify efforts to prevent gender variance in childhood from becoming a new ICD diagnosis;”  The proposed diagnosis is medically not necessary, but exposes children to the label “sick” when exploring and developing their personalities. It might also be abused to justify harmful ‘reparative’ therapies subjected at children. The diagnosis is contested amongst medical specialists. Human Rights and medical experts have been pointing out the lack of research for its necessity. Gender variance, gender fluidity, gender creativity do not need fixing. Young, gender diverse children need supportive stigma-free environments to develop into confident young persons, not medical treatment. 

TGEU calls upon the WHO to seriously consider the alternative proposals made by GATE Civil Society Expert Working Group and to remove the proposed diagnosis. Governments and service providers must ensure that discrimination and hostile environments are addressed effectively while peer-support structures for children, parents and families that embrace and celebrate gender variance are top priority. 

ENDS

Transgender Europe is a European human rights NGO working for the human rights and equality of all trans people. More information here.

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news-1083 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 WHO Ministerial conference: Investing in children in the context of global Health 2020 programme http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/who-ministerial-conference-investing-in-children-in-the-context-of-global-health-2020-programme/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=2142777f5f8e92ba2207e877e34b26fc Minsk Declaration commits European governments to implement a life course approach to public policy and services that entails early, appropriate, timely, and collective actions

Eurochild joined European ministers and policy makers in Minsk for the WHO European Ministerial Conference on the Life-course Approach in the Context of Health 2020 on 21-22 October to discuss synergies between the Health 2020 programme and the Sustainable Development Goals. Family environment and early childhood development are at the heart of World Health Organisation Health 2020 programme.

 Zsuzsanna Jakab, the WHO Regional Director for Europe addressed the life-course approach in WHO global policy. Childhood is the key area of interest as this is the time for brain development and forming of preconditions for future life. The family environment and provision of supportive services for children and their parents are key factors to ensure the foundational investment in children. This will ensure the greater chances for children to realize their potential.

Professors Philippe Grandjean and Cyrus Cooper mentioned in their presentations the developmental risk factors in the early child development which leads to wide range of consequences in later life. So the focus on insuring the best environment for children under 3 years is crucial across all countries.

President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko mentioned that the family environment and complex support of families are one of key priorities of Belorussian Government. 

The draft Minsk declaration developed in the scope of the conference commits the governments of the European region to implement a life course approach to public policy and services that entails early, appropriate, timely, and collective actions.

Dmytro Chupryna from Hope and Homes for Children Ukraine participated in the WHO Conference on behalf of Eurochild and Opening Doors for Europe’s Children Campaign to discuss with cross sectorial colleagues and partners (IPPF EN, HBSC, UNICEF, IFMSA, EEHYC) and government ministries on the issues of better coordination in areas of child development, prevention of institutionalisation of children and furthering children’s rights advocacy.

 

Read a synopsis of statements made by delegates on day 1 of the WHO conference here.

Read the draft Minsk declaration in 4 languages (EN, DE, FR, RU) here.

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news-1081 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Kit de Plaidoyer: Investir dans L’enfance : briser le cercle vicieux de inegalité http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/kit-de-plaidoyer-investir-dans-lenfance-briser-le-cercle-vicieux-de-inegalite/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=bb27911a3bbabce4d541d27cfd1cbe7a Mise en ouevre effective de la Recommendation Europeene « Investir dans L’enfance : briser le cercle vicieux de inegalité

Ce kit de plaidoyer a été conçu par l'Alliance de l'Union Européenne « Investir dans les enfants » afin de promouvoir le travail effectué par les réseaux ainsi que les différentes organisations qui s’engagent à lutter contre la pauvreté des enfants et à améliorer leur condition, que ce soit au niveau national comme régional.

L’objectif de ce « kit de plaidoyer » est de soutenir les stratégies nationales de sensibilisation souhaitant mettre en œuvre cette Recommandation de la Commission européenne, notamment les alliances nationales qui centrent leurs efforts sur l’intérêt de l’enfant. Nous sommes conscients qu’une mise en œuvre efficace est le résultat d’un travail de collaboration – entre d’une part les différentes organisations gouvernementales et d’autre part entre les parties prenantes concernées. Nous espérons qu’en renforçant ce travail d’équipe, la mise en œuvre de cette recommandation de la Commission européenne n’en sera que plus efficace.

On remercie Peter Marsh et Solidarité Laique pour cette traduction. 

Plus d’info (en anglais) ici.
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news-1086 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Romania launches national program based on OvidiuRo's sucessful food coupon model http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/romania-launches-national-program-based-on-ovidiuros-sucessful-food-coupon-model/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=e111b534b7fdbb91026497c69d2078ae Parents living under the poverty line will receive food coupons worth 11 euros per month if their child attends preschool every day

On the 7th of October the Chamber of Deputies in Rumania passed a bill promoting every child's right to participate in preschool and kindergarten: 289 in favor, 1 against and 5 abstentions. The bill finances a national program to encourage 3-5 year old children living in poverty to regularly attend “grădiniță”. Based on OvidiuRo's highly successful model, parents living under the poverty line will receive food coupons worth 11 euros per month if their child attends preschool every day. Read the law here (in Rumanian).

I became a Gradinita Teacher for a Day and got a lesson for life!” That's how author Peter Hurley expressed it after spending a day in Întorsura Buzăului, where OvidiuRo runs the Fiecare Copil în Grădiniță (FCG) program. Read the article he wrote here. This month-long project, organised in partnership with Raiffeisen Bank, funds the FCG programs in Brasov and Covasna that reach 750 children per year.  In October, thirty public figures and sixty Raiffeisen employees are spending a school-day in a rural classroom interacting with the children, reading stories, dancing, painting, and playing.  Meanwhile the volunteers also learn about the reality of growing up poor in rural Romania and get a chance to talk with the teachers and meet with parents in their homes.  (Pictures posted daily on OvidiuRo FB page.)

Jane Thompson, Early Education Specialist, talks about the importance of preschool and kindergarten, especially for the most impoverished children, and about her visit to the FCG program in Cojocna in a Nine O Clock interview.

Carrefour Romania made the first day of kindergarten even more special for the children in 96 rural kindergartens by donating coloured pencils, notebooks, PlayDoh, glue, paint, brushes and drawing blocks.  

"Education should not be a privilege, it should be a right - available to all children.  But poverty robs this right from a lot of them...The joy we see on their faces when they're holding the books and the pencils is indescribable.   I believe the small difference we are making in their life today can have a huge impact on their future and on the future of Romania." Andreea Mihai, Marketing Director at Carrefour România.

Read here also the Eurochild peer review 'Conditional cash transfers and their impact on children: Ensuring adequate resources throughout the life cycle from a children’s perspective'.

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news-1080 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 FEDAIA launches new campaign - La Infancia no pot esperar http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/fedaia-launches-new-campaign-la-infancia-no-pot-esperar/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=3a540090349cbd1d75f2ee9c1b0c333e New campaign from FEDAIA 'Children cannot wait'! Through their new campaign La Infancia no pot esperar FEDAIA – a federation of entitites for children and adolescents and a member of Eurochild - wants to find solutions for the increasing inequality among children in Spain. As poverty among families and children has increased as a result of the economic crisis, early this year FEDAIA carried out several studies with the help of experts to analyze the current situation of children. The outcome of this research resulted in the proposal for economic benefits for parents. In their report ‘“Prestació econòmica universal per a la criança. (PEUC)” (A universal allowance for the youth).

FEDAIA suggests that in order to ensure equal opportunities for children there needs to be a shift in the attention to children; policies have to move towards a more preventative approach instead of only supporting or assisting children once they are already at school. FEDAIA’s aim is to stimulate a debate on this proposal with politicians, civil society and the public.

FEDAIA’s aim is to stimulate a debate on this proposal with politicians, civil society and the general public.

 

You can read the full report here (in Catalan). 

Look for more info on the campaign here.

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news-1077 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Children’s Rights Alliance welcomes legal amendment to protect children from corporal punishment http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/childrens-rights-alliance-welcomes-legal-amendment-to-protect-children-from-corporal-punishment/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=369eac0b37894226e0d35d4fe917d244 Children’s Rights Alliance together with the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children have warmly welcomed an amendment to the Children First Bill 2014 which will see the removal of the defence of reasonable chastisement from the common law.

An amendment is being made to Irish law  that will abolish the common law defence of reasonable chastisement in relation to corporal punishment in the home. The amendment is co-sponsored by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr James Reilly and independent Senator Jillian van Turnhout. 

The amendment is being made in the Seanad to the Children First Bill 2014. It provides for the inclusion of a new section, Section 24A, in the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997. The new section states that: ‘The common law defence of reasonable chastisement is abolished.’ The full text is pasted below. 

This is the first time a government Minister has taken action on corporal punishment in the home. The Children’s Rights Alliance would like to commend the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. James Reilly, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, and independent Senator Jillian van Turnhout for their work in delivering this amendment. 

What is being abolished: The amendment abolishes the common law defence of ‘reasonable chastisement’. This defence originates from a case in 1860 [R v. Hopley]. Under this common law rule if a parent (or a childminder caring for fewer than four children at home) is charged with an offence, such as assault or cruelty against a child, he or she can go into court and claim as their defence that they were permitted to use reasonable chastisement when disciplining the child.

What it will mean for children: Today’s amendment is a simple legal change to make all citizens equal before the law. You cannot hit an adult in Ireland. The law should be no different for children. Children have a right to be protected from all forms of violence. Corporal punishment causes harm to children and to the child/parent relationship and research shows that it is ineffective as a form of discipline. This legal change will help change attitudes and should reduce the incidence of corporal punishment being used against children. It now needs to be supported with public education on alternative forms of discipline. 

Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of Children’s Rights Alliance said, “Today’s change is a giant leap forward in protecting our children. We know that corporal punishment causes harm to children and it’s ineffective in disciplining them. Children have a right to be protected from all forms of violence and this change now makes them equal before the law.

Up to now, Ireland has been lagging way behind its European counterparts. Yet, we know from the experience of other countries that introducing a law is a tool for change – thankfully, Ireland is now on a journey towards fully shifting public attitudes.”

Read the joint press release from the Children’s Rigths Alliance & the ISPCC here.

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news-1075 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Start Strong Analysis of Budget 2016 http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/start-strong-analysis-of-budget-2016/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=6271f79c35bb24bad82f7b1e086a3d56 Start Strong welcomes Budget 2016 which marks a significant step forward in the development of early care and education in Ireland. The Budget delivers some key measures – in particular the extension of free pre-school and the introduction of paternity leave – and it commits to developing a framework for affordable, quality childcare.

There is no action on some key issues, such as paid parental leave, a review of capitation rates, and salary scales and some issues are still unclear.  Nonetheless the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs described the Budget measures as a ‘first step’ and ‘the beginning of a multi-annual programme of investment’, implying an intention to increase investment over time.

Read Start Strong's Budget 2016 Analysis here.

 

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news-1073 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Eurochild joins Global Coalition Against Child Poverty http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-joins-global-coalition-against-child-poverty/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=3d6c75a277bdf86ad560dcd3f86ddc4a Ending child poverty through Sustainable Development Goals

Eurochild has joined the Global Coalition Against Child Poverty which is launching today with an event in New York on ending child poverty through the Sustainable Development Goals. The Global Coalition is concerned at the devastating effects of poverty in childhood on children and societies. We will work together with the Coalition members and independently, to support the recognition of child poverty and the practical actions to alleviate it. 

Along with a number of global actors including Save the Children and UNICEF, we are raising five key recommendations through a joint statement of the Global Coalition Against Child Poverty:  

  1. Child poverty should be an explicit part of the global development framework and its implementation
  2. Every country should ensure that reducing child poverty is an explicit priority on their agenda, and included as appropriate in national plans, policies and laws
  3. Expand child-sensitive social protection systems and programmes
  4. Improve access to quality public services for the poorest children
  5. An inclusive growth agenda to reach the poorest and most deprived

Read the full joint statement here.

Find out about Eurochild’s work on child poverty here.

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news-1064 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Children's Rights Alliance welcomes Government’s First Family-Friendly Budget http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/childrens-rights-alliance-welcomes-governments-first-family-friendly-budget/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b36ef6abab42f6ed662e873faf5319db The Children's Rights Alliance welcomes Government's Family-Friendly Budget for 2016

The Children’s Rights Alliance, reacting to the 2016 Budget plans of the Irish Government, has welcomed a number of important decisions to benefit and improve the lives of thousands of children and families. In particular they welcome:

  • The extension of free GP care for all children under 12 years
  • The introduction of two weeks’ paid paternity leave 
  • The extension of the free pre-school year to children upon reaching three years of age and extending availability from 38 weeks to 51 weeks per year
  • Extending subsidised childcare by 8,000 places so it is more widely available for families on low-incomes throughout the country 
  • €15 million in 2016 to support children with special needs to access early childhood care and education (and €33 million from 2017 onwards)
  • An investment of €3 million in afterschool services and €3.5 million to improve the quality of childcare
  • An additional €3 million for the School Meals Programme 
  • An increase in the Family Income Supplement by €5 for a family with one child and by €10 for a family with two or more children
  • An increase by €5 to the Child Benefit payment bringing it to €140 per month
  • An extra €38 million for Tusla, the Child and Family Agency bringing its budget to €662 million
  • An additional €8 million for therapeutic services for children, including speech and language therapy
  • A tax increase of 50 cent on a packet of cigarettes to help deter children from a life of addiction

 

Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, says: “The good news is that this is the Government’s first family-friendly budget for children. Significant announcements in the area of early childhood care and education are to be warmly welcomed as this will help put children on a level-playing field, get them school-ready and reduce the financial burden on families.

We are relieved that the Government managed to find an extra €38 million for the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) to shore up its services for vulnerable children. This will begin to address the current crisis where 7,500 children who are suspected victims of child abuse and neglect are waiting to be allocated a social worker to provide them with supports.

We are also pleased to see an increase to free GP care for under 12s, another significantly positive announcement today.

Let’s not celebrate yet, however. We are disappointed that certain groups of vulnerable children are still left wanting or have simply been forgotten.  For 1,500 children living in direct provision, the paltry weekly payment of €9.60 has not increased for the sixteenth year in a row. This is at odds with the recommendation of the Working Group Report on Direct Provision and Asylum, published in June. In addition, there are 1,496 children current living in emergency accommodation and huge pressure on families in the private sector who are at risk of homelessness. The Budget did not take steps to prevent family homelessness through increasing the Rent Supplement limits." 

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news-1062 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Acknowledgement by Centre for Missing & Exploited Children of work of The Smile of the Child http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/acknowledgement-by-centre-for-missing-exploited-children-of-work-of-the-smile-of-the-child/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=a89ba7262bd5f8849eb461c759880925 The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children concluded its Board meeting on 9 October in Athens with a special acknowledgment of the work being done by “The Smile of the Child”

CMEC's Chairman, Dr. Franz Humer noted: “The unprecedented refugee crisis at Europe's southern borders and the ongoing economic crisis in Greece has had a devastating impact on the well-being of the children involved.  The Smile of the Child is working to ensure the continuance of its nationwide services to families and children in need in Greece as well as the protection of refugee and migrant children, unaccompanied minors and trafficked children through its services in health, direct intervention and welfare. ICMEC is proud of its friendship and partnership with The Smile of the Child and lauds its extraordinary work during challenging times." 

President of “The Smile of the Child” and ICMEC’s Member of the Board, Costas Yannopoulos, presented the work of the Greek NGO to the Board, highlighting common areas of actions with the international network, namely, in child disappearances, exploitation and child trafficking, safe internet use, online child pornography and online sexual abuse of minors. 

Particular emphasis was given to the operation of the National Helpline for Children SOS 1056, the European Hotline for Missing Children 116 000, the Amber Alert Hellas mechanism operated based upon the US-model of Amber Alert, the first Child Advocacy Centre established in Greece (“The House of the Child”) and the work of the Southeastern European Centre for Missing and Exploited Children that was created upon the joint initiative of “The Smile of the Child” and ICMEC back in 2010. 

ICMEC’s Board Meeting in Athens provided an exceptional opportunity to showcase ICMEC’s work and leadership on children’s rights and send out a message of support from a country that is currently facing serious challenges on children’s rights due to the financial crisis and refugee emergency situation. Many children are lacking the proper medical care, education and protection and the challenge for us is how to maintain and expand our nationwide services for the benefit of these children and families", said Costas Yannopoulos.  

Members of the Board had the opportunity to visit the National Centre for Missing and Exploited of the Greek Organization and one of its Homes for children, noting firsthand the work undertaken on the ground by “The Smile of the Child” in child protection. 

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news-1058 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Eurochild Member 'Activ - Sobriety, Friendship and Peace' celebrates 25th Anniversary! http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-member-activ-sobriety-friendship-and-peace-celebrates-25th-anniversary/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=421e79467845841b7de18ad82b7b0a32 Active turns 25! Eurochild Member 'Activ- Sobriety, Friendship and Peace' celebrates is turning 25. 

They are sharing a link of a special Newsletter edition where they promote their documentary and reflect on the work done over the last years.

 Click here to read the Newsletter and see the video!

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news-1055 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Is it time to dream again? Editorial from our October newsletter http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/is-it-time-to-dream-again-editorial-from-our-october-newsletter/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b23176f11cca5d796b82cb3c1d06df11 Read our October eNews Bulletin!

Dear friends and colleagues,

Is it time to dream again?

The EU has launched its €315 billion investment plan and with it, put a lid on austerity (we hope!). Worldwide, we have 17 new goals for sustainable development, including ending poverty and encouraging education, health and nutrition of children. Will these goals be realised with the EU’s new investment strategies? Eurochild is keen on paving the way for these discussions. So, we have produced our model of child-centred investment which was launched on the day of the EU’s first major conference on its Investment plan which focused on education. Read all about it here!

While investing in education is crucial, we cannot be blind to the source of the challenges of today. More than 1 in four children are at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU. This impacts their education, their ability to engage in leisure activities, their chances of being employed and their overall well-being. We need targeted social and macroeconomic policies to break this cycle of disadvantage. So, we’re supporting an initiative put forward by 11 European parliamentarians. Join us in gathering signatures of support to the Written Declaration on Investing in Children. Check out the infographic on child poverty and the policy paper on how the European Parliament can be part of the solution.

Will you play a part in investing in children?

 

Warm wishes,

Prerna Humpal, Head of Communications, Eurochild

 

Click here to read the eNews Bulletin October 2015

Sign up for our newsletter! 

(scroll down to bottom)

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news-1052 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Employment and Social Affairs Ministers approach ECEC from children’s development perspective http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/employment-and-social-affairs-ministers-approach-ecec-from-childrens-development-perspective/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=dfb772d00fedde0fd36bb5febf50454c On 5 October the Council of Employment and Social Affairs Ministers expressed their common will to reinforce and deepen the social dimension of the EU.

Ministers also stressed that a deepened social dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union should be built on the existing instruments within the European Semester process, including indicators such as the social and employment scoreboard. This is important for Eurochild as we are calling for a strengthened social scoreboard which includes the risk of child poverty and social exclusion. 

The Council also endorsed the key messages of the Social Protection Committee (SPC) report on the social policy reforms for growth and cohesion. This report is a contribution to the Annual Growth Survey 2016 which is expected to be published later this autumn by the Commission.

The Social Protection Committee notes that while some support measures and access to services for families with children were strengthened in a number of Member States, in other cases universal services have suffered from budgetary constraints. Echoing the spirit of the Commission Recommendation on Investing in Children (2013), the report recalls that reducing child poverty and breaking the poverty cycle across generations implies investing early in integrated strategies that combine prevention and support. It concludes that ensuring access to affordable quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) is key for the development of children's cognitive and social skills and will improve their prospects for a better adult life. This is an important acknowledgement as ECEC services are often still perceived merely as a tool to increase female labour market participation.

Read here about the outcome of the Council meeting.

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news-1047 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 A child-centred investment strategy: Why the Investment Plan for Europe needs to prioritise children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/a-child-centred-investment-strategy-why-the-investment-plan-for-europe-needs-to-prioritise-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b2cccca7a29117d8641ff1fb4d808a8c Eurochild releases its model for a child-centred investment strategy to advance the potential of the new European Fund for Strategic Investment.

This working document details how investment must take a rights-based approach and prioritise children. A child-centred investment strategy prioritises investment in five pillars: education, early years policies, health promotion, community development and family strengthening, and social protection and welfare support.

On the occasion of the European Commission and the European Investment Bank holding a conference on Education and the Investment Plan on this day, Eurochild offers its perspective of the meaning of a good investment in education. 

Read the full paper and the recommendations here. 

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news-1056 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Coalition for Children issues statement on CRC implementation in Slovakia http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/coalition-for-children-issues-statement-on-crc-implementation-in-slovakia/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b0da3860477c8861b5efc3a9f1b8a40c Slovakia is significantly behind and does not use the full potential of the existing legislation for the protection of children. Coalition for Children Slovakia, member of the National Partner Network, states that Slovak legislation is increasingly more reflective of the obligations of Slovakia arising under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, in practice Slovakia is significantly behind and does not use the full potential of the existing legislation.

The current election of a Commissioner for Children was one of the topics reported by the Coalition for Children Slovakia to UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. After 14 years,  fulfilling another of its recommendations on the protection of children in Slovakia, President of the Coalition for Children of Slovakia Dana Rušinová, Vice President Barbora Kuchárová, and  Secretary General Zuzana Konrádová participated in the 72nd session of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on 5 October 2015 in Geneva. They informed the Committee about the findings of the Supplementary Report on the Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child during 2007-2015 in Slovakia.

The Coalition concludes that Slovakia fails to meet its obligations under the Convention most significantly for Roma children. They make recommendations on legislation for disabled children, violence against children and also include comments on the school system, lack of child participation and child poverty in Slovakia. 

Read the full statement here

 

 

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news-1045 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Resilience and the role of childhood – Open letter to EPSC and European Commission http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/resilience-and-the-role-of-childhood-open-letter-to-epsc-and-european-commission/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=6ca71a04f136fad6e64ba5ef5a0b5620 Eurochild participated in an event organised by the European Commission on the topic of 'Building a resilient Europe in a globalised world'.

Jana Hainsworth, as Secretary General of Eurochild wrote an open letter to the organisers after the event on two aspects connected to broader work with civil society and the potential of investing in children.

In an open letter to the EPSC and European Commission, Jana congratulated the organisers on raising the role of education in building resilience. She added that: 

Our capacity to cope with change, to face uncertainty with confidence is very linked to childhood experience. Experience of poverty in childhood is associated with many poor outcomes - health, education, and ultimately employability - leading to an intergenerational cycle of disadvantage.  Breaking this cycle requires a broad child-centred investment strategy that goes beyond education.  It would take in early childhood policies - not only childcare provision but how to support families during this critical phase of a child’s life, health promotion and more market regulation to protect children as consumers, more and better family support services at community level to prevent family separation and better social welfare and protection policies.”

Read the open letter here.

Find out more about Eurochild’s work on investing in children here.

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news-1039 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 New volunteer opportunity at Child to Child: Corporate Fundraising Internship http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/new-volunteer-opportunity-at-child-to-child-corporate-fundraising-internship/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=ab6b3769eaa174c3372254c0f5075b17 Your key role will be to conduct desk research into potential corporate supporters. Closely working with the Director of Child to Child, you will help developing new funding partnerships and opportunities.

The intern will have the opportunity to gain a range of fundraising and research skills, in addition to obtaining experience with an international NGO. You will learn about all aspects of the organisation’s programmes and structure and, depending on your interests and aptitude, there is considerable scope to make a meaningful contribution to our critical work. This is an excellent opportunity for an individual who is highly motivated, enjoys working semi-autonomously and is well organised.

Apply by sending your CV and a brief supporting letter to ccenquiries@ioe.ac.uk by 16th October 2015.

 

For more information on key duties and requirements have a look here.

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news-1036 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Investment in the rights of the child at the heart of good governance in the public service http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/investment-in-the-rights-of-the-child-at-the-heart-of-good-governance-in-the-public-service/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=e851018761b89a92bf6fe5907f7e4b75 Joint NGO Oral Statement issued at the UN Human Rights Council's 30th Session on 24 September 2015 Mr President,

This statement is made on behalf of the Groupe des ONG sur la Convention relative aux droits de l’enfant and 8 NGOs (i).

States have an obligation to children to realize their rights in compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

One billion children are deprived of one or more essential services for their survival and development (ii), including access to quality education, health, adequate nutrition and protection services.

Equitable and efficient resource mobilization and public spending is the most sustainable way through which services to children can be delivered and their rights realized.

Yet, as highlighted in the HRC resolution 28/19 on ‘Towards better investment in the rights of the child’, the lack of sufficient, efficient and equitable investment in children remains one of the main barriers to the realization of children’s rights.

States need to mobilize sufficient domestic resources to realize children’s rights, including through progressive taxation, and where necessary within the framework of international cooperation.

The realization of children’s rights without any kind of discrimination requires equitable budgeting with priority given to the most deprived and excluded children and with particular attention to the situation of girls.

In making budgetary decisions, the best interest of the child should be a primary consideration. To this end, States should conduct child rights impact assessments of their fiscal policies, budgeting and spending.

States need to produce disaggregated data on children to inform budgeting, while making allocations to girls and boys visible in budgets.

Transparent fiscal processes where citizens can participate throughout the budget cycle based on access to information is crucial to ensure accountability and to fight corruption.

Children’s participation in public decision-making within an enabling environment not only constitutes their right, it can also make budgets more equitable and responsive to children. Consultations with almost 2,700 children confirmed that children want to participate in decision-making about government expenditure. They are convinced that their insights will help States to make better decisions (iii).

In conclusion, we call on UN Member States to put the rights of the child at the centre of transparent, participatory, accountable and sustainable public service delivery underpinned by sufficient and equitable resource mobilization, allocation and spending to translate children’s rights into children’s realities.

Thank you.


(i) African Child Policy Forum, Child Rights Coalition Asia, Defence for Children Costa Rica, Eurochild, the International Baby Food Action Network, Plan International, Redlamyc and Save the Children.

(ii)  UNICEF website on 20 Years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, www.unicef.org/rightsite/sowc/photopanelsurvival.php

(iii) Centre for Children’s Rights (2015), Towards Better Investment in the Rights of the Child: The Views of the Children, http://www.childrightsconnect.org/govtspendingsurvey/

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news-1035 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Greece’s forgotten children - Almost 3000 children stuck in institutions, new study says http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/greeces-forgotten-children-almost-3000-children-stuck-in-institutions-new-study-says/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=37f2a10fc8294e6d9e306b472893776a One year ago the BBC published a shocking report of a Greek children’s home where children with disabilities were kept in caged beds. This new study conducts the first nation-wide mapping of institutional care in Greece. IMPACT:

Update on 2 October 2015 - The study turned heads as Ms Theano Fotiou, Deputy Minister of Labour, Social Insurance and Social Solidarity agreed to meet Roots Research Centre next week! At the results launch the Greek children’s ombudsman Mr George Moschos supported Roots Research Centre’s call for immediate change in the child protection system.


Press Release - In an effort to better understand the situation of children in institutional care, Roots Research Centre, national coordinator of  Opening Doors for Europe’s Children in Greece has conducted the first nation-wide mapping of institutional and residential care in Greece.

The study, “Mapping institutional and residential care for children in Greece”, found that Greece has a patchwork of public and private institutions and residential care with little or no oversight of quality and no monitoring of the numbers of children and what happens to them.  Roots Research Centre urgently calls on the government to develop a national strategy and implementation plan to build a comprehensive child protection system based on international standards.

Key Findings

The mapping identified 85 institutions across Greece caring for an estimated 2,825 children including those placed through the child protection system and children with disabilities. Four of the institutions accommodate around 100 children. Only 2 appear to have fewer than 10. Most of the institutions are estimated to house around 30 children. Few institutions would therefore appear to comply with the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children which recommends that residential settings are small, organised around the rights and needs of children and reflect as close as possible a family or small group situation. International experts suggest the maximum number of children per unit should be fewer than 8.

Institutionalisation before the age of 3 is widely acknowledged to be particularly damaging to children’s development. Nonetheless in Greece 182 children in institutional care are babies and toddlers aged 0-3.

Foster care remains hugely underdeveloped in Greece – an estimated 309 children in care were living with foster carers in 2014.  New legislation is needed to reduce the procedural burden of foster care as well as investment in public awareness, and training and supervision of foster carers.

More than one in four of those living in children’s institutions are in fact over 18 (760 young people). There appears to be a lack of any financial, psychological or educational support programmes that would facilitate young people’s transition to independent life.

The majority of institutions (57) are privately run. Many rely heavily on donations and private sponsorships.  Most supplement salaried professionals with volunteers, with a few practically operating on volunteers alone.

Key Recommendations

The Greek government urgently needs to adopt a national strategy and implementation plan to support a transition from institutional to family and community-based care. The European Structural and Investment Funds offer an important potential source of finance to catalyse this transition.  They should be invested in strengthening families, extended families and communities to respond adequately to child protection issues as well as to develop the suitable range of family-based alternative care options for those children without parental care.

Read the Executive Summary here and find all facts and figures in our country snapshot.

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news-1034 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Early Childhood Ireland issues statement on budget extension Learner Fund http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/early-childhood-ireland-issues-statement-on-budget-extension-learner-fund/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=67122adbd75d008c5774a75cadb2dd67 “What we don’t need is a goodie bag approach from elected representatives aimed at doing well in the election, rather than doing well for children."

In their press release Early Childhood Ireland responds to the Minister of Children and Youth Affairs' announcement of 500.000 euro budget extension for Irish the Learner Fund. They state that the extra budget for the Learner Fund is welcome but not enough in terms of scope or amount.  The organisation stresses they don’t want a ‘goodie bag’ approach from elected representatives aimed at doing well in the election, rather than doing well for children:

We can understand why the Minister and his department are focused first and foremost on minimum qualifications and the publication of the long awaited Childcare Regulations will set the minimum qualification required to work in this sector. What we don’t accept is this Government’s high expectation in getting maximum returns from the early childhood care and education sector based on minimum State investment. We must see a step change in investment, starting in the next budget."

 

Read the press release here.

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news-1033 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Children’s rights networks call for more EU leadership http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/childrens-rights-networks-call-for-more-eu-leadership/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=722ed5f45bea703f6230a74f0edc19c1 Meeting of Eurochild's 18 National Partner Networks (NPNs) in Amsterdam, 24 September 2015

A collective of national children’s rights networks, representing over 1900 organisations working for children’s rights across Europe, called for stronger direction at the EU level to help EU member states promote and protect children’s rights in Europe. The meeting of Eurochild’s 18 ‘National Partner Networks’ (NPNs) in Amsterdam, Netherlands today showed the need for a European coordinated approach to encourage EU Member States in their work towards improving the lives of children and young people.

The situation of children and young people in Europe is nowhere near ideal. Across the EU, 28% of children are at risk of poverty or social exclusion compared to an average of 25% for the total population. Over 11% of children in EU leave school before completing secondary education. Youth unemployment is more than twice the average unemployment rate. (Eurostat 2013) Poverty is the main driver for children taken into public care. Over half a million of them end up in institutions in the EU.  The precarious situation of migrant and refugee children, some of whom have been separated from their families, is putting them in extremely vulnerable situations.

Investing in children is a win for the future. Empowering children guarantees better outcomes in education, savings in state expenditure, lowering radicalisation and increasing innovation across sectors”, says Dana Rušinová, Coalition for Children Slovakia (NPN in Slovakia).

The development of EU child protection principles is a step in the right direction. But it can’t stop there. Our governments need support to apply these principles in practice. How, for instance, will they use these to protect child refugees and migrants who are coming to Europe?” asked Edel Quinn, Children’s Rights Alliance (NPN in Ireland).

Government reform programmes and EU initiatives like the TTIP may increase the level of involvement of private providers in health, education and social services for children. The EU has an important role to play in ensuring that the highest standards of quality, underpinned by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, are maintained across all sectors of provision”, says Marion Mcleod, Children in Scotland (NPN in Scotland).

Eurochild, along with a number of child rights organisations and most recently, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in its review of the EU in September 2014, have recommended the EU to develop a strategic direction that will address children’s rights across Europe, taking into account the specific needs of each and every child. The last EU strategic framework, the EU Agenda on the Rights of the Child, expired in 2014.

The EU has made great strides on improving children’s rights through various policies. For example, the guidelines around rights of victims of crime have supported victims of child trafficking and child abuse. However, we need a comprehensive approach to ensure all children are protected and offered the potential to exercise their rights”, says Pien Klieverik, Defence for Children International (NPN in Netherlands).

Stronger collaboration with Children’s Ombudspersons in Europe

Pleased by opportunities developed in its meeting with European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC) in Amsterdam today, Eurochild’s NPNs look forward to further their cooperation with the aim to advance children's rights in Europe. 

We need strong, independent children’s ombudspersons in every country. Our members are cooperating with existing ombudspersons and advocating for establishing this crucial role in countries where ombudspersons do not exist. At a time when the situation of children across Europe is worsening we need to work hand in hand”, added Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild.

 

About National Partner Networks:

National Partner Networks (NPNs) are members of Eurochild and are seen as the representative, legitimate voice of the children’s rights sector in their country. Currently there are 18 NPNs representing over 1900 children’s organisations across Europe: 

  • Austria: Netzwerk Kinderrechte 
  • Belgium:  Kinderrechtencoalitie
  • Bulgaria:  National Network for Children
  • Croatia: Coordination of Associations for Children
  • Cyprus:  Pancyprian Coordinating Committee for the Protection and Welfare of Children
  • Denmark:  Joint Council for Child Issues (Bornesagens Faellesrad)
  • Finland:  Central Union for Child Welfare Finland
  • France:  National Federation of Associations for Child Protection (CNAPE)
  • Germany:  Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Kinder- und Jugendhilfe (AGJ)
  • Ireland:  Children's Rights Alliance Ireland
  • The Netherlands: Dutch Children's Rights Coalition (represented by Defence for Children International)
  • Romania:  NGOs Federation for Children
  • Serbia:  MODS
  • Slovakia:  Coalition for Children
  • UK- Scotland:  Children in Scotland
  • UK – Northern Ireland:  Children in Northern Ireland
  • UK - Wales:  Children in Wales
  • UK - England:  Children England 
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news-1031 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 UK children's rights organisations stand for refugee children http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/uk-childrens-rights-organisations-stand-for-refugee-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=6731ae44d3f75b5e9b56f72c98a331d7 They call for bold and compassionate leadership from UK governments and urge sustained action and support for families Eurochild members Children in Scotland, Children in Wales, Children in Northern Ireland and Children England have published a joint statement expressing their concern for refugee children, and emphasising the rights of all children to life, protection and development.

They call for bold and compassionate leadership from UK governments, acting in the best interests of the children affected by the current refugee crisis, and urge sustained action and support for families seeking sanctuary in the UK.

Read the full statement here.

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news-1030 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Eurochild attends Eurodiaconia's meeting on tackling poverty in the EU http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-attends-eurodiaconias-meeting-on-tackling-poverty-in-the-eu/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=cccd8194a0ca2d1c6e99fa51ea04ca63 Participants agreed that a stronger social convergence is needed at the EU level and that the European Parliament can play a key role in restoring the social dimension into the European Semester On 23 September, Eurochild took part in Eurodiaconia’s 2nd Annual cross-party breakfast meeting at the European Parliament. Gathering members of civil society organisations and MEPs, the meeting aimed to discuss how to tackle raising poverty across the EU.

Because of recent events, the discussion focused on refugees. The on-going crisis requires that policy-makers fully address the structural flaws of national welfare systems and the differences between welfare in EU Member States, as these could lead to escalating social tension and xenophobia.

Participants agreed that a stronger social convergence is needed at the EU level, although the European Commission has reduced the social dimension of the Country Specific Recommendations to a large extent. In this respect, the European Parliament can play a key role in restoring the social dimension into the European Semester by monitoring the Commission and Member States and elaborating on Junker’s proposal of a “social triple-A”.

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news-1029 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Mental Health Initiative: Funding possibility for projects http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/mental-health-initiative-funding-possibility-for-projects/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=e89f1a165dc3d93dd3af05b596b9de42 The Mental Health Initiative provides grants to projects that stimulate the reform of national health, social welfare, and employment policies. It also provides funding to organizations focusing on community living, deinstitutionalization and prevention of institutionalization.

The Mental Health Initiative—part of the Open Society Public Health Program—provides grants to projects that stimulate the reform of national health, social welfare, and employment policies. The initiative's funding strategy is geared toward the development of sustainable, quality community-based alternatives to institutionalization for people with intellectual disabilities and/or psychosocial disabilities, and toward the development of government policies that promote the social inclusion of people with disabilities.

Accordingly, the initiative provides funding to organizations that focus on community living, deinstitutionalization, and the prevention of institutionalization.


Grant applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.

Look here for more information on eligibility criteria and guidelines. 

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news-1028 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Children’s Rights Alliance says Sexual Offences Bill is Critical to Protecting Children from Grooming and Exploitation http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/childrens-rights-alliance-says-sexual-offences-bill-is-critical-to-protecting-children-from-groom/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=5cebe01670121656eb15d663ca05df31 The Children’s Rights Alliance warmly welcomes publication of today’s new Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015

The Children’s Rights Alliance warmly welcomes the publication of today’s new Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015 as a critical step towards protecting our children from grooming, exploitation and abuse. Welcoming today’s publication of the Bill, it said the legislation will combat the exploitation of boys and girls. It says the law will bring Ireland into line with a growing international trend and send out the message that Ireland is not a soft target for paedophiles, pimps and traffickers.

Continue reading here.

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news-1027 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Defence for Children International & OMCT Genève are calling for papers http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/defence-for-children-international-omct-geneve-are-calling-for-papers/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=421345ed331f7f5bf11a5a8f52db6445 The Justice for Children Award is now open for applications! The Award is a competition organized by Defence for Children International (DCI) and the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT)

The aim of the Justice for Children Award competition is to encourage academic research within Swiss Universities on the obstacles and challenges that compromise the realization of children’s rights in justice systems, with a specific focus on violence against children. Through this competition, DCI and OMCT aim to give the opportunity to students to engage in the field of children’s rights and more specifically to galvanize their reflections on issues concerning juvenile justice and torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments.

The competition is open to students or former students enrolled in the higher education system in Switzerland.

Deadline 31 December 2015.

For more information have a look at the website.

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news-1023 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Eurochild appeals to UN to count vulnerable children in SDG indicators http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/eurochild-appeals-to-un-to-count-vulnerable-children-in-sdg-indicators/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b04f948fac35c48b99970780ca093fb0 In the open letter ‘All children count, but not all children are counted’ Eurochild urges the UN to ensure that its global Sustainable Development Goals count also world’s most vulnerable children

Together with a leading group of children’s NGOs organizations, in a joint letter Eurochild has appealed to the UN Statistical Commission and the Inter-Agency Group to ensure that children living outside of families are monitored and counted as part of its global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The letter to UN Expert Group makes key recommendations for the SDG document called ‘Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Global Action’. It urges the UN to ensure that children living outside of households and/or without parental care are represented in disaggregated data. It also recommends to improve and expand data collection methodologies to ensure all children are represented.

Children’s organizations have long recognized that we do not know how many children live outside of families and almost certainly under-estimate the totals. Loose estimates indicate that at least eight million live in institutions and orphanages, the vast majority of whom are not orphans. More than a million of these children live in Europe.  A central aim of the SDGs is that no-one will be left behind by global development. But NGOs have argued that the absence of reliable mechanisms for counting children outside of families, and measuring the success of work to transform their lives, raises the risk that some children will, indeed, be left behind.

The letter to UN Expert Group states:  “All children count, but not all children are counted. As a result, some of the world’s most vulnerable children – those without parental care or at risk of being so; in institutions or on the street; trafficked; separated from their families as a result of conflict or disaster; or recruited into armed groups – have largely fallen off the UN’s statistical map. There are only limited data about how many children live in such precarious circumstances, except for scattered estimates from some specific countries.”

The post-2015 global monitoring framework offers an opportunity to do more and better on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable children – ensuring, first and foremost, that they are no longer invisible,” the letter concludes. 

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news-1022 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Storytelling Contest: Call for Child Protection Stories http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/storytelling-contest-call-for-child-protection-stories/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=9c17cc911849c36f9d91fa313a4bb757 You are a social worker, teacher, psychologist, volunteer, NGO worker, parent or a worker in a child protection service? You have a story about children? Participate in Child Pact's storytelling contest!

If you work with children and know a child or group of children with a story that can inspire and produce change, tell Child Pact your story and be part of a regional movement. This storytelling contest takes place in Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia.

Have a look at the website for more information on the guidelines

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news-1019 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 The Smile of the Child receives 1st place Award at Interreg http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/the-smile-of-the-child-receives-1st-place-award-at-interreg/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=efa63f19fd56ac954ffe98d487b22c68 The Smile of the Child wins the 1st place award for the best proposal during the Project Slam of 'INTERREG 25 years' event. The project was a collaboration on the EU Hotline for Missing Children in Greece and Bulgaria

 The Programme "Greece-Bulgaria 2007-2013" and the project INTERSYC “Integrated Territorial Synergies for Children Health and Protection” won the 1st place award for the best proposal during the Project Slam of "INTERREG 25 years" event that took place on 15 - 16 September in Luxembourg.  The celebratory event was held under the Luxembourgish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the European Commission and INTERACT Participants included the EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Crețu and high-level officials of the European Commission and the Luxembourgish Presidency.

The Project Slam contest aimed at presenting high impact INTERREG projects in an entertaining and easy way to understand for audiences. After having received applications all over the INTERREG world, more than 500 participants selected the proposal of the INTERSYC project as the best and most representative one among 5 proposals that made it to the final stage of this contest.

 

The President of ''The Smile of the Child'' and Board Member of the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC), Costas Yannopoulos, said  

"There is a high need for cross-border cooperation on issues related to children at risk and we are proud to win along with the Programme’s team and our partners the 1st place of this contest. The INTERSYC project proved to be an indispensable tool in addressing the needs of vulnerable children in Greece and Bulgaria. Our goal is to enrich this excellent cross-border cooperation of public and non-profit actors in the critical areas of health, direct intervention and welfare of children".

 

INTERSYC (www.intersyc.eu) is one of the 108 Projects that ran under the ETCP “Greece-Bulgaria 2007-2013” (www.greece-bulgaria.eu) and brought together in partnership the key operators of the 116 000 EU Hotline for Missing Children in Greece and Bulgaria.

 

Watch the promo video of the project here

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news-1016 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Call for Papers 33rd FICE Congress and 2nd CYC Conference 2016 http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/call-for-papers-33rd-fice-congress-and-2nd-cyc-conference-2016/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=b1e62f3124ddc3b112d3865938062c28 Submit an abstract for 33rd FICE Congress and 2nd CYC World Conference: 'Together Towards a Better World for Children, Adolescents and Families' The FICE / CYC World Conference 'Together Towards a Better World for Children, Adolescents and Families' will take place 22-25 August 2016 in Vienna. The deadline for submitting an abstract for the Conference is extended until 8 October 2015. Please find further information on topics, formats, language, instructions for submission and guidelines for the abstract here.

To submit an abstract you need to create your personal congress registration account. 

The scientific committee will review the abstracts. Authors will be notified by 30th November 2015.

 

PRELIMINARY PROGRAM: Please find an online version and a downloadable PDF version on the
congress website.

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news-1012 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Semester Alliance calls on President Juncker to bring Europe 2020 back on track http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/semester-alliance-calls-on-president-juncker-to-bring-europe-2020-back-on-track/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=bc067aaa0263fbdf78af0e1c8b7ae03c The Semester Alliance broad coalition addressed a letter to European Commission President Juncker to express its concern about the direction his Commission has taken when it adopted the Country Specific Recommendations for 2015 Brussels, 16 September 2015

President of the European Commission
Mr Jean-Claude JUNCKER

Dear Commission President Juncker,

Re: Annual Growth Survey 2016 – crucial to bring Europe 2020 back on track

As the European Semester Alliance, a broad coalition bringing together 18 major EU civil society organisations (CSOs) and trade unions, representing thousands of member organisations at EU, national, regional and local level, we are writing to you to express our concern about the direction your Commission has taken when it adopted the Country Specific Recommendations for 2015. We urge you to address this and turn the 2016 AGS into a first step towards a European Semester that is democratic, social, sustainable and inclusive.

Using the European Semester purely as an instrument to ensure macro-economic and monetary stability will not help you bring the EU closer to its citizens. Only by using the Semester to support a reform agenda that helps the EU become more democratic, social, sustainable and inclusive and make progress towards the related Europe 2020 targets will you have a chance to close the gap with EU citizens. An explicit commitment to effective stakeholder engagement for both the Commission and Member States will also reinforce ownership and accountability.

In the current climate, in which women and men across Europe are becoming increasingly sceptical of Europe’s leadership in solving Europe’s many crises and challenges in a responsible manner that restores the balance between economic, social and environmental policies, the time has come to give hope. This means to draw lessons from the recent past, to renew the founding values of the EU in accordance with Article 3 of the Treaties and to meet your promise for a democratic, social and sustainable Europe. This is particularly the case regarding your priority to develop a deeper and fairer Economic and Monetary Union by making governance in this area more democratically legitimate and apply social impact assessments to reform programmes.

Five years have passed since the ‘fiscal consolidation’ approach was first introduced through the European Semester. As CSOs and Trade Unions, confronted by the social and environmental realities faced daily by various age and population groups and service providers we represent, we assert that austerity is not working. Rather it is transferring costs to society as a whole which will have disastrous human, social and environmental/climate mitigation impacts that will take decades to reverse, as well as preventing a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery that can benefit all.

We believe a prosperous European Union has the means at its disposal to change its direction and to invest in the well-being of all.

In the following pages, we outline our proposals for a democratic, social, inclusive and sustainable Europe. We would like to ask you the following specific questions:

As the Semester should be democratic, is the European Commission willing to introduce Guidelines for stakeholder dialogue in order to homogenise and improve the quality of civil society participation across Member States?

As regards the social dimension of the Semester is the European Commission willing to promote social impact assessments as a key tool to ensure that budgetary consolidation and economic growth strategies do not undermine social priorities?

As regards the inclusive dimension of the Semester is the European Commission willing to reinforce the Poverty Target by urging member states to ambitiously commit to targets and actions that result in the target of lifting at least 20 million persons out of poverty? What initiatives will the Commission take that will concretely result in less people experiencing or at risk of poverty by 2020?

As regards the environmental dimension of the European Semester, how will you ensure that all Member States will be asked to shift taxation from labour to environmental pollution and resource consumption and align macro-economic reform with measures to address Europe’s over consumption of resources such as raw materials or freshwater, whilst guarding against negative social impact?

A specific commitment from the European Commission to support the active participation of civil society organisations in the Semester process is essential. We would very much welcome a meeting with you to discuss our and your concrete proposals to make the European Semester more democratic, social, inclusive and sustainable.

We trust that you will give your utmost attention to our concerns.

Yours sincerely,
The European Semester Alliance

Semester Alliance's proposals available here.

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news-1009 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Delays in reforming childcare system causing abuse of child rights in Czech Republic http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/delays-in-reforming-childcare-system-causing-abuse-of-child-rights-in-czech-republic/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=120047801787742f9e106b121edf4556 Due to the fragmentation of the childcare system in the country, a large number of children are being removed from their families and placed in institutions, says Eurochild member Second After Second After, together with representatives from the civil society sector and NGOs working on human rights, sent an open letter to the Czech Prime Minister and Ministers for Labour and Social Affairs, Education, Health, and Human Rights, calling to fulfill their obligations and submit a clear concept for the unification of services for at-risk children by the end of this year, including draft legislation.

The letter points out that the Czech Republic is one of the last European Union countries to provide care for at-risk children in a fragmented way. Services provided to vulnerable children and families are currently regulated by three different ministries: the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, the Health Ministry, and the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry. According to the Czech organisation, this results in a large number of children being removed from their families and placed in institutions.  

A draft law regulating foster care, protection for children's rights and support for families which would have introduced the desired unification of this system was supposed to have been submitted in June 2015 but its entry into force has been postponed.

"They must not delay, because with the upcoming elections there is a danger that the essential unification will again be indefinitely postponed. In the interim, another generation of children will grow up unnecessarily institutionalised, children who could, if support was available, remain with their own families or at least be placed with adoptive or foster families," said Radek Laci, Executive Director of Second After.

Read the full press release in English here.

Press release in Czech.

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news-1007 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 UN committee calls on the EU for real deinstitutionalisation and for a renewed Agenda for the Rights of the Child http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/un-committee-calls-on-the-eu-for-real-deinstitutionalisation-and-for-a-renewed-agenda-for-the-rights/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=7a4ea14bb3737d8df1a4f74db9fa857d Eurochild welcomes the Concluding Observations adopted by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) on the Initial Report of the European Union The “Opening Doors Campaign” on ending institutional care contributed to the European Disability Forum (EDF) Alternative Report by informing the UN Committee of the situation on the ground of children with disabilities in institutional care across Europe.

The Concluding Observations, adopted on 4 September 2014, call on the EU to take measures to develop local support services for children and families in order to foster deinstitutionalisation and prevent further institutionalisation; to promote social inclusion and to ensure access to mainstream inclusive education for children with disabilities.  To do so, the UN recommends the use of European Structural and Investment Funds and other relevant EU funds exclusively for the development of services in the local community and not for the redevelopment or the expansion of institutions. It also asks for a follow up to the EU Agenda for the Rights of the Child, and the mainstreaming of children into all disability strategies.

In addition, the UN Committee recommends that the EU ensure that children with disabilities and their representative organisations be consulted in all matters affecting them.

These UN recommendations to the EU to fully commit to deinstitutionalisation and child rights mainstreaming across all policies and child participation, are shared by Eurochild, Opening Doors campaign and EDF. The recommendations will strengthen the case for the Opening Doors campaign, particularly in monitoring the use of ESI and other EU funds for deinstitutionalisation, and respect for the partnership principle therein.

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news-1006 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Europe: a refuge for children? http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/europe-a-refuge-for-children/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=de9be5b9657e81d61cc9423c1fede68e Eurochild calls for solidarity and leadership ahead of EU meeting of ministers In advance of the EU Ministers meeting on Monday 14 September, Eurochild, a network of children’s rights organisations with over 180 members across 35 European countries, calls on EU governments to adopt a shared response to the refugee crisis based on the European values of solidarity and human rights. EU governments cannot afford to waste more time and threaten more lives. Instead, they should offer swift humanitarian assistance to those at Europe’s borders and safe routes for all seeking refuge.

Children, whether separated or with their families, deserve priority attention. Over 100,000 children have fled from conflict and persecution in the first half of 2015, according to UNICEF. Every person under 18 years arriving in Europe must be considered first and foremost a child, with equal rights, regardless of origin, race, religion, ability, migration status. These rights include access to healthcare, education, play, care and support, protection from violence and abuse.

European coordination crucial to support civil society

Voluntary, civil society and citizens’ initiatives are filling the gap to support new arrivals.  It is critical that government authorities at EU and national levels fulfill their international obligations to human rights treaties by coordinating a comprehensive humanitarian response which also takes account of mid- and long-term goals of integration.

From Finland to Greece, Ireland to Serbia, our members are offering support and services to refugee and migrant children. While some are offering immediate, humanitarian aid, others are involved in training professionals who come into contact with children, or supporting integration, with classes in the local language. Others are working with local authorities to run group homes for children, ensuring children are cared for, as far as is possible, within the family or placed in family-like alternatives like foster care. These resources and expertise can be pooled and shared across Europe. EU authorities are best placed to play a coordination role.

Civil society efforts to protect the rights of all children, need support from EU and national governments. Without appropriate financial and human resources, children’s development, especially those who have escaped conflict and maybe separated from their families, will be compromised with long-term implications not only for their future, but also for the future of society as a whole.

Existing integrated child protection systems must be reinforced to cope with new demands, particularly to help children deal with the trauma they may have experienced.  Governments must avoid at all costs the institutionalisation of children. Even if perceived as a short-term response, they leave a lasting legacy and are ill-equipped to respond to children’s individualised needs. It is important that existing education, healthcare, counselling and welfare services are supported to extend their reach to new arrivals.

People across Europe, including those who have taken difficult journeys to escape conflict and persecution, are looking to the EU for leadership. The humane treatment of refugees is an expression of the fundamental values on which the European Union is built. As civil society promoting the rights and well-being of children, we expect our leaders to rise to the occasion.

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news-1005 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Calls for good practices to contribute to the OHCHR follow-up report "Investment in the rights of the child". Deadline 2 October 2015 http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/calls-for-good-practices-to-contribute-to-the-ohchr-follow-up-report-investment-in-the-rights-of-th/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=f59ff9820f490f058cbb1537700d13f9 The report will include examples at local, national, regional and international level on how civil society has practically supported investment in the realization of the rights of the child As an outcome of the annual full day discussion on the rights of the child of March 2015 and the OHCHR report on a better investment in the rights of the child (A/HRC/28/33), in its resolution 28/19 on “Towards better investment in the rights of the child” the Human Rights Council invited the High Commissioner to prepare a follow-up report on investment in the rights of the child, based on good practices and lessons learnt to ensure sufficient, equitable and efficient public resource mobilization, budget allocation and spending to realize the rights of the child.

The role of states and good practices and lessons learnt in relation to public investment to realize the rights of the child will be the primary focus of the follow-up report. In addition, the report will include information about how other actors have practically supported investment in the rights of the child, including national human rights institutions, UN agencies, international financial institutions, civil society and children themselves. It should also include examples of successful collaboration between states, civil society and the private sector to ensure public investment in the rights of the child.

As a contribution to the OHCHR follow-up report, Eurochild is collecting good practices and lessons learnt at all levels (local, national, regional and international) of how states and non-states actors have ensured investment in the realization of the rights of the child, including measures to address barriers and bottlenecks, relevant tools, resources and guides.

The follow-up report should be structured along the same headings as the first OHCHR report on the theme, including topics related to generating revenue for the realization of children’s rights, child-rights based budgeting and spending, accountability, transparency in the allocation and use of resources, participation of children in budgetary and fiscal processes, the role of the private sector and international assistance and cooperation.

Please send submissions by Friday 2 October 2015 to Agata D'Addato

Submissions should not exceed 1 page (and it should identify useful links, tools, resources and guides in different languages).

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news-1004 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Children's Rights Alliance welcomes priority given to unaccompanied minors in Refugee Protection Programme http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/childrens-rights-alliance-welcomes-priority-given-to-unaccompanied-minors-in-refugee-protection-pro/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=ddea337e9ca26fab6721d9dc86258113 The organisation calls for government's commitment to ensure that the necessary resources are forthcoming so that unaccompanied and separated children can be fully supported after they arrive to the country The Irish organisation welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, TD to give special priority to the plight of unaccompanied minors within the Irish Refugee Protection Programme. 

Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, says: "It is widely acknowledged that unaccompanied minors or separated children are an especially vulnerable group so we welcome that they are being given priority under this new programme of resettlement. Over the last decade, Ireland has built up significant expertise in dealing with the particular needs of separated children. 

We believe that the system here has the potential to care for and protect these children as they fully deserve. An important promise has been made and what we need now is a commitment to ensure that the necessary resources are forthcoming so that these children can be fully supported after they arrive to Ireland. Action on the recommendations of the Working Group Report on Direct Provision is also vital in this regard.”

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news-1000 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Child to Child joins march in support of Sustainable Development Goals http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/child-to-child-joins-march-in-support-of-sustainable-development-goals/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=3aecb5f3ad845cfb51c6882f38caafe4 These goals will set a framework to end all forms of poverty, discrimination, and inequality worldwide On 24 September, Presidents and Prime Ministers from 193 countries will meet in New York to agree global goals on the most pressing issues of our time - poverty, inequality and climate change. On the eve of this meeting, thousands of people will come together around the globe to make the goals famous.

In London, Action2015, a coalition bringing together international organisations like Save the Children, ONE, Concord and WorldVision, will organise a march on the Millennium bridge, where people will be holding stars to help light the way to a better world. Child to Child, as part of coalition's UK branch, will also participate in this event.

Following a photo shoot on the bridge, Action2015 will organise another event in front of the Tate Modern museum featuring speakers, film and more. Images of the evening will be printed, framed and delivered to Downing Street before nightfall.

If you want to participate in the march visit this website.

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news-999 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 The state of children in the EU: Editorial from our September newsletter http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/the-state-of-children-in-the-eu-editorial-from-our-september-newsletter/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=929d1b9e03b93b0051d0eb1934b8271b Read our September 2015 eNews Bulletin below Dear friends and colleagues,

As we prepare for European Commission President Juncker’s first State of the European Union address tomorrow, I urge you to take a moment to consider the situation of children in Europe.

Every child has the right to protection, whether they are migrants or refugees or neither. Yet, as I write this, over 100,000 children who have fled from conflict and persecution in first half of 2015 (UNICEF) are not being guaranteed safety in Europe. They are camping in unsafe, unhygienic places outside train stations from Budapest to Brussels and outside reception centres in Greece and Italy. Unaccompanied minors are at added risk. Those who are lucky receive local assistance or support of people opening their homes and hearts; others continue to hide, out of desperation and some, like Aylan Kurdi, the Syrian toddler washed ashore in Turkey or the children found in a truck in Austria, succumb to risky measures. Europe’s leaders are accountable not only for their actions, but also for their inaction. We joined our peers in civil society to express our support to the refugees in an open letter today.

Investing in children

The challenges of securing and promoting children’s rights are not only limited to children on the move. Today’s Europe is battling a number of crises, including youth unemployment, children facing poverty – these crises will only lead to an even bleaker future if we don’t invest in a better start for all. Investing in children is part of the solution. We have therefore, started a campaign to support an initiative at the European Parliament for a written declaration on investing in children. Ask your MEPs to sign this declaration!

Putting values into practice

This autumn will be a test of Europe’s leadership. The European Parliament in its Report on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU, and the UN Committee on Rights of Persons with Disabilities have recently reminded the EU that piecemeal efforts won’t suffice. A concrete EU framework for action on children’s rights is necessary if we want to put in practice the values of human rights of all.

Europe’s values of human rights and solidarity are under threat. Our leaders can protect them if only they put them into practice.

Warm wishes,

Prerna Humpal, Head of Communications, Eurochild

 

Read the full e-News Bulletin here.

 

 

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news-995 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 #WeApologise http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/weapologise/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=1e4584ccab8b52c0607ade28efc443dd An open letter to people fleeing war, persecution and poverty As Europeans, #WeApologise on behalf of our national and European leaders for their inexcusable lack of coordinated humanitarian aid to the situation you and thousands of others are in while crossing our borders to escape war, persecution and poverty.

We understand that making this journey was not an easy decision for you and may have involved putting the lives of your loved ones at risk, or worse. We will continue to urge our decision-makers to provide safe and regular channels to the EU, so that your wellbeing does not rest in the hands of people smugglers.

Civil society organisations and thousands of people across the EU are taking a stand despite many governments’ inaction by opening their homes, sharing their food and donating their clothes. We will keep pressuring our politicians to fulfil their humanitarian obligation to ensure the provision of such services rather than leaving it up to individuals or organisations to provide them without support.

The decision you made that led you here to Europe required a lot of courage. We implore our leaders to demonstrate the same courage by coming together to find a pan-European response that respects each individual’s human rights regardless of their status.

While several of our leaders seem to have forgotten the EU’s core values of solidarity and human rights, we have not. The EU has the capacity to welcome you with open arms, and the unwillingness to do so is an embarrassment to us. We acknowledge your right to seek refuge in safer regions and to be treated with dignity. We also recognise the contribution that you can make and we will fight to give you this opportunity.

In solidarity,

  • Social Platform
  • ENAR – European Network Against Racism
  • ENSIE – European Network of Social Integration Enterprises
  • EDF – European Disability Forum
  • TGEU – Transgender Europe
  • ESAN – European Social Action Network
  • SMES-Europa
  • CECOP-CICOPA Europe
  • ECAS – European Citizen Action Service
  • EURAG – European Federation of Older People
  • CEV – European Volunteer Centre
  • Inclusion Europe
  • EPA – European Parents Association
  • AGE Platform Europe
  • PICUM – Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants
  • Autism-Europe
  • EAPN – European Anti-Poverty Network
  • European Youth Forum
  • EASPD – European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities
  • ICSW – International Council on Social Welfare Europe
  • Eurochild
  • EPR – European Platform for Rehabilitation
  • SOLIDAR
  • European House Budapest (Hungary)
  • Pax Christi International
  • Mental Health Europe
  • ERIO – European Roma Information Office
  • ENNA – European Network of National Civil Society Associations
  • AEGEE-Europe
  • European Students’ Forum
  • ECRE – European Council on Refugees and Exiles
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news-1001 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 Children in Scotland supports call for shared responsibility on child protection http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/children-in-scotland-supports-call-for-shared-responsibility-on-child-protection/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=8fb4563931d98d7652717620f6239529 Jackie Brock, organisation's Chief Executive, highlighted the importance of identifying and responding to children who are at risk at an earlier stage On 7 September, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Education Angela Constance called for more shared responsibility in keeping children safe and pledged a programme of action with local authorities and child protection partners.

Following the announcement, Jackie Brock, Children in Scotland Chief Executive and author of the Brock report into child protection in Scotland, said: “We fully support a more integrated and holistic approach to child protection in Scotland and welcome the Cabinet Secretary’s announcements."

“I look forward to seeing the progress made on my recommendations and hope that the steps taken at central Government level will help ensure Scotland’s child protection system, and the workforce, are supported to identify and respond to children who are at risk, at an earlier stage", she added.

Continue reading here.

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news-991 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:27 +0000 New development agenda opens up opportunities to improve children’s lives http://www.eurochild.org/news/news-details/article/new-development-agenda-opens-up-opportunities-to-improve-childrens-lives/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=7fc9565f8fa092168e0e58a015c2767f SOS Children’s Villages has advocated for and welcomes governments’ engagement to develop social protection systems that prioritize children and families in need Later this month, on 25-27 September, world leaders will come together at the United Nations in New York to adopt a comprehensive and ambitious roadmap for development, the Post-2015 Development Agenda, committing to eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities around the world by 2030 through 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SOS Children’s Villages, working with other civil society partners, has been actively engaged in the negotiations of the Post-2015 Agenda and believes that the document agreed at the plenary of the UN General Assembly on 2 August and that Heads of State are expected to endorse in a few weeks opens new opportunities to improve the lives of the most vulnerable children around the world.

In particular, SOS Children’s Villages has advocated for and welcomes governments’ engagement to develop social protection systems that prioritize children and families in need; to guarantee equal access to quality health and education services for children and young people as well as decent employment for vulnerable youth; and to build non-violent societies where children can live free from fear, violence, abuse and neglect.

For the Sustainable Development Goals to become a reality, governments have to put in place the necessary financial means. Last July, 193 UN Member States attending the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa made an