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In the spotlight

  • Childcare costs in Europe affect poor families disproportionately

    Childcare costs in Europe affect poor families disproportionately

    In several European countries, childcare costs place a heavy burden on working parents. A recent UK report has emphasized that the average annual costs of childcare have seen sharp rises in the past years and have grown beyond the average yearly mortgage payments. According to the OECD, the average cost for childcare for all OECD countries is 11.8% of parental net income (calculated on a family where two parents earn average wage).  In Europe, this figure ranges from 26.6% for the UK to 4.9% for Greece.  In addition to the limited affordability, a European review on childcare services found that the availability of childcare is also limited both in terms of care facilities on offer and the opening hours of structures.

  • The impact of early childhood education and care and parenting programs

    The impact of early childhood education and care and parenting programs

    Over the past decades, interest in the benefits of early childhood and modified parental leave has grown. The European Commission has passed legislation to favour both access to early childhood education and care (through the Barcelona objectives) and to amend workers’ rights when it comes to parental leave. At the same time, the EU and other policy organisations have developed a keen interest in finding out ‘what works’ in various policy areas: this trend led to the creation of EPIC in 2012. Below, some of EPIC’s work on childcare and ECEC and practices that work is reviewed; recent evidence from beyond the EU is also discussed.

  • Presenting new opportunities for Investing in Children at the National Conference on Childhood and Adolescence in Italy

    Presenting new opportunities for Investing in Children at the National Conference on Childhood and Adolescence in Italy

    On the 27th-28th March the Italian Ministry of Labour and Social Policy held the High Level National Conference on Childhood and Adolescence. During the conference a specific seminar on the Recommendation for Investing in Children was organised by the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA)pdf. The conference was attended by over 800 delegates and included key actors at national, regional and local level and marked the re-launch of the New National Plan on Childhood.

  • The potential of social policy innovation and partnerships across sectors: conclusions from a high-level conference

    The potential of social policy innovation and partnerships across sectors: conclusions from a high-level conference

    On 19-20 May 2014, the European Commission’s DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL) organised a conference including major stakeholders from several sectors, with a view to mobilising and examining the potential of social policy innovation to solve complex policy problems. The event brought together civil society and NGO representatives, public sector actors, private companies and academics to share evidence on social policy innovation, and to showcase ongoing developments in Europe. Presenters and keynote speakers emphasised the importance of partnership, notably to meet the EU2020 targets on inclusive, smart and sustainable growth. A full report of the event, including presentations, can be found on DG EMPL’s website.

  • Unaccompanied minors and child protection in Europe

    Unaccompanied minors and child protection in Europe

    Recent data indicates that the arrival of unaccompanied minorspdf Choose translations of the previous link  from conflict-affected regions in Europe is becoming a long-term characteristic of EU migration. Yet, these vulnerable migrants are dealt with using a variety of methods across the EU, and no coordinated approach has been designed in Europe. At the same time, child protection in Europe faces many challenges ranging from a lack of coordination to the limited evidence base and exchange of good practices in areas such as parental child abduction or bullying. In both instances, the EU has made recent endeavours to design joined-up approaches to ensure better delivery and child protection.

  • UN children’s complaints mechanism comes into force

    UN children’s complaints mechanism comes into force

    On 14 April 2014 the third Optional Protocol (OP3) to the United Nation’s (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) entered into force. This will enable children to complain to the UN on human rights violations and establishes an international complaints procedure for violations of child rights contained in the CRC, the Optional Protocol to the CRC on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (OPAC), as well as the Optional Protocol to the CRC on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (OPSC).

  • Social protection during the economic crisis- how do changes to the benefits systems affect our children?

    Social protection during the economic crisis- how do changes to the benefits systems affect our children?

    The European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) presents a policy briefpdf which examines how changes to the benefits systems during the economic crisis have affected our children. The policy brief examines how the economic crisis and its widespread effects have acutely affected public policy areas with significant cuts in public spending and how these cuts have led to an under-investment in child focused policies.