The European Child Guarantee has a new framework to better monitor children’s access to education, healthcare and housing conditions – Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

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The European Child Guarantee, the first EU-level policy addressing childhood challenges and exclusion, has a new monitoring framework. This will be a helpful tool to examine the access of children to early childhood education, regular school-based activities, nutrition at school, healthcare, and adequate housing.






Banner of the European Child Guarantee, showing illustration of children playing and childcare




The new monitoring framework aims at tracking, through concrete statistical indicators, how the European Child Guarantee is being implemented.


The monitoring framework is based on a set of Eurostat indicators and complemented by indicators relying on other sources.


It monitors the key aspects of Guarantee as:


  • the size of its target group (children in need)
  • its effective and free access to:

    • early childhood education and care
    • education (including school-based activities)
    • at least one healthy meal per school day
    • healthcare

  • its effective access to healthy nutrition and adequate housing


Key figures


The framework shows that children in need do not benefit from an equal access to the important services mentioned in the European Child Guarantee.


There is a need for bigger efforts to meet the targets set at its adoption in 2021.


  • Size of the target group: 20 million children were “at risk of poverty or social exclusion” (AROPE), and thus considered as in need, in 2022 in the EU, representing nearly 1/4 of all the EU children.

     
  • Early Childhood Education Care: Approximately 20% of EU AROPE children under 3 years participated in formal childcare in 2022. In comparison to nearly 40% of not AROPE children in the same age group.

     
  • Education: before the COVID pandemic, over 20% of socioeconomically disadvantaged children in the EU achieved low grades in reading, maths and science, compared to less than 5% of socioeconomically advantaged children. After the pandemic, in 18 Member States more than 40% of the disadvantaged children achieve low grades in maths.

     
  • Healthcare: in 2021, more than 60% of  EU children AROPE were considered to be in very good health while less than 6% had unmet needs for medical examination or treatment.

     
  • Healthy nutrition: In 2021, around 10% of children AROPE did not have access to fresh fruits and vegetables or protein-based food on a daily basis. The major food price spikes experienced in 2022 and 2023 might have raised additional financial barriers in access to healthy food.

     
  • Adequate housing: in 2022, almost a quarter of children AROPE in the EU lived in a household unable to keep their home adequately warm (i.e. subject to energy poverty).


Background and next steps


The European Commission, together with the Indicators’ Sub-Group of the Social Protection Committee, set up such monitoring framework to assess the implementation of the Council Recommendation on the European Child Guarantee. It also helps to identify good practices and foster mutual learning.


EU countries are encouraged to use this framework when drafting their progress reports due in March 2024, and the Commission will use it during the European Semester.


To ensure that the data in the framework is up-to-date, the Indicators’ Sub-Group with the support of the Commission will keep updating it and working to fill the reamining data gaps.



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