On the 20th of June, the Child Guarantee National Coordinators will gather in Brussels to discuss the implementation of the European Child Guarantee. With this statement, the EU Alliance for Investing in Children (Alliance) aims to analyse the latest development of this timely instrument and provide recommendations to ensure its success.
The Child Guarantee comes at a crucial time. In 2022, one in four children (24.7%) in the EU were at risk of poverty or social exclusion. The long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost-of-living and the climate crises are exacerbating existing hardship and inequalities. As a result, these numbers are expected to increase further. By ensuring that children in vulnerable situations and their families have an adequate standard of living and access to quality services, the Child Guarantee is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fight child poverty and social exclusion and build a more robust Social Europe. Proper implementation of this instrument is thus needed more than ever.
Challenges and recommendations
The Alliance addresses the challenges to the implementation of the Child Guarantee and offers the following recommendations:
- Two years after the adoption of this historic instrument, five action plans still need to be submitted. Moreover, several plans presented to the European Commission do not present new measures, and other countries still need to start concrete implementation of measures.
- We call on the EU Member States to live up to their political commitment by submitting and implementing ambitious and comprehensive national action plans. These should be regularly reviewed and updated.
- Several national action plans fail to identify, reach, and support the children identified as at greater risk of poverty and exclusion by actors working with and for them. Municipalities risk not receiving the support they need to implement the measures included in the plans, especially in the most rural areas
- We call on the EU Member States to ensure that national measures to curb child poverty are adequately funded by EU and national funds. Member States should ensure a steady and committed line of financing to address child poverty in all dimensions. Furthermore, providing high-quality services also means investing in the training and wellbeing of carers.
- There is a stark need for a clear national framework for data collection and indicators and targets specifically focused on children in vulnerable situations.
- We call on EU Member States and institutions to ensure the proper monitoring and evaluation of the Child Guarantee at both EU and national levels by setting clear, multi-sectoral, and comparable metrics, investing in efficient and effective data collection, and defining more specific targets
- Regrettably, the Alliance has registered a worrying lack of meaningful participation processes and transparency in developing the national action plans and we are concerned that this will also be reported in their implementation.
- We call on the EU Member States and institutions to ensure meaningful, continuous, safe, inclusive, and transparent participation processes with multi-sectoral stakeholders – such as children, CSOs, support services, parents, and carers – in implementing, assessing, and evaluating the Child Guarantee.
- Child poverty is a multifaceted phenomenon which must be tackled through a comprehensive and integrated approach. For this reason, the Child Guarantee should be connected and integrated with broader instruments and strategies at the EU and national levels.
- We call on the EU Member States and institutions to ensure a successful and integrated interplay between the Child Guarantee, national frameworks and strategies, and the EU social and equality agenda.
The compounding crises described in this statement bring unbearable challenges to the lives of children and families, especially the ones in vulnerable situations. As a result, millions of children are at risk of – or already experiencing poverty or social exclusion.
Child poverty is not an intangible threat to the future of children, but a concrete crisis undermining their rights at this very moment. For this reason, an instrument such as the Child Guarantee is more urgent than ever.
To secure its success, the priority is to acknowledge and address the main challenges that emerged while developing the framework and turn this commitment into effective measures to eradicate child poverty. The Alliance networks and their members at the national level stand ready to work with EU Member States and Institutions to ensure the success of this framework and guarantee that no child will be left behind.