Symposium (S_3.1)
Title: Making the European child guarantee a reality
Katarina Ivanković-Knežević – Director Social Affairs, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion, European Commission / Katarina Ivanković Knežević – Ravnateljica, Europska komisija, Glavna uprava za zapošljavanje, socijalna pitanja i uključivanje
Regina M. Castillo, UNICEF Representative in Croatia //in croatian predstojnica Ureda UNICEF-a za Hrvatsku 
Štefica Karacic, HUSR (Croatian Association of Social Workers) as the implementing partner in Međimurje County for the implementation of Child Guarantee
Tatjana Katkić Stanić, Director of the Institute for Social Work, Ministry of Labor, Pension System, Family and Social Policy, Executive board of Croatian Association of social workers/ in Croatian Ravnateljica Zavoda za socijalni rad, MInistarstvo rada, mirovinskog sustava, obitelji i socijalne politike, članica izvršnog odbora Hrvatske udruge socijalnih radnika
Moderated by Martina Tomić Latinac 
LINK to the Live Zoom Session:  The link will be available on October 12, 2021
Language: English. Translation to Croatian is provided (Translators: Karla Katalinic, Branka Segvic)


Poverty and social exclusion can have a profound impact on the lives of children, preventing them from accessing basic services such as healthcare, education, nutritious food, quality housing and childcare. For the poorest families, including those who do not have access to social protection, the situation is dire. Children suffer poverty differently from adults and they are more likely to experience lifelong consequences from it.


On 14 June the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) unanimously adopted the European Commission’s proposal on establishing a European Child Guarantee. The objective of the European Child Guarantee is to prevent and combat social exclusion by guaranteeing the access of children in need – persons under the age of 18 years who are at risk of poverty or social exclusion – to a set of key services:

  • early childhood education and care
  • education
  • healthcare
  • nutrition
  • housing


The Child Guarantee is complementary to and consistent with a number of other EU initiatives. It represents a concrete deliverable of the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan and will contribute to achieving its headline target of reducing the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion.


It complements the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child, which pools all existing and future initiatives on children’s rights under one coherent policy framework, and makes concrete recommendations for both the internal and external EU action. The Child Guarantee aims to ensure that vulnerable children have access to these quality services. UNICEF, in partnership with the European Commission, is working with national and sub-national authorities and select civil society organisations, children and young people to design and implement services and interventions that reduce the effects of poverty and social exclusion on children in need of support and protection. This includes the most vulnerable children, such as Roma children, children in institutional care, children with disabilities and refugee and migrant children. Alongside with Bulgaria, Greece and Italy, in Croatia (in Medjimurje County) Child Guarantee is being piloted.


UNICEF in partnership with the Government of the Republic of Croatia and numerous implementing partners is developing a model of new services and best practices for children and their families, with the overall objective to ensure that children and families have access to integrated, multidisciplinary, and adequately resourced community and family-based support services, pre-primary education and early childhood intervention. In addition, programme will contribute to enhancing child rights monitoring mechanism and ensuring evidence and analysis critical to inform development of the strategies related to combating poverty and social exclusion of children. 


Integrated child protection and family support services model focuses on creating conditions in which every child at risk has access to qualitative, timely and integrated child protection services and that every child in need has access to parenting support services, particularly the most vulnerable children and their families.  The model is directed towards the early identification of girls, boys and their families who live in precarious and deprived environments. The model promotes accessible, high-quality, timely and appropriate family support and child protection interventions, that include outreach services in communities at the highest risk of poverty and social exclusion. Concentrating on parenting-support and cross- and inter- sectoral cooperation and referrals. With very strong component of strengthening capacities of professionals (including family outreach workers) in the social welfare system to ensure quality and timely early identification, referral, effective case management, effective family interventions and the provision of services adapted to a multicultural environment (including the Roma population).


All EU member states are expected within nine months from the adoption of the Recommendation on the establishing European Child Guarantee to develop national action covering the period until 2030. What specific implications does this have on the social work, policies and social services, as well as what opportunities arises from Child Guarantee will be discussed during symposium.