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Eurochild report warns of “lost generation” as crisis hits families and children


A report by Eurochild, published in January 2011, has revealed that that the economic downturn is disproportionally affecting families and children. The findings follow an evaluation of the impact of the crisis by the network''s members across Europe.

Two years after the crisis broke out, evidence suggests that children and families are among those hardest hit. Unemployment has affected marginalised groups in particular. Those who have suffered salary cuts instead of redundancy face a higher risk of joining the ranks of the ‘working poor’, warns the new Eurochild report, entitled “How the economic and financial crisis is affecting children & young people in Europe”.

Eurochild is an international network of organisations and individuals working across Europe to improve the quality of life of children and young people. Secretary General Jana Hainsworth said: "The evidence from across Europe is extremely worrying. Vulnerable children and families are the biggest losers from current austerity measures and the effects will be felt long into the future. Politicians need to wake to their short-sighted vision and take action to avoid a lost generation."

Government cuts

Many European governments are responding to the crisis by cutting public spending to reduce national debt levels. Eurochild is concerned that social aspects are not always taken properly into considering while these measures are designed and implemented.

A double effect is created since the spending cuts are also being directly applied to social support mechanisms. Eurochild has raised the alarm on these cuts in general, while underlining the particular example of reduced funding to early age education. If quality and provision of this area suffers, it warns, then critical investment will be lacking for an entire generation.

Child wellbeing

The report notes that growing numbers of children are being taken into the public care system. In families meanwhile, pressures on family budgets can mean lead to adverse effects on children’s diet and therefore their health. The strain of increasing unemployment and a more difficult financial situation is also translating into greater tension in many families, with a knock on effect on children’s wellbeing.

The Eurochild report recommends that policy principles should be respected, including commitments for working towards better work/life family balance and early services for families. Family budgets must be protected, it concludes.

For further information

Eurochild''s reportpdf  "How the economic and financial crisis is affecting children & young people in Europe - Report by Eurochild based on evidence collected through its membership"