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Child Guarantee: don’t leave children with disabilities behind

EASPD calls on Member States to quickly adopt the Child Guarantee and develop ambitious national action plans with key actions for the inclusion of children with disabilities.

Yesterday, the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) and MEP Dragoș Pîslaru co-organised the webinar “Child Guarantee: making it work for children with disabilities”. EASPD calls on Member States to quickly adopt the Child Guarantee and develop ambitious national action plans with key actions for the inclusion of children with disabilities. For EASPD, it is fundamental to invest in a system of high-quality support services based on the needs of children and their families, at the earliest stage possible.

In the European Union, children are more exposed to poverty and social exclusion than the rest of the population. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds, including many with disabilities, continue to have difficulties in accessing the services they need. Access to inclusive, quality, accessible and mainstream education is problematic for many children with disabilities, and those who live in institutions face barriers in accessing quality education and care and are often left out from statistics and thus invisible to policy makers.
The Proposal for a Council Recommendation establishing a Child Guarantee calls Member States to draft national action plans targeting children in needs, including children with disabilities and living in institutions. It invites Member States to secure access to early childhood education and care (ECEC), education and school-based activities, healthcare, healthy nutrition, and adequate housing.
On the 22nd April, EASPD and MEP Dragoș Pîslaru co-hosted the Webinar “Child Guarantee: making it work for children with disabilities” to present and discuss the impact of the Child Guarantee on children with disabilities and the services supporting them, with key speakers representing the EU institutions, support services and civil society.
The Webinar launched the EASPD commissioned report "Assessment of funding models for a successful implementation of the Child Guarantee”. The research investigates how the Child Guarantee can best support the delivery of high-quality support for children in need and for children with disabilities; starting from an analysis of the Youth Guarantee. It highlights the main barriers and challenges to access key services and gives recommendations, including in the use of EU funds. “Ensure access to high- integrated services, with a twin-track approach: universal mainstream services for all children and additional support services for the most vulnerable” is one of the key takeaways; according to Rebeca Lucas, author of the Report.
On the launch of the research, EASPD President James Crowe said, Investment in early intervention, inclusive education AND support services is fundamental to avoid the segregation and institutionalisation of children with disabilities and their families.  To be effective for children with disabilities, the Child Guarantee must lead to significant action in these fields by Member States. EASPD will be a supportive partner to make sure this becomes a reality.”
Katerina Nanou, Senior Advocacy Advisor for Save the Children underlined that “we must ensure that institutional care is not presented as an alternative, not even as a last resort. This is something that we want to see changed in the Council Recommendation. Decades of research has proven the damaging effects of institutional care on children.”
“The Child Guarantee represents a landmark. We need investment and strategic coordination for children with disabilities to ensure that they have the means to become adults with an independent life” added MEP Dragoș Pîslaru.
We need the Member States to be bold, now, when it comes to the adoption of the Recommendation, in their definition of national action plans, and in the creation of synergies with other key national and European schemes. In particular, the ESF+, which is key for providing dedicated resources for its effective implementation, as well as the Recovery Plan” said MEP Brando Benifei.
EASPD calls for Member States to quickly adopt this proposal and to draft ambitious action plans for its implementation. Structural involvement of children, persons with disabilities, families, and support service,  and their representative organisations in the identification of target groups, setting of indicators, policy design and monitoring is needed to make sure that no child is left behind. EASPD and its members are ready to become a supportive partner for its swift and successful implementation.

Supporting Documents:
    Please contact:

    Rachel Vaughan
    EASPD Operations Manager
    +32 2 233  77 20

    Irene Bertana   
    EASPD Senior Policy Officer
    +32 2 233  77 23

    Note to editors

    The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities is a non-profit European umbrella organization, established in 1996, and currently representing over 17,000 social and health services for persons with disabilities. EASPD advocates effective and high-quality disability-related services in the field of education, employment and individualised support, in line with the UN CRPD principles, which could bring benefits not only to persons with disabilities, but to society as a whole.