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 2019.
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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.
European Union: European Youth Conference took place in Bucharest
The Romanian Presidency of the EU hosted the European Union Youth Conference in Bucharest between 25 and 28 March 2019.
The conference, with a specific focus on youth employment and the future of work, is a first step to tackle objectives set by the EU Youth Strategy for 2019-2027, based on the EU Youth Goals.
Denmark: New package created to foster parental cooperation in day care
The ministry in charge of family policy has published a parental cooperation package for Early Child Education and Care (ECEC) professionals.
The package includes a dialogue card, a film, a research guide and a handbook. These tools aim to increase cooperation between professionals and parents.
Finland: Preliminary report for a National Strategy for Children published
On 12 March 2019, the steering group in charge of preparation for a National Strategy for Children published their report.
The report recommends that the next government devises a Strategy for Children by the end of 2019, including defined objectives, indicators and monitoring tools.
France: Report on the quality of ECEC
The High Council for Family, Childhood and Aging (HCFEA), a national body which provides guidance to the French government on related policies, has produced a report on the quality of ECEC across France.
The report will serve as the basis for the creation of quality guide for ECEC. Recommendations include the creation of national monitoring tools for the quality of care in individual and group settings.
Germany: Online portal launched to support parents in difficult situations
In Germany, the National Centre for Early Aid (NZFH), which provides support to families, launched an online portal to help parents across Germany find local support centres.
The online portal can be used to search local support by postcode on issues related to pregnancy and a child’s early years. The portal includes free and low-cost offers to connect parents to local networks of support.
Ireland: National Childcare Scheme launched
On 11 March 2019, the Minister for Children and Youth affairs announced the formal launch of the National Childcare Scheme, which will be available from October 2019.
This is the first statutory entitlement to financial support for childcare in Ireland and consists of a system of universal and means-tested subsidies to support families in meeting the cost of childcare.
Italy: Launch of initiative to improve access to credit for families with children
The Department for Family Policies and the Italian Banking Association (ABI) have signed an agreement to launch a new ‘supporting birth fund’ (fondo natalità).
The fund is designed to facilitate access to credit for families with children under the age of 3 by providing guarantees for loans made by participating banks to these families.
Latvia: Increased funds for children with disabilities
The Latvian Ministry of Welfare has announced that, as of 01 July 2019, children with particularly severe disabilities will be eligible to receive additional monthly income, which will benefit approximately 2,000 children in the country.
The extra money is designed to supplement parents’ income in order to ensure that any additional costs relating to early childhood education and care and health care can be met.
United Kingdom: New regulations passed for Relationships Education in schools
The UK Parliament Lower House has approved new regulations for Relationships Education and Health Education in schools, following a public consultation. If approved by the Upper House, all schools in England will be required to provide relationships education from 2020.
The accompanying draft guidance, which sets out topics to be covered by schools, includes keeping safe online and teaching children about different types of families (such as LGBT and foster parents) and, for older children, education about sexual orientation and gender identity.