Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

This section features practices that have demonstrated their effectiveness through rigorous research. These practices have been reviewed by a team of experts according to our set evidence review criteria and summarised in a way that is easy to understand.

Find a practice (within the 'Evidence based practices'):

The practices can be also searched along the three policy pillars of the Recommendation for Investing in Children:

  1. Access to adequate resources
  2. Access to affordable quality services
  3. Children's right to participate

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  1. 1. Join the Healthy Boat – Primary School

    Germany, 2009 - Still operating

    ‘Join the Healthy Boat – Primary School’ is a school-based intervention targeting children in grades 1 to 4 (ages 6-10). The intervention was designed, implemented, and evaluated by a research group at Ulm University from 2010 to 2011, in collaboration with schools across the region of Baden-Württemberg in Germany. It is delivered by trained teachers throughout the academic year as part of the existing school curriculum, and consists of face-to-face classroom modules, guided physical activities during recess, and media-based homework assignments to be completed with parents in the children’s homes. The intervention aims to prevent childhood obesity by educating children on the risks of unhealthy leisure and eating habits, as well as informing them of the various foods, drinks, and recreational activities that are consistent with a healthier and more active lifestyle.

    Evidence level:  Emergent Practice


  2. 2. Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme (ECCE) in Ireland

    Ireland, 2010 - Still operating

    The ECCE scheme provides early childhood care and education to eligible pre-school children in the Republic of Ireland, completely free of charge. This study analyses determinants of child outcomes for a cohort of children who participated in the scheme during the 2012-2013 school year. A ‘before and after approach’ was taken, which assessed the children’s social, emotional, language and cognitive skills.

    Evidence level:  Emergent Practice


  3. 3. Social-Emotional Prevention Programme (SEP)

    Romania, 2009 - 2009

    Social-Emotional Prevention (SEP) is a multifaceted practice (including children, parents and teachers) aimed at improving social and emotional competencies. It is a hybrid programme, combining the delivery of targeted (for high risk children) and universal (for all children) elements within the prevention programme. This group-based programme comprises three components: a classroom curriculum, teacher training and parent training. The evidence of its effectiveness comes from a trial implemented in Romania.

    Evidence level:  Emergent Practice


  4. 4. Parenting UR Teen

    United Kingdom, 2010 - 2012

    'Parenting UR Teen' is a group-based parenting programme that aims to enhance family relationships, parental wellbeing and teen social functioning by promoting authoritative parenting style. The programme built on previous research findings suggesting that authoritative parenting practices, such as use of firm control and rational discipline, are associated with a number of positive outcomes: for example, better school performance, less delinquent behavior and enhanced emotional and social competence. The programme was delivered in eight weeks and incorporated weekly sessions on various topics including: parenting styles, teen development, self-esteem, conflict, problem solving. Evidence on the effectiveness of the 'Parenting UR Teen’ programme comes from one randomised controlled study that was run in Northern Ireland with 145 parents from a wide range of economic backgrounds. The evaluation results indicate that the programme is beneficial for parents in terms of improved overall well-being and that it also had positive impact on their child’s behavior and their family functioning as a whole.

    Evidence level:  Emergent Practice


  5. 5. Parents under Pressure (PuP)

    United Kingdom, 2012 - Still operating

    Parents under Pressure (PuP) is a programme for parents who face multiple adversities, including dependence on psychoactive drugs or alcohol. PuP contains 12 modules delivered over 20 weeks, including one-to-one sessions with the PUP therapist at family’s home and additional support, e.g., housing or legal advice, based on family needs. PuP aims to develop a safe and nurturing relationship between child and caregiver and thus reduce likelihood of child abuse.

    Evidence level:  Promising Practice


News 09/03/2021

February 2021 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 February 2021. 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.

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Austria: Extension of COVID-19 support for families

The ministry with responsibility for family affairs (Bundesministerium für Arbeit, Familie und Jugend) extended the support available to families who are experiencing financial difficulties due to COVID-19. The family hardship fund (Familienhärtefonds) will be increased by additional €50 million (reaching a total of €200 million) and extended until the end of June 2021. This fund aims to support families in which at least one parent has lost their job or had their working hours reduced due to COVID-19. In addition, the ministry will continue to provide family allowances to a wider pool of families: all families that were entitled to the family allowance for at least one month between March 2020 and February 2021 will now be entitled to the allowance until March 2021.

Denmark: New initiative for safeguarding vulnerable children

At the end of January 2021, the ministry with responsibility for social affairs (Social og Indenrigsministeriet) proposed a new initiative to support particularly vulnerable children.  The Children First (Børnene Først) initiative includes a number of actions which ultimately aim to ensure that fewer children grow up in abuse by supporting earlier intervention. The initiative also proposes reforms to the current foster family system and the Children’s Act (Barnets Lov) to improve child participation.

Finland: New action plan to prevent bullying and harassment in schools

The Ministry of Education and Culture (Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriö) introduced an action plan that aims to prevent bullying, teasing, violence and harassment in schools and in other educational institutions. The action plan covers the next three years and includes measures to tackle bullying both inside and outside of schools. It also outlines preventive arrangements to be taken at early childhood and education care (ECEC) stage, which aim at strengthening children’s emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills. 

Finland: Draft reform of family leave policy

On 16 February 2021, the Finnish government (Hallituksen) introduced a proposal on family leave reform (perhevapaauudistuksesta). Building on the EU Work-Life Balance Directive, the proposed reform would extend the duration of family leave by giving each parent an entitlement to 160 days of leave per child. The proposed reform also would also provide more flexibility to parents in how they can make use of their leave entitlements. The reform aims to improve the wellbeing of children and to encourage a more equal distribution of leave between parents.

Ireland: Awareness-raising campaign about particularly vulnerable children

The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth introduced its second iteration of the Supporting Children campaign which promotes support to particularly vulnerable children, young people and their families. The aim of the campaign is twofold: to encourage society to be mindful of particularly vulnerable children and to promote access to information on what assistance is available to them and their families. More information is featured on the official website of the campaign.

Slovenia: Simplification of and extensions to childcare allowance

The ministry with responsibility for family affairs (Ministrstvo za delo, družino, socialne zadeve in enake možnosti) has increased the childcare allowance that is provided to families in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ministry has also simplified the process of claiming childcare allowance for elderly people who are unable to adequately provide for children in their care. This allowance is part of the rights that vulnerable populations in Slovenia have to claim benefits from public funds.

International: Launch of report on policy tools to support inclusive education

The European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education published a new guidance report on promoting inclusive school-level leadership on 3 February 2021. The report provides a framework and guiding principles to help decision-makers review national and local-level policies at all levels of education. The aim of the document is to support decision-makers to make education more inclusive and equitable. The policy framework was developed by the Agency in collaboration with the Supporting Inclusive School Leadership project and partners from Ireland, Malta, Hungary and Sweden.

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