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EPIC publishes three new policy memos on child and family policy in the European Union
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The EPIC policy memo series provides brief overviews of key topics in child wellbeing and development for policymakers, researchers and stakeholders.

Embedding children’s rights perspective into policy and decision-making
Child-rights approaches focus on the child as an active and autonomous agent of social change in contrast to the historically embedded status of the child as an object in need of protection because of their vulnerability.

This policy memo provides an overview of the extent to which children’s rights are promoted and taken into account in policies and practice. The memo considers policy frameworks at national level as well as those at EU level. It outlines how these rights empower children to participate in the decision-making processes about policies that affect children’s current lives. The memo also discusses ways in which policies and wider initiatives facilitate children’s participation in decisions about their future.

Mechanisms supporting single parents across the European Union
Single parenthood typically results from separation, divorce or the death of a parent. Other factors include the absence of a parent for prolonged periods (e.g. due to migration) or the choice to raise a child alone.

This memo presents trends and risks for single parents across the European Union, and provides an overview of existing support mechanisms. It highlights examples of practices supporting single parents in some Member States. The memo focusses on single parent households as this type of families is among the most financially vulnerable groups in society. In 2017, single parents with dependent children recorded the highest risk of poverty or social exclusion among all household types.

Leave policies and practice for non-traditional families
The right to maternity, paternity and parental leave for families is now well established in many European Union (EU) member states. However, as policy is formulated and positioned towards the traditional nuclear family, the access that other, less traditional family types have to such leave is under-explored.

This EPIC policy memo draws on a range of data sources in order to examine the access that parents in adoptive families, reconstituted families and families with same-sex couples have to different types of family leave. It finds that while leave arrangements for adoptive families are generally well-established, these are more complicated for families with same-sex parents and reconstituted families. Only a minority of member states allow the partner of a parent to take parental leave to look after a child to whom they have no legal relationship. As same-sex couples’ access to different types of family leave depends almost entirely on their legal rights to become parents, and this too is developing unevenly across member states. These inequalities result in different parental care provisions being available to children, depending on the type of families and the member state in which they grow up.

In the Spotlight
Kindergarten 
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EPIC collects and disseminates innovative and evidence-based practices that have a positive impact on children and families in EU Member States to enable cross-regional learning.

The Social Innovation Repository (SIR) maps practices which do not have sufficient evidence of their effectiveness to meet the EPIC Evidence-Based Practice criteria, but which focus on social innovation, have a clearly set out Theory of Change, and are novel.

New Social Innovation Repository Practices uploaded on the EPIC website

ICAM: Including Children Affected by Migration
There are approximately 26 million Children Affected by Migration (CAM) in Europe, whose experiences disrupt their childhood, capacity to learn and personal development in the long term. ICAM is a European programme designed to ensure that children who have been affected by migration, including asylum seekers, refugees, economic or social migrants or children can access education.

The programme helps schools to create a safe and secure environment for children affected by migration in order to enable them to take full advantage of their education. ICAM aims to achieve inclusion and better learning conditions through enhancing a climate of convicencia (a Spanish term roughly translated as ‘living in harmony’ and used to designate a positive climate), raising awareness among school staff, families and others on the rights of children affected by migration, and providing additional support for children’s Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).

Combating Bullying: A whole school approach (ComBuS)
The ComBuS project aims to develop a whole-school approach that engages students, teachers, parents, school leaders and staff to combat bullying in schools. The ultimate objective of the project is to empower various groups of stakeholders to build healthy, safe and secure school communities using blended approaches through face-to-face, online and mobile tools and activities to eradicate bullying. The blended methodologies that have been designed and implemented for the project include experiential workshops, mobile applications, and networking sites, as well as online learning platforms.

Parenting for Lifelong Health - Programme for Young Children
The Parenting for Lifelong Health (PLH) initiative is a suite of parenting interventions designed to promote positive parenting and prevent adverse childhood experiences in low- and middle-income countries. The PLH Programme for Young Children, also known as PLH Kids and PLH 2-9, targets parents of children between two and nine years old and has recently been adapted for use in the middle-income countries of Romania and North Macedonia. By improving parents’ and caregivers’ knowledge, competence, stress levels, mental health and parenting skills, PLH 2-9 aims to strengthen parent-child relationships, improve children’s home and family environments, and ultimately protect children from the long-term physical and psychological consequences of child abuse and neglect.

NEWS ITEMS
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Work-life Balance Directive enters into force
The Work-life Balance Directive, which aims to improve families’ access to family leave and flexible work arrangements, has entered into European Union law and must now be adopted by Member States. Measures under the directive include the introduction of paternity leave and carers’ leave, the extension of the right to request flexible working arrangements to more carers and parents, and the requirement for set amounts of parental leave to become non-transferrable between parents. The Directive is part of an initiative to better support a work-life balance for parents and carers and encourage a more equal sharing of parental leave between men and women.

EPIC tracks new developments in child and family policies in EU Member States
The European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) presents a round-up of the latest developments in child and family policy in EU member states over the past month.

If there are any new policies and practices in the EU member states that you would like us to feature in this update, please send the details to epic@rand.org.

July 2019 developments in child and family policy in EU member states

June 2019 developments in child and family policy in EU member states

UPCOMING EVENTS
Children (c) Adobe stock
26 September 2019
2019 EISS Conference: Changing Family Structures and Social Security

Zurich, Switzerland
This conference, organised by the European Institute of Social Security (EISS), will focus on current changes in family structures, the challenges these can bring, and potential models to adapt to these changes.

03-04 October 2019
COFACE Families Europe Open Spaces: Shaping a healthy environment fit for children

Helsinki, Finland
The conference, hosted by COFACE Families Europe and Vaestoliitto (the Family Federation of Finland) and under the Finnish Presidency of the EU, will bring together 80-100 stakeholders from Finland and Europe on the topic of shaping a healthy environment fit for children.

YOUR FEEDBACK
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The EPIC team is interested in your feedback on user experiences with EPIC (in particular the Practices that Work section). How do you use the information posted on EPIC? Do national experts and practitioners work with the information posted on EPIC? Do practitioners and decision makers use the collected Evidence-Based Practices? Please email us at EMPL-EPIC@ec.europa.eu.
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The European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) wants to provide information about all policies that can help children and their families face up to the unprecedented challenges that exist in the current economic climate in Europe. This is an occasional electronic newsletter intended for anyone with an interest in the information provided by EPIC.