Early Childhood - Eurochild’s achievements in 2023

Annual Report 2023.

Increased support and public investment in nurturing care and quality early years services are essential for tackling child poverty, inequality and social exclusion, and breaking the intergenerational transmission of disadvantage. In 2023 several Eurochild members highlighted key challenges related to Early Childhood Development (ECD) and identified solutions and recommendations for governments to better support children from their earliest years.

In 2023 we strengthened our influence and cooperation with several EU institutions, civil society organisations and other networks. The European Commission offered a spotlight on children’s early years, reflecting the work that Eurochild and our partners have carried out in the 2023. In the European Education Summit, Eurochild presented as part of the panel on Quality Early Childhood Education and Care in Practice.

First Years, First Priority: a successful campaign

In 2023 Eurochild and the International Step by Step Association, co-leaders of the First Years, First Priority campaign, in partnership with the European Public Health Alliance and the Roma Education Fund, worked with partners in 11 countries across Europe (Bulgaria, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain) to advocate for more attention to children’s early years of life. We worked to build a critical mass of EU leaders and policy makers that understand and advocate for the political prioritization of ECD, and we fostered a mutually reinforcing dynamic between EU and national level policy-making. The campaign promoted an integrated and multi-sectoral approach to ECD. An external evaluation of the campaign commissioned in December 2023 found it effective, especially as a tool to increase capacities for strong national coalitions to influence public policies on the early years.

Our achievements:

  • We produced 3 new thematic papers on young children and caregivers who confront compounded adversities, including those from Roma communities, migrants, refugees, and children with disabilities, with recommendations for EU and national policymakers and examples of good practice from different countries.
  • We co-organised an event ‘Unlocking the Potential of Young Roma Children, hosted by Milan Brglez MEP. At the event we presented the campaign and highlighted the importance of early childhood development for young Roma children. The event issued a call to action.
  • Under the Spanish EU Presidency, we have continued to highlight the importance of children’s early years in the implementation of the European Child Guarantee. We participated in a high-level meeting of Child Guarantee National Coordinators, hosted by the Spanish government. The meeting agreed a ‘Valencia Declaration’ to fight child poverty and early childhood inequalities
  • We responded to the Council Recommendation on Early Childhood Education and Care Barcelona targets for 2030 and to the public consultation on the Recovery and Resilience Facility.
  • We influenced the ‘Children first – strengthening the Child Guarantee, two years on from its adoption’ EU resolution.  We submitted amendments to the draft text, and the final Resolution includes several references to the importance of investing in early childhood.
  • We responded to the European Commission communication on a comprehensive approach to mental health, identifying our suggested priorities to better monitor and improve mental health and well-being.
  • We published a briefing on the need to ensure that all families with infants and young children can live in safe and secure housing.
  • We shared our key messages with the political groups and released our manifesto for the forthcoming European elections.

Read the full Annual Report 2023

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