EU Commission Recommendation (2013/112/EU) on Investing in Children

European Union

The European Commission adopted in February 2013 an important Recommendation (2013/112/EU) on Investing in Children, stressing the importance of early intervention and preventative approaches.  Adopted together with its new Social Investment Package (SIP), it makes quality childcare one of its key policy areas to break the cycle of disadvantage in early years and reduce the risk of child poverty and social exclusion. Of particular note, the recommendation addresses the importance of children's care directly, through support for parents’ participation in the labour market, but also a series of recommendations to enhance family support and the quality of alternative care settings. 

It calls on Member States to strengthen child protection and social services in the field of preventionhelp families develop parenting skills in a non-stigmatising way, whilst ensuring that children removed from parental care grow up in an environment that meets their needs:

  •  Ensure that poverty is never the only justification for removing a child from parental care; and aim at enabling children to remain in or return to the care of their parents by, for example, tackling the family’s material deprivation;  
  • Ensure adequate gate-keeping to prevent children being placed in institutions and provide for regular reviews in the event of such placements;
  • Stop the expansion of institutional care settings for children without parental care; 
  • Promote quality, community-based care and foster care within family settings instead, where children’s voice is given due consideration;  
  • Ensure that children without parental care have access to quality services (both mainstream and specific services) related to their health, education, employment, social assistance, security and housing situation, including during their transition to adulthood; 
  • Provide appropriate support to children left behind when one or both parents migrate to another country to work, as well as to their replacement carers. 

The recommendation also calls on state to ensure that 2014-2020 Structural Funds inter­ventions are effective, pursue evidence-based strategies to reduce early school leaving, involving relevant stake­ holders and measures to support the transition from institutional to community-based care.

©Official Journal of the European Union