The pan-European network Eurochild has published on its website the second analysis titled “Children in alternative care in the Child Guarantee National Action Plans: A summative analysis.”
Eurochild brings together over 200 organisations in 37 countries in Europe and advocates for the rights and well-being of children in close cooperation with structures of the European Union. The National Network for Children has been a member of Eurochild for more than 10 years and is a key national partner for Bulgaria in various focused policies, including the effective implementation of the European Child Guarantee (ECG) – an initiative of the European Commission aimed at providing access to healthcare, education, childcare, adequate housing, and proper nutrition for children at risk of poverty and vulnerable groups in the EU.
Data collection is crucial for better analysis and policy planning and is a fundamental advocacy priority of the National Network for Children. It is achieved through our work on the annual analysis called “Scorecard – What is the average success of the state in caring for children?”
The published analysis is the result of the work of Eurochild and UNICEF ECARO under the DataCare project, through which organizations commit to including a core set of indicators for children in alternative care, for which data is available from the surveyed countries with national action plans. The document highlights Bulgaria as a country that has included the development of work habits, social skills, housing support, and family planning as measures for long-term care for children leaving institutions in its National Action Plan. By comparison, Croatia’s plan includes housing support and a social mentor, Estonia focuses on preparation and continuation of care for those leaving residential care, Greece emphasizes the transition of young people to semi-independent housing, while Malta and Romania focus on follow-up care for transitioning to independent living.
Why is this analysis crucial for the Child Guarantee and measuring progress in deinstitutionalisation?
The EU and its member states committed in 2000 to transition children from institutional care to family and community-based care while providing support for their adaptation. The Child Guarantee is the first specific EU policy framework and financing instrument that focuses on addressing child poverty and social exclusion by identifying groups of children who are “left behind” and face significant barriers to accessing basic services. The Guarantee also serves as an opportunity to measure progress in deinstitutionalisation and the implementation of reforms to improve the lives and prospects of the most disadvantaged children in Europe.
What does the analysis reveal?
An analysis of publicly available national action plans conducted in early 2023 shows that 10 EU member states have already included some or all of the proposed indicators for children in alternative care within the monitoring indicators of their National Action Plan. The data also shows that 16 member states include measures to support children in alternative care, with many of them identifying specific actions to support children leaving institutions and children with disabilities in alternative care.
The analysis and data demonstrate a positive momentum towards improving the quality and international comparability of data on children in alternative care in EU countries. The document aims to provide important insights for those working in the field of child protection and children’s rights.
Further information about the DataCare project can be found in Eurochild’s DataCare initiative and UNICEF ECARO’s “Children in Alternative Care: Data to Strengthen Child Protection Systems and Outcomes for Children in Europe.”