Peer review on child poverty
13-14 January 2015
COFACE participated as a stakeholder
to the Peer Review on the pilot program of the Belgian Government "Children
First – pilot local consultation platforms on child poverty”.
Peer Reviews in social protection and social inclusion
are an instruments of the Open method of Coordination (OMC), and are hosted by
one country which presents a selected good practice (e.g. a programme, policy
reform, institutional arrangement) and attended by experts from the European
Commission, peer countries and relevant stakeholders who provide feedback on
that practice. This Peer Review was attended by representatives from Bulgaria,
France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands, United Kingdom.
The practice presented and discussed is a grant of 20
million euro that the Belgian federal government has made available in 2014 to
encourage the Public Services Welfare Centres and associations to fight child
poverty proactively and to promote child well-being, in order to ensure that
these children and their families can break the cycle of intergenerational
transmission of poverty. The PSCWs and associations can use these federal
resources to launch local, innovative pilot projects in the form of
consultation platforms with local actors (e.g. anti-poverty associations, child
day care centres, schools, sports clubs ...). The consultation projects should
seek alliance with the existing policy and the current dynamics in the
municipality or city and complement them.
COFACE underlined the necessity of early intervention
and support measures tailored around families and their needs, recalling that
decent and stable jobs, possibility to reconcile work and family life, access
to quality, affordable and accessible service are essential for parents to
support their families and prevent or offer a way out from poverty.
For more information about this Peer Review please go here
The number of families experiencing extreme poverty is growing
in the European Union and many millions of people in the EU are not able to meet their basic needs.
than 20% of children under 16 years are poor in Europe. The highest
rates of poverty are observed in Romania, Bulgaria and Spain. Children are poor because they live in a poor family
Either the family income is to low (low salaries, unemployment, job
instability, part-time…), or there are too many family members sharing
one (in the case of a single parent) or two incomes. Countries offering a
higher level of social protection reduce partially the dependence of
poverty on the family situation.
An integrated approach enabling families to reconcile their work and family life
will support more sustainable and long-term solutions. To reconcile, in
COFACE’s view, means implement a mix of policies combining (1)
access and provision of resources, including benefits and allowances, (2)
access to quality, affordable and accessible services and (3)
flexible time arrangements.
In Europe, single-parent families are the most affected by poverty
The lowest poverty rates of single-parents families are in Denmark and
Finland. The highest are in Bulgaria, Germany and Spain. The high extent
of poverty of single-parent families is due to the fact that their
resources are based only on one income, which is shared by all family
members. But here also, depending on the level of social protection,
countries could balance the situation.
Many sociological studies
have shown that the family is ultimately the first social safety net in
an economic crisis. Our political leaders would do well not to forget
that. Families are paying the cost of the crisis in more ways than one. Read more
Recent data confirm that children are more vulnerable to poverty and social exclusion than other groups in the European Union, reporting a higher risk of poverty (20%) compared to the overall population (17%). The risk increases to 25% for children who live in large families, and exceeds 30% for the ones living with lone parents.
Poverty and social exclusion are largely known to be determined by socio-economic, cultural and environmental conditions that are often transmitted from generation to generation, with the consequence of deepening the income divide and perpetuating societal inequalities. Wellbeing in childhood largely shapes the future adult, recalling the need to prioritize children’s development.
COFACE stands for a recognition of the fundamental role that various policies supporting families can play for the prevention of poverty, breaking its inter-generational transmission and attaining the highest levels of child well-being. COFACE also stands for a coherent EU approach to family policies and the child-rights agenda at EU level.
Published on 09 Nov 2011
Updated on 04 Feb 2015