Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 05/08/2020

July 2020 developments in child and family policy 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 in July 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.

Germany: Additional funding for families and children

The German federal parliament (Bundestag) passed a supplementary budget that included additional funding for the federal ministry with responsibility for families and children (Bundesfamilienministerium)

Of this, €1.5 billion will be used to expand childcare  for children of primary school age and to invest in services that provide support for children and families.

This includes  providing grants and loans to non-profit organisations that provide support for children, young people and families and that have faced difficulties during the COVID19 crisis and the ensuing societal restrictions.

Bulgaria: Allowance to cover school expenses

The Bulgarian ministry responsible for social policy (Министерство на труда и социалната политика) announced that a one-time allowance of BGN 250 (approximately €125) will be available to cover the costs of school expenses for some children entering secondary education in the next academic year.

This allowance will be provided to all children from low-income households and to other groups of disadvantaged children, including children with permanent disabilities and children in alternative care.

Bulgaria: Programme promoting innovative practices in ECEC

The ministry with responsibility for education launched a new national programme that aims to support the introduction of innovative practices into early childhood education and care services in Bulgaria.

Entitled “Succeeding Together” (Успяваме заедно), the programme has awarded funding of over BGN 467,000 (€239,000) to projects that were proposed by 207 kindergartens across the country.

Projects have a particular focus on supporting children and parents during the transition to kindergarten and on supporting different kindergartens to work and learn together in associations.  

Ireland: Publication of three studies related to children

Various Irish government ministries have recently released research reports focusing on child-related issues. The Department for Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) published a study examining income, poverty and deprivation levels among children which identifies the main risk factors for experiencing child poverty.

The DYCA also published a report on the implications of the COVID-19 crisis on children and young people which found that children from disadvantaged backgrounds and with special educational needs are most affected by the pandemic.

Finally, the Ministry for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration (MCDEI) published an assessment of the early childhood education and care (ECEC) Higher Capitation payment: a policy which provides additional per-child funding for services that employ teachers and practitioners with degree-level qualification. The policy aims to incentivise ECEC services to offer graduate-led programmes. The assessment finds that following the introduction of the payment, there has been a rise in the number of ECEC practitioners with a degree-level qualification.

Slovenia: Financial support for ECEC practitioners

The ministries responsible for education and labour (Ministerstvo školstva, rezortu práce) announced additional funding of just over €86 million to support the retention of jobs in kindergartens.

This initiative, which is in response to the effects of the  COVID19 crisis on the labour market, will cover 80% of gross monthly wages for employees  in early childhood education and care services (ECEC).

These wages will be paid retroactively to ECEC services to cover the period between March and June 2020.

Latvia: Psychotherapy consultations offered to vulnerable children

The state agency with responsibility for protecting the rights of the child launched a pilot project that will aim to support particularly vulnerable children.

Ten psychotherapy consultations will be provided free of charge to children aged between 12 and 18 who have communication difficulties and behavioural disorders, are experiencing their parents’ separation or divorces, or who are witnessing or experiencing domestic violence.

This initiative was launched in response to concern about rising family conflicts due to stresses brought on by the COVID19 crisis.

Poland: Help with school expenses for children with disabilities

The ministry with responsibility for education (Ministerstwo Edukacji Narodowej) announced that it will provide financial assistance to help children with disabilities and their families to purchase educational and training materials.

Depending on their form of disability, children will be eligible for between PLN 225 and PLN 445 (approximately €50 to €100). 

This initiative is part of a programme running between 2020 and 2022 which aims to equalise educational opportunities and to improve the quality of education for students with disabilities.

European Union: Research into the possibility of creating a  Child Union

The Foundation for European Progressive Studies published a study that proposes a ‘Child Union’. The programme that they propose would build on the EU's Child Guarantee initiative and would continue to tackle current inequalities in children’s access to early childhood education and care (ECEC) and social services.

Carried out in partnership with the Progresiva Foundation (Slovenia), Pablo Iglesias Foundation (Spain), Reggio Children (Italy) and the Institute for Social Democracy (Hungary), the study suggests that improving access to ECEC and integrating this with other welfare provision are key to overcoming inequalities amongst children and should be included in the EU’s post-COVID 19 recovery plan.

OECD: Working paper published on family services and child wellbeing

The Office for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published a new working paper examining how family services can help to promote child wellbeing, particularly for those in vulnerable families.

Through exploring the role that family services play and the challenges that they face in reaching vulnerable families, the paper considers that more international sharing of different practices in family services is needed to further promote child wellbeing.    

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