The 2013 European Commission Recommendation “Investing in Children: Breaking the cycle of disadvantage” presented a comprehensive policy approach to child poverty and well-being. A new Implementation Handbook by Eurochild and its partners in the Alliance of Investing in Children, shows how Member States can translate the policy guidelines into action.

Launch Alliance Implementation Handbook
Jana Hainsworth, Eurochild Secretary General, presents Alliance’s Handbook in the European Parliament. (Photo: Federico Lanzo)

The “Implementation Handbook – Putting the Investing in Children Recommendation into Practice” was launched in the European Parliament on 1 April 2015 during an exchange of views with stakeholders, in the context of preparing a draft on “Reducing inequalities with a special focus on child poverty”.

The publication by the EU Alliance for Investing in Children, coordinated by Eurochild, traces the emergency of combating child poverty in Europe and demonstrates how the European Commission Recommendation can be implemented in practice. It presents 15 promising examples of existing policies and practice across Europe that put the EU policy guidance into action and explains the process and methodology for collecting those examples.

Almost 28% of children and young people in the EU are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, and only eight European countries guarantee adequate access to early childhood education and care (ECEC) .

Despite monetary poverty being the most widespread form of poverty in the EU, child poverty is not only about growing up in families that are income poor. It is also about not living in adequate or safe housing, not having access to affordable and quality education and health care, not being adequately protected or supported, and not having equal opportunities to thrive.

“Throughout the Handbook we are reminded that poverty can have a negative impact on children’s lives, with far-reaching consequences on their future participation in the labour market and society. Investing in children is therefore more than a moral duty. It is also an economic, social and political imperative”, stresses Vĕra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, in the Handbook’s foreword.

Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, also welcomes the initiative of the EU Alliance in her foreword to the Implementation Handbook. She particularly highlights “its broad focus, the fact that it proposes an integrated approach and the many practical case studies”.

This publication is a key asset for legislators, policy makers and decision makers, as well as a resource tool to support national and sub-national level advocacy in the field of child poverty and well-being for collective influencing.

Testimonies from Spain and the UK


The Alliance has initiated two national pilots in Spain and the United Kingdom to achieve child poverty reduction and to advocate for the effective implementation of the Investing in Children Recommendation.

“More than 32% of children are living at risk of poverty and social exclusion in Spain. Public budgets have a key role in the capacity of reducing child poverty and inequality. Our latest study shows that more than EUR 6 billion were cut from Spanish budgets since 2010”, said Gabriel González-Bueno, UNICEF Spain Domestic Policy and Advocacy Officer and coordinator of the Spanish Alliance for Investing in Children .

According to a report published by the UK Alliance for Investing in Children , coordinated by Children in Wales, the number of children living in absolute poverty has risen by 300,000 since 2010/11 in the UK, reaching more than 30% of country’s children. “The UK Alliance members will continue to call for the UK and devolved Governments to fully implement the EC Recommendation through their respective communication and engagement channels with political leads.(…) Not investing in children now will undoubtedly see far greater challenges presented to society for generations to come,” says the UK Alliance.

EU Alliance Implementation Handbook available here.

Download this statement here.
Documents from the exchange of views with stakeholders  here.


Implementation of the Investing in Children EC Recommendation. New handbook published