Eurodiaconia welcomes the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child and Child Guarantee, launched on March 24th, which becomes even more important and timely regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
To improve access to key quality services for children in need, Member States must consider the specific needs of those from disadvantaged backgrounds. We are glad to see that there is a focus on children experiencing homelessness, living with disabilities or those with precarious family situations, migrant, minority racial or ethnic backgrounds as well as those in alternative care. We appreciate the strategic and comprehensive approach to child poverty and social exclusion, and the acknowledgement that they require an integrated, person-centred, and multidimensional approach and an enabling policy framework (to channel EU funding accordingly). To mention one example, we warmly welcome the thorough inclusion of Roma and Traveller children in the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child & the Child Guarantee as well as the explicit link to the EU Roma Strategic Framework & Council Recommendation for Equality, Inclusion & Participation.
Especially on the Child Guarantee, Eurodiaconia welcomes the recommendation that Member States should submit national Action Plans on implementation that involve relevant stakeholders, incl. civil society organisations and children themselves, within six months from the adoption of the Recommendation. Additionally, Member States are asked to nominate national Child Guarantee Coordinators, whose role is to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the Recommendation. However, we also clearly missed a more comprehensive understanding of early childhood development as well as the missed opportunity to address the low-income levels of families. Eurodiaconia continues to fight for a legally binding EU framework directive to ensure that children and their parents can live in dignity.
We must break the intergenerational cycle of poverty and social exclusion and put actions to our words. It is unacceptable that around 60% of Roma children live in severe material deprivation and 80% are at risk of poverty or social exclusion. The continuous political will and additional financial resources of Member States are crucial for the implementation of both initiatives and to make progress in reducing child poverty. We call on EU governments to adopt the Child Guarantee proposal and swiftly.
As part of the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, Eurodiaconia will take an active role along with its members to further promote its full implementation at national and local level. Eurodiaconia will carry out more detailed analyses together with its members in the coming weeks and months, reflecting also on how we bring these commitments to life.
The EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child & Child Guarantee can be found on the European Commission website here.