Children's Rights Matter: Why Europe needs to invest in children

Prestigious Patron and Speaker

Her Majesty the Queen of the Belgians


"There can be no doubt that the best investment in the future is to take the best possible care of the next generation." 


Read Her Full Speech 

In Europe enormous progress has been made in recognising children’s rights since adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, but significant challenges remain.

One in four children is growing up in poverty and exclusion; there are unprecedented numbers of migrant and refugee children entering Europe – many of them unaccompanied; and still over half a million children are placed in institutional care, in contradiction to all human rights standards.

The Eurochild conference Children’s Rights Matter: Why Europe needs to invest in children, aimed to take stock of progress, address on-going challenges, share good practice, and bring together different perspectives.

To answer this question, conference participants, both young and old, learnt and reflected on how policies and services promote the rights of all children in the five sub-themes: education, early years, health promotion, family strengthening, social protection and welfare support. For each of these themes we focused on three target groups of children: children in poverty, children on the move or affected by migration, and children in care or in risk of going into care.

Children, ages 12+, were involved both in the design, organisation and implementation of the conference. Children and adults jointly worked together during this conference as chairs, speakers, facilitators and rapporteurs. 

3 days of interactive learning opportunities and discussions with politicians, policy makers, practitioners and children and young people

3 target groups in focus: Children in poverty; Children on the move or affected by migration; Children in care or in risk of going into care

5 sub-themes: Education; Early years policies; Health promotion; Family strengthening; Social protection and welfare support

14+ services for children and families open their doors to participants

13+ workshops to discover promising practices around education, health, families and social protection

Be part of a unique experience of reflecting on children’s rights, with children.

Read the Full programme here

Read the Child Friendly Recommendation on Investing in Children here

Download and share the message!

Read the Conference Declaration EN - FR - HR

Watch the young people reading the declaration at the Conference (video)                            

''At Eurochild conference, our opinions were taken into consideration. Adults and children were one. A complete team, working together, having fun, talking to people with important names and asking them to change something. I think this is amazing. No more discrimination.'' - Daniela, Children’s Consultative Council, WorldVision Romania 

''Cutting social benefits, family support, spending on schools, tax benefits for families, in order to balance the states’ books or save big banks is a dead-end scenario. Salvaging the economy and pursuing long-term goals may take years, and children are living their lives now. The return on investment into children’s rights by far overweighs the potential costs of fixing in future what has gone wrong. So, it is not only socially, but also economically beneficial to invest into children '' -Gianluca Esposito, Head of Equality and Human Dignity Department of the Council of Europe.

''Investing in children as early as possible is best and most valuable choice we can make in Europe''  - Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Labour and Mobility
The Sketch my Rights entries

The drawings from the Sketch my Rights drawing contest for children had to relate to one of the conference themes: children in poverty, children on the move or migrant children, children in care or in risk of going into care. We received entries from 13 different countries, of which the majority focused on migration. 



The Backstage Video!

The photos on Flickr

Children's Rights Matter: Why Europe needs to invest in children
The Eurochild Conference is organised by Eurochild, together with the Belgian co-hosts Kind and Gezin and ONE.

Eurochild is a network of organisations and individuals that promote the rights and well-being of children and young people in Europe. Their work is underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Children’s Rights and well-being, as well as child & youth participation are amongst their key priorities.

Kind and Gezin Kind en Gezin (Child and Family) is an agency that works actively in 'Public Health, Welfare and Family’ policy area. This Flemish agency focuses on preventive treatment and guidance of young children geared to good outcomes in the future. We work hard to enable children to achieve their full developmental potential, physically, mentally, emotionally and socially, with respect for diversity and children’s rights. This principle holds good for all the different areas that we work in.

ONE The Office of Birth and Childhood (Office de la Naissance et de l’Enfance, further referred to as ONE) is a public institution that develops birth and childhood policies. ONE is an independent organism under the Minister for Childhood of the Wallonia & Brussels Federation. The Chairman of the Board of Directors is Mrs. Claudia Camus, and the General Director of the Executive Board is Mr. Benoît Parmentier.

The conference will take place at the prestigious Les Palais des Académies/Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts in Brussels

The closing session of the conference is held under the auspices of the Slovak Presidency in the Council of the European Union
An advisory group of children and young people is helping to set the agenda, frame the conversations, and design an inclusive conference.

The conference approach builds on the work we have been developing within Eurochild with the support of our Participation Reference Group and the experience of Children as Actors in Transforming Society, a global annual meeting of children and adults in Switzerland. The organisers are also supported by an advisory group of some of the key stakeholders and partners in Belgium and at EU level.

Eurochild organises a conference every two years in partnership with its one or more national member organisations. Read here the report from our last conference ‘Children First: Better Public Spending for Better Outcomes for Children & Families’ held in Bucharest, Romania in 2014. 

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