Navigation path

Additional tools

  • Print version
  • Decrease text
  • Increase text

Child well–being

children smiling

These reports from European, national and civil society perspectives, investigate the critical aspects of child poverty and child well-being in the EU.

Early childhood interventions and progression to higher education in Europe (DG Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion, European Platform for Investing in Children, 2014)pdf(847 kB)

This brief looks at the impact of child-targeted interventions in early childhood education and care (ECEC) as well as initiatives to widen access to higher education in Europe, and their impact on social mobility in later years. Rapid brain development in the early years presents both challenges and opportunities to invest in children (particularly for those from poorer backgrounds) to develop both academic and social-behavioural skills for long-term returns.

Marking progress against child labour; Global estimates and trends 2000-2012 (International Labour Office, 2013)

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.



First peer review of the Research Project ‘Investing in Children Services, Improving Outcomes’ (ESN, 2013)

The ESN’s Research Project Investing in Children Services, Improving Outcomes aims to analyse the national policy and legal framework in selected countries focusing specifically on the services dimension of the Recommendation, including investment in ECEC and education, access to health, housing and child protection services. During the analysis phase, ESN is organising ‘peer reviews’ bringing together a delegation from each country comprised of representatives from child welfare-related stakeholders who look at European Recommendation policy proposals and identify gaps to implementation in light of national policy and legal frameworks. The very first peer reviewpdf(116 kB) took place in Dublin in May 2013.

The European Child Safety Alliance launches Child Safety Report Cards

The leading cause of death for children and adolescents aged 5-19 in Europe is child injury.  Furthermore, many injuries result in child victims suffering from physical disability and long term psychological effects which represent significant financial burdens on society.  The European Child Safety Alliance has created report cards to highlight the current situation. The child safety report cardspdf are developed as part of the TACTICS project (Tools to Address Childhood Trauma Injury and Children’s Safety).  The cards present a summary of a country’s safety levels for their young citizens and how their policies address unintentional injury.  These cards will allow the burden of unintended injury and the application of policy measures to be compared across countries.  The cards will enable countries to identify their strengths and weaknesses in this area and thus be able to establish the best future developments. Highlights from the European Launch of the 2012 Child Safety Report Cards can be found here.

State of the world’s children 2013- Children with disabilities (UNICEF 2013)

Each year, UNICEF’s flagship publication, The State of the World's Children, closely examines a key issue affecting children around the world, supported by statistical data. The 2013 edition focuses on the situation of children with disabilities. International commitment to building more inclusive societies has resulted in improvements in the situation of children with disabilities and their families, but too many of them continue to face barriers to their participation in the civic, social and cultural affairs of their communities. The report formulates a series of recommendations to ensure that children with disabilities are able to benefit from their rights. Recommendations include a call for ending institutionalisation of disabled children and involving children in making the decisions that affect them.

Explainer on children’s well-being (European Anti Poverty Network and Eurochild, 2013)pdf

This explainer on children’s well-being is aimed at raising public awareness about child poverty in the European context, its causes, and impacts on children and their families. It highlights policy and practice targeted at child poverty and promoting the well-being of all children. The text provides an overview of the main concepts and terminology with practice examples, as well as brief discussions of relevant child and family policy issues in the context of the current economic crisis and pressure on national budgets.

"Breaking the cycle of Roma exclusion - The situation of Roma children & promising practices that promote children’s rights and well-being" (Eurochild, 2013)

This report focuses on child poverty and well-being, and introduces a specific focus on the rights of Roma children to the wider debate on Roma exclusion. It analyses the specific situation of Roma children and presents examples of initiatives having positive impacts on Roma children and their families. A twofold approach is taken, considering efforts to address child poverty which take into account of the specificities of Roma and Traveller communities, and efforts targeted at Roma inclusion which give priority to the rights and well-being of children.

Report on the 2012 Day of General Discussion  (UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, 2013)pdf

This is report is on the Day of General Discussion on the Rights of All Children in the Context of International Migration which took place in Geneva in September 2012. It contains 36 recommendations to states on the specifics of applying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in the context of international migration. The Committee also refers to undocumented children and calls on states to improve data collection and analysis on the conditions and impact of migration on children, while ensuring that such data is not used by authorities to prejudice or disadvantage undocumented migrants.

Convention on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 15 (UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), 2013)

The UN 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, defined as every human being below the age of 18 years (unless the age of majority is attained earlier according to national legislation). The Comment primarily focusses on articles 24.1 and 24.2 of the Convention. It outlines principles and premises for realizing children’s right to health (such as the indivisibility and interdependence of children’s rights, the right to non-discrimination, the right of the child to be heard), the normative content of article 24.1 and article 24.2, obligations and responsibilities of state and non-state actors, as well as a framework for implementation and accountability to be applied for realizing and achieving children’s right to health.

World Family Map 2013 – Mapping Family Trends and Child Well-being Outcomes (Child Trends, 2013)

Child Trends is an international organization conducting high-quality research on child and youth topics.  This report focusses on families around the world and involved a number of international collaborating institutions. It was sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and co-sponsored by the various universities and organisations including the Institute Of Marriage And Family Canada, Netherlands Youth Institute and Seoul National University. The World Family Map Project monitors the health of family life around the world and seeks to gather information about how family trends affect the well-being of children. It therefore contributes to shaping understanding of larger drivers shaping families and the welfare of children.

Child welfare in Europe (Netherlands Youth Institute, 2012)

In a great majority of Western European countries child welfare services are synchronized and delivered at a local level.  However, this is not the case in the Netherlands where they have been inspired by their neighbouring countries to reorganise and evolve their child welfare system.   The Netherlands’ Institute for Youth have produced the report Child welfare in Europe, version 2.0 in which it summarises the child welfare systems in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, England and Germany.  The last chapter of this report is available to read in English and the title is Child welfare in Europe’.  In the article the child welfare systems of these countries are compared to the system in place in the Netherlands and thorough summaries are drawn together in regards to the developments within these countries.

Parenting support gaining attention from policymakers across Europe (DG Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion, European Alliance for Families, 2012) pdf(431 kB)

This brief focusses on parenting support, defined as the provision of services aimed at enhancing parenting skills and practices in order to address children’s physical, emotional and social needs, which has gained attention from policymakers in Europe over the last two decades. It is seen as a potential lever to improve educational outcomes and reduce the risk of criminal behaviour, and parenting skills are seen as drivers of reducing poverty and social exclusion. Parenting support is typically organised and delivered in an integrated approach that facilitates collaborative working between practitioners from different sectors such as health, education and social service. Services are mostly universally accessible and include counselling, provision of support and information, and training programmes. The overall aim of parenting support programmes is to enable parents to become better parents, provide better support to their children and create a positive family environment.

Children and Disability in Transition in Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (UNICEF’s Innocenti Research Centre, 2012)pdf

This reportpdf by UNICEF’s Innocenti Research Centre focuses on children with disabilities in CEE/CIS countries. It explores the causes for a dramatic increase in reported rates for children with disabilities since the collapse of communism in the CEE/CIS, and provides and analyses of aggregated data on children with disabilities across the region. At least 317,000 children with disabilities live in residential institutions, often for life. The purposeful institutionalization of these of children could be seen as a legacy of the regions’ communist past. The report is divided up into three parts: the first provides official data and analysis of children with disabilities in CEE/CIS countries; the second provides a qualitative assessment by health professionals of existing services for children with disabilities; the third is focused on the children and parents themselves.

Improving the Quality of Childhood in Europe 2012, Volume 3 (ECSWE/AfC-ENG, 2012)

This is the third publication in a series on Improving the Quality of Childhood (QoC) in Europe produced by the European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education (ECSWE); the Alliance for Childhood European Network Group (AfC-ENG); and theFundación Marcelino Botín. It consists of talks given by experts to QoC during 2010/2011.

Christopher Clouder, CEO of ECSWE and Director of the Botín Platform for Innovation in Education, introduces the publication. He highlights the need for social creativity in addressing the realignment of priorities in the currently challenging financial and economic climate. Children should not bear the brunt of spending cuts. This introductory chapter is followed by eight contributions from a range of experts. Michiel Matthes, Secretary General of the AfC-ENG and secretary of QoC, discusses the ways in which the new approaches to children and childhood have become embedded in the European Institutions, and outlines how governments and non-governmental organisations can use existing scientific knowledge to further the agenda on improving the quality of childhood.

Improving the Quality of Childhood in Europe 2011, Volume 2 (ECSWE/AfC-ENG, 2011)

This is the second publication in a series on Improving the Quality of Childhood (QoC) in Europe produced by the European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education (ECSWE); the Alliance for Childhood European Network Group (AfC-ENG); and the Fundación Marcelino Botín. It consists of edited and amalgamated keynote lectures given at Alliance for Childhood conferences in São Paulo (July 2010) and Budapest (October 2010).

Christopher Clouder, CEO of ECSWE and Director of the Botín Platform for Innovation in Education, introduces the publication. He highlights the impact of increasing urbanisation on childhood. He also points to the rising surveillance of outcomes of education in an increasingly insecure world, where it is challenging to predict the future course of events and to balance standardisation with flexibility in education reform. Michiel Matthes, Secretary General of the AfC-ENG and secretary of QoC, reviews the progress made in improving the quality of childhood since 2006. He outlines the four key aspects of the AfC-ENG strategy and the approach to dialogue with key societal stakeholders about their view of the child. These introductory chapters are followed by seven contributions from a range of experts

First Children and Young People's Report on the Implementation of the UNCRC in Germany (“Arbeitsgemeinschaft Kinder- und Jugendhilfe” – AGJ, 2011)pdf

The report evaluates the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Germany and makes recommendations to the German Federal Government. Over 3,500 children and young people between 5 and 18 years participated in the elaboration of this report. It covers a wide range of issues such as children's rights in the family, in the place where they live, in free time activities, or growing up and health.

The State of the World’s Children 2011 - Adolescence: An Age of Opportunity (UNICEF, 2011)

The report argues that investing in the world’s 1.2 billion adolescents - those between the ages of 10 and 19 - can break entrenched cycles of poverty.While the international community has made tremendous gains in improving the health and well-being of children under 10, the report stresses that less progress has been made in reaching older children. The vast majority of these adolescents live in developing countries. Almost half the world’s adolescents of secondary-school age don’t go to school; they are vulnerable to trafficking and recruitment into armed groups.

'Breaking the cycle of deprivation' report on children’s services (European Social Network, 2011)

The report examines policyandpractice trends in contemporary children's services in the context of the fight against child poverty across Europe. The report welcomes policy initiatives that encourage extra help for the most vulnerable families to access mainstream services, continuous assessment and monitoring of a child’s needs, and the pursuit of excellence in social work practice based on locally based non institutionalised care and education.

How the economic and financial crisis is affecting children & young people in Europe (Eurochild, 2011)pdf

This report warns that the economic crisis has impacted disproportionately on children and on families, and that despite some signs of economic recovery in Europe, the raft of public spending cuts introduced by governments to reduce public debt will hardest hit children and families.

Family policies that work best for children – Fighting child poverty and promoting child well-being (Eurochild, 2011)pdf

The report is the result of Eurochild’s study visit to Sweden and Denmark on 26-30 April 2010. It provides an overview of family policies in Sweden and Denmark, identifying the main factors for success. It includes recommendations for policies at both local and European level and explores some of the remaining challenges that Sweden and Denmark are facing in upholding their strong social welfare system and commitment to inclusion and equality for all children.

Risks and safety on the internet: The perspective of European children ‐ Initial findings from the EU Kids Online survey of 9‐16 year olds and their parents (Sonia Livingstone, Leslie Haddon, Anke Görzig and Kjartan Ólafsson, 2011)

The report presents the initial findings from a new survey conducted by the EU Kids Online network.

It was funded by the EC’s Safer Internet Programme in order to strengthen the evidence base for policies regarding online safety using a random stratified sample of 23,420 children aged 9‐16 who use the internet, plus one of their parents from in 25 European countries. The survey asked about these online risks pornography, bullying, receiving sexual messages, contact with people not known face to face, offline meetings with online contacts, potentially harmful user‐generated content and personal data misuse.

Improving the Quality of Childhood in the European Union: Current Perspectives 2009/10, Volume 1 (ECSWE/AfC-ENG, 2010)

This is the first publication in a series on Improving the Quality of Childhood (QoC) in Europe produced by the European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education (ECSWE); the Alliance for Childhood European Network Group (AfC-ENG); and theFundación Marcelino Botín. Christopher Clouder, CEO of ECSWE and AfC International Director, introduces the publication. He highlights the opportunities in improved technology, facilitating overdue improvements in global communication and dissemination of knowledge on childhood and children’s rights. This publication and other work of the network allows civil society stakeholders, experts and policy-makers to share concerns and celebrate successes. Michiel Matthes, Secretary General of the AfC-ENG and secretary of QoC sets the scene regarding how to improve the quality of childhood. He outlines the approach of the AfC-ENG, highlighting the central importance of the type of the image of the child held by a group or society as a whole. These introductory chapters are followed by sixteen contributions from a range of experts.

Family policies that work best for children (Eurochild, 2010)pdf

This report summarizes the results of a study visit in Sweden and Denmark (April 2010) identifying family support policies and practices that provide best child outcomes. Sweden and Denmark were selected because of their low child poverty levels, positive child outcomes and high levels of labour market participation amongst mothers. Part 1 of the report gives an overview of family policies in the respective countries, identifying critical factors for success, challenges for existing social welfare systems in terms of inclusion and equality, and provides key policy recommendations for the local, national and EU-level. Part 2 describes how delegates participating in the study visit were able to use lessons learnt for influencing policies in their home countries.

Innocenti Report Cards (UNICEF, 2009)

The UNICEF's reports series focusing on the well–being of children in industrialized countries. Each Report Card includes a league table ranking the countries of the OECD according to their record on the subject under discussion.

UNICEF report on children in immigrant families in eight affluent countries (UNICEF, 2009)pdf

The 2009 reportpdf presents data and analysis on children in immigrant families in eight affluent countries – Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands,Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Some of the theme addressed by the report include family composition, educational background, language, educational and employment status of parents, housing conditions, school and labour market participation and poverty status. The report calls for policies that facilitate integration and social inclusion of children in immigrant families, focusing particularly on those from low- and middle-income countries who often face greater challenges in assimilation.

Ending child poverty within the EU? (Eurochild, 2009)pdf

This reportpdf by Eurochild gives an NGO's perspective on the 2008-2010 national strategy reports on social protection and social inclusion. It is accompanied by short overviewspdf of the child poverty situation in all EU Member State and the policy measures that have been proposed in response.

Child Poverty and Well–Being in the EU: Current status and way forward (European Commission, 2008)pdf Choose translations of the previous link 

This report pdf Choose translations of the previous link by the European Commission reviews child poverty and social exclusion in the EU and the national monitoring systems.

Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion (European Commission, 2008)pdf Choose translations of the previous link 

Joint analysis and assessment pdf Choose translations of the previous link by the European Commission and national researchers examines in depth the theme of child poverty in the EU.

National Strategic Reports for social protection and social inclusion (2006–2008)

EU Members States' National Strategic Reports for social protection and social inclusion (2006–2008)

Improving Child Nutrition: The achievable imperative for global progress (Unicef, 2013)pdf

This new report from UNICEF reveals that 165 million children worldwide, under the age of 5, are affected by stunted growth.  It is critical for a child to receive sufficient nutrition in the first 1000 days of its life. Undernutirition during this 1000 day period can lead to irreversible problems for the child concerned.  Stunted children are more likely to be susceptible to sickness, fall behind in school, become overweight during adulthood, be more susceptible to non-communicable diseases and earn a lower income than fellow workers who are not stunted.  Not only is stunting a violation of these children’s rights but it also creates a substantial burden for countries due to lower levels of educational attainment, income and productivity.
In order to progress global welfare, investment must be made in nutrition.  This report highlights that nutrition programmes in countries such as Ethiopia, Haiti, Nepal, Peru and Rwanda, which are aimed at children within this critical 1000 day window, are achieving progress through improved allocation of resources, advocacy and investment in focused programmes and policies.  With countries making such advancements this report points out that “where progress can be made, we have a moral obligation to do so.”

Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS) publication - Leading for outcomes: children and young people (2012)

In 2012, the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services  (IRISS) published the latest in a series of guides which aim to provide support and training materials to help social services workforce. This guide outlines the core components of an outcomes-focussed approach for young people in Scotland, highlighting relevant key policy drivers, the importance of recording outcomes, and the issues of negotiating outcomes including working with parents. The guide pdfis intended to be used as a framework for developing understanding of an outcomes-focused approach, and contains practical exercises to promote understanding, prompt conversations and encourage reflection.

Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS) publication – ‘This Is Where It Starts’ Collection: Seven case studies on early years (2013)

In March 2013 the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services  (IRISS) published an overview report of seven case studies of work with children and parents in the early years across Scotland. These case studies were based on in-depth interviews with early years professionals, and investigated their perceptions of what supports positive outcomes, early intervention and prevention. The purpose of these case studies is to capture some of the experiential knowledge of early years professionals, and to share this knowledge more widely across the sector.

European Parliament report and recommendations on unaccompanied minors (European Parliament, August 2013)

This report by the European Parliament  contains recommendations from the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs as well as the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, and the Committee on Development.  It denotes that the situation of unaccompanied minors in the EU remains precarious, and calls on the Commission to strengthen provisions regarding unaccompanied minors (including migrants) in a number of areas, notably their human rights. Amongst other measures, the report calls on the Commission to strengthen data collection when it comes to migrant children, to foster cooperation among Member States and the development of a coherent response across countries. It also calls on the Commission to develop strategic guidelines to ensure that minimum requirements are met across the EU.

Implementing evidence based programmes in children’s services: key  issues for success  (UK Department for Education, 2012)

This report pdfcommissioned by the UK Department for Education builds on international data and analysis; it aims to help decisionmakers and other major stakeholders to favour the implementation of evidence-based programmes in their local areas. To do so, it examines six areas which should be considered when implementing such programmes, ranging from programme exploration and adoption to implementation through to scaling up. The first section of the report analyses international analysis, highlights common themes which experts have studied, and points to relevant references and sources, while the second part focuses on the implementation of specific evidence-based programmes such as Functional Family Therapy (FFT).

Eurochild’s analysis of National Reform Programmes (Eurochild, August 2013)

Eurochild published its assessmentpdf of the 2013 National Reform Programmes from a child poverty and wellbeing perspective. It offers five main recommendations, which include a request that the European Commission ensures that child poverty and well-being is made a priority politically in all EU member states, and a recommendation that the EC or EU Member States evaluate the impact of the austerity measures and other policies proposed in the National Reform Programmes on children. Eurochild also recommends that the EC develops a work programme to ensure the implementation of the EC Recommendation on investing in children. The report then analyses the strategies of NRPs of EU Member States along the child poverty and wellbeing perspective, for instance by noting which NRPs focus on this aspect.