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News and events

Events and news on child policy and practices and programmes that work to foster children’s well-being

Below you will find information about recent events, policy initiatives and legal changes intended to support families in Europe, upcoming conferences, seminars and meetings on policies and practices affecting children and families.

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Getting the right return on early childhood investment and applying two-generation approaches Choose translations of the previous link 


Lynn A. Karoly pointed out in recent blog for The Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania
that there is already a strong evidence base showing that investing in high quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) interventions can yield large potential economic returns. While investing in children can provide such a return, decision-makers start to ask how childhood outcomes can be improved by working not only with children but also their adult caregivers, using two-generation approaches. Read more...

Families beyond borders: What is the impact of migration on families? Choose translations of the previous link 


6 November, Sofia (Bulgaria): A one-day conference organised by COFACE and the Bulgarian Centre for Women’s Studies and Policies surrounding the thematic areas of transnational family life and labour market migration within the EU, focusing on how working abroad can impact the elderly family members and young children left in the country of origin. Read more...


Developing Child Resilience Choose translations of the previous link 


Building resilience from childhood is important, as it enables children to face obstacles, adapt successfully, and learn how to deal with adversity. Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child is a leading body in observing the development of resilience in children, providing useful resources on this subject.

Within the European context, there has been a growing importance placed upon understanding and aiding the development of childhood resilience, and the European Commission (EC) has funded several studies and projects in this regard. Read more...


Good policies and practices to protect undocumented migrant children Choose translations of the previous link 


In 2014 the number of asylum applicants considered to be unaccompanied minors reached 23,000 and in the first half of 2015 alone, more than 100,000 children have claimed asylum in Europe, a number expected to rise. The Commission has committed to closing the gap between national or regional migration laws and children’s rights; yet migrant children, especially those undocumented, end up victims of failings in laws and policies. Subject to most of the same enforcement practices as adults, access to education, health, and protection services is restricted. Governments across Europe have implemented laws and policies to protect the rights of undocumented children. A report of the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants, published in February 2015 presents inspiring examples across Europe that others could follow.  Read more...

NEW START to address the challenges of work-life balance faced by working families Choose translations of the previous link 


The European Commission is starting a new initiative which is replacing the 2008 proposal to revise the Maternity Leave Directive. There is a need to modernise and adapt the current legal and policy framework of the European Union (EU) so that parents with children or those with dependent relatives can better balance their caring responsibilities and professional life. This is in particular thought to have a positive effect on labour market participation of women, which still remains very low across the EU. Read more...

Childhood policies and fight against poverty: counteracting strategies against a multiple-deprivation phenomenon., 26 November 2015, Paris, France


The conference aims at enhancing the dialogue on childhood policies and the fight against poverty. Child poverty is understood as a multi-deprivation phenomenon which requires integrated counteracting policies. This requires an exchange between research outcomes and national policies tackling complex social problem. The conference will bring together representatives from academia, policy-makers and professional partners.

Seminar on child well-being and family evolution, 24-25 November 2015. Paris, France Choose translations of the previous link 


This expert seminar organised by UNICEF, OECD and the European Commission will discuss the implications of diversifying family models for child well-being. Read more...

Peer Review in Social Protection and Social Inclusion, 8-9 October 2015, Budapest, Hungary Choose translations of the previous link 


This peer review will focus on conditional cash transfers (CCTs) and their impact on children. Participants will also discuss a  new study  conducted for DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion which examined CCTs and the impact they can have on improving children’s lives. Read more...

Peer Review in Social Protection and Social Inclusion, 10-11 November, Prague, Czech Republic Choose translations of the previous link 


This peer review will focus on the provision of quality in early childcare services. The peer review will be conducted together with the participation of Eurochild and COFACE as key stakeholders. Read more...

Galway School 2015 Child Rights in Practice and Research, 02-04 December 2015, Galway, Ireland


This conference will focus on family and parenting support in the context of realising children’s rights, improving child well-being, alleviating child poverty and protecting children from violence including corporal punishment. This first edition of the Galway School has been organised by Eurochild, UNESCO Chairs Global Network, the Council of Europe and UNICEF Office of Research Innocenti.

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ESN Evidence in Social Services Choose translations of the previous link 


The European Social Network (ESN) provides a wide set of information on evidence-based practices in social services. In the light of limited available resources in the aftermath of the financial crisis, the ESN tries to support stakeholder in identifying and implementing social policies and services which are most effective. Read more...

Social Investment and early childhood development in Europe Choose translations of the previous link 


A new report by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, explores national policies targeted at social investment in Europe.


Coface/Eurofund roundtable on ‘Two-generation Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) programmes, 23 September 2015, Brussels, Belgium


COFACE and Eurofound are organising a joint roundtable about two-generation early childhood education and care programmes, discussing the role of childcare provision at European and member states’ level and its role in the European Semester, and for achieving international targets such as the EU 2020 Strategy and the Barcelona Objectives.

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2015 European Semester – work in progress Choose translations of the previous link 


The European semester is a mechanism which aims to facilitate Member State coordination in economic policy in the context of Europe 2020. The European Commission monitors Member States’ monetary reforms and provides recommendations which help Member States to align their progress with the European Semester’s targets, usually over a period of 12-18 months. Read more...

Open innovation in schools: Bringing policy in to practice Choose translations of the previous link 


Open Discovery in Schools (ODS) is a project funded by DG CONNECT, launched in 2012. It aims to support the teachers in including ICTs in educational programmes, which is one of the objectives of the Digital Agenda for Europe. In this framework, a platform was designed on the internet to provide eLearning resources and disseminate these prototypes among educational stakeholders. Since this project is coming to an end, a conference was organised in Brussels on 11th May to gather stakeholders as well as discuss the practices and results. Read more...

New Evidence Guide available in the Practices that Work section Choose translations of the previous link 


European Commission’s Recommendation “Investing in Children - breaking the cycle of disadvantage”, as part of the Social Investment Package, proposes a long-term social strategy to help overcome the negative effects on children of the current economic crisis and to help realise their full potential later in life. Read more...

New study on Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) and their impact on improving children’s lives in Europe Choose translations of the previous link 


Across Europe many families experience income poverty and many states have designed benefit systems and regulatory provisions to assist families and to invest in children. Some welfare systems have integrated behavioural based benefits, such as Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs), into their welfare systems. A new study conducted for DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion examined CCTs and the impact they can have on improving children’s lives.


ESN Peer Review ‘Investing in Children’s Services, Improving Outcomes’ Choose translations of the previous link 


The European Social Network (ESN) organised the third peer review of their project 'Investing in Children's Services, Improving Outcomes' in Budapest on 7-8 May. The meeting brought together national, regional and local representatives from Hungary, Romania, Portugal, Italy and Belgium to discuss the implementation of the European Commission's (EC) Recommendation 'Investing in Children'Read more...

New country profiles available! Choose translations of the previous link 


The country profiles available on the European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) provide an up to date overview of current policies for children and their families for each European Union (EU) Member State. Read more...

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'Les Castors' and 'Resto van Harte' practices Choose translations of the previous link 


The European Platform for Investing in Children  (EPIC) aims to support and encourage information sharing and learning about child focused practices across the EU community of policy makers and providers.  The user registry   is one of the platform components which  promotes such sharing by allowing its users to access information about practices which are being developed,  and have not yet been reviewed for evidence of effectiveness.   Read more...

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EU Alliance for Investing in Children: Implementation Handbook Choose translations of the previous link 


EU Alliance for Investing in Children: Implementation Handbook

On April 1st 2015, the EU Alliance for Investing in Children launched an implementation handbook (March 2015) which seeks to guide stakeholders in putting recommendations into practice in terms of investing in children. The EU Alliance for Investing in Children comprises over 20 European organisations who address child well-being and aim to tackle child poverty across Europe. Read more...

Caritas Europa Regional Conference, 11-12May, 2015, Rome, Italy


This two-day event hosted by Caritas Europa will mark the change in the Executive Board and the presidency of Caritas Europa will pass from Fr Erny Gillen to Msgr. Luc Van Looy (from 2014-2019).

International conference: "Protect my childhood!" , 30th April, 2015, Vilnius, Lithuania


The Informal Coalition of NGOs for Child Rights, which is supported by Eurochild, will host its international conference to promote children’s rights and well-being on April 30th, 2015, in Vilnius, Lithuania. The day-long conference, “Protect my Childhood”, will focus heavily on supporting the family and children. The sessions will centre on children’s rights, foster care reform and allowing parents and families to have a role in children’s rights. Guest speakers include representatives from Eurochild, Lithuanian public bodies, and child advocacy groups who will speak on matters of policy and family affairs.

ESN Peer Review on Investing in Children’s Services, 7– 8May, 2015, Budapest, Hungary


The European Social Network (ESN) will host on 7-8 May its third Peer Review on Investing in Children’s Services. The conference, due to take place in Budapest, Hungary, will review children’s services in five countries (Belgium, Italy, Hungary, Portugal and Romania). The ESN congregates a wide breadth of actors from research, finance, public bodies and academia, among others, with the aim of promoting public services which support vulnerable people. The review will take place through the lens of the European Commission’s Recommendation on Investing in Children: Breaking the cycle of disadvantage. Public bodies, as well as special interest groups, will be present at this conference. Last year’s peer review focused on Catalonia, Scotland, Germany, Poland and the Netherlands and identified gaps in the provision of child services and how these regions invested in children.

Global Implementation Conference, 26-28 May, 2015, Dublin, Ireland.


The next Global Implementation Conference is due to take place in Dublin on May 26th-28th, 2015. The annual conference will centre on five themes which focus on inputs for social impact, multi-level collaboration (regional, national and global), measurement systems and implementation infrastructure, These themes will be manifested through master classes and a number of breakout sessions over the three days of the conference. The conference is organised by the Global Implementation Initiative whose goal is to promote the application of cross-cutting areas such as science, policy and practice in services.

Accessible and fair financial services: alternatives to mainstream banking - Vulnerable Families meeting I, 11th – 12th May, 2015, Madrid, Spain


The conference on Accessible and fair financial services: alternatives to mainstream banking will be hosted by COFACE, ASGECO-Confederación and Madrid City Council on May 11th and 12th, 2015. The conference aims to address a number of issues on financial inclusion which directly affect families. The conference will comprise a number of panels including financial planning alternatives to commercial banks, access to trustworthy information on finance, and civil society’s role in policy-making.

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What it means to be young in the European Union today Choose translations of the previous link 


Facts and figures on children and youth in the EU

How many children live in the European Union (EU)? Which are the most youthful Member States? What is the share of children among the foreign-born people in each EU Member State? How many babies have been born outside marriage? Answers to all these questions and many more can be found in the flagship publication “Being young in Europe today” issued by Eurostat. Read more...

Training material on implementing the European Commission's Recommendation on 'Investing in Children - Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage' Choose translations of the previous link 


The European Institute of Public Administration has recently made available some material delivered during recent training sessions organised by the European Commission . The training was designed for national administrators who are currently working on developing implementation strategies for the Recommendation 'Investing in children - breaking the cycle of disadvantage'. This builds on the training seminars held throughout Europe over the past months, notably in Athens in May 2014, and in Italy in March 2014. Read more...

The European Platform for Investing in Children attends European conferences on child and family policy Choose translations of the previous link 


The EPIC team recently had the opportunity to engage with a number of researchers and practitioners at the Eurochild, European Parents Association, and University of Lodz conferences on child and family policy. Conferences such as these present opportunities to engage with expert networks, but also to learn about major developments in the field of child and family policy. Read more...

Understanding and countering multiple discrimination faced by young people with disabilities in Europe, Strasbourg, France


This week-long study session by the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) is focussed on the “Understanding and countering multiple discrimination faced by young people with disabilities in Europe” and will take place at the Council of Europe Youth Centre in Strasbourg, France. The aim of the study session is to empower young disabled people to tackle multiple discrimination and to develop a video campaign to highlight this issue and promote tolerance and understanding. Find more information on the event and a link to the application form for participants on the ENIL website.

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The Children’s Society releases the Good Childhood Report 2014 (The Children’s Society, 2014) Choose translations of the previous link 


The Children’s Society latest report analysed children’s wellbeing. The report highlighted children’s perceptions of their wellbeing and life satisfaction. It is based on surveys or interviews with about 50,000 children in about 40 countries worldwide on what makes them happy. Read more...


Daphne III: Improving Professional Practice On Child Abuse (IPPOCA project) Choose translations of the previous link 


The IPPOCA project (Improving Professional Practice On Child Abuse) is funded by DG Justice – European Commission and falls under the Daphne III programme. Read more...

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United Nations appointment of a new Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health Choose translations of the previous link 


The United Nations (UN) has recently appointed Professor Danius Pūras as the new Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health.  Professor Pūras is a Lithuanian human rights defender, psychiatrist and has previously been Chair of the Board of the Human Rights Monitoring Institute (HRMI).  This is the first time that a Lithuanian representative has been appointed to such a high position within the UN Read more...

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UN Committee on the Rights of the Child affirms children’s digital rights Choose translations of the previous link 


The yearly General Discussion Day of the UN committee on the Rights of the Child has focused on defining strategies that guarantee rights to give online opportunities for children while protecting them from risks and possible harm. Read more...

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UNICEF releases outlook on Child Poverty Post-2015 Choose translations of the previous link 


Although the strong commitment to Millennium Development Goals has heralded significant improvements in global poverty reduction, UNICEF asserts that “this progress has been inequitable, with children from the poorest backgrounds seeing the fewest gains.” Read more...

Belgium and the United Kingdom implement a new child poverty strategy Choose translations of the previous link 


Governments worldwide are increasingly coming to terms with the importance of early investment in childhood to prevent the rise of inequality in the coming decades. The Europe 2020 strategy aims to reduce the number of people in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion by 20 million. To ensure that poverty reduction goals are achieved, both Belgium and the United Kingdom have recently adopted child poverty reduction strategies, with a view to reduce overall poverty levels, including for children and young people. These strategies rest on investment in children’s services and other social services to help undermine the cycle of disadvantage. Read more...

The European Employers' Forum for Work-Life Balance, 8-9 September 2014, Helsinki, Finland


In September 2014, the Confederation of Family Organisations in the European Union (COFACE) and the Family Federation of Finland (Väestöliitto) will organise the European Employers’ Forum for Work Life Balance. The forum will be preceded by a pre-conference on ‘New Dimensions of Family-Life and Work for Women, Men and Children’, during which keynote speeches and panels will discuss family policies and work-life balance as well as day-care systems. The Forum itself will bring together public, private and third-sector employers with a view to exchanging knowledge and developing good practice on family-friendly workplaces and work-life balance for employees, with a particular focus on the healthcare and retail sectors.

13th European Scientific Association for Residential and Foster Care for Children and Adolescents Conference, 3-4 September 2014, Copenhagen, Denmark


In early September 2014, the European Scientific Association for Residential and Foster Care for Children and Adolescents will hold its 13th conference. Major themes covered during the conference will include evidence-based approaches, the education of children in care settings, new paths for foster care, and the translation between research and practice and policy. The aim of the conference is to think about new tools to help scientists and researchers with new tools as well as knowledge to equip them to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable or troubled children, and their families.

With childhood obesity on the rise what food policies are in place in European schools? Choose translations of the previous link 


Why are schools important when it comes to children and their health?

As the Commissioner for Health, Tonio Borg, stated ‘Nearly one in every three children in Europe are overweight or obese, and as such, are at risk developing a number of preventable diseases’. With childhood obesity on the rise, efforts need to be made to encourage children to adopt healthy lifestyles and eating patterns. It has been noted that schools are key, protected environments where encouragement and guidance can be provided to children so that they learn how to live healthy lives. Read more...

Cyberbullying risks permanent harm to European children Choose translations of the previous link 


In recent years, media attention has intensified on child- and teenage suicides which can be connected to bullying via the Internet. However, while the most tragic cases are relatively few, cyberbullying is a serious threat and has long-lasting impacts on the victims. More than half (55%) of children in Europe who have been bullied said they became depressed as a result, with over a third saying they harmed themselves (35%) or thought about suicide (38%), according to a survey  conducted by BeatBullying and Coface’s #DeleteCyberbullying campaign. Read more...

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child Choose translations of the previous link 


This November marks UNICEF’s 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 25 years ago UNICEF made a promise to children across the world that they would do their upmost to protect their rights so that they could develop, learn and fulfil their potential. Read more...

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European Commission proposal to increase protection for children in criminal proceedings Choose translations of the previous link 


Justice Ministers from the Member States (MS) agreed on 6th June 2014 on a general approach to safeguarding children during criminal court proceedings improving the implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. This initial informal agreement in the Justice Council allows for a trilogue discussion between the Council of Ministers (CoM), European Parliament (EP) and the European Commission (EC) at the end of November 2014. Coinciding with this agreement, the Commission also published a report on the children’s involvement in criminal and judicial proceedings. Read more...

22nd annual conference of the European Social Network (ESN) ‘Investing in people and communities - Social inclusion and social development’, 7-9 July 2014, Rome, Italy


In July 2014, the European Social Network will hold its 22 annual conference in Italy. The theme of this two-day event will be social inclusion and investment in people, and more specifically, ways in which citizens can be included in the shaping of their local services and communities, as well as how budgets and existing capabilities and human capital can be better used in the delivery of social services.  The conference will see actors from the private, public and charity sectors from a broad range of countries interact in a series of keynote speeches and 30 workshops touching on themes ranging from intergenerational volunteering to inspection and improvement or the use of technology.

Understanding and countering multiple discrimination faced by young people with disabilities in Europe, Strasbourg, France


This week-long study session by the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) is focussed on the “Understanding and countering multiple discrimination faced by young people with disabilities in Europe” and will take place at the Council of Europe Youth Centre in Strasbourg, France. The aim of the study session is to empower young disabled people to tackle multiple discrimination and to develop a video campaign to highlight this issue and promote tolerance and understanding. Find more information on the event and a link to the application form for participants on the ENIL website.

Childcare costs in Europe affect poor families disproportionately Choose translations of the previous link 


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. Read more...

Eurofound event ‘What future for the active inclusion strategy?’, 16 June 2014, Brussels, Belgium


In June 2014, Eurofound will be hosting an event on the active inclusion strategy proposed by the EC in 2008, which aimed to bring those furthest from work into employment, but also to enable Europeans who cannot work to live in dignity and to participate in society. The event is organised by both the European Economic and Social Committee and Eurofound. It aims to discuss various aspects of the EU’s active inclusion strategy, including the reasons behind the lack of results, the role of the EU2020 and the Social Investment Package in bringing about the active inclusion strategy, the potential role of social partners, but also the role EU institutions can play in mainstreaming this strategy in the future.

Presenting new opportunities for Investing in Children: a European seminar series Choose translations of the previous link 


Over the course of 2014, the European Commission is organising a series seminars across Europe on the topic of the Recommendation for Investing in Children. The first event was held on March 27th-28th as part of the Italian Ministry of Labour and Social Policy’s High Level National Conference on Childhood and Adolescence, during which a specific seminar on the Recommendation for Investing in Children was organised by the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA). In May 2014, a second seminar on the implementation of the Recommendation was held in Greece; the event was organised by EIPA and focused on the implementation of the Recommendation in Greece. Read more...

The potential of social policy innovation and partnerships across sectors: conclusions from a high-level conference Choose translations of the previous link 


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 websiteRead more...

The impact of early childhood education and care and parenting programs Choose translations of the previous link 


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. Read more...

24th International Forum for Child Welfare (IFCW), 9-12 June 2014, Helsinki, Finland


In June 2014, the International Forum for Child Welfare will be meeting in Helsinki for its 24th edition. Attendees from NGOs, public institutions, academia, practitioners and the private sector are expected. The aim of the event is to exchange ideas, good practices, and solutions to bolster child welfare, but also to provide an opportunity for experts and practitioners to network and connect. The event will revolve around three main themes, which are children’s rights with regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, practical examples of child protection for those in vulnerable situations, and finally, the status of policy and practice in welfare policies in Nordic countries.

Unaccompanied minors and child protection in Europe Choose translations of the previous link 


Recent data indicates that the arrival of unaccompanied minors 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. Read more...

15th meeting for the OECD’s ‘Starting Strong’ early childhood education and care network, 2-3 June 2014, Paris, France


For the past decade, the OECD has been publishing detailed reviews of the early childhood education and care systems in its Member countries. The two ‘Starting Strong’ reports from 2001 and 2006 provided a holistic review of policies in various areas relating to communities and families can help foster the development of young children. Following the publication of these two reports, the OECD constituted a ‘Starting Strong’ network of experts in early childhood education and care which aims to disseminate good practice in the field. The network will be meeting in June in Paris to listen to presentations on the issue.

UN children’s complaints mechanism comes into force Choose translations of the previous link 


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). Read more...

Social protection during the economic crisis- how do changes to the benefits systems affect our children? Choose translations of the previous link 


The European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) presents a policy brief 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. Read more...

European Commission conference on Social Policy Innovation, 19-20 May 2014, Brussels, Belgium


The European Commission has realised the role of social innovation and social investment in implementing structural reforms within EU Member States to help deliver the Europe 2020 objectives. This conference will revolve around four themes, focusing on the role of social policy innovation, investment and knowledge sharing for social policy reform; the potential of ESI funds for social innovation; partnership for innovation; and evidence-based research relevant to policy. The event will provide opportunities to discuss how EU Member States can be supported in terms of social policy innovation and experimentation via the recently launched Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI). Finally, it will analyse how countries are prioritizing social innovation, notably by using the European Social Fund.

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Protecting children in online games and in-app purchases Choose translations of the previous link 


The games app business is growing at a quick pace, with the whole app business expected to be worth around €63bn within the next five years, according to the European Commission. Many games are designed and marketed specifically for young users. More than half of online games in the EU are advertised as “free”, but can carry hidden costs. Part of their turnover is generated by children buying extensions and extras while playing online games (so-called in-app or in-game purchases), while logged in on the parents’ smartphone or tablets, often through mechanisms that do not make it clear that real money is being spent by clicking on certain links. Read more...

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European Network of Independent Experts on Social Inclusion provides reports on the implementation of the European Commission Recommendation on Investing in Children: Breaking the cycle of disadvantage Choose translations of the previous link 


The European Network of Independent Experts on Social Inclusion was asked to prepare country reports for the 28 EU Member States (MS) on the implementation of the Commission Recommendation on Investing in Children: Breaking the cycle of disadvantage  (the Recommendation). The reports set out what experts see as the priorities for action in each Member State and aim to assist the Commission and EU Member States in the implementation and monitoring of the Recommendation. The synthesis report puts forward a series of suggestions for improving the implementation of the Recommendation on EU and national level drawing on the main findings of the country reports. All 28 reports and a synthesis report are now available onlineRead more...

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The promise of early childhood education and care for social mobility Choose translations of the previous link 


The evidence on the impact of early childhood education and care (ECEC) for children has grown over the past years, with longitudinal studies showing its long-term benefits, and the high cost of not dealing with inequality from an early age. The European Commission has emphasised the importance of ‘Investing in Children’ to break the ‘cycle of disadvantage’, partly by setting up the Social Investment Package, and as part of that, the European Platform for Investing in Children, which recently published a policy brief on the importance of ECEC and its relation to access to higher education as a means of favouring social mobility. Read more...

European Commission’s Social Investment Package Choose translations of the previous link 


European Commission’s (EC) Social Investment Package  (SIP), adopted in February 2013, represents a strategy for structural reforms in social policy to help European Union (EU) Member States to respond to the significant challenges of the current economic crisis. Among other measures it calls for investing in children and young people to increase their opportunities in life. With the EC’s Recommendation for Investing in Children as part  of the SIP there is also a clear focus on early support to break the intergenerational transmission of disadvantage. Since its adoption, a set of measures have been undertaken by the EC and Member States for implementing the SIP and reporting on the related policy reforms. Furthermore the EC has adopted a Policy Roadmap for the 2014 Implementation of the SIP. Read more...

US reports 43% drop in the obesity rate among 2-5year old children Choose translations of the previous link 


A recent survey carried out by US public health authorities has shown that there has been a 43% drop in the obesity rates for US children living in the United states between the ages of two and five years old. The researcher at the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Public Health Service report that in 2003 the prevalence of obesity for each age group was 14% and just under a decade later in 2012, this figure has fallen to just above 8%. Read more...

Cities for children Choose translations of the previous link 


Cities for Children is a European Network which was first started in 2007 in the City of Stuttgart through support of Rober Bosch Stiftung.  The network allows European cities to share more advanced thinking and concepts regarding how an urban environment can promote the happiness and wellbeing of its children, young people and parents.  This network consists of 76 cities in total from 32 European countries and is supported by three patrons: the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions and the Committee of the Regions support the Network as patrons. Read more...

Supporting children with parents in prison Choose translations of the previous link 


The extreme disadvantage experienced by young people with parents in prison is little recognised in any country, despite the fact that the number of children affected by parental incarceration is estimated to be approximately 800,000 in the EU. In the UK this number exceeds 160 000, higher than those affected by divorce. Read more...

Reducing child deaths and planning next steps Choose translations of the previous link 


A number of reports and statements in 2013 concerning child deaths led to some degree of optimism in various quarters, as progress was recorded in several key areas of this worldwide effort.

For example in September 2013, the UN reported  that the number of children dying each year had almost halved between 1990 and 2012, from 12 million to 6.6 million. Read more...

OECD online seminar on vocational education and training (28/01/2014)


In January 2014, the OECD will be hosting an online seminar for members of its OECD Higher Education Programme. The webinar will focus on the main findings from OECD reviews of postsecondary vocational education and training. For 1h30min, up to 30 participants will discuss the reviews, which cover a wide range of OECD countries from Spain to the United Kingdom, and stem from the OECD’s original policy reviews of VET in its Learning for Jobs review before 2010.

Making progress against child labour worldwide and in Europe Choose translations of the previous link 


In September 2013, the International Labour Organization published its latest report on child labour  as part of its report series aiming to estimate global child labour, four years after the previous, 2008 iteration. The estimates suggest that as many of 168 million children worldwide (11% of the world’s child population) are in child labour, and that 85 million are in dangerous work which endangers their health, moral development or safety. The report is structured into four parts which present main figures for the new estimate, before developing on detailed estimates, highlighting trends between 2000-2013 and suggesting future avenues. Read more...

Review on the impact of money on children’s outcomes (The London School of Economics and Political Science, 2013) Choose translations of the previous link 


New research commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation examines the causal relation between household income and children’s outcomes later in life. The report by Kitty Stewart and Kerris Cooper (Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics and Political Science)  consists in a systematic review of the evidence from abroad on a range of social, educational, medical and social and behavioural outcomes for children. One key finding is that money does make a difference to children’s outcomes: the relationship between children’s wealth and their cognitive, health and social-behavioural outcomes goes beyond simple correlation – poorer children do worse in these areas in part because they are poorer. Read more...

Deepening the social dimension of the Social and Economic Union Choose translations of the previous link 


Throughout the year 2013, several stakeholders and official bodies of the European Union have published reports and made declarations regarding the need to increase the focus on the social dimension of the EU: these are briefly analysed in this article.  Read more...

Eurofound seminar on ‘The European Youth Guarantee – From concept to reality, on 28 November 2013, Madrid, Spain


This one-day seminar organised together with the Spanish Economic and Social Council (ESC) will bring together multiple key stakeholders from EU countries particularly affected by youth unemployment: Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. This will be an opportunity to exchange on challenges in tackling the rise of youth joblessness in these countries as well as discussing the implementation of the Youth Guarantee. Eurofound will also present first findings from a new report on “Youth Transitions to the Labour Market”. For a draft programme see here.

8th European Forum on the Rights of the Child, 17-18 December 2013, Brussels Choose translations of the previous link 


This forum will bring together representatives of the European Institutions, EU Member States, Ombudspersons for children, international organisations and NGOs and focuses on the need for integrated and coordinated child protection systems across policy areas and . It will furthermore provide an opportunity for the exchange of good practice and contribute to the work on EU guidelines supporting integrated protection systems, The day will include high-level speeches while the second day the role of child protection systems will be discussed in four parallel sessions. For more information and background papers see hereRead more...

Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) - Global Campaign to End Child Detention Choose translations of the previous link 


In September PICUM launched a Global Campaign to End Child Detention. This campaign was first initiated by the International Detention Coalition which is an overarching umbrella group of over 300 NGOs.  The aim of the campaign is to draw together members of civil society in order that they might work alongside and in collaboration with one another to put an end to immigration detention of children. Read more...

On 20th November, the world’s attention is on child policy - Universal Children's Day Choose translations of the previous link 


In 1954, the United Nations General Assembly recommended that all countries institute a Universal Children's Day, to be observed as a day of worldwide fraternity and understanding between children. It recommended that the Day be devoted to promoting the ideals and objectives of the United Nations Charter and the welfare of the children of the world. The date 20 November marks the day on which the Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989. Read more...

Segregation of Roma children persists across European schools- a daunting challenge Choose translations of the previous link 


For centuries, the Roma have been part of the European cultural landscape. The members of ethnic group are also often the victims of discrimination and prejudice, particularly in times of economic crisis. One example of discrimination prominent in Europe is the segregation of Roma children in public schools. Read more...

'Improving poverty reduction in Europe', 14-15 November 2013, Brussels, Belgium


The conference builds on the work of the EU funded ImPRovE Consortium as well related EU funded projects (such as GINI and LOCALISE) and insights of several recent volumes on poverty, policy and the labour market. The extensive program offers 9 sessions on various topics around poverty, policy and the labour market with known researcher and EU funded project team members discussing their work and topical issues.

Annual Conference 2013: Building an inclusive Europe – the contribution of children’s participation, 13-15 November 2013, Milan, Italy


This event will be hosted by Albero della Vita in cooperation with the Italian national Ombudsman for Children, Municipality of Milan and other Italian NGOs and networks.  More information will be available soon and a form for expressing early interest and getting updates can be found here. For any questions you can send an email to

UNESCO Youth Forum, 29-31 October 2013, Paris, France


The UNESCO Youth Forum is an integral part of UNESCO's General Conference and brings together young delegates from around the globe to exchange views, experiences, and discuss common problems. The event allows young people to make suggestions directly to the UNESCO General Conference.

The Unfolding Conference, 23-26 October 2013, Brussels, Belgium Choose translations of the previous link 


Learning for Well-Being in partnership with the Alliance for Childhood are organising the pan-European Unfolding Conference which will bring together decision-makers and practitioners  in order to discuss the question of 'how to create a culture that allows the unfolding each and every child's unique potential and their engagement in society'. This three day conference offers a wide range of panel discussions and workshops including an Open Space technology session. Read more...

17 October: UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty Choose translations of the previous link 


The celebration of this Day is an important opportunity to acknowledge the efforts and struggles of people living in poverty and a chance to make their concerns heard worldwide. Participation of the poor themselves has been at the centre of the Day's celebration since its very beginning. This year’s theme is “Working together towards a world without discrimination: building on the experience and knowledge of people in extreme poverty”.



Lithuanian Presidency EU Conference Mental health: Challenges and possibilities, 10 - 11 October 2013, Vilnius, Lithuania Choose translations of the previous link 


This event brings together around 200 mental health experts from the European Union, candidate countries and the European Free Trade Association. While the importance of mental health in all policies as well the influence of societal factors on the emergence and development of mental illnesses will be discussed, a focus will be children's and adolescents' mental health development, and the analysis of addictive disorders. Read more...

Measuring impact in services for children and families Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, 22 October, Edinburgh, UK Choose translations of the previous link 


This one day conference focusses on how providers can plan evaluations and measure outcomes in a meaningful way in order to gather information on how they are making a difference to children’s lives, improve their practices show funders how their funding is contributing to this. Read more...

ISPCAN (International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect) Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, 15 September 2013, Dublin, Ireland


ISPCAN’s Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect will be a forum for delegates to study and discuss the current state of research as well as European and international interventions on child abuse and neglect (CAN). The conference will also address emerging topics and challenges in CAN. Themes to be covered by this four-day conference in Dublin include interventions and programmes for families in difficult situations, children’s right and participation, reforms in child protection and welfare policy and building the evidence base on CAN.

2013 British Society for Population Studies Conference on demography and family policy, 9-11 September, 2013, Swansea, UK


The annual conference of the British Society for Population Studies will take place from the 9th to 11th of September 2013 in Swansea, UK. The two-day event will consist of two plenary sessions during which Monica Das Gupta (The World Bank) will speak on ‘Demography, gender and kinship’, and Mary Daly (University of Oxford) will discuss the UK and European policy response to trends on fertility and ageing. A series of ‘strand sessions’ focusing on themes such as ageing, families and households, fertility, and mortality will also be held, and the event will also include a training session on methods and modelling.

Results of the 2013 European Semester – Country specific recommendations in the area of child and family policy Choose translations of the previous link 


At the occasion of the European Semester the European Commission discusses with the Member States their progress towards achieving the targets of the commonly agreed Europe  2020 strategy. During this annual cycle national economic, social and structural reforms are monitored and coordinated. The Semester ends when the Council adopts so called Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) that were proposed by the Commission.  The CSRs aim at a stronger foundation for growth after the crisis and highlight how countries may enhance their growth potential, increase employment opportunities and competitiveness in 2013-2014. Read more...

(c) IStock

The Underwear Rule campaign Choose translations of the previous link 


Statistics drawn from Unicef, International Labour Organisation and the World Health Organisation indicate that one in five children in Europe are victims of a form of sexual abuse. It has been also estimated that in 70-85% of circumstances the abuser is a person that the child knows and feels they can trust. With its ONE in FIVE campaign the Council of Europe aims to stop sexual violence against children. One strand of the ONE in FIVE campaign is called The Underwear RuleRead more...

(c) IStock

Germany introduces the legal right to child day care Choose translations of the previous link 


On August 1st Germany introduced the legal right to early childhood support in a day care centre or day nursery. Every child between the age of one and three now has the legal right to this type of support and the German Bundesländer plan is to introduce about 810,000 places for under three year olds in day nurseries, so called Kita’s (Kindertagesstätte). This rights-based approach is very much in line with the European Commission's Recommendation on investing in children, adopted in February earlier this year. Read more...

International Youth Day, 12 August 2013, Global


12th August was declared as the International Youth Day was declared by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly’s resolution 54/120 in 1999. It is dedicated to raise awareness of issues affecting young people around the globe and forms part of the UN's wider World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY), an initiative for national action and international support to improve wellbeing and livelihood among young people.

European website on children’s rights

European Union websites teach children about the EU and children’s rights Choose translations of the previous link 


In January 2012, the European Commission launched the Kids’ corner , a special website dedicated to children and young people. The website includes information about children's rights as well as games, quizzes and information about the EU and its Member States. It was first announced in the EU's Agenda for the Rights of the Child to support action to ensure better and more effective information of children about their rights and about relevant EU policies while performing a consolidation and modernisation of existing information tools. Read more...

young person not in education, employment, or training

UN releases the World Youth Report: ‘Youth Employment - Youth Perspectives on the Pursuit of Decent Work in Changing Times’ Choose translations of the previous link 


The opening cover of the twice yearly report from the UN depicts children looking directly out to the reader, holding up cameras, as if to take a snapshot of their view out into the world.  This cover photograph captures the central essence of this report which is to focus and voice the perspectives of youth today on how they see and view their path in the world in regards to the world after school and entering employment. Read more...

child with disability

State of the World’s Children 2013 – Children with disabilities (UNICEF 2013) Choose translations of the previous link 


In May 2013, UNICEF published its latest report on ‘The State of the World’s Children’, which this year focused on children with disabilities. Based on statistical evidence from around the world, the report combines an analysis of the current situation and an agenda for action. It also includes several unique ‘perspective’ articles, from individuals with a range of experiences on this issue. Read more...

the European Commissions released a progress report on the Barcelona targets for childcare provision

European Commission releases progress report on the Barcelona Targets Choose translations of the previous link 


On 3rd June 2013, the European Commission released a progress report on the Barcelona objectives, agreed in 2002, to improve the provision of childcare facilities.

Key findings for 2010 show that only eight Member States have met the targets set by the Barcelona European Council, which state that childcare should be provided for 90% of children between three years old and the mandatory school age, and for 33% of children under three. The report seeks to re-emphasise the importance of increasing accessibility to childcare, as a means of early investment in human capital but also in order to promote women’s employment. Read more...

Fourth European Network for Social and Emotional Competence (ENSEC) Conference on 3-7 July 2013, Zagreb, Croatia


ENSEC is a network of collaborating researchers and practitioners from the EU who work in the field of children and young people’s social and emotional capabilities.  With children and young people facing more challenging and complex situations, ENSEC aims to help young people and children identify their place in society.  Young people and children across the world are confronted with anxieties about war, racism, inequality, migration, family breakdown, new technology and media and the environment.  New policies and programmes aim to address these issues in a bid to alleviate young people’s anxieties and ensure their well-being, but evidence for the effectiveness of these policies and practices should be examined carefully.  This conference aims to address these major issues and facilitate discussion regarding research in this area. More information can be found on their website.

children and teacher in a classroom

OECD report on how to best reap the synergies for better learning Choose translations of the previous link 


In April 2013, the OECD published a 600 page report on the evaluation and assessment of students in primary and secondary schools. The experience of 28 OECD countries is analysed with a focus on student assessment, teacher appraisal, school and system evaluation. An international comparative evaluation of schools systems is provided, as well as an analysis of current policies across OECD countries. The report also presents a framework for making assessments and shows examples of evidence-based policy options. One of the remarkable findings is that strong contrasts between OECD member states still exist; for instance in Denmark and Sweden, pupils in primary schools are not given any marks, while in Hungary, Italy or Poland, numerical marks are the key instrument for formal reporting. Read more...

report on best practices to step sexual violence against abused children to foster child well-being

‘ONE in FIVE’ repository for best practices to stop sexual violence against children Choose translations of the previous link 


In February 2013, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe launched a campaign encouraging the member states’ 200,000 municipal and regional authorities to sign a pact to stop sexual violence against children. The Pact is the main contribution of the Congress to the Council of Europe’s overarching ‘ONE in FIVE’ campaign, which began in 2010 and is based on data that estimates one in five children are victims of some form of sexual violence; its objective is to achieve wider implementation of the Convention on the Protection of Children Against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. The involvement of local authorities is critical to the campaign’s success because they are responsible for many crucial issues in the field of child protection, such as the regulation of social and health services. An online “pact platform” has also been designed to monitor the progress and initiatives of signatories and will serve as a central repository of good practice. Read more...

Family and Parenting Institute event-Tackling Child Poverty: the Impact of Welfare Policy on Vulnerable Families, 11 June, London, UK


In a time of austerity, with changes to the benefits system and cuts to local authorities’ budgets, it has become increasingly important to focus on ending child poverty and provide support to the most vulnerable children.  Conference delegates will develop their understanding of vital welfare reforms and how they will impact vulnerable families and children.  The morning session shall focus on child poverty and current reforms the benefits system, and the afternoon session will examine case studies and examples of effective practice.  Delegates will analyse measures to reduce child poverty and improve children’s situations and outcomes.  There will also be an opportunity for delegates to network with individuals from across many sectors and discuss best practice.

children playing at school, (c) IStock

Education and integration of second-generation migrant children in Europe Choose translations of the previous link 


Migration is essential in responding to the challenges posed by and ageing European society, but differences between the socioeconomic status of migrants and natives persist, and are to some extent passed down to generations born in the host country. The socioeconomic situation of second generation migrants with a foreign background (both parents born abroad), while being more positive than that of first-generation migrants, still shows disadvantages compared to the situation of individuals with a native background. While according to Eurostat statistics, migrants as a group suffer from disadvantages in terms of educational outcomes, income and employment rates, in the second generation (native born persons with one or both parents born abroad).  Some of these disadvantages have been reduced or even, in the case of second-generation migrants with a mixed background (one parent born abroad), sometimes reversed.  However, levels of educational attainment of second-generation migrants, differ considerably between Member States. Read more...

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Irish Presidency event on the Social Investment Package Choose translations of the previous link 


In early May 2013 a high-level conference presenting the Social Investment Package to civil society, Member State officials and key stakeholders was held in Leuven, under the aegis of the Irish Presidency of the European Union. A number of keynote speakers from various major European institutions took part in the event, including the President of the European Commission, the President of the European Council, and the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. Commissioner László Andor gave a speech on the rationale behind the Social Investment Package. The conference focused on three themes relevant to the Package, including investment in people, social innovation and the role of NGOs, and the involvement of young people in tomorrow’s social Europe. Read more...

Child Health Research, the Key to a Healthier European Society 30-31 May 2013, Dublin, Ireland


The RICHE and CHICOS projects, together with TACTICS and EURO-PERISTAT, are hosting a joint event on European child health research. Leading researchers and practitioners, policy makers, and advocates will discuss ways forward and contribute to shaping the landscape of future European investment in child health. The Irish Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald, and Patricia Reilly, Commissioner Geoghegan­Quinn's cabinet (DG Research), will attend the opening and closing session. More information can be found here.

Joint Council Annual Child Welfare Symposium, New York, 20-22 May 2013


Positive child development and strong child protection systems are mutually reinforced and have significant economic benefits to children, particularly young children.  Every year, the Symposium brings together 200 professionals in the area of child welfare, adoption, and orphan care for three days of information gathering, idea sharing and networking. This year, workshops will discuss the needs of children in Haiti, India, Ethiopia and China, as well as financial organizational empowerment, medical and nutritional issues, orphan care issues, and inter-country adoption. Speakers include representatives of national and international nonprofit organizations,  scholars and policymakers from these fields. More information and registration can be found on the website.

Book launch: ‘No time for children: Fertility Rates and Population Decline ’, 15 May, Brussels, Belgium


‘No time for children’ will be launched by the authors, Prof. Ann Buchanan (Director of the Centre for Research into Parenting and Children, University of Oxford, UK) and Dr. Anna Rotkirch, (Research Director at the Population Research Institute, Väestöliitto, Finland) at the European parliament, Brussels.  The book investigates the significant fall in fertility rates worldwide and the possible population decline by 2050.  The authors consider the impacts this might have on the labour market, women and children, reconciling work and family life, and the economy.  The result of global research, this publication aims to find answers regarding the ageing population and the decreasing workforce.  The event will provide an opportunity to learn about the authors latest research findings and hear the responses of policy makers, including Daniela Bankier (Head of Unit, DG Justice), Dagmar Schumacher (Director UN WOMEN) and Mary Collins (European Women’s Lobby).

child looking at computer screen, (c) IStock

Protecting EU Kids online Choose translations of the previous link 


Today’s children are living in an environment that is radically different from the childhoods of their parents.  The growing prevalence of virtual environments in private life and education is one of the most notable intergenerational changes. It has profound effects on children’s physical activity levels and socialisation, and challenges behavioural models that prevailed in previous generations. In particular, children’s online activities risk exposing them to novel forms of risks and create vulnerabilities that their parents and teachers are not familiar with. European institutions and EU-funded projects are increasingly addressing the risks and safety of children online. Read more...

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UNICEF report card 11 on child well-being in rich countries Choose translations of the previous link 


The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has recently published a report card providing a comparative overview of child well-being in 29 of the world’s most advanced economies. Using international data from 2009 and 2010, the report breaks down well-being into five dimensions, namely education, housing and environment, material well-being, health and safety, and behaviour and risks. The report card consists of three sections: a country ranking; children’s views on their own well-being; and changes in child well-being since the 2007 UNICEF report card on this same topic. Overall the data show improvements for most indicators of children’s well-being irrespective of per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with particularly strong gains for Central and Eastern European countries. Read more...

Eurochild & UNESCO Policy Round Table on Family and Parenting Support


The event is targeted at promoting a wider understanding of family and parenting support at EU level and, focussing on policy implications, lessons learned and ways to implement these lessons. Parent support, as well as education, training, strengthening family and community networks are key building stones in enhancing child well-being and outcomes.  The event will also pay special attention to disadvantages in early life stages that can compound at later stages and come up with some shared objectives addressing those issues. A concept note and draft programme, as well as further information on how to register for this event can be found here.

The 2013 Demography Forum: a focus on enhancing employment through social investment


On May 6-7 2013, the Fourth biannual demography forum will bring together in Brussels about 300 academics, policymakers, politicians and non-governmental organisations. It will focus on the demographic aspects of the Social Investment Package adopted in February 2013, which seeks to help Member States deal with social exclusion and poverty by investing in human capital and participation in the labour market. This two-day event will feature keynote speeches and workshops on the potential of social policies, the means by which they can be achieved, their cost, and will touch on enhancing the labour participation of specific groups and extending Europe’s ‘demographic dividend’ via longer working lives.


young people, children and social inclusion, (c) IStock

EU Youth Conference focused on youth unemployment and social inclusion Choose translations of the previous link 


The European Union (EU) Youth Conference, held between the  11– 13 March 2013, was the highlight of Ireland’s EU Youth Presidency Programme, and marked the culmination of consultations with 11,000 young people and 10 non-governmental organisations across 27 EU member states. One hundred and fifty young people from 27 EU Member States joined Minister Frances Fitzgerald and EU Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou at the conference in Dublin. A key focus of the meeting was on unemployment, which has emerged as the biggest challenge to the social inclusion of young people. Read more...

Round table debate on Grandparents as carers - Trends and support services in Europe


Eurochild and AGE Platform Europe organise a round table debate on "Grandparents as carers - Trends and support services in Europe" at the European Parliament hosted by Austrian MEP K. Heinz Becker. Eurochild also conducted in 2012 a study on the contribution of grandparents to families across Europe which highlights family policies relevant to grandparents and identifies key policies that recognize grandparent as carers strengthening extended families.

IMPALLA-ESPANET International Conference: Building blocks for an inclusive society: empirical evidence from social policy research, 18-19 April, 2013, Luxembourg


This joint IMPALLA-ESPANET conference addresses some of the central questions in social policy today: what are the essential building blocks for welfare states to accomplish an inclusive society, and how could education and family capital underpin an inclusive society?

With the background of demographic pressure, economic stagnation and fiscal constraint, European and global best practices for welfare reform should be of great interest to social policy makers. This event will foster interdisciplinary dialogue between academic researchers and policy analysts. Papers on children and family policy will be presented and discussed, on topics such as health and wellbeing, family formation and child care. More information can be found here.

Child receives vaccination in clinic

Right to Health: Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) publishes new General Comment Choose translations of the previous link 


The Committee on the Rights of the Child, a body of currently 18 independent experts monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by its State Parties, has published its General Comment No. 15 on the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health (article 24). The Convention sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children, who are defined as every human being below the age of eighteen years unless the age of majority is attained earlier according to national legislation.

According to article 24 of the Convention, State Parties ‘recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health.’ They shall ‘strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services.’ This General Comment no. 15 provides guidance and support to State parties and other duty bearers (governmental and non-governmental, private sector and funding organizations) across all levels of governance for respecting, protecting and fulfilling children’s right to health. Read more...

International Day for Street Children, April 12th


The International Day for Street Children initiative was launched in 2011 and aims to raise awareness among politicians, non-governmental organisations and corporate representatives of the conditions facing street children worldwide. Child homelessness results from poverty, neglect or family breakdown. The International Day seeks to encourage governments to recognise the needs of and provide support for street children. The 2013 Day will consist of 71 events across 37 countries, and will see the launch of a ‘Demand a Day’ petition calling the United Nations to adopt the International Day for Street Children.

Youth Policy Cooperation in South East Europe: Symposium on the role of information and counselling in fostering young people's social inclusion and access to their rights, April 10th 2013


The symposium was organised by the EU-CoE youth partnership, the Ministry of Social Policy and Youth of Croatia, ERYICA and SALTO RC SEE. Information and counselling opportunities can enable young people to access their rights and prevent them being marginalised citizens in society.  Information must be made accessible and lucid so young people benefit and feel empowered.  Modern technology presents many opportunities to share information about counselling with young people, while professional youth workers still have an integral role in this process.  The symposium looked into governmental partnerships with stakeholders in regards to how they can further extend and develop the provision of information and support provided to young people in regard to counselling.

Investing in Children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage (closed event)


This event focusses on empowering Eurochild’s member organisations to engage with their national and regional governments on the European Commission (EC) Recommendation "Investing in Children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage" addressing the increasing child poverty in Europe. Eurochild, together with UNICEF and the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN), organises a series of events to strengthen civil society and political commitment to tackle child poverty. Guest speakers and hosts will be among others the Irish Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton.

child speaking up

Eurochild’s ‘Speak up!’ project for children’s rights Choose translations of the previous link 


Eurochild is a network of European organisations and partnerships (from Poland, Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK, Ireland, Greece, Poland and Bulgaria) which focuses on promoting children’s rights.  Eurochild led the two year project ‘Speak up!’ with funding from the European Commission’s Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Program.  The ‘Speak up!’ project’s central aim was to investigate how children view their own rights, how these rights can be protected and how children think they are reflected in national and European policy. Read more...

plant held in hands

Commissioner László Andor speaks on Social Investment Package (SIP) and role of the European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) Choose translations of the previous link 


László Andor, Commissioner responsible for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, recently delivered a speech on ‘Fighting poverty and preserving democracy through social investment’ at the Council of Europe Conference on Poverty and Inequalities in Societies of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Andor highlighted the aim of the European Commission’s (EC) Social Investment Package (SIP), which was adopted on 20th February, in increasing “participation in employment, better social spending and fairer taxation to offset inequality and fight against poverty across Europe”. The Package sets out an integrated framework for social policy reform drawing on good practices of Member States and calling for increased efficiency in achieving policy goals. Read more...

father and child walking

The Confederation of Family Organisations in the European Union (COFACE) Conference on “Vulnerable Families- What can Europe do?” 4th and 5th February 2013 Choose translations of the previous link 


Hosted by the Irish Presidency of the EU in Dublin Castle, COFACE and the Irish Countrywomen’s Association co-organised the conference, “Vulnerable Families- What can Europe do?” on the 4th and 5th February 2013.  The conference focused on the most vulnerable families in the EU who, in such an economic and social climate, are at risk of poverty and exclusion from the labour market.  At such times of austerity these vulnerable families are increasingly at risk of not being able to access housing, social and health services and discussions at the conference sought to focus on how these challenges might be confronted.  The aim to give vulnerable families in Europe a platform was realised and the Roadmap for Vulnerable Families 2020 was a key outcome of the conference. Read more...

father and child, and work-life balance

The Confederation of Family Organisations in the European Union (COFACE) 2014 Campaign: Reconciling Work and Family Life Choose translations of the previous link 


COFACE not only studies how families live and the challenges they face, but also aims to address how policy might be shaped to try and make the lives of men, women and children happier, and the decisions they make easier.  In 2010 COFACE initially proposed that 2014 should be a year to focus on family well-being. Having advocated strongly since this initial proposal, COFACE has prepared a campaign designated to support Reconciling Work and Family Life in 2014.  Whilst one focus of the campagin aims to match people’s skills to jobs, it also aims to improve the well-being and lives of European citizens. COFACE hopes that the 2014 campaign will mark a year of positive change for families in Europe. Read more...

ILO Call for Contributions to the United Nations World Youth Report 2013 - Youth Migration and Development


The UN has published a call for contributions from young people (between the ages 15 to 35).  Input and perspectives received will be used in the drafting of the UN World Youth Report 2013, where the report will cite real world examples of young people's experiences. Contributions can take the form of participating to an online survey on the experience of young migrants and children of immigrants or to a survey identifying good practices on youth migration. Contributors are also invited to submit illustrations or animations to be included in the report. The project also hosts a series of discussions animated by experts, and plans on staging Google+ hangouts to help raise awareness about the issue and the Report and receive input from young people.

child sitting on stairs, child poverty and well-being

Council Conclusions on preventing and tackling child poverty and social exclusion and promoting children's well-being Choose translations of the previous link 


Within the framework of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the European Commission plans to publish a Recommendation on Child Poverty. In order to produce this document, the Commission has been working with representatives from Member States within the Social Protection Committee (SPC). On 27 June 2012, the SPC adopted an advisory report to the European Commission (EC) on the Recommendation, entitled Tackling and Preventing Child Poverty, Promoting Child Well-being, which fed into the Council Conclusions on Preventing and tackling child poverty and social exclusion and promoting children's well-being. Following the release of Council Conclusions, the Commission is expected to have voted on the final Recommendation on Child Poverty by the end of 2012. Read more...

children standing outside

ESN comments on the Social Protection Committee's report to the European Commission: the perspective of local social services for children Choose translations of the previous link 


The network of European Social Services (ESN) has published its analysis of the Social Protection Committee ’s (SPC) advisory report to the European Commission on Tackling and Preventing Child Poverty, Promoting Child Well-Being. The ESN’s comments focus on access to quality services for children and the extent to which the report has emphasized the need to take their voices into account in public services.
From ESN’s perspective, the Recommendation should champion disadvantaged children, with whom local public social services (ESN’s members) typically have contact. In order to define a text which reflect this priority, ESN has proposed that a number of overarching principles on key services be re-asserted in the Recommendation. Read more...

family with children walking

Eurochild compendium on family and parenting support Choose translations of the previous link 


Eurochild has recently published a compilation of inspiring practices in the area of early childhood intervention in family and parenting support in light of the financial strain facing childhood and family services in Europe. The authors have collected practices which have delivered positive impacts for children and families, and have developed 12 case studies based on five years of exchange across European Union Member States. They formulate three core recommendations: parenting support should be part of a broader strategy to tackle the causes of poverty; family and parenting support services should be empowering and based on child-rights approaches; finally, the report emphasises the importance of adopting a balanced and critical perspective on evidence rather than a focus on specific methodologies. Read more...

mother and child

Neuroscience explains the impact of poverty on early brain development Choose translations of the previous link 


Progress in neurological research is shedding a different light on the effects of poverty on early development, and raising critically important questions ranging from education and health to social welfare and juvenile justice.

Social scientists have been investigating links between family poverty and subsequent child outcomes for decades. Technological progress over the last decades has afforded social and neuroscientists a better understanding of the impact that a child’s socioeconomic status can have on the early development of cognitive capabilities, similarly to the impact of inadequate nutrition. The importance of this connection carries implication for policies aiming at reducing poverty and social exclusion of children in the US and Europe, but also carried out by international organizations such as the OECD.


father and child playing

Fatherhood: Parenting Programmes and Policy Choose translations of the previous link 


The father-child relationship contributes to positive emotional development and health outcomes of children, and thus is an important element in their development. It is also important for mothers, both for their health and psychological well-being, to feel their partners’ support in raising children. In Fatherhood: Parenting Programmes and Policy – A Critical Review of Best Practice , Fiona McAllister and Adrienne Burgess  (2012) of the UK think tank the Fatherhood Institute reviewed ‘policies and programmes that promote or facilitate the involvement of father and father-figures from the pre-natal period through the first eight years of their children’s lives’ in order to ‘establish evidence of these programmes’ potential impact on family violence, child abuse of children’s health and learning outcomes’ (p. 5). The study also provides policy recommendations as well as suggestions for future research. Read more...

Children as Actors for Transforming Society: Making Children’s Participation Work, 24-30 July 2013, Caux, Switzerland Choose translations of the previous link 


Children’s rights and participation forms an important part of the EC Recommendation on ‘Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage’. In response to the broader need to share knowledge and promote good practice in children’s participation, Initiatives of Change and The Child to Child Trust are launching the first in a series of annual events, from July 24-30 in Caux, Switzerland. This five day conference will focus on children’s participation, and engage stakeholders such as international organisations, NGOs, pedagogical movements, carers, family, both adults and children. Seven workshops will tackle topics ranging from children’s approach to participation, to working with children in and out of school. The event will cover core aspects of a child’s life, including education (formal and informal), child protection and safety, and health. The conference will also be an opportunity for hands-on training for participants and facilitated discussions, with a view to reflecting on social inclusion, and to gaining a better understanding of participation from a child’s standpoint. Read more...

puppets illustrating domestic violence in families

Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence Choose translations of the previous link 


The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence was opened for signature in Istanbul on 11 May 2011. It is the first European legal instrument to create a comprehensive legal framework to protect women against all forms of violence. On 27 September 2012, Italy became the 23rd member state of the Council of Europe to sign the Convention and on 14 March 2012, Turkey became the first member state of the Council of Europe to ratify it. The Convention will enter into force when it has been ratified by 10 countries, eight of which must be Council of Europe member states. Read more...

family cycling outside

Family well-being: European perspectives Choose translations of the previous link 


The impact of demographic change and the growing participation of women in the labour force on family structure has been the focus of research and policy making for some time.  Less is known about how these trends impact on family wellbeing. A new edited collection of papers, Family Well-Being: European Perspectives (Springer Social Indicators Research Series, volume 49, forthcoming 2013) plugs a yawning gap in the methods developed by social scientists to measure “well-being”, which to date have not featured a targeted measure of this variable for family groups’ (p. 1). The book is particularly welcome in this time of austerity when policy efforts tackling weak economies across Europe may have profound effects on children, the elderly and immigrants, among others. Read more...

child behind glass

International project Daphne: Prevent and combat child abuse: What works? An overview of regional approaches, exchange and research. Final report Choose translations of the previous link 


In 2011 the Netherlands Youth Institute in partnership with organisations in Germany, Hungary, Portugal and Sweden was granted a two-year project within the framework of the Daphne III programme of the European Commission: preventing and combating violence against children, young people, women, victims and at-risk groups. Entitled ‘Prevent and Combat Child Abuse: What works? An overview of regional approaches, exchange and research’, the project aims to compare policies and practices on the prevention of child abuse and neglect in Europe, The project also has a research component into experiences of parents regarding programmes. The final report of work stream one (available below) focuses on strategies in all of the participating countries ranging from prevention to treatment.


grandparents with baby, and their role in childcare, © Istock

Max Planck Institute publishes two studies on grandparenting in Europe Choose translations of the previous link 


The role of grandparents in child care is a key issue for family policy in confronting demographic change in Europe today, given its importance for parents who participate in the labour market. The two studies presented here, recently published by the Max Planck Institute, analyse data from pan-European surveys to investigate the importance of values and norms in determining the role played by grandparents in providing childcare on the one hand, and the impact of available grandparental support on young mothers’ labour market participation on the other.

As the labour market participation of women is increasing, so is the demand for child care. The EU in 2002 set the “Barcelona Summit” targets for the availability of childcare institutions to 33% for children below 3 years and 90% for children from age 3 to school age. However, the availability of public, formal childcare varies largely between countries. Currently in the EU15 countries enrolment rates in childcare facilities for children below age 3 vary between 3% (Greece) to over 60% (Denmark).

As to informal child care, grandparents are by far the most important childcare providers throughout Europe. Their role in providing support to young parents therefore has an important impact on the realisation of the goals of European employment policy. Read more...

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Eurochild organisations conduct peer review of practices: early intervention and prevention in family support Choose translations of the previous link 


In the context of its thematic working group on family and parenting support, Eurochild organised a mutual learning seminar (peer review) 30 May – 1 June 2012 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Four Eurochild organisations (Children in Northern Ireland ; Action for Children, Wales; Nobody’s Children Foundation, Poland and National Network for Children, Bulgaria) presented and reviewed  inspiring practices in prevention and early intervention that show what works in Europe to improve outcomes for children. Stakeholders were represented by Eurofound, the Council of Europe, the Dortmund University (Germany) and the European Commission.


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Preparations for the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family, 2014: expert meetings in New York and Brussels Choose translations of the previous link 


As part of preparations for the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 2014, United Nations Expert Group Meetings (EGM) were convened in New York, United States, and in Brussels, Belgium. The New York EGM (15-17 May 2012) addressed “ Good Practices in Family Policy Making: Family Policy Development, Monitoring and Implementation: Lessons Learnt ”.  The European meeting (6-8 June 2012), focused on “ Poverty, work-family balance and intergenerational solidarity ” and was preceded by an awareness-raising meeting (5 th June). Outputs from the Brussels EGM will inform further preparation for the International Year of the Family and upcoming reports on family issues by the UN Secretary-General.  Read more...

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Eurofound reports: Young people and NEETs in Europe Choose translations of the previous link 


Young people have been particularly vulnerable to becoming unemployed in this prolonged recession. A high proportion of those who are ripe for starting their career are left out of the labour market. Recent reports produced by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) have analysed youth unemployment and factors associated with it, in particular by focusing on the NEET group of those who are ‘not in employment, education or training’. One of the reports, titled ‘Young people and NEETs in Europe: First findings’ aimed ‘to investigate the current situation of young people in Europe... and to understand the economic and social consequences of their disengagement from the labour market and education’. The other report with a title ‘Recent policy developments related to those not in employment, education and training (NEETs)’ also analysed the factors that make young people vulnerable to becoming unemployed analysed ‘the most recent NEET-specific policy interventions in the EU Member States and Norway’. The following paragraphs summarise some of the conclusions made in these reports.  Read more...

child with grandparents

Ongoing collaborative work on grandparenting in Europe, supported by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Choose translations of the previous link 


In partnership with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation , King’s College London Institute of Gerontology and the Beth Johnson Foundation, Grandparents Plus is conducting a major research project on the role of grandparents across ten European states; Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and the United Kingdom (UK). This builds on work as part of an initiative launched by the Foundation in 2008 on ageing and social cohesion.  Read more...

family with child smiling

The Confederation of Family Organisations in the European Union’s ongoing work to support European families Choose translations of the previous link 


The Confederation of Family Organisations in the European Union (COFACE) has more than 50 member organisations across the Europe. For over 50 years, COFACE has been working to give a voice to European families and to improve family-related policies in the EU. To this end, a number of events and initiatives are being undertaken by COFACE around the International Day of Families on the 15 th of May, 2012. These activities are in support of a proposed European Year for Reconciling Work and Family Life in 2014 and as part of the current (2012) European Year of Active Aging and Solidarity between Generations.  Read more...

children jumping in the air

Copenhagen conference on children’s rights and the prevention of child poverty Choose translations of the previous link 


On 19 th March 2012, Copenhagen was the setting for a conference concerning the prevention of child poverty, and the right for children to grow up under equal terms based on family input, child rights and the provision of high quality children’s services. The conference brought together experts, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders to address child poverty in European Union (EU) Member States, mainstreaming the child’s rights approach in key policies and access to family support measures, early childhood education and care (ECEC), and child participation in policy formation. The conference was held by the Danish Presidency of the European Council 2012 and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration in collaboration with the European Commission and the Intergovernmental Group L’Europe de L' Enfance.  Read more...

2011 Eurobarometer on Fertility and Social Climate – evidence on family sizes in Europe Choose translations of the previous link 


A recently published report by Maria Rita Testa of the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital (Vienna Institute of Demography of the Austrian Academy of Sciences) entitled “Family Sizes in Europe: Evidence from the 2011 Eurobarometer Survey” reveals a discrepancy between the ideal and actual family size for Europeans in EU27. About 30% of European men and women age 40 or above in the EU27 stop their reproductive career before reaching the family size they consider to be ideal when asked in the survey. Over the last decade, preference for two-children families have slightly increased, and the ideal number of children for most Europeans remains high at about two. The report suggests that in the context of declining European fertility, high ideals leave room for policymakers to try and close the gap between ideal and actual family size. Read more...

Perspectives on Ageing: High-level Conference on Health and Long-term Care Choose translations of the previous link 


On March 19-21, the Regional Council of North Karelia with DART (Declining, Ageing and Regional Transformation), the Finnish Ministry of Health and the European Alliance for Families organised a conference on ‘Perspectives on Ageing’ in Joensuu, Finland. The conference facilitated several workshops, expert lectures, panel discussions and meetings aimed to discuss issues pertinent to ageing policies. Among the main themes of the conference was the question of how to best ensure that EU health and long-term care systems will be able to cope with an increase in demand due to population ageing?

In addition to this core question, conference presenters also discussed issues of employment and migration, ageing and quality of care, the relationship between healthcare providers and healthcare users as well as wider demographic challenges. The conference aimed to (1) raise political and general awareness of the issues concerning population ageing; (2) generate innovative policy measures to tackle the present and forthcoming challenges related to health and long-term care, and (3) facilitate networking and sharing of experience among regional, national and European stakeholders. Read more...

United Nations flag

20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family Choose translations of the previous link 


2014 will mark an important milestone – the 20 th anniversary of the International Year of the Family (IYF). The United Nations General Assembly recognised the important role families play in society by proclaiming the IYF in 1994. Planning for this anniversary creates opportunities for re-visiting the efforts that have been made in support of family-orientated policies. The UN Secretary-General report (A/66/62-E/2011/4) outlines the major policy themes, including confronting family poverty and social exclusion; ensuring work-family balance; and advancing social integration and intergenerational solidarity within families and communities. The recent UN Secretary-General report (A/67/61–E/2012/3) focuses on the preparations for and observance of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 2014. The UN Focal Point on the Family also promotes family policies and contributes to the follow-up processes espoused by the IYF.  The anniversary of IYF and the relevant policy developments are further explored in the recent issue of the International Federation for Family Development (IFFD) .  Read more...

seminar on work-life balance and best practice

Work-life balance and reform of the welfare state: Innovative approaches and practices at regional level Choose translations of the previous link 


The issue of “work-life balance and reform of the welfare state” was discussed at a regional seminar on 25 January, organised by the European Commission in collaboration with the Lombardy region under the framework of the European Alliance for Families. Hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels, the event brought together representatives of EU regions, ministries of EU Member States, NGOs and social partners. The seminar allowed for a comparison of different innovative approaches and practices in Italy (Lombardy), Sweden (Lindköping (West Sweden)) and Spain (Catalonia). A full report on the day will be soon available on this website.  Read more...


German Parliament approves new Child Protection Act Choose translations of the previous link 


The Bundestag (German Federal Parliament) approved a new national Child Protection Act on 27 October 2011. The act, which was submitted by Germany's Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, Kristina Schröder, was approved with a large majority. It is expected to fundamentally change Germany's approach to child protection. It aims to improve the protection of children and youth in all walks of life and to strengthen the hand of those who are committed to children's welfare.  Read more...

Do more for single mothers

MEPs push EU member states to do more for single mothers Choose translations of the previous link 


In a non-binding resolution passed on 25 October 2011, MEPs have called on EU member states to do more to help single mothers. "The report is full of excellent initiatives and new objectives that the EU should set itself, because this will become a central issue and one of Europe's priorities, considering that the number of single mothers is growing," said rapporteur Barbara Matera (European People's Party, Italy) during the debate on 24 October.  Read more...

Die Zukunft der Familien

EAF stakeholder seminar on 'The Future of Families' Choose translations of the previous link 


This European Alliance for the Family stakeholder seminar looked at big subject areas such as the diversity and the dynamics of families in the European Union, the delay in family formation due to the impact of the crisis and the ambivalent situation of youth and how family policy in the EU is coping with these issues.  Read more...

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Eurochild suggests focussing on three broad areas to tackle child poverty Choose translations of the previous link 


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".  Read more...

Family Platform pinpoints seven priority areas for further research on family issues Choose translations of the previous link 


The Family Platform , a consortium of twelve organisations put together to articulate key family research and policy issues, has identified seven priorities for further research at the European Union and national levels: care; life course and transitions; ‘doing family’ (i.e. the managing everyday family life); migration and mobility; inequalities and insecurities; media and new information technologies; and family policies.  Read more...


Belgian government allocates specific budget to fight child poverty Choose translations of the previous link 


In June 2010, the Belgian Secretary of State for Social Integration and the Fight against Poverty, Philippe Courard, set aside €4.2 million to help the “Centres publics d’Action sociale” (CPAS; Public social action centres) fight child poverty. Eighty percent of the centres used this budget with very positive results. The same sum has been allocated for 2011.  Read more...

child playing with toys

EAF best practice meeting on child well-being and the quality of childcare Choose translations of the previous link 


Most European children spend a large part of their early childhood in some form of out-of-home care. At the same time, there is a broad consensus among experts that loving, stable, secure, and stimulating relationships with caregivers in the earliest months and years of life are critical for every aspect of a child’s development, especially for disadvantaged children.  Read more...

Council calls for better support of reconciliation of work and family life across the EU Choose translations of the previous link 


At the Council for Employment and Social Affairs on 17 June, ministers discussed policies and measures which promote the reconciliation of work and family life in the context of demographic change. The conclusions it adopted aim to promote policies favouring families and work-life balance in the context of addressing the demographic challenge and in order to support the Europe 2020 strategy.  Read more...


Eurochild round table on ‘the role of local authorities in parenting support’ in Eindhoven Choose translations of the previous link 


Early intervention is both an effective and cost-effective way of supporting families and their children. Consequently, during times of economic crisis local and national authorities should continue (to commission) the delivery of universal approaches of parenting support. This was concluded during Eurochild’s round table on ‘the role of local authorities in parenting support’. The meeting was hosted by the Dutch municipality of Eindhoven and the Netherlands Youth Institute on May 19 and 20.  Read more...

European Parliament backs universal access to early education Choose translations of the previous link 


The European Parliament has called for greater investment in early years education and care, in a resolution adopted on 12 May. MEPs’ conclusions, drafted by UK Socialist Mary Honeyball, also consider there is a need for better qualified and remunerated staff in the sector, as well as more Europe-based research in order to help achieve and update EU targets.  Read more...

The European Economic and Social Committee adopts an opinion on family policy and demographic change Choose translations of the previous link 


On 4 May the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted an opinion on ‘The role of family policy in relation to demographic change with a view to sharing best practices among Member States’. The opinion offers a timely reminder of the main demographic trends across Europe, outlines what an effective family policy should comprise and stresses the key importance the EU can play in the field. The text also supports the idea of making 2014 the European Year for Families.  Read more...

OECD report: Governments need to increase support for families Choose translations of the previous link 


“Doing Better for Families”, a recent OECD report, has revealed changing trends in the composition and the well-being of families in OECD countries and urges governments to support families in a time of rapid social change. Poverty in households with children is rising in nearly all OECD countries and the report argues that governments should ensure that their policies protect the most vulnerable.  Read more...

Scotland launches a campaign to fight child poverty Choose translations of the previous link 


On 15 March, Scottish Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launched the nation''s strategy to tackle child poverty. One fifth of children in Scotland are growing up in relative poverty, and these children''s futures are heavily influenced by their parents'' economic circumstances.  Read more...

Serious gaming seminar: Responding to population decline Choose translations of the previous link 


Some 35 representatives of EU regions and cities, the European Commission and the Dutch government met in Brussels on 23 March 2011 for a seminar on “Serious gaming and the consequences of a shrinking population for local communities”. Organised by the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and the European Commission (DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion), the seminar explored European policy responses to population shrinking and introduced a learning tool or “serious game” designed to help authorities and stakeholders make appropriate decisions.  Read more...

Demographic challenges need EU-level action, say Family Ministers Choose translations of the previous link 


EU ministers for demography and family policy met informally in Gödöllő, Hungary, on 1 April 2011. The event took place in the context of the thematic week “Europe for Families, Families for Europe – Population Issues and Policies Awareness” organised by the Hungarian Presidency from 28 March to 3 April. Read more...

European Women''s Lobby calls for inclusive family policies that advance equality between women and men Choose translations of the previous link 


The European Women''s Lobby (EWL), a European NGO that promotes gender equality and women’s rights, has voiced concerns on gender equality and definitions of family in recent European family policy debates. Excessive focus is being placed on birth rates, it fears.  Read more...

Hungarian Presidency awareness week: Spotlight firmly on the family Choose translations of the previous link 


With the Hungarian Presidency’s “Europe for Families, Families for Europe: Population issues and policies awareness week” (28 March – 3 April 2011), European family policy came under the spotlight as never before. “Only five years ago this would not have been possible”, noted William Lay of the Confederation of Family Organisations in the EU (COFACE). “It would not have been politically correct.”  Read more...

Hungarian presidency conference focuses on universal and quality early education Choose translations of the previous link 


The conference “Excellence and Equity in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC)” was held on 21 and 22 February in Budapest. This first expert level event on education under the Hungarian EU Presidency brought together experts from member state ministries, policy makers and various international organisations.  Read more...

European Commission calls for universal access to quality pre-school education Choose translations of the previous link 


The Commission recently published a Communication in which it encourages EU Member States to work together on improving their policies on early education and care of young children. The text calls for every child to have a better start in life, which would lay the foundation for their future lifelong learning, social integration, personal development and employability. The Communication proposes action at a time when nearly 19 million European children are estimated to be at risk of poverty.  Read more...

Eurochild report warns of “lost generation” as crisis hits families and children Choose translations of the previous link 


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.  Read more...

British parents to share maternity leave Choose translations of the previous link 


The UK government has announced it will go ahead with plans to allow couples to share maternity leave from April 2011. The scheme offers fathers the chance to take up any leave unused by their partners if they return to work early. The government has also indicated it is considering extending flexibility to other family members from 2015.  Read more...

European Parliaments’ Women’s Rights Committee holds hearing on the situation of single mothers Choose translations of the previous link 


A public hearing of the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, on 31 January 2011, was an opportunity to hear the views of experts on the challenges facing single mother households and ideas for practical solutions and policies to help single mothers. The aim of the meeting was to provide input for a European Parliament report on the situation of single mothers, which will be drafted by the Italian MEP Barbara Matera.  Read more...

France enacts new law on child minders Choose translations of the previous link 


On 9 June 2010 the French Senate passed a new law to mandate the creation of “maisons d’assistants maternels” (centres for child minding assistants) providing child minding services from a single venue. The law aims to increase the availability and flexibility of childcare available to parents.  Read more...

Conference on future EU research issues for family policy Choose translations of the previous link 


What are the major trends of comparative family research in the European Union? What are the main research gaps to be tackled? What is the future of families? These were the key questions addressed in the final conference of the FAMILYPLATFORM project.  Read more...

EAF Workshop on time credit schemes and working time flexibility Choose translations of the previous link 


Flexible work arrangements are increasingly seen as key in helping women and men strike a better balance between work, private and family life. In a recent Eurobarometer survey, nearly half of the Europeans said more flexible working hours would be their favourite measure for a better work-life balance. Hoverer, only one third of all European companies offer some kind of flexible working options.  Read more...

UK to scrap child benefit for higher-rate taxpayers from 2013 Choose translations of the previous link 


The UK government’s Chancellor George Osborne has announced that higher-rate taxpayers will no longer be eligible for child benefit as from 2013. The move is part of the UK government’s efforts to cut spending as, in recent years, the country’s public deficit has grown markedly. Around 7.7 million families with children currently get child benefit, at a cost of about £12 billion a year, according to the BBC, which adds that ministers estimate the change will affect about 1.2 million families. Savings are estimated at £1 billion a year.  Read more...

EU Belgian Presidency conference on closing the gender pay gap in the EU Choose translations of the previous link 


The average hourly pay gap between women and men remains at 18% within the European Union and, on an annual basis at 24%, according to a European Report released by the Belgian presidency of the EU. A conference organised by the Belgian presidency of the EU looked into the reasons for the pay gap and what could be done to reduce it. The event, entitled ‘How to close the Gender Pay Gap?’ was held in Brussels on 25 and 26 October 2010. It brought together representatives from EU Member States, the EU institutions, gender equality bodies, social partner organisations, civil society and the academic world.  Read more...

Eurochild annual conference looks at ways to end child poverty Choose translations of the previous link 


Child poverty is at the top of the political agenda currently. The economic crisis is causing increased unemployment and hardship while putting pressure on national governments’ budgets for financial support to children and families. 2010 is also the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion. In addition the EU’s Europe 2020 Strategy includes a proposal for a new flagship initiative, the European Platform Against Poverty. It was in this context, that on 4 and 5 November 2010, stakeholders and policy makers met at the Seventh Eurochild annual conference in Örebro, Sweden to discuss how to work together to end child poverty. Eurochild is a European network of organisations promoting the rights and welfare of children in Europe.  Read more...

COFACE conference examines ways to improve European families’ situation Choose translations of the previous link 


Representatives from European institutions, NGOs, and policy makers came together on 14 and 15 October in Brussels at the conference “Social inclusion of families and EU Policies: Where do we stand?” The goal was to look at the family dimension of EU policies and to chart a roadmap towards a socially inclusive Europe. The event was organised by the Confederation of Family Organisations in the EU (COFACE) in cooperation with the EU Belgian Presidency in the context of the 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion.  Read more...

Eurochild conference on early childhood education and care: focusing the debate on quality and community Choose translations of the previous link 


Many family-friendly policies centre on providing early childhood education and care (ECEC) for children younger than compulsory school age. Up to now, however, much of the European debate on such services has been driven by the attempt to encourage female participation in the labour market. Targets have therefore tended to be based on quantity rather than quality.  Read more...

European Parliament favours 20 weeks paid maternity leave Choose translations of the previous link 


On 20 October, the European Parliament voted with a large majority in favour of granting women workers the right to take at least 20 weeks of maternity leave on full pay, two more weeks than had been proposed by the Commission. MEPs also called for an entitlement to paid paternity leave of at least two weeks. These proposals can only become law with the approval of EU Member States.  Read more...

Spain, Belgium and Hungary sign a declaration on fighting child poverty Choose translations of the previous link 


20 million out of the 100 million children and young people aged between 0 and 17 years in Europe are at risk of poverty. This figure has undoubtedly increased even further due to the effects of the recent economic crisis.Fighting child poverty is one of the priorities of the European Union. In this context, the Belgian EU presidency in cooperation with the King Baudouin Foundation, UNICEF and Eurochild organised the conference "Who Cares? Roadmap for a Recommendation to fight child poverty" on 2 and 3 September 2010.  Read more...

"Go for it dads!" Choose translations of the previous link 


The Belgian pressure group Femmes Prévoyantes Socialistes (FPS) has launched a campaign to encourage fathers to take more parental leave. Belgium has relatively generous allocations of paternal and parental leave, but fathers are still not using as much of their entitlements as they could. Read more...

Early education and care: How does institutional childcare affect child well being? Choose translations of the previous link 


European mothers and fathers increasingly rely on public childcare to be able to reconcile their professional and family lives. After centuries of childcare being a family affair, the care of young children is therefore increasingly evolving into an out-of-home activity organised by governments and private enterprise. A European Commission seminar examined this shift, and how best to guarantee the welfare of children, while promoting employment for parents.  Read more...

Council of Europe continue with programme to protect children’s rights and protect children from violence Choose translations of the previous link 


‘Building a Europe for and with Children’ is a Council of Europe (CoE) programme that was approved by heads of state and government from the 47 member countries of the CoE back at a summit in Warsaw in 2005. The programme''s main objective is to help national governments, MPs, local and regional authorities, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) design and implement national strategies for the protection of children''s rights and the prevention of violence against children. Children are defined as being any human being up to the age of eighteen.  Read more...

Sweden allowing carers to receive parental benefit to look after the children of single parents who fall ill Choose translations of the previous link 


The Swedish government has introduced a new rule into its social insurance scheme to help single parents who fall ill and cannot look after their child. The rule, which has been in force since 1 January 2010, allows another insured person (i.e. a person legally living and/or working in Sweden) who forgoes paid work to receive temporary parental benefit to look after the child. It applies to children up to the age of three. Previously temporary parental benefit was only available to the parents themselves or to a carer replacing the child’s regular carer if they were to fall ill.  Read more...

Seminar on supporting lone parents in the EU Choose translations of the previous link 


What is the situation of single-parent families across the EU? What are different countries doing to support these families and help them stay in the labour market? A recent seminar organised within the framework of the European Alliance for Families, during this 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, examined these issues. The seminar, entitled ‘Supporting Lone Parents: How to Best Integrate Them into the Labour Market?’ was held in Brussels on 2 June 2010 and gathered representatives of the European Commission, EU Member States, and NGOs.  Read more...

Right to request flexible work for parents extended in the UK Choose translations of the previous link 


In the United Kingdom, the right to request flexible working arrangements has been extended to parents with children up to the age of 16 years. Previously the legislation was available to parents with children under the age of six. It is also available for parents of children under 18 where the child is disabled and for carers of certain adults. This means that businesses are required to consider flexible-working requests from more of their employees, a change that is likely to considerably boost home working.  Read more...

Protecting families from poverty Choose translations of the previous link 


What is the role of social protection systems in preventing and tacking poverty and social exclusion of families in Europe? A recent seminar organised by COFACE, the confederation of family organisations in the European Union, considered this in the context of 2010 as the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion and the recent proposals for the Europe2020 Strategy. The seminar, titled ‘the role of social protection in the fight against poverty and social exclusion: which safety net for families?’ was held in Brussels on 26 March 2010.  Read more...

The Family Platform: past and future research for the promotion of family well-being Choose translations of the previous link 


Despite changing family structures, every European is connected with family life in some shape or form. Surveys show that family policy issues such as work-life balance, public support for families, and care provision rank among Europeans'' top concerns. A new initiative called ‘Family Platform” seeks to chart and review latest developments in the field of family research in the European Union (EU), discuss the possible future of families in the EU, and come up with suggestions for the next European research agenda in the area as of 2012. The Family Platform is funded under the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme..  Read more...

Estimating the impact of the economic crisis on families in Europe Choose translations of the previous link 


How is the current financial and economic crisis affecting the way Europe is dealing with its ageing population and declining birth rates? How are European families affected? These are the questions that were posed by a European Commission seminar on 22 February, entitled “The impact of the crisis on the Member States’ ability to respond to the challenge of demographic change”. The event gathered experts and representatives of the European Commission, EU Member States, NGOs and family associations.  Read more...

Berlin puts the spotlight on child poverty in Europe Choose translations of the previous link 


On 31 August and 1 September 2009, Berlin was the venue for the symposium "Child poverty – a European challenge”, organised by the Commission of the Associations of German Associations for Family Affairs (AGF). The event brought together over 100 participants from 17 European counties, including representatives of NGOs and family associations, as well as national governments and EU officials.  Read more...

Member State ministers approve extension of minimum parental leave Choose translations of the previous link 


Fifteen-year-old EU-wide rules on leave for working parents are set to be updated, following a 30 November decision by EU social affairs ministers. They gave their approval to new standards that had been agreed with social partners in June. The measures will increase the minimum allowance of parental leave and encourage more fathers to participate in family responsibilities.  Read more...

Eurochild-Konferenz legt Schwerpunkt auf Indikatoren für das Wohlergehen von Kindern Choose translations of the previous link 


Die Nichtregierungsorganisation Eurochild, die sich europaweit für die Interessen von Kindern einsetzt, veranstaltete am 11. – 12. November 2009 ihre sechste Jahreskonferenz in Limassol, Zypern. Unter dem Titel: „Beobachtung des Wohlergehens von Kindern: bessere Politik, bessere Praktiken“ brachte das diesjährige Event zu dem wichtigen Thema Persönlichkeiten wie den EU-Kommissar für Beschäftigung und Soziales sowie Regierungsvertreter, Forscher, Vertreter der Zivilgesellschaft und junge Menschen an einen Tisch.  Read more...

Demography experts discuss active ageing and childcare in Denmark Choose translations of the previous link 


An innovative scheme in Denmark is combining the twin challenges of active ageing and childcare. Through the ‘Reserve Grandparent Scheme’, older people volunteer to care for sick children when their parents are at work. The scheme was discussed at a seminar organised by the European Commission in Brussels on 16 October for the members of the Expert Group on Demographic Issues.  Read more...

Member States exchange views on the reconciliation of work and family life Choose translations of the previous link 


EU Member States are testing varied and different approaches to aid parents improve the balance between their work and family life. Examples of experimental measures employed at national level – and broader national perspectives – were presented at a seminar in Rome on 9 October 2009, which was hosted by the Italian Department for Family Policies, in cooperation with the European Commission. The meeting was held within the framework of the EU Expert Group on Demographic issues.  Read more...

Eurochild conference puts focus on child well-being indicators Choose translations of the previous link 


Eurochild, an NGO dedicated to children’s interests across the EU, hosted its sixth annual conference in Limassol, Cyprus on 11-12 November 2009. This year’s event was entitled “Monitoring child wellbeing: better policy and practice”. The critical issue brought together figures including EU Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Vladimir Spidla, as well as government representatives, researchers, civil society representatives and young people.  Read more...

A kindergarten before nursery school Choose translations of the previous link 


Launched as a pilot experience in France in September 2009, the ‘jardins d’éveil’ (daycare centres) are positioned between the halte-garderie (creche) and école maternelle (nursery school) and are aimed at children aged between two and three years. The government will fund 8,000 places in these new structures by 2012, at a total cost of €25 million. A number of different actors will participate in developing these experiences, especially local officials.  Read more...

Research network examines demography and parental leave in Central and Eastern Europe Choose translations of the previous link 


Leave policies – in the context of family policy – topped the agenda at the sixth annual seminar of the International Network on Leave Policies & Research at the Charles University in Prague on 10 and 11 September, attended by the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Vladimir Špidla. Set up in 2004, the network has members from more than 25 countries – mostly in Europe, but also from Australia, Canada and the United States. The network is coordinated by Dr. Fred Deven (Flemish Government’s Population and Family Study Centre in Brussels) and Professor Peter Moss (Institute of Education University in London).  Read more...

Forschungsnetzwerk untersucht Bevölkerungsentwicklung und Elternurlaub in Mittel- und Osteuropa Choose translations of the previous link 


Urlaubspolitik – im Kontext der Familienpolitik – stand auf dem sechsten Jahresseminar des International Network on Leave Policies & Research (Internationales Netzwerk zu Urlaubspolitik & -forschung) an der Karls-Universität in Prag am 10. und 11. September ganz oben auf der Agenda. Das 2004 gebildete Netzwerk hat Mitglieder aus mehr als 25 Ländern, hauptsächlich in Europa, aber auch aus Australien, Kanada und den Vereinigten Staaten. Die Koordinierung des Netzwerks liegt in Händen von Dr. Fred Deven (Zentrum für Bevölkerungs- und Familienstudien der flämischen Regierung, Brüssel) und Professor Peter Moss (Institute of Education University in London).  Read more...

Swedish EU Presidency puts family policy focus on equality issues and dignified ageing. Choose translations of the previous link 


Sweden took over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union on 1 July 2009. The country’s domestic family policies have achieved some exemplary results: female and maternal employment rates are among the highest in the EU and child poverty among the lowest. With a view to moving family policy forward across Europe, Sweden set out two priority areas for its six-month Presidency: “gender equality and non-discrimination” and “healthy and dignified ageing”.  Read more...

Social partners sign updated agreement on parental leave Choose translations of the previous link 


On 18 June 2009, European social partners, in the presence of the European Commission, put pen to paper on an updated agreement on parental leave. The new text sets out a minimum of four months leave for each parent, one month longer than the terms set out in their prior 1995 agreement and the EU Directive that followed it.  Read more...

Ireland to offer partially free pre-school education from 2010 Choose translations of the previous link 


The Irish government announced, on 7 April 2009, a grant for pre-school service providers offering Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). Pre-school service providers notified to the Health and Security Executive or services registered with the Irish Montessori Educational Board (IMEB) will have the option to take up a government grant for this purpose. Children will be eligible if they are aged between 3 years 3 months and 4 years 6 months on the 1st of September each year. The service will be available to all parents subject to local availability and is expected to benefit some 70,000 children. The move marks a shift in the Irish government’s policy away from providing financial assistance (via the Early Childcare Supplement, which will be abolished in December 2009) towards providing services.  Read more...