Bertelsmann Stiftung (a Germany-based non-profit organisation) has published a report that reviews preventive policy schemes for children, young people and families in 12 countries across Europe.
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The report offers a comprehensive overview of the preventive concepts, structures and practices in 12 European countries, including 11 EU Member States (Austria, Czechia, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden), with three in-depth case studies (from Austria, France and the Netherlands). This report came out as a part of the Leave no child behind project operated by Bertelsmann Stiftung (a German based non-profit organisation) and the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia. The project aims to give all children and young people the best opportunities to grow up and successfully participate in society and has involved 18 model municipalities.
What does prevention mean?
The study defines prevention as efforts to secure the well-being of children and youth in order to ensure that they successfully grow up and become adults. The report considers that preventive policies should mitigate risk factors for children and their families – particularly those most vulnerable – and strengthen protective factors and resilience.
Prevention is an important part of international and EU approach to child and family policy. It aligns with the objectives that were highlighted in the 2017 EU Guidelines for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child, which was an action plan setting out how internationally agreed standards on children’s rights could be promoted in the EU policy agenda.
What are the key findings from the study?
The study finds that there is a great variety in existing preventive policy schemes across Europe. The Nordic countries (i.e. Denmark, Finland and Sweden) rely on an universal approach and enact preventive policies that cover all children and families, while other countries in Western Europe (including Ireland) use a targeted approach that focuses on children and families who are particularly in need, either by targeting specific groups or those living in specific areas. Other countries (including Austria, France, and Germany) tend to use a mixture of the two approaches.
Through recommendations, the report aims to establish foundations for development of policy practice across Europe. The main recommendations in the EU policy context include promoting the use of available financial instruments (such as the European Social Fund) to fund local prevention policies.
EPIC works to disseminate research and learning on child and family policy across the EU
The European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) is a platform which provides resources for Member States and monitors activities triggered by the Recommendation for Investing in Children by sharing good practices for children and families to foster cooperation and mutual learning in the field.
EPIC stores a repository of studies, reports, and statistics relating to EU child and family policy, including child participation, wellbeing, and education. EPIC also collates a searchable database of innovative and evidence-based practices.