February 22 2013

Ending child poverty in the EU

21/02/2013 - Over 25 million children in the EU are experiencing poverty. Due to the current economic crisis, levels of child poverty are escalating even further. Therefore, it is vital that governments act now. The EU took an important step to tackle this problem by adopting a new policy on child poverty. For the first time, children in alternative care are prioritized in an EU policy document, elaborated with input from SOS Children's Villages.

On 20 February 2013, the European Commission adopted a new policy document called "Investing in Children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage". The document provides recommendations to Member States on how to tackle child poverty and promote children's well-being based on three pillars:

  • Access to adequate resources and income support for parents
  • Access to affordable quality services
  • Child and youth participation.

Photo: Katerina Ilievska
Children from Hemeiusi, Romania © Katerina Ilievska
In recent years, SOS Children's Villages teamed up with other stakeholders to advocate for children in alternative care at EU level. Thanks to these joint efforts, children in alternative care are well-covered in the recommendations. It touches upon many of the problems faced by our target group and makes explicit reference to children in alternative care as a focus group.

Importantly, the EU's new policy document describes ending child poverty central to achieving the EU's social strategy for this decade. It also creates links to EU funding programmes. It is now up to national governments to adopt national targets to implement the recommendations and take measures to invest in children.

The process to develop recommendations on ending child poverty began in 2010 under the Belgian Presidency of the EU, which defined child poverty as a key priority. In the last years, SOS Children's Villages has been strongly involved in this process, to ensure that it provides a good framework to better protect the rights of children in alternative care, both at the European and national levels.