This second annual trend report outlines and summarises new policy developments in the area of child and family policy in the 28 EU Member States (EU28), and reports on progress with policies and activities initiated in earlier years. It is drafted as part of the European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) project. The report is aligned thematically with pillars of the 2013 European Commission Recommendation ‘Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage’ (hereafter the
Recommendation). The document is also guided by relevant principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights. The sections below provide an overview of the direction of and progress with child and family policy developments in the EU28, in line with the three pillars of the Recommendation.
In 2013, the European Commission Recommendation ‘Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage’ set out key recommendations for Member States with regard to supporting positive well-being and outcomes for children and families, along three pillars: access to adequate resources, access to affordable quality services, and children’s right to participation.
This was followed in 2017 with the introduction of the European Pillar of Social Rights, which set out 20 key principles against which Member States can benchmark their social policies. Notably, principle 11 – Childcare and support to children – emphasises particular measures for children. This includes acknowledgement of the growing awareness of the importance of early childhood education and care with better child outcomes in later life, by outlining a right to affordable education and care ‘of good quality’. Principle 11 also states the rights of a child to protection from poverty, including the right of children from disadvantaged backgrounds to ‘specific measures to enhance equal opportunities’ in order to ensure their access to adequate social support and life opportunities. Meanwhile, Pillar 9 stresses the right to a positive worklife balance for parents and people with caring responsibilities, including suitable leave arrangements, flexible working arrangements and access to care services.
The European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC), established in 2013, monitors key and innovative developments in child and family policy in the European Union (EU) and develops resources to support Member States to implement the Recommendation. Below, EPIC provides an overview of key recent developments in child and family policy in the EU.