By Caritas Europa
The EU recently adopted the European Child Guarantee, asking the Member States to prevent and combat the social exclusion of children in need by guaranteeing effective and free access to early childhood education and care; school-based activities; at least one healthy meal each school day and healthcare; and effective access to adequate housing.
Caritas Europa believes that the Child Guarantee can effectively contribute to achieving some of the UN’s sustainable development goals, provided that national plans to implement reforms are well designed and done in consultation with civil society organisations.
The new recommendation defines children in need as individuals under 18 years who are at risk of poverty or social exclusion. It identifies six categories of children in need: homeless children or those in substandard housing; children with disabilities; mental health issues; a migrant background or minority ethnic origin, particularly Roma; and children in institutional care or precarious family situations.
The European Child Guarantee should be implemented through national action plans, identifying children in need and the barriers they face in accessing and taking-up the services covered by the recommendation.