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Cavallini S., Soldi R., Errico B. (2021) “The Challenges of the European Child Guarantee at Regional and Local Level”

Committente: European Committee of the Regions. 
Periodo: 2021
Url: The Challenges of the European Child Guarantee at Regional and Local Level

The evidence collected in this study confirms that cities and regions have a primary role in identifying and assisting children in need in order to favour their social inclusion. Responsibilities vary across countries but in almost all EU Member States both local and regional authorities (LRAs) are key in providing education, health, housing and social services (including healthy food) to homeless children; children with a migrant background, or minority ethnic origin; children experiencing severe deprivation, social exclusion, disabilities or mental health issues; children in alternative care; and children in precarious family situations which may endanger their safety. In addition, many cities and regions make provisions for their children in need to have access to leisure, sports and cultural activities. In some EU countries, local and regional authorities are not only involved in the delivery of these services but also in their planning and financing with their own or other public/private resources. Thus, the role of LRAs is not a secondary one when it comes to the implementation of the recently approved (June 2021) European Child Guarantee. This study collects a sample of 20 initiatives by LRAs in support of children in need (Part 1). Six of these initiatives are developed into case studies in Part 2. Several of the identified interventions have a demonstrated positive impact on the target groups, others highlight the difficulties LRAs face in providing quality support to children. Some interventions are long-standing and traditional in their approach, others are experimental, demonstrating that while some consolidated practices are positive, there is also space for innovation and modernisation in guaranteeing children their rights and in breaking the cycle of poverty and social exclusion across generations. According to the evidence collected, there are some main challenges and difficulties which LRAs usually face while addressing the policy areas targeted by the 2021 European Child Guarantee (2021 ECC) and the EU strategy on the rights of the child (Part 3). Member States, which are the main addressees of these two EU policy documents, should support LRAs in overcoming these challenges. In particular, this can be accomplished by giving LRAs a voice in the design and implementation of future actions, given the experience they have gained through their concrete interventions to mitigate child exclusion and poverty at the local level. Part 4 also builds on the initiatives and cases presented in Parts 1 and 2 and outlines some recommendations for Member States.