Every child deserves to thrive:
The role of the EU in promoting and encouraging investment in early childhood development
14 May 2019
13:30 - 17:45 EEST
Across the EU, more than 25 million children at are at risk of poverty or social exclusion. Growing inequality and falling social mobility are key challenges in Europe.
Public policy interventions can contribute to ensuring all children, including those who are coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, grow up in a nurturing environment. Investing in integrated, holistic support for Early Childhood Development (ECD) fosters social cohesion and breaks the vicious spiral of poor health that both contributes to and results from poverty and socio-economic exclusion. This event aims to deliver and test recommendations for policies and programmes that intervene in the first 1000 days after birth, with special focus on obtaining a greater understanding of how the future EU budget can be used to promote an integrated and multi-sectoral approach to early childhood development, ensuring sustainable impact on services and policies in EU member states.
Increasing political awareness of what is meant by early childhood development and how ECD is integrated with other services and sectors;
Greater understanding of how the future EU budget can be used to promote an integrated and multi-sectoral approach to ECD, which ensures sustainable impact on services and policies in EU member states;
Deliver and test recommendations for policies and programmes that intervene in the first 1000 days to help break the cycle of disadvantage.
Discuss current initiatives at national level and assess the “lessons learnt” for developing an EU-wide approach to ECD interventions.
We will make the link to other relevant ongoing policy development at EU level, in particular:
The WHO – UNICEF Nurturing Care Framework;
The development of a possible Child Guarantee, which will aim to increase the access of vulnerable children and families to childcare, housing, nutrition, education and education;
Follow-up to the European Pillar of Social Rights – in particular implementation of Principle 11 which aims to protection children from poverty and increase access to childcare; and
Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and adaptation of the global framework to an EU context, which may provide an overarching framework for the post-2020 EU strategy.
A growing body of neuroscience points to the importance of early childhood experience in brain development, in particular in relation to self-regulation, empathy and the ability to build positive relationships. Children exposed to prolonged adversity in their first months and years, are less well equipped to cope with adversity later in life, potentially resulting in risk factors having a cumulative or ‘snowballing’ effect.
Studies also show that many of the major public health concerns experienced in adult life (e.g. obesity, heart disease, and mental health problems) link to experiences during the first 1000 days. There is compelling scientific evidence that our experience in early childhood has a profound impact not only on outcomes for the individual, but also for society as a whole.
Across the EU, more than 25 million children at are at risk of poverty or social exclusion. Growing inequality and falling social mobility are key challenges in Europe. It means that children born into a socially and economically deprived environments are likely to themselves be poor as adults. Breaking that cycle is possible in childhood with the right policies and public investments. Despite important achievements in a number of connected policy fields, at the highest political level in the EU there is little or no recognition of the importance of promoting an integrated and multi-sectoral approach to early childhood development. Public policy interventions can contribute to ensuring all children especially those who are coming from disadvantaged backgrounds grow up in a nurturing environment. Prevention, early intervention and family support policies will contribute to reducing inequalities at an early age. Effective policies will require integrated strategies and integrated working; as well as a reform of the child protection systems.
The event will be organized during the first Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. ECD being primarily a national competence, a number of initiatives are currently underway that can inspire a holistic European approach. Thus, the event will link European, national and local perspectives on ECD and build on the outcomes of previous conferences (e.g., the 2018 Eurochild event “Building a better Europe with children: All aboard!”, ISSA’s 2017 conference “Local Responses, Global Advances: Towards Competent Early Childhood Systems” and EPHA’s 2018 “Roma contribution to a healthy Europe”) with the objective of gathering valuable inputs from policymakers and civil society for inspiring coherent, well-funded EU policies responding to the need for scaling up ECD across Europe.
Participants will be asked to engage in an open dialogue about how relevant interventions, particularly in the critical period from pregnancy to age 3, can tackle inequalities by reducing the gap in outcomes, particularly for the most disadvantaged (e.g., Roma, migrant and refugee families, children with disabilities, in precarious family situations or at risk of being taken into care).
Get the EPHA Newsletter
The best of our activities, right in your inbox!