Poverty and social exclusion – Child Guarantee

As you are no doubt aware, Dynamo International – Street Workers Network is recognized as a European network to combat poverty and social exclusion. As such, we are participating in the ongoing process of the Strategic Dialogue between the European Commission and civil society inherited from the Lisbon 2020 Strategy.
Civil dialogue is the ongoing and structured discussion that DG EMPL maintains with civil society organisations. The general focus of the dialogue is inclusive growth, centred on improving the social dimension of the EU through addressing poverty, improving employment, activation, social cohesion and inclusion and ensuring a stronger link with the European Semester.
The 12 September I was invited with several others civil society organisations to an open discussion about the challenges and national developments in the fight against homelessness and housing exclusion.
Ms. Isabel Baptista, member of the European Social Policy Network of experts (ESPN), presented the main findings from the recent analysis assessing the type of responses to homelessness and housing exclusion adopted by the Member States (MS). The report (Fighting homelessness and housing exclusion in Europe, national reports and synthesis report, ESPN, 2019) also addresses recommendations to MS and to the Commission on future action in this field.
One of the conclusions that struck me was when policies to combat homelessness are carried out in an emergency and are unrelated to prevention services such as the teams of street social workers, then the results are unsatisfactory see have adverse effects such as an increase in the number of homeless or refusals to be housed.
At this meeting, I therefore stressed the importance of favoring strong cooperation on the ground between teams of street social workers and shelters, in the primary interest of the person without a fixed residence.
Another issue is being discussed in this strategic dialogue. It is the feasibility study of the European Child Guarantee initiative.
Following the call in 2015 from the European Parliament to introduce a Child Guarantee and the subsequent request to the European Commission (EC) in 2017 to implement a Preparatory Action to explore its potential scope, the Commission launched a feasibility study in 2018 that is aimed at examining and making proposals as to how a specific programme could best be developed in order to fight poverty and social exclusion amongst the EU’s most disadvantaged children (in particular: children living in precarious family situations, children residing in institutions, children with a migrant background [including refugee children], and children with disabilities) and to ensure their access to the five key policy areas (PAs) identified by the European Parliament, (i.e. free healthcare, free education, free early childhood education and care [ECEC], decent housing, and adequate nutrition).
Marianna Kolovou from ARSIS (Greece), Mariana Toteva Pisarska (Bulgaria) and myself participate in these workshops. We will come back with some of the most important conclusions.
Edwin De Boevé
Director, Dynamo International – Street Workers Network