Social services provide support to disadvantaged children, families, and young people. This can come in a range of forms including support for parents, child protection, alternative care arrangements, and supporting vulnerable young people in education, employment or housing.

Our work with ESN Members

With our members, we have been discussing the role of social services in lifting children out of poverty and exclusion since 2008. Through working groups and seminars we have outlined the importance of continuous needs assessment, family and community-based care, and joint work with education, health and justice as key factors for promoting better outcomes for children and families.

In several events we have also examined how social services can promote the inclusion of vulnerable young people, including care leavers, NEETs, young people with mental health problems, young offenders, migrant young people, and young people with disabilities. These vulnerable young people often require coordinated responses from social, education, health and employment services to support their social inclusion. (See resources below)

Through our activities we have built up a library of innovative practices implemented by social services to support the inclusion of children and young people. This includes practices on community-based care, integrated approaches, and the co-production of services with children and young people.

Most recently we focused on how social services can support unaccompanied minors in our 2017 seminar ‘Migrant children and young people – Social inclusion and transition to adulthood’. Here we examined how social services can enable unaccompanied minors to access education, health and housing services which are vital for their wellbeing and social inclusion.

Our contribution to the European level

We have also made significant contributions to European level policy-making on children’s services. Our 2016 report ‘Investing in Children, Improving Outcomes’ included a comprehensive analysis of national policy frameworks in selected countries. The report assessed how the European Commission’s 2013 Recommendation ‘Investing in Children’ has been translated into practice, providing policy recommendations to improve implementation.

Our work on youth has led to the dissemination of promising practices and policies that support vulnerable young people to access education and the labour market, contributing to the implementation of the European Commission’s Youth Guarantee for the most vulnerable youth.

ESN resources

External resources