The EU strategy on children’s rights (2021 – 24) will provide the framework for EU action to better promote and protect children’s rights. It will contain a set of measures for the EU to implement, addressing among others (1) the rights of the most vulnerable children; (2) children’s rights in the digital age the prevention of and fight against violence; and (3) the promotion of child-friendly justice. It will also include recommendations for action by other EU institutions, EU countries and stakeholders.
Ensuring children’s right to the highest attainable standard of health and to a adequate standard of living is not only in line with our European values, it is essential for strong societal foundations. There is a myriad of data on how the “First 1,000 days” are a critical period for health and cognitive progress, while problems in early life are compounded across the life-course. The EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child is therefore integral to all of the EU’s political priorities of guidelines, and in line with efforts to meet the UN 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. EU-funded research projects coordinated by EuroHealthNet (GRADIENT, 2009-2011 & DRIVERS, 2012-2015) highlighted that for every step down the socio-economic ladder (social gradient), children and young people all across Europe experience a higher level of physical and mental health problems that will affect their future health and life opportunities. This reflects how not all children and adolescents have equal access to the opportunities to lead healthy, happy and prosperous lives. Such avoidable inequities are likely to grow in the context of the COVID-19 crisis; a more substantial and ambitious focus and investments in children and their living conditions is urgently needed. Our research projects showed that improving in particular mothers’ educational levels and employment status, as well as targeted programmes offering intensive support to develop parenting skills have led to the best outcomes for children.
Find our full response to the consultation here.
Find our video on the importance of the first 1000 days of life here.