Principle 11

Childcare and support to children

"Children have the right to affordable early childhood education and care of good quality. Children have the right to protection from poverty. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds have the right to specific measures to enhance equal opportunities."

- Principle 11 of the European Pillar of Social Rights

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Childcare and support to children as determinants of health

The time between birth and compulsory primary school age is the most formative period of children's lives, impacting lifelong learning, social integration, health and wellbeing, development, and potential employability.

What does the EPSR Action Plan say?

The EPSR Action Plan sets out three key goals for EU Member States:

  • Education and care must be accessible and affordable to all young children in line with the Council Recommendation on High Quality Early Childhood Education and Care Systems (2019).

  • The number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion should be reduced by at least 15 million by 2030, where at least 5 million should be children.

  • The provision of formal early childhood education and care should be increased to ensure that at least 78% of the population aged 20 to 64 is in employment by 2030.

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Where are we now?

The Social Scoreboard measures progress on the principles of the EPSR. Linked to the principle of childcare and support to children, the Scoreboard outlines that in the EU:

  • There is a 24.2% at-risk-of-poverty rate or exclusion for children (0-17).

  • Only 32.3% of children aged less than 3 years are in formal childcare - Latest figures (2020).

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What are public health actors doing?

The following actions taken by public health actors at (sub)national level can support the implementation of EPSR principle 11.

Click on a country to learn about initiatives taking place.

EU tools that help implement Principle 11

There are EU policies and instruments that can help relevant actors in the field, including public health, to work together to achieve EPSR Principle 11 on Childcare and Support to Children.

More information about the EU institutions and programmes is available on EuroHealthNet's Health Inequalities Portal.

The EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child

The EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child invites Member States to:

  • Prioritise children in national mental health strategies and build networks to support their mental wellbeing.
  • Invest in more effective violence prevention and protection measures; provide adequate support to vulnerable children who suffer violence.
  • Adopt legislation to ban corporal punishment in all settings.
  • Improve the functioning of child protection systems at national level.
  • Create a safe digital environment for children through effective and equal access to digital tools, digital and media literacy, accessible online educational tools.
  • Promote national strategies which move towards quality, family- and community-based care services.
The European Child Guarantee
Council Recommendation on High-quality Early Childhood Education and Care Systems
The European Care Strategy
Revision of the 2002 Barcelona Targets

Have your say

Would you like to share promising policies or practices carried out by your public health institute, which support the implementation of this EPSR principle?

Feel free to reach out to our EuroHealthNet colleague Vania Putatti.

About EuroHealthNet

Building a healthier future for all by addressing the determinants of health and reducing inequalities.

EuroHealthNet is the Partnership of public health agencies and organisations building a healthier future for all by addressing the determinants of health and reducing inequalities. Our focus is on preventing disease and promoting good health by looking within and beyond the health system.

Structuring our work over a policy, a practice, and a research platform, we focus on exploring and strengthening the links between these areas.

Our approach focuses on integrated concepts to health, reducing health inequality gaps and gradients, working on determinants across the life course, whilst contributing to the sustainability and wellbeing of people and the planet.

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EuroHealthNet is co-funded by the European Union. However, the information and views set out on this website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Commission. The Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included on this website. Neither the Commission nor any person acting on the Commission's behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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