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This newsletter highlights EPIC activities from 2019 and offers a preview of what is to come in 2020.
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EPIC participated in Feasibility Study for the Child Guarantee
EPIC team members participated in 3 of the 4 fact-finding workshops held by the European Commission as part of the Feasibility Study for a Child Guarantee for Vulnerable Children. The workshops focused on children with a migrant background, children residing in institutions and children living in precarious family situations. The Child Guarantee proposal, which follows the implementation of the Youth Guarantee, would establish a commitment by Member States to tackle poverty and ensure access to critical services for children in vulnerable situations. EPIC team members shared their expertise to help encourage Member States to share practices and facilitate learning across countries.

EPIC Commentary – Celebrating Children’s Rights is Important, but more progress is needed
In 2019, we celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC), the most ratified human rights treaty in history. Two EPIC researchers had the opportunity to share their views on the progress made, and where room for improvement remains, in a blog for Encompass Europe. To read the full commentary, please click here.

Parental Leave for Non-traditional Families – EPIC presented research at Leave Network Conference in Hamburg
In August 2019, EPIC researchers presented the research memo on leave policies and practices for non-traditional families at the Annual Seminar of the International Network on Leave Policies and Research in Hamburg, Germany. The memo explains that 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 memo looks at what the situation is like for adoptive families, reconstituted families and rainbow families. During discussions, EPIC researchers also shared findings from another memo that focuses on mechanisms supporting single parents across the EU.

Sharing Evidenced Practices and Interventions for Children and Families
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EPIC collects, reviews and shares practices relating to children and families from across the EU. We assess each practice for their existing evidence base and categorise them on one out of three different levels: Best, Promising and Emerging. Detailed descriptions of the meaning of each can be found here. The section below highlights some of the recently assessed additions to the EPIC platform originating from a broad range of Member States:

From Germany – Join the Healthy Boat
Komm in das Gesunde [Join the Healthy Boat] is a school-based intervention targeting children in grades 1 to 4 (ages 6-10) with the aim of preventing obesity by educating children on the risks of unhealthy leisure and eating habits and on the various foods, drinks, and recreational activities that are consistent with a healthier and more active lifestyle. The intervention has been evaluated and it was found that this intervention seems to reach ‘hard to reach’ groups of children. The evaluation also found that parental involvement is an important part of the intervention’s success.

From Ireland – Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme (ECCE)
The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme provides early childhood care and education to eligible pre-school children in the Republic of Ireland, completely free of charge. A 2015 evaluation assessing the outcomes of a cohort of children who participated in the scheme during the 2012-2013 school year found that taking part in the scheme had a positive and statistically significant effect on the development of children’s social and emotional skills by the end of the school year.

From the UK – Talk About Alcohol
Talk About Alcohol is an intervention developed in the UK which aims to help children aged 11-18 to make informed decisions about alcohol. The programme is inspired by SHARHP (Australia) and EUDAP Unplugged (EU), social norms approaches and life skills education. Talk About Alcohol is provided through schools in the United Kingdom by the Alcohol Education Trust, who support teachers, students, and their parents with resources on line and in print. One evaluation found that participating students showed improved awareness about their parents’ and peers relationship with alcohol after receiving the intervention.

For more information on each of these, or to search for more examples amongst our more than 100 practices available, please visit the EPIC platform here.

If you would like to learn more about how we assess practices, please see here for a detailed explanation of our process and criteria.

Coming Soon

Policy Memo on Children and Housing
Ensuring that children have access to quality housing plays a significant role in ensuring children’s health and well-being, as well as their overall development. Yet, many children across the EU remain at risk of experiencing severe housing deprivation. This memo, due to be published early 2020, will outline housing conditions experienced by children across EU Member States.

Policy Memo on the Role of Inclusion in Ensuring Quality Early Childhood Education and Care
There has been growing recognition that access to quality early childhood education and care positively impacts on children’s development. Some evidence even suggests that having access to quality ECEC early in life impacts on outcomes later in life. With this in mind, this memo takes a look at the concept of inclusion, and how it fits with ensuring quality ECEC. This memo is due to be published in Spring 2020.

2019 Country Profiles
Every year, EPIC prepares short snapshots of developments in EU Member States around child and family policies. 28 short profiles updated for 2019 will be published in spring 2020 and the 2018 country profiles can be found here.

The EPIC team wishes all our stakeholders a happy and peaceful festive season and all the best for 2020.
NEWS ITEMS
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EPIC publishes news items relating to child and family policy developments in the EU
Roughly every two weeks, EPIC publishes a news item relating to child and family policy in the EU. These news items may report on events, reports, or recent EU-level policy developments. Below is a selection of news items from the past six months.

New report examining children’s rights and wellbeing in the 2019 European Semester – published 06 December 2019

Latest Gender Equality Index Released – published 12 November 2019

EU Work – life Balance Directive Enters into Force - published 22 August 2019

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.

November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019

UPCOMING EVENTS
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08 - 10 July 2020
European Social Network: Rethink, Inspire, Dare Community Care

Hamburg, Germany
This conference aims to promote the sharing and discussion of policies and practices in community care, including health and social care services, with the ultimate goal of achieving better outcomes for children and their families, as well as other groups of particularly vulnerable people.

26 - 29 August 2020
European Society of Family Relations (ESFR): Sustainable Relationships? Families, Personal Lives and Global Change

Oxford, United Kingdom
This conference involves the presentation of interdisciplinary research projects in the areas of family forms, ecological and societal change for families, families across borders, family practices across the life course and methodological and ethical issues in family research.

08 - 11 September 2020
EECERA 30th conference: Democratic Early Childhood Pedagogies

Zagreb, Croatia
This 4-day annual conference gathers scholars, policy makers, researchers and practitioners from around Europe to exchange on the latest early childhood research.

Do you have an upcoming event relating to child and family policy that you would like to see included here? Please email us at epic@rand.org

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.