Blog: Tackling disadvantage in early childhood- key findings and challenges

22 November 2022

Blog by Dr Agata D’Addato, Senior Project Manager, Eurochild

On 10 November, the ‘First Years, First Priority’ campaign partners hosted a great discussion on the importance of early childhood for children’s wellbeing and development, and for tackling poverty and social exclusion.

“Public investment in early childhood is one of the most visionary and effective policy measures that governments can take”-said H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, Eurochild President at the Webinar. Investing in nurturing care and quality early years services is essential for tackling child poverty, inequality and social exclusion.

At the event we heard some key findings from the campaign partners’ analysis of early childhood indicators across policy areas. The findings highlighted the need for an integrated & holistic approach, universal access to quality services and more public investment in early childhood.

As highlighted by Katerina Ivankovic, Director of Social Affairs in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, the Child Guarantee and the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child represent monumental steps forward in the fight against child poverty and social exclusion coming at a crucial time.

In 2020, across the EU, 24.2% of children were at risk of poverty or social exclusion (compared to an average of 21.9% for the total population). And the full extent of the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s lives is yet to be understood.

A priority focus on children in vulnerable situations, and who are experiencing discrimination and exclusion, is essential to realize children’s rights and uphold states’ commitments under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

Watch the recording of the webinar:

A strong and consistent message on the fundamental importance of early childhood and the first 1,000 days, as a priority, and the need to create a comprehensive policy approach to those first 1,000 days, centred around the child came from Adrien Taquet, Minister of State for Children and Families in France.

The event also represented an opportunity to engage with colleagues at national and European level on the ‘First Years, First Priority’ campaign. Challenges around data, investment in the early years and policy implementation came out strongly, but lots of energy around opportunities to catalyse action and addressing child poverty in early childhood were voiced as well.

We all need to work together (including families, children, civil society & governments) to improve early childhood and protect children’s rights.

Join our community of advocates!

See the event highlights on Twitter