Message to Member States: adopt the Child Guarantee
The proposal for a European Child Guarantee was published by the European Commission yesterday. The initiative recommends that Member States establish National Plans to improve access to key quality services for children in need, with specific mention of children with disabilities and children living in institutions. The need for improved access to inclusive childhood education and care (ECEC), inclusive education, deinstitutionalisation and investment in quality social services and its workforce were also highlighted in the Guarantee. The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) welcomes the proposal, is ready to cooperate towards its implementation, and calls on Member States to quickly adopt the Guarantee.
Yesterday, the European Commission published the first EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child and the Child Guarantee, to promote equal opportunities for children at risk of poverty or social exclusion. A key deliverable of the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, the Child Guarantee is a proposal for a Council Recommendation which invites Member States to secure effective and free access to early childhood education and care, education and school-based activities, healthcare, healthy nutrition and adequate housing to children in need.
“We welcome this new Child Guarantee proposal, which looks like a clear and practical instrument, with targeted objectives, and an effective implementation and monitoring framework. We are glad to see that the co-production principle is present and we are ready to cooperate to its implementation. Before then, let’s have a clear message to Member States: adopt the Child Guarantee proposal and swiftly,” said Luk Zelderloo, EASPD Secretary General.
“EASPD is also glad to see a strong call for inclusive education and care. There is still a lot to do to ensure children with disabilities are able to enjoy their rights. The Child Guarantee is definitely a positive, ambitious and important step in the right direction.” Added Irene Bertana, EASPD Senior Policy Officer.
Children with disabilities and children in institutional care are among the main target groups of the Child Guarantee, together with homeless children or children experiencing severe housing deprivation, children with a migrant background, and children with a minority racial or ethnic background.
The proposal is comprehensive, calling Member States to build a supportive enabling policy framework which includes investment in adequate education, health and social protection systems; labour market integration measures and income support for families, and strategic investments in services, including enabling infrastructure and qualified workforce.
An important point is the strong call for inclusion in both education and early childhood education and care (ECEC), including the adaptation of facilities and materials to the needs of children with a disability, using inclusive teaching and learning methods, ensuring that qualified educational professionals (psychologists, speech therapists, rehabilitators or teaching assistants) are available; ensuring transport, improving access to school based activities, and cooperation with key stakeholders to support inclusive education.
Deinstitutionalisation is also a priority is included in the area of housing, including the transition of children from institutional care to quality community-based or family-based care and support independent living and social integration.
EASPD also welcomes the inclusion of a clear framework for the implementation and monitoring of the Council Recommendation. Indeed, if adopted, each EU Member State will have to draft national action plans within six months. These Action Plans will be regularly reviewed as part of the economic and social coordination process (European Semester) and part of the Social Protection Committee’s agenda.
On the 22nd of April EASPD will discuss with key stakeholders the implications of the Child Guarantee for children with disabilities and services supporting them, during the Webinar “Child Guarantee: making it work for children with disabilities,” co-hosted by MEP Dragoș Pîslaru.
- EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child
- Proposal for a Council Recommendation Establishing the Child Guarantee
- Commission Staff Working Document accompanying the document Proposal for a Council Recommendation Establishing the Child Guarantee
- Registrations for EASPD Conference: To Inclusive Education and BEYOND!
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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.