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Building connections for policy implementation

In 2014 the European Social Network (ESN) is committed to enhancing the knowledge of European children policy at the local level. With this in mind, we are continuing the development of ESN’s project ‘Investing in Children Services, Improving Outcomes’, as well as joining European initiatives, such as the EU Alliance for Investing in Children, in order to build connections to support children policy implementation.

ESN initiatives – Investing in Children Services, Improving Outcomes

This year we will continue the development and implementation of the ‘Investing in Children Services, Improving Outcomes’ project, which brings together children services, child welfare agencies and public authorities to look at the organisation of children services in various European countries and compare it with the European Recommendation ‘Investing in Children: Breaking the cycle of disadvantage’. The aim of this project is twofold – to enhance knowledge of children services in different countries, and to identify gaps in order to present recommendations as to how services may be developed in line with the European Recommendation.

The first phase of the project took place in 2013 with a peer review in Dublin with representatives from Ireland, Bulgaria, France and Sweden. We are currently working on a set of country profiles which will be published later in the year. A second peer review will take place in June this year in Barcelona, in association with ESN member, the Department for Family and Social Welfare of Catalonia, to look at five additional countries and regions: Catalonia in Spain, Scotland in the UK, Germany, Poland and the Netherlands. The discussions should highlight an interesting comparison between systems where services are fully decentralised (Catalonia, Scotland), and the ones which are just going through this process (such as the Netherlands, where a decentralisation process is currently taking place, with local authorities taking responsibility for child social welfare).

European initiatives – EU Alliance for Investing in Children

The European Social Network (ESN) is delighted to join the EU Alliance for Investing in Children and work together with other European networks to improve knowledge exchange and contribute to policy implementation, particularly at local level. We hope that this initiative will support the implementation of the European Recommendation on investing in children by facilitating stakeholder cooperation at EU, national, regional and local levels.

Representing public social services across Europe, ESN will ensure the participation of local and regional authorities in the dialogue with the other stakeholders. The joint activities developed under the Alliance aim to keep the fight against child poverty on the agenda, support policy reform by identifying what works best for children’s wellbeing, and strengthen stakeholders’ engagement. The Alliance will work throughout 2014 on the development of a handbook to support the implementation of the Recommendation and contribute to national alliances in various European countries.