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About the European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) website

European Platform for Investing in Children, website on practices that work in child policy (c) European Union

The European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) wants to provide information about all policies that can help strengthen the capacities of children and their families to face the unprecedented challenges that exist in the current economic climate in Europe.

EPIC features innovative practices that have a positive impact on children and families in EU Member States. The Practices that Work section features evidence-based practices that have demonstrated effectiveness through rigorous research, and a user registry of practices. EPIC is a platform for sharing the best of policymaking for children and families, and to foster cooperation and mutual learning in the field through thematic seminars and workshops.

In late February 2013 the European Commission (EC)  adopted the Recommendation “Investing in Children- breaking the cycle of disadvantage” as part of the Social Investment Package which proposes a long-term social strategy to help overcome the current crisis and to strengthen the capacity of individuals.

In the current economic downturn, child poverty is also on the rise. Furthermore, parents, and in particular many women, still struggle to balance their working and family lives, a problem exacerbated by insufficient childcare provision.

The Recommendation provides guidance for European Union (EU) Member States on how to tackle child poverty and social exclusion through measures such as family support and benefits, quality childcare and early-childhood education. Approaches of social investment in individual capacities are particularly beneficial for children from a disadvantaged background providing high social returns. They are also a crucial factor in breaking cycles of intergenerational transmission of poverty.

Within the framework of the Recommendation EPIC will be used to collect and disseminate innovative practices which were found to have a positive impact on children and families in EU Member States. EPIC is a tool for monitoring activities triggered by the Recommendation. Practices that are evidence based will be made available in the Practices that Work section of this website.

EPIC will also serve as a platform for sharing the best of policymaking for children and their families, and foster cooperation and mutual learning in the field through thematic seminars and workshops.

EPIC is geared towards knowledge exchange on a variety of policies, programmes and practices among stakeholders and a wider audience of practitioners, academics and policy-makers. EPIC is one of the European Commission’s initiatives to encourage social innovation, and it welcomes engagement with relevant stakeholders through cooperation, dissemination, enabling dialogue between organisations. It is an open platform: innovative child-related practices can be submitted on the website via an online form, and stakeholders and users can send an email for further information.

These country-specific-recommendations (CSR)pdf(140 kB)were issued in June 2014 at the end of the European Semester by the European Commission to the various Member States in the area of child poverty and well-being. More attention for youth activation, inclusive education/early school leaving and Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC)/childcare are the policy recommendations that have emerged most frequently from the discussion between the Commission and the Member States during latest 2014 European Semester.

Child poverty in Europe

Child poverty remains a pervasive concern in the European Union. Eurostat data indicates that more than one in four children (28% of children in the EU-28) is at risk of poverty and social exclusion in 2012. This is partly due to the unprecedented challenges for European families arising from the current economic climate. However, the lack of a decent family income is not the only cause of child poverty. The Commission’s Recommendation ‘Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage’ notes that access to vital services for children’s outcomes, such as housing, good-quality (pre-school) education and health care can also largely contribute to reducing deprivation among children in Europe. Limited access to these services impedes basic human rights and hinders a child’s development, often diminishing his or her chances to escape poverty in the long term. Thus, efforts to improve the well-being of children have to be tailored to their specific needs rather than being solely focused on the economic constrains of their parents.

In 2013, the European Commission set up the European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) to to collect and disseminate innovative practices which were found to have a positive impact on children and families in EU Member States, but also to foster cooperation and mutual learning in the field. Member States are invited to implement effective policies and practices that will contribute to reducing the transmission of disadvantage as well as poverty and social exclusion, thus fostering sustainable and inclusive growth for Europe.

Evidence-Based Practices

The European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) is an evidence-based online platform  providing information about policies and practices that can help children and their families to face up to the challenges that exist in the current economic climate in Europe. EPIC gathers, reviews and summarises this evidence on effective practices across the 28 member states. ‘Evidence-Based Practices’ are those practices that have demonstrated their effectiveness through rigorous evaluation and research. As a central component of EPIC, the Evidence-Based Practices are made available in an online repository on this website in the Practices that Work section. The spectrum of issues and themes covered by the practices is relevant to a variety of decision-makers and practitioners with topics, ranging from parenting and childcare to child development and child-wellbeing. EPIC facilitates the sharing of lessons learned notably through the Open Method of Coordination which facilitates the exchange of best practice among EU Member States.