One commitment of the EU Strategy on the rights of the child was to work on bringing children closer to the decision-making processes in the EU. The EU Children’s Participation Platform is being set up to fulfill this commitment. The Platform is being co-created, in partnership with the European Parliament, child rights organisations and children themselves. ICF and its partners (selected through an open tender procedure), incl. Save the children and SOS Children’s Villages, prof. Laura Lundy and prof. Cath Larkins, have started working on the Platform. Early next year, organisations that already work with children (e.g. national children’s parliaments; children city councils; children’s boards advising international non-governmental organisations) will have a possibility to join the platform by replying to call for expression of interest. We will share it as well and let you know more about the Platform.
Newsletter on the rights of the child
This year, for the first time, Daphne call is a re-granting scheme. The EU funding goes to intermediary organisations, who fund the capacity building and organise calls for proposals for smaller civil society organisation active at local, regional, national level. Activities should focus in particular on: a. Providing victim support tailored to the specific needs of victims b. Preventing violence c. Tackling gender stereotypes as root causes of gender-based violence d. Strengthening child protection systems
In September 2022, as part of the European Care Strategy, the European Commission proposed that Member States revise the targets on early childhood education and care to enhance women's labour market participation, also called ‘the Barcelona Targets', set in 2002. On 8 December, the Council adopted a recommendation that encourages Member States to increase participation in on early childhood education and care to: (1) at least 45% of children below the age of three; and (2) at least 96% of children between the age of three and the starting age for compulsory primary education. The recommendation also covers qualitative aspects and the territorial distribution of care facilities. When it comes to affordability and accessibility, Member States are encouraged to limit out-of-pocket expenses for parents and to offer solutions for parents with atypical working hours allowing them to better reconcile work, family and private life.
The European Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation aimed at harmonising at EU level the rules of private international law relating to parenthood. The proposal is focused on the best interests and the rights of the child. It will provide legal clarity for all types of families, who find themselves in a cross-border situation within the EU, be it because they move from one Member State to another to travel or reside, or because they have family members or property in another Member State. One of the key aspects of the proposal is that the parenthood established in a Member State of the EU should be recognised in all the other Member States, without any special procedure.
This year's Safer Internet Forum (SIF) took place in a hybrid format on Thursday, 27 October 2022 with a theme of A Digital Decade for children and youth: BIK+ to protect, empower and respect! SIF is a key annual event where policy makers, researchers, law enforcement bodies, youth, parents and carers, teachers, NGOs, industry representatives, experts and other relevant actors come together to discuss the latest trends, risks and solutions related to child online safety and making the internet a better place.
Around 170 participants from 23 countries met at the Barnahus Forum 2022 in Stockholm to exchange practices, challenges, learnings, and the ongoing development of work. The Forum was co-funded by the PROMISE projects (co-funded under EU CERV programme), and also by the PROMISE Barnahus Network’s membership fees. The main organiser was the Council of the Baltic Sea States, which is the host of the PROMISE Barnahus Network.
On 16 November, on the occasion of the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (18 November), a high-level event on Barnahus model was organised by the Council of Europe and the Council of the Baltic Sea States, under the Icelandic Presidency of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers. The event brought together high-level key international actors with the aim to explore the Barnahus concept, including what works, opportunities for improvement, and potential adjustments to national legal frameworks.
A high level event at the European Parliament launched a study, run by UNICEF- Innocenti Centre, Learning for Well Being Foundation and Fetzer Institute, called “What Make Me?” The report depicts 9 core capacities fundamental for developing competencies and skills that support lifelong learning and child wellbeing. These capacities - empathizing, relaxing, observing, listening, inquiring, reflecting, sensing, embodying and discerning patterns- need to be cultivated at the early stage of our life. Adults also need to be aware of them since they are essential for learning and living during the entire circle of our life. MEPs, the European Commission, UNICEF, researchers and stakeholders discussed with civil society participants the importance of putting children at the centre of decision-making.
Hope and Homes for Children published a roadmap for global care reform ‘Families. Not Institutions’. The publication is a seminal analytic report on their thirty-year experience with reforming child protection and care systems to ensure the end of institutionalisation of children globally. For global, regional and national decision makers, ‘Families. Not Institutions.’ can help build political will, define strategies and policies, and target funding that transforms care systems.
At the occasion of the first Annual Seminar "A 360 view on child friendly Justice" on 12-14 October 2022, the Child-friendly justice European network (CFJ-EN) released its first handbook on child friendly justice. It includes a compilation of resources, key legal standards and case law, agendas and opportunities at European level for 2022-2023. The handbook, updated yearly, is available in English and will soon be available in French. The Child Friendly Justice European Network, co-funded by the EU under CERV Programme, aims to ensure that justice systems are adapted to children’s needs and specificities. It intends to exchange information and expertise, further disseminate useful tools produced and gather them to make them more accessible.
Created in collaboration with the Children and War UK Foundation, the Rucksack Project is a book created not only about the children of Ukraine, but for the children of Ukraine. Every picture book distributed to displaced Ukrainian children comes with a separate exercise book, a simple booklet of advice for parents, carers, teachers - wherever they might be - who are reading RUCKSACK to the children, with the aim of the book becoming a soothing personal possession to support the mental health of the young readers.
The full conference report, including a child-friendly version are now available on the webpage. On 27, 28, 29 September 2022, the 14th European Forum on the rights of the child took place. This year’s theme was “Bringing Children to the Centre: Empowering, protecting and including children”. The event took place online, with over 430 participants, and some speakers present in Brussels. 40 children took part both remotely and in-person, 12 children spoke at the plenary, while others shared their views during the parallel workshops. A special focus was given to child participation, key actions under the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child and children in conflicts. Vice-President Šuica launched the EU Children’s Participation Platform. We also had a round of consultation on integrated child protection systems.
On 25 November 2022, the Commission adopted the new two-year work programme 2023-2024 for the Justice programme and, on 1 December, the two-year work programme 2023-204 for the CERV programme. First 2023 calls were published on 6 December 2022 (see below). The CERV programme is the biggest EU fund ever available for promoting and protecting EU rights and values (1.55 billion over 7 years). Together with the Justice programme (305 million euro over 7 years), it contributes to build a Union of Justice, Rights and Values.
On 4 October 2022, the European Union adopted the first Youth Action Plan (YAP) in EU external action to strengthen engagement with young people and children worldwide. The YAP is guided by three pillars of action that will help shape the EU's partnership to engage, empower and connect young people and children in partner countries worldwide. European Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography Dubravka Suica said: “We need to empower children and young people across the world, ensure that they have concrete opportunities and promote the effective engagement of young people and children as a right, ensuring no one is left behind. We share the collective responsibility to build more democratic, equal and peaceful societies, also for future generations.”
The European Commission published a set of ethical guidelines for educators on the use of AI and data in education. The guidelines are intended for primary and secondary teachers and can be used by educators with little or no experience with digital education. They clarify popular and widespread misconceptions about artificial intelligence (AI) that might confuse people and cause anxiety over its use, especially in education.
Step into the shoes of a national minister and experience EU decision-making by negotiating on real topics that matter for you. Agreeing on a common charger for your devices, banning single-use plastics or supporting the transition to electric cars and greener buildings – it's all in your hands. Play EUcraft – a digital simulation game. Available on web and mobile (15+).
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child is inviting children and young people and the global community to share their views on the first draft of General Comment No. 26., on children’s rights and the environment with a special focus on climate change.
On the occasion of its 20th anniversary, Missing Children Europe honoured Her Majesty Queen Paola of Belgium for her extraordinary commitment to the cause. For 20 years members across Europe have been striving to find missing children and fight against their sexual exploitation. What started off with enthusiastic attempts to work together and speak the same language has evolved into a stable and effective structure for ongoing cross-border cooperation and exchange. The organisation dedicated its 20th anniversary to the Ukrainian children being forcibly deported to Russia.
New EMN inform explores the situation of all unaccompanied minors reaching adulthood who are classified as unaccompanied minors in the Member States and Norway – including, to the extent possible, both those who do and do not apply for asylum.
The conflict in Ukraine and the subsequent increase in the cost of living has brought unbearable challenges in the life of millions of children. Families and children in vulnerable situations are among those most exposed to the daunting impact of rising inflation. Skyrocketing costs risk plunging financially stable families into poverty and sinking millions of vulnerable children into deeper poverty. Collecting data and testimonies from Save the Children’s teams working in 12 European countries, the policy paper delves into the devastating choices families must make, mental health issues, education, and leisure services.