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Combating child poverty and social exclusion in the EU and promoting the well-being of children

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Title: Combating child poverty and social exclusion in the EU and promoting the well-being of children


1
  • Combating child poverty and social exclusion in
    the EU and promoting the well-being of children
  • Patricia Hoyos, Policy Officer
  • Impact of Poverty and Social Exclusion on
  • Childrens Lives and their Well-being
  • 8 - 9 September 2008, Bratislava, Slovakia
  •  

2
  • Eurochild AISBL
  • Eurochild is an international non-profit-making
    network of 54 full members and 12 associate and
    honorary members from 27 European countries
  • Eurochilds objectives are to promote the rights
    and well-being of children and young people by
    influencing policy at European level and
    strengthening members capacity to influence
    policy at national levels
  • Eurochild has a strong commitment to empowering
    children and young people to participate in these
    processes
  • Eurochild is co-funded by the European Commission

3
  • Eurochilds work
  • Anchored in the United Nations Convention on the
    Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
  • Presumes children to be young citizens who have a
    right to be heard and who can make a contribution
    to society
  • Makes a critical connection between child
    poverty, social exclusion and the ability to
    exercise rights
  • Identifies the shared responsibility of families
    and the state to enable children to exercise
    those rights

4
  • Combating poverty and social exclusion in the EU
    and promoting the well-being of children
  • The presentation will be in 3 parts
  • a profile of child poverty in the EU
  • the EU social inclusion policy context
  • how Eurochild contributes to the child poverty
    agenda

5
  • 1. A profile of child poverty in the EU
  • How many children live in poverty in the EU?
  • 19 millon children - an average of 19 of the
    child population live below the poverty
    threshold compared to an average of 16 for the
    total population
  • Child poverty in the EU is measured as
    at-risk-of-poverty. The risk threshold is set
    at 60 of the national median household income.
    Rates are calculated after social transfers
  • In almost half of the EU countries, the risk of
    poverty for children is above 20, ranging from
    9-10 in Nordic countries to 27 in Lithuania
    and 29 in Portugal. In Slovakia the average is
    reported as 19
  • Source Eurostat EU-SILC survey year 2005

6
  • 1. A profile of child poverty in the EU
  • What are the standards of living of poor
    children?
  • Wide variations across the EU
  • Corrected for the differences in the cost of
    living that is, expressed in Purchasing Power
    Standards - national poverty thresholds range
    from 263 PPS in Romania to 350-420 PPS in
    Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, to around 1850 PPS
    in Austria and the UK, to 2866 PPS in Luxembourg
  • Source EU-SILC (2005) income ref year 2004

7
  • 1. A profile of child poverty in the EU
  • What are the trends in child poverty in the EU?
  • OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
    Development) recently ran a specific data
    collection to estimate trends in poverty rates
    since the early 1990s
  • In most OECD/EU countries, child poverty either
    remained stable or showed signs of increase
  • Only in 4 countries did child poverty show signs
    of decline (Austria, Hungary, Spain, UK)
  • Source OECD working paper Child poverty in OED
    countries
  • trends, causes and policy response (to be
    published)

8
  • 1. A profile of child poverty in the EU
  • Which children are most vulnerable?
  • Households most at risk of poverty are lone
    parent households and large families (3 or more
    children)
  • 50 of EU children living in poverty live in
    these two types of households 23 in lone parent
    households 27 in large families
  • Joblessness represents the main risk of poverty
    for households with children almost 50 of
    children living in a jobless household live in a
    lone parent household
  • In-work poverty remains an issue in the majority
    of EU countries
  • Source Child poverty and well-being in the EU
    EC 2008

9
  • 1. A profile of child poverty in the EU
  • What are the consequences of growing up in
    poverty?
  • Less likely to do well in school
  • Less likely to enjoy good health
  • Less likely to stay out of the criminal justice
    system
  • Less likely to integrate into the labour market
  • Consequently
  • Damaging effects on future life opportunities
  • Damaging effects on potential to contribute to
    society
  • Source Child poverty and well-being in the EU
    EC 2008

10
  • 1. A profile of child poverty in the EU
  • How do we measure the impact of poverty and
    social exclusion on childrens well-being?
  • ....what we really seek to know is whether
    children are adequately clothed and housed and
    fed and protected whether their circumstances
    are such that they are likely to become all that
    they are capable of becoming ....whether they
    are disadvantaged in ways that make it difficult
    or impossible for them to participate fully in
    the life and opportunities of the world around
    them.....whether children feel loved, cherished,
    special and supported, within the family and
    community.......whether the family and community
    are being supported in this task by public policy
    and resources
  • Source UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre Report
    Card 7
  • An overview of child well-being in rich countries
    (2007

11
  • 1. A profile of child poverty in the EU
  • What are the dimensions of child well-being?
  • UNICEF Report Card 7 provides a comprehensive
    assessment of the lives and well-being of
    children in 21 countries of the industrialised
    world
  • Child well-being is measured under six different
    dimensions material well-being health and
    safety education peer and family relationships
    behaviours and risks childrens own subjective
    sense of well-being
  • No country did well on all six dimensions no one
    dimension stands as a reliable proxy for child
    well-being as a whole
  • Source UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre Report
    Card 7
  • An overview of child well-being in rich countries
    (2007

12
  • 2. The EU social inclusion policy context
  • National Strategy Reports on Social Protection
    and Social Inclusion (NSRSPSI)
  • A key part of the EUs Open Method of
    Coordination (OMC) established at the Lisbon
    European Council in 2000
  • Since the 2006-2008 round of plans, the three
    separate processes of social inclusion pensions
    - health care have been brought together into one
    overall process
  • Plans still retain their distinctiveness the
    social inclusion strand of the NSRSPSI is the
    National Action Plan on social inclusion
    (NAP/Inclusion)

13
  • 2. The EU social inclusion policy context
  • The Joint Report on Social Protection and Social
    Inclusion
  • Each year the EC and the Employment, Social
    Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council adopt
    a Joint Report on Social Protection and Social
    Inclusion, proposed by the EC
  • The Joint Report examines and reports on the
    National Strategies for Social Protection and
    Social Inclusion
  • The Joint Report is submitted to the Spring
    European Council to inform Heads of State on
    progress in the areas of social protection and
    social inclusion
  • The European Council makes recommendations to
    Member States for action in these policy areas

14
  • 2. The EU social inclusion policy context
  • Child Poverty and the NAPs/Inclusion
  • At the Spring Summit of 2006, Heads of State
    called on Member States to take necessary
    measures to rapidly and significantly reduce
    child poverty, giving all children equal
    opportunities, regardless of their social
    background
  • Member States and the EC responded with clear
    commitments to break the cycle of deprivation and
    the majority of Member States made Child Poverty
    a priority in the 2006-2008 NAPs/Inclusion
  • In 2007, child poverty was selected as a key
    theme for further work to deepen the
    understanding of the complexity of the issues
  • Key lessons are reflected in a number of
    important reports, amongst which is the Social
    Protection Committee (SPC) Report Child poverty
    and well-being in the EU current status and way
    forward (2008)

15
  • 2. The EU social inclusion policy context
  • Child poverty and well-being in the EU current
    status and way forward
  • Three parts evaluative review of child poverty
    in the EU policy monitoring and assessment of
    child well-being in Member States conclusions
    and recommendations for better monitoring and
    assessing child poverty and well-being at EU and
    national levels
  • Member States encouraged to take account of the
    report in the preparation of 2008-2010
    NAPs/Inclusion
  • A key point is that strategies to reduce child
    poverty must be based on a sound diagnosis of
    causes and specific objectives set which relate
    to the key factors identified

16
  • 2. The EU social inclusion policy context
  • Child poverty and well-being in the EU current
    status and way forward
  • No quantitative targets to reduce child poverty
    proposed, but Member States encouraged to develop
    quantified objectives (Social Ministers Council
    March 2008) body of knowledge now available
    should support this
  • Indicators not yet developed for dimensions of
    child well-being that relate to health,
    education, exposure to risk and risk behaviour,
    social participation and family environment,
    local environment but further work on qualitative
    indicators of child well-being planned
  • Child poverty will continue to be a priority in
    the EU social inclusion process and this is
    expected to be reflected in the NAPs/Inclusion
    2008-2010

17
  • 3. How Eurochild contributes to the child poverty
    agenda
  • Monitoring NAPs/Inclusion to provide specialist
    input on child poverty and exclusion
  • Contributions to the OMC through participation in
    peer review seminars
  • Participation in Round Table conferences on
    social inclusion
  • Eurochild conferences and seminars
  • Responses to EC consultation documents
  • ad hoc briefing papers for MEPs
  • Position papers to support advocacy work at EU
    and national levels

18
  • How Eurochild contributes to the child poverty
    agenda
  • Monitoring the NAPs/Inclusion
  • Monitoring the NAPs/Inclusion since 2004,
    producing reports for the EC with recommendations
    for action
  • A comprehensive report in 2007 on the 2006-2008
    NAPS/Inclusion based on country analyses of 27
    Member States reports. Key recommendations
    included the need for quantifiable targets to
    reduce the number of children living in income
    poverty the need to address child poverty
    within the framework of the UNCRC need to
    develop an indicator or set of indicators that
    are non-income related, specific to children and
    informed by their perceptions of need
  • Slovakia has been an active participant in
    NAPs/Inclusion monitoring since 2004 and produced
    a detailed report on the situation of Slovakian
    children for the 2007 analysis (available in
    handout)

19
  • How Eurochild contributes to the child poverty
    agenda
  • 2008-2010 NAPs/Inclusion
  • Guidance and lobby letters for members to
    influence the planning process
  • Preparation of a toolkit for members
    participating in the assessment of plans to
    provide a framework for comment on the quality
    of the preparation process and whether it has
    involved stakeholders, including children
    whether the situation of children is accurately
    reflected and key challenges identified whether
    policy measures are appropriate and resources
    adequately matched to policy objectives
    monitoring and evaluation arrangements
    governance
  • Production of a 2008-2010 NAPS/Inclusion Report

20
  • Child poverty and childrens rights
  • On 16th January 2008, the European Parliament
    adopted the EC Communication (2006) Towards an EU
    Strategy on the Rights of the Child
  • This links the promotion of childrens rights to
    the EU social inclusion process and the reduction
    of child poverty
  • The participation of children in the EU Child
    Rights Forum will enable their voice to be heard
    directly in matters that affect their well-being
  • On July 2008 the Commission issued its
    Communication on a Renewed social agenda
    Opportunities, access and solidarity in 21st
    century Europe aiming to strengthen the current
    EU social agenda by supporting action in seven
    priority areas including children and youth.
  • The communication aims to strengthen the OMC by
    increasing political commitment and visibility,
    strengthening the links with other EU policies
    and Enhancing analytical tools and evidence base
    and by stimulating monitoring and peer review by
    Members States.

21
  • Thank you for your attention
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