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What place for young children with disabilities in the Child Guarantee National Action Plans?

The paper examines EU member states' plans for the European Child Guarantee, specifically for children with disabilities, highlighting challenges in data collection and noting progress in fostering inclusive education.

In 2022, 24.7% of children aged less than 18 in the EU were at risk of poverty or social exclusion compared with 24.4% reported in 2021 (Eurostat). To address disadvantage and exclusion in childhood, in June 2021 the European Council approved a Recommendation establishing the European Child Guarantee. Children with disabilities are one of the six target groups identified within the scope of the Child Guarantee, and they are the focus on this research. Building onto existing analyses, this paper evaluates the national action plans (NAPs) submitted by each EU member state. NAPs describe the existing and planned national and subnational policy measures to improve access of children in need to the set of key services covered by the European Child Guarantee for the period until 2030. This EASPD paper focuses specifically on initiatives in the realms of early childhood intervention (ECI) and inclusive Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) for children with disabilities. The conclusions of the paper are that ECI is present in some countries, but not in the majority and that inclusive ECEC is more relevant. In parallel, there is an overarching issue with data collection vis-à-vis children with disabilities; statistics on inclusive education and ECI are not consistent in all Member States and make it difficult to draw out common trends. The paper concludes with recommendations towards EU and national policy makers, for the improved data collection, ECI system building and analysis of existing policies and practices, in particular in the field of ECI.



Benedetta Galeazzi, Policy Assistant

Irene Bertana, Senior Policy Officer


EASPD (2023). What place for young children with disabilities in the Child Guarantee National Action Plans? Brussels


Brussels, December 2023

Relevant Resources:

To consult the national action plans submitted by the Member States in full on the European Commission website click here: