Eurochild has published a report that reviews effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on children in 25 European countries (including 23 European Union Member States). The findings suggest that the pandemic had negative effects on children’s mental health and exacerbated societal inequality.
Eurochild network has just issued the Growing up in lockdown report which reviews effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on children in 25 European countries (including 23 European Union Member States). The findings suggest that the pandemic had negative effects on children’s mental health and exacerbated societal inequality.
The Growing up in lockdown report analyses 25 country reports compiled by Eurochild, a network of organisations who advocate for the rights and wellbeing of children to be considered in policymaking in Europe.
Looking across Europe, the report examines key themes from each country, reflects on the 2020 European Semester country specific recommendations, and provides recommendations for policy-makers in order to support better outcomes for children and families.
COVID-19 has negatively affected the wellbeing of children across Europe
The report finds that the COVID-19 outbreak and ensuing societal lockdowns have placed additional strain on families’ and children’s education, health, and societal inclusion. Some key findings include that:
- more families may have been at risk of poverty due to job losses following the COVID-19 outbreak in many Member States (Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Italy and Slovenia)
- there has been a rise in anxiety and mental health problems in children and in domestic violence in some Member States (Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Romania, Slovenia and Portugal)
- school closures revealed educational and digital disparity as low-income families struggled to support children’s home schooling
- the COVID-19 outbreak had increased the risk that children in precarious family situations will enter alternative care due to heightened financial distress and domestic violence in some Member States (particularly Greece, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia)
- deinstitutionalisation reforms for children in alternative care were delayed due to COVID-19
Recommended actions to address the needs of children in COVID-19 recovery
The report recommends national and EU-level policy makers
- set national targets to reduce child poverty and ensure that national COVID-19 recovery plans focus on children
- establish and implement the European Child Guarantee
- adopt a multi-dimensional approach to fighting child poverty
- maintain, promote and increase investments in deinstitutionalisation reforms
- ensure that children participate in decisions and policies
The report was published in the context of European Union action
Children’s right to protection from poverty is enshrined as one of the fundamental principles in the European Pillar of Social Rights that was proclaimed in 2017. In order to advance on this principle and translate it in practice, the Commission is currently preparing a proposal for a Council Recommendation on the European Child Guarantee, aiming to tackle child poverty and break the intergenerational cycle of inequality and disadvantage.
The European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) is a platform that 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.
In addition to a library of practices, EPIC publishes a series of reports that aim to provide accessible overviews of key issues in children and family policy. Relevant publications include a policy memo on factors that increase risk of child and family poverty in times of financial crisis, the 2019 annual thematic report summarising new policy developments supporting children and families in the EU27 and a policy memo examining the housing conditions of children in the EU.