Eurochild, a network that aims to improve the quality of life of children and young people, says in its latest policy position in October 2011 that the best way to tackle child poverty and social exclusion is to focus on three broad areas of action: access to adequate resources; access to quality services and opportunities; and children’s participation. There are more than 20 million children and young people living at risk of poverty and Eurochild warns that "as new chapters of the financial crisis unravel in Europe, the number of children at risk is still on the rise".
Eurochild argues that affordable, accessible and high-quality child care services contribute to the social and personal development of the child and give parents the chance to enter the job market. It highlights the growing demand for after-school services (home-work clubs, etc.) and says that families in a difficult situation (e.g. lone-parent families) need the support of such services to ensure that they do not store up "youth behavioural challenges and stresses". It also suggests more targeted income support and services for families with children in a vulnerable situation.
Eurochild calls for housing conditions for families with children that provide long-term solutions and offer a safe environment to grow up in. It also wants parents to have access to early intervention support and prevention services to develop better coping strategies and to understand the importance and value of good parenting. "Preventive measures also have to be put in place to strengthen parental responsibility and to target families at risk, including services for parents of older children such as teenagers," says Eurochild. The network also suggests further research on the affordability of transport and energy costs given that they are big parts of household budgets.
Eurochild also argues that children's views and experiences need to be taken into account in the development of services and policies that affect them. It stresses the importance of children's participation in family settings, in schools, public authorities, communities, and amongst other professionals working with and for children. It suggests that children’s participation in their communities can be facilitated by making cultural, social, recreational and sport activities available and affordable. "The inability of parents to cope with the related expenses (including the transport costs) often results in the withdrawal or exclusion of children from extra-curricular activities and hobbies that might be very beneficial for their personal development and for their participation in society. It can also prevent children from maintaining friendships and peer relationships," says Eurochild.