Eurochild members meet Child Guarantee National Coordinators and share their priorities to fight child poverty
Eurochild and its member Plataforma de Infancia held a parallel event to the European Presidency Child Guarantee Coordinators Meeting in Valencia on 3 November to reinforce European commitments and public policies for vulnerable children.
More than 120 people attended the two events held within the framework of the Spanish Presidency of the European Union. Eurochild members and colleagues from the secretariat participated in the discussions on the EU Child Guarantee initiative in the official event as well as in the parallel sessions which focused on early childhood, child poverty and EU elections. Eurochild members from about 20 different countries met with EU institutions and national governments and with the Child Guarantee National Coordinators.
The Child Guarantee aims to provide key services like free early childhood education, education, a meal at school, healthcare, and accessible nutrition, and housing to children in need, fostering equal opportunities. Member States have appointed coordinators and are implementing plans until 2030.
During the discussions, accountability and monitoring were defined as key aspects for correct implemention of this EU intitiative. As highlighted in our overview of the national action plans, the role of civil society is crucial to fight child poverty in Europe. "We hope that this, as well as the meeting between administration and civil society, are good practices that have come to stay in the context of EU Presidencies." said Macarena Céspedes, member of the Eurochild management board.
At the event, colleagues from the Eurochild secretariat and partners introduced our First Years, First Priority campaign advocating for the prioritisation of early childhood development in public policies across Europe and explained how the Child Guarantee implementation can help children from disadvantaged background access services. In the discussion, attendees heard about national strategies and issues in accessing early childhood development services from representatives of the campaign national coordinators: Children’s Rights Alliance, Ireland; Fundação Nossa Senhora do Bom Sucesso, Portugal; Plataforma de Infancia, Spain; Central Union for Child Welfare, Finland.
"It is important for children to speak up" - Katarina Ivanković Knežević, European Commission, mentioned the need to receive more examples of good practices for the repository and highlighted the importance of child participation.
Zuzana Konradova, Eurochild EU Affairs Coordinator, led a conversation on the upcoming European Parliament elections. Enrico Tormen, Save the Children EU, representing the EU Alliance for Investing in Children, provided an overview of the planned actions such as the child rights campaign including 2024 Child Rights Manifesto and opportunities for children and national CSOs to participate. Participants found it very timely and expressed their interest in supporting the campaign on a national level.
Mieke Schuurman, Eurochild Director Child Rights & Capacity Building, explained how our child participation strategy ensures children from different backgrounds are involved in our work on different levels and explained the #EuropeKidsWant survey for children in preparation for the next EU elections. The survey by Eurochild, Save the Children, ChildFund Alliance, SOS Children’s Villages and UNICEF wants to make sure that the new members of the European Parliament hear children's opinions on how to make the EU a better place for children.
Ally Dunhill, Eurochild Director of Policy, Advocacy and Communications at Eurochild presented the new report Poverty takes away the right to childhood which features Children’s perceptions of poverty in four EU Member States as well as the main findings from our upcoming 2023 Eurochild Flagship Report which maps children’s rights in Europe.
By analysing the information provided by our members working at national level we shared our draft recommendations:
- A central body managing the child-rights agenda and better data and indicators for children
- Identify and prioritise the children most in need
- Prioritise prevention to not separate families
- Prioritise children’s experiences in the digital environment, mental health and climate change.
- Child-related interventions must have enough resources to make a long-term impact.
- Monitoring and evaluation processes must be developed with children and CSOs.
MEP Dragoș Pîslaru, highlighted the need for more transparency, better data on child poverty with an EU monitoring framework. "There are amazing good practices from Bulgaria and Portugal that other countries can follow. That’s why we have a coordinators' network. Investing in children needs to be a priority".
Among the speakers:
- Ignacio Álvarez Peralta. Secretary of State for Social Rights. Ministry of Social Rights and 2030 Agenda;
- Katarina Ivanković Knežević, Director for Social Rights and Inclusion, European Commission, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion;
- Dragoş Pîslaru, Chair of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. European Parliament.
- Ione Belarra Urteaga, Minister of Social Rights and 2030 Agenda.
- Ernesto Gasco Gonzalo, High Commissioner against Child Poverty. Government Presidency;
- Daniel Molinuevo. Research Manager. Unit C - Social Policies in EUROFOUND;
- Sónia Almeida, Portuguese National Coordinator for the ECG;
- Liz Dornan, Child Rights Policy unit. Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Ireland;
- Justine Ruitenberg, Program director Poverty and Debts of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, Netherlands;
- Parthena Hantzaridou, Social department/Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, Sweden
Eurochild members attending:
Netzwerk Kinderrechte (National Coalition for Child Rights); Kinderrechtencoalitie Vlaanderen; National Network for Children; Alliance for the Rights of the Child, Coordination of Associations for Children; Joint Council for Child Issues in Denmark, Estonian Union for Child Welfare; Central Union for Child Welfare; National Coalition Germany / KRF (Kids Rights Forum); The Smile of a Child; Children’s Rights Alliance; Latvian Child Welfare Network; Polish Foster Care Coalition; Federation for Nongovernamental Organisation For Children; Network of Organizations for Children of Serbia MODS; Dutch NGO Coalition on Children's Rights; Children in Wales; Children's Rights Alliance for England.