EU member states are being urged to tackle child poverty and social exclusion through multi-dimensional approaches, in an important strategy statement issued by the European Commission. The statement accompanies a wider package of proposals on social investment in the EU.
- Children are more at risk of poverty or social exclusion than the overall population in the EU. The current financial and economic crisis is having a serious impact on children and families, with a rise in the proportion of those living in poverty and social exclusion in a number of countries.
- The most successful strategies for addressing child poverty are those underpinned by policies improving the well-being of all children, at the same time as giving careful consideration to children in particularly vulnerable situations.
- Member states are urged to tackle child poverty and social exclusion through integrated multi-dimensional strategies that go beyond ensuring children’s material security and allow children to realise their full potential, based on a children’s rights approach. They should develop strategies based on access to adequate resources, access to affordable quality services, and children’s right to participate.
- Member states should support family incomes through adequate, coherent and efficient benefits, including fiscal incentives, family and child benefits, housing benefits and minimum income schemes. These should be complemented by in-kind benefits related in particular to nutrition, childcare, education, health, housing, transport and access to sports or socio-cultural activities.
- Means-tested or other targeted benefits should be delivered in a way that avoids stigmatisation, differentiates between children’s needs and reduces the risk of poverty traps – while avoiding the creation of work disincentives for second earners and lone parents.
European anti-poverty campaigners gave the Commission announcement a 'cautious welcome', but voiced concern about the overall coherence of the package and the lack of new, visible concrete initiatives to drive progress.
The Commission also released a series of working documents on related issues such as active inclusion and homelessness.
Source: Investing in Children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage, European Commission | Towards Social Investment for Growth and Cohesion: Including Implementing the European Social Fund 2014–2020, European Commission
Links: Child poverty statement | Social investment communication | Working documents (links) | European Commission press release | EAPN press release | EPHA press release | ETUC press release | Eurochild press release