The peer review in Belgium highlighted the key elements of an effective child homelessness strategy to ensure the well-being and rights of children currently without a home.
The peer review showcased the host country approaches to tackle children's homelessness and allowed the participating Member States to present their experiences as well as exchange national/regional and local policy practices in group discussions.
Furthermore, a study visit showed a model community-based care home where children, who have become homeless, are sheltered and cared for.
The Office of Flemish Child's Rights Commissioner hosted the event and exchanged lessons learned, good and innovative practices with participants from Czech Republic, Denmark, Lithuania, Portugal and Romania.
All documents related to this peer review are available on this website.
In Belgium, each year, hundreds of children, youngsters and their parents experience homelessness or are forced to live in harsh housing conditions.
At the end of 2014, 1,728 children in Flanders lived in homelessness services including night shelters and transit housing. In March 2017, a group of volunteers took stock and counted in one hour, 653 homeless children in Brussels.
As a response to the dire situation in Belgium, the Flemish Children's Rights Commissioner presented a dossier analyzing the root causes and proposing policy changes needed to effectively address homelessness of children and their families.
The dossier focused on five key policy elements, namely:
- statistics and data collection to make homeless children more visible at policy level;
- local governance and collaboration among stakeholders;
- management of child-friendly shelters and support;
- prevention of child homelessness; and
- establishment of a holistic housing allocation system.