In 2015, the European Parliament called for a child guarantee:
so that every child in poverty can have access to free healthcare, free education, free childcare, decent housing and adequate nutrition, as part of a European integrated plan to combat child poverty (European Parliament, 2015)
A Feasibility Study was launched in 2018 by the European Commission, to begin to explore the possible scope of the child guarantee. The Study aims to examine how the child guarantee could contribute to combating poverty and social exclusion and ensuring children access to the five key areas outlined by the European Parliament. The Study explores and analyses existing schemes, focusing on four target groups:
- children living in precarious family situations;
- children residing in institutions;
- children with a migrant background (including refugee children);
- children with disabilities.
A thematic workshop focusing on children with disabilities was held in Riga, Latvia, in September 2019 to discuss and provide feedback on the first draft of the Feasibility Study. The Agency was invited to present the main barriers to inclusive education and key policy messages stemming from its work with member countries. Alongside her presentation, Agency representative Simoni Symeonidou outlined a number of Agency projects that address some of the issues raised during discussions. These include:
- Country Policy Review and Analysis (CPRA), which explores the range of existing policies;
- European Agency Statistics on Inclusive Education (EASIE) data collection, which is working to address the lack of available statistics;
- Teachers’ Professional Learning for Inclusion (TPL4I) project, which highlights the need to invest in teacher education;
- Evidence of the Link between Inclusive Education and Social Inclusion, which raises the issue of social inclusion.
Ms Symeonidou also acted as rapporteur for a group discussion on education and early childhood education. There were around 30 participants involved in the group discussion, including representatives from UNICEF, the European Commission, and European and Latvian disability and children’s rights organisations.
The Feasibility Study is managed by a consortium consisting of Applica and the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER), in collaboration with Eurochild and Save the Children.