UNICEF and MoLSA announce pilot programme in Greece to fight child poverty and social exclusion, supported by the European Commission.
The “Child Guarantee” initiative will introduce innovative approaches to national budgeting and planning in seven EU Member States
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ATHENS, 11 NOVEMBER 2020 – UNICEF in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs announced today the start of the “Child Guarantee” programme during the first meeting of the Steering Committee Chaired by UNICEF and Deputy Minister Domna Michailidou. The regional, two-year Child Guarantee programme is a pilot UNICEF initiative launched with the support of the European Commission, implemented in seven EU Member States (Greece, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Spain), which will undertake innovative approaches for prioritizing children in national budgets and planning processes, aiming to tackle child poverty and social exclusion.
According to EUROSTAT figures, nearly one quarter of children in Europe today are at risk of poverty and social exclusion. Childhood poverty and deprivation significantly affect the lives of children, impairing their access to healthcare, education, nutritious food, quality housing and childcare. Children who grow up in poverty are more likely to suffer from social exclusion. The aim of the Child Guarantee programme is to ensure that children in need have access to the quality services they need for their wellbeing and development.
In Greece, UNICEF, with the support of the European Commission and in collaboration with the Greek government, will implement the project aiming at addressing systematic disadvantages for particularly vulnerable groups of children (children in institutional care, children living with disabilities, refugee and migrant children, children from minority groups).
“We have managed to be among the 7 countries selected by the EU Commission for the pilot scheme of the “Child Guarantee” Initiative. Protecting children from poverty and social exclusion takes on a new dimension today, due to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Greek government embraces all the critical Pillars of child protection. Working closely with UNICEF we have planned all lines of action ranging from pre-school education to deinstitutionalisation and the promotion of foster care” stated Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Domna Michailidou.
“As families, societies, and governments around the world struggle to cope with the devastating impacts of COVID-19, expected to result in significant economic contraction, we will work closely with governments, EU institutions and civil society to eliminate the threat poverty and social exclusion pose to children and communities across Europe, by prioritizing access to family and community-based care, supporting relevant services and strengthening inclusive education, for every child” stated UNICEF’s Deputy Representative in Greece, Aspasia Plakantonaki.
A Steering Committee comprised of representatives from relevant government and independent bodies with expertise in childcare systems, inclusive education, youth employability, poverty reduction and social inclusion, established to provide guidance to the planning and implementation of the Child Guarantee programme in Greece, met for the first time today.
The Steering Committee, co-chaired by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and UNICEF, will provide valuable input to the overall strategy of the program, in line with Greek national objectives, while reviewing progress on implementation
The two-year Child Guarantee programme in Greece is comprised of six integrated actions/pillars:
Pillar 1: Supporting deinstitutionalization and strengthening community-based care
Pillar 2: Strengthening the foster care system
Pillar 3: Introducing supported independent living to support children’s transition to adulthood
Pillar 4: Investing in life skills and job readiness for vulnerable youth
Pillar 5: Strengthening inclusive education
Pillar 6: Research to inform and strengthen child-focused national poverty reduction strategies and social integration efforts
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Greece, visit www.unicef.org/greece.