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 in March 2020.
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Each piece of news contains a link to the original source, which may be in a language other than English. In most cases, they are press releases from the relevant ministries.
Austria: Expansion of children and family helpline
Following the closure of schools in Austria due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the minister with responsibility for education has announced that school psychologists and school social workers will now work as advisors on the country’s free telephone helpline for children and families. This change has come about in response to the high demand that the ‘Help children’ helpline (Rat auf Draht) has experienced in recent days.
The ministry has also announced that they will ensure that in-school psychological support will continue online and via telephone in the coming weeks.
Ireland: Measures to support childcare sector during COVID-19
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has outlined a number of measures that aim to support the childcare sector during the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes reimbursing childcare employers for their staff costs (70% of the total costs will be reimbursed by the Revenue Commission and the remaining 30% by the Department for Children and Youth Affairs).
The Department will also pay a retention top-up to prevent staff from leaving the sector and asking childcare providers to agree not to charge parents for childcare fees for the coming months.
Ireland: Launch of Youth Climate Justice Fund
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has announced a new fund to support youth-led action and innovation on climate justice at community, regional and national level. In 2020, the Youth Climate Justice Fund will provide almost €500,000 for projects that aim to raise climate awareness for young people and empower young people to influence climate justice debate.
Italy: Home-based activities for children and families
The Department of Family Policy (Dipartmento per le politiche della famiglia) has launched project #CiStoDentro for all children and young people who are isolated due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The project encourages parents and children to read, play games, watch live videos, draw, and write papers and stories that relate to their daily experiences inside their homes. Children can then share these creations with the government and the country via the website.
Greece: Online course to support remote teaching
The Greek National eTwinning Support Service has released an online course called "We're Home with eTwinning" (Μένουμε Σπίτι με το eTwinning). The online course aims to inform and accelerate teachers' use of distance learning tools in order to support teachers who are now teaching their lessons at home as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
This course introduces tools including guidelines and tips for distance education, asynchronous e-learning platforms, modern e-learning platforms and e-Learning Tools. The online course is accessible to all visitors and all modules are open and free for everyone.
Germany: Emergency children’s allowance
The Federal Ministry of Family Affairs has announced an emergency children’s allowance (Notfall- Kinderzuschlag (KiZ)) for low-income families who may face additional financial hardships due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Families will receive an allowance of up to €185 per child per month, depending on their income in the previous month
Luxemburg: New helpline and website to help children with learning
The Ministry of Education, Children and Youth has set up a website and telephone helpline that will offer assistance and support to students, teachers and parents while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Children, parents and teachers can call the helpline with questions about school subjects and pedagogical approaches, and for general advice and psychological support.
The website also offers a range of content and resources to support students and teachers.
Europe: Initiative improving social inclusion for single parents
Six organisations from different Member States have launched a new European initiative focusing on improving the social inclusion of low-income single parents. ParentBank is a two-year project that aims to support single parents’ entry into the labour market by facilitating their access to childcare and other services. The project will run until 2021 in Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Lithuania, Romania and Spain.
Europe: European Semester Country Reports published
On 26 February, the European Commission published the European Semester Country Reports for 2020. These country reports analyse the overall economic and social developments in each EU Member State and assess the progress the Member State has made towards addressing the issues set out in the previous year’s recommendations.