European Union - COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage

C(2013) 778
20/02/2013

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION,
Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 292 thereof,

Whereas:

(1) Respect for human dignity is a founding value of the European Union, whose aims include promoting the well-being of its people; the Union must protect the rights of the child, combat social exclusion and discrimination, promote social justice and protection;

(2) Children1 are more at risk of poverty or social exclusion than the overall population in a large majority of EU countries; children growing up in poverty or social exclusion are less likely than their better-off peers to do well in school, enjoy good health and realise their full potential later in life;

(3) Preventing the transmission of disadvantage across generations is a crucial investment in Europe’s future, as well as a direct contribution to the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, with long-term benefits for children, the economy and society as a whole;

(4) Early intervention and prevention are essential for developing more effective and efficient policies, as public expenditure addressing the consequences of child poverty and social exclusion tends to be greater than that needed for intervening at an early age;

(5) Tackling disadvantage in early years is an important means of stepping up efforts to address poverty and social exclusion in general. Prevention is most effectively achieved through integrated strategies that combine support to parents to access the labour market with adequate income support and access to services that are essential to children’s outcomes, such as quality (pre-school) education, health, housing and social services, as well as opportunities to participate and use their rights, which help children live up to their full potential and contribute to their resilience;

(6) The most successful strategies in addressing child poverty have proved to be those underpinned by policies improving the well-being of all children, whilst giving careful consideration to children in particularly vulnerable situations; (...)