Children in Alternative care - Eurochild’s achievements in 2023

Annual Report 2023.

Children in alternative care continue to be among the most vulnerable group of children to experience social exclusion in Europe. This past year we continued our efforts to ensure that these children are not forgotten in decision-making. In 2023, we were successful in getting an indicator for children in alternative care included in the European Child Guarantee monitoring framework, paving the way for better policymaking for these children.

Read below to see our milestones and achievements for 2023 supporting children in alternative care.

1. Leading improvements for data on children in alternative care in Europe

2. Ensuring children in alternative care are high on the EU agenda

  • Together with 14 other NGOs we called on the international community and authorities to protect all children within and fleeing Ukraine and beyond.
  • Together with our Bulgarian member the Know-how Centre, we presented to the European Commission’s DG HOME Expert Group on the Protection of Children in Migration with a focus on deinstitutionalisation for the reception for children.
  • As part of the 2023 Enlargement Package of the European Commission, Eurochild submitted a joint-consultation and engaged DG NEAR with members from 7 EU Accession Countries to share insights into the situation of children, including the lack of measures to actively promote deinstitutionalisation for children with disabilities.
  • We shared, together with members and international civil society allies, key Recommendations for the Reform of Ukraine’s Child Protection and Care System, calling on the Government of Ukraine for a comprehensive national reform strategy to transform the care system for children and end the use of residential institutions.
  • Under the leadership of our member Hope and Homes for Children, we influenced the European Commission Consultation on Fighting Human Trafficking to highlight the link between child trafficking and orphanages, and convinced the European Parliament to recohnise this link in the EU’s new Anti-Trafficking Directive.
  • We contributed to the European Commission consultation on integrated child protection systems with 6 members covering 4 EU Member States and 2 Accession Countries. Our submission provided data and statistics, lays out the main challenges and gaps when it comes to prevention of violence, identification of victims, protection and treatment, and coordination among the authorities involved and it proposes the main recommendations on how to better protect children.
  • Eurochild participated, in collaboration with members, in the following studies:
    • Boarding schools and deinstitutionalisation (UNICEF ECARO)
    • Foster care in the ECARO region (UNICEF ECARO)
    • New study on residential and institutional care in the EU (Eurofound)
    • Review of existing frameworks and tools that measure the progress and outcomes of reforms (Global Transforming Children’s Care Collaboration)
    • Pathways to Better Protection - Taking stock of the situation of children in alternative care in Europe and Central Asia (UNICEF ECARO)

3. Building capacities of civil society and children from alternative care communities

  • Together with our member Sérgio Costa Araújo, we designed and moderated a session on Debating Deinstitutionalisation in times of a war in Europe”, featuring Eurochild members and experts from Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine at the International Conference for Childhood and Adolescence.
  • In the 6th Congress on Foster Care, organised by our new member, the National Foster Care Association in Spain, we shared the importance of prioritising family-based care in child protection reform with civil society and professionals in Spain.
  • As part of our Reaching-In project, we built the capacity of our member from Portugal, Plataforma PAJE - Apoio a Jovens (Ex)acolhidos, and the care-experienced young people they work with to influence the European Child Guarantee.
  • Finally, throughout 2023, we continued to inform members of our Thematic Group for Children in Alternative Care of latest developments and opportunities to influence decision-making related to children in alternative care across Europe.

Read the full Annual Report 2023

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