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27 May, 2024

European Child Guarantee centre stage in the Belgian presidency of the EU

On 2-3rd May 2024 in Brussels, the Belgian presidency of the EU organise a conference entitled European Child Guarantee – from engagement to reality.

The event had a dual objective: firstly, to give key players the opportunity to analyse the work already completed and what remains to be done to achieve the objectives set, and secondly, to provide Child Guarantee coordinators with a platform to share their knowledge in the implementation of the European Child Guarantee. The first day was dedicated to a review of the situation, while the second day was be focused on discussions between the coordinators of the European Child Guarantee, the European Commission, and key players on the ground. 

COFACE is member of the European Alliance for Investing in Children, and also current co-chair of the European expert group on the transition from institutional to community-based care (EEG-DI). Both alliances adopted joint statements on the Child Guarantee for this Presidency event. The joint statement of the EEG focused on early childhood intervention and family supports, calling for stronger monitoring and evaluation of Child Guarantee measures in this area. 

The event was informative, with most national Child Guarantee coordinators present and providing informative country presentations. One recommendation coming out of the ECEC session of the conference was to have more in-depth country profiles and analyses of ECEC service development to assess real impacts on children. 

The European Commission was present, listening, evaluating and will continue to monitor closely the biennial implementation reports to assess the measures taken over the last two years, which should feed into the 2026 Commission mid-term report on the state of Child Guarantee implementation.

It was interesting to note that more and more countries are adopting a holistic approach to Child Guarantee implementation, ensuring that services for children are also developed with their family environment in mind. One country referred to its work on developing further their family centres as key spaces for Child Guarantee implementation, an idea which holds much potential as long as these centres are fully inclusive of all types of families without discrimination (e.g. families with disabilities, from different ethnicities, same-sex families). Family centres were also seen as a key space to boost parental support, including and especially during parental leave and early years, but also beyond in order to boost resilience of families when faced with a care challenge during adolescence and young adulthood. 

COFACE continues to closely monitor the Child Guarantee measures, as well as organising meetings both formal and informal with family policy makers in ministries across 15-20 countries, with the next meeting planned in Vilnius (Lithuania). 

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