Eurochild: '16,000 fewer children in European institutions'
Published: 16 June 2015
|In 2013, Eurochild has launched a campaign called ‘Opening Doors for Europe’s Children’.
Eurochild is a network of European organisations and individuals working on children’s rights.
Eurochild has discovered that there are 16,000 fewer children in institutions today compared to 2013. This data, based the most recent statistics from 11 European countries, was highlighted as part of the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign, led by Eurochild and Hope and Homes for Children.
The campaign was launched on 6 June 2013 at the European Parliament in Brussels. It aims to improve the quality of life of children and youngsters who are in, just out, or risking to enter institutionalized care in Europe. Through this, the affiliated organizations want to promote the transition from institutionalized to family-based care. Moreover, the campaign urges governments to take their responsibility in supporting families and providing alternative care options for children. It also offers good practice expertise on implementing family-based care, developed by NGOs across Europe, so that governments are aware of every workable alternative.
Improvements have thus been made, and according to Eurochild these resulted from the efforts of national NGOs combined with EU support for de-institutionalization, for example the European Neighbourhood policy actively supporting the transition to family and community based care across the continent.
However, Secretary General of Eurochild Jana Hainsworth says that the latest figures are encouraging but that there is still a long way to go, as more than 1 000 000 children are believed to live in institutions throughout Europe.
Eurochild underlines poverty to be the main cause of the institutionalization of children. They not only remain in public care, but they keep entering it and the rates of family separation are high in several countries such as Bulgaria, Lithuania, Serbia and Ukraine. Also, child poverty is increasing in Greece and Hungary, where investments in social services are stagnating and NGOs report growing rates of institutionalization.
Hainsworth said that “considering the clear relationship between child poverty, lack of family support and services, and family separation & institutionalisation rates, we urgently call on the EU institutions and Member States to fully implement the EU Recommendation on Investing in Children which supports investment in prevention, support and services at local level, including for children with disabilities”.