Social services provide support to disadvantaged children, young people and families. This can come in a range of forms including support to parents, child protection, alternative care arrangements and supporting vulnerable young people onto the labour market.


Our work with ESN Members

With our members, we have been discussing the role of social services in lifting children out of poverty and exclusion since 2008. Through working groups and seminars we have outlined the importance of continuous needs assessment, family and community-based care, and joint work with education, health and justice as key factors for promoting better outcomes for children and families.

In several events we have also examined how social services can promote the inclusion of vulnerable young people, including care leavers, NEETs, young people with mental health problems, young offenders, migrant young people, and young people with disabilities. These vulnerable young people often require coordinated responses from social, education, health and employment services to support their social inclusion. (See resources below)

Through our activities we have built up a library of innovative practices implemented by social services to support the inclusion of children and young people. This includes practices on community-based care, integrated approaches, and the co-production of services with children and young people.


Mahboba Madadi, Chair of the Coalition for Unaccompanied Minors in Sweden, Nov 2017, Stockholm


Most recently we focused on how social services can support unaccompanied minors in our 2017 seminar ‘Migrant children and young people – Social inclusion and transition to adulthood’. Here we examined how social services can enable unaccompanied minors to access education, health and housing services which are vital for their wellbeing and social inclusion.

Launch of the Investing in Children report at the European Parliament, May 2016, Brussels

Launch of the Investing in Children report at the European Parliament, May 2016, Brussels


Our contribution to the European level

We have also made significant contributions to European level policy-making on children’s services. Our 2016 report ‘Investing in Children, Improving Outcomes’ included a comprehensive analysis of national policy frameworks in selected countries. The report assessed how the European Commission’s 2013 Recommendation ‘Investing in Children’ has been translated into practice, providing policy recommendations to improve implementation.

Our work on youth has led to the dissemination of promising practices and policies which can enable vulnerable young people to access the labour market, contributing to the European Commission’s Youth Guarantee.

ESN resources

•    Report (2010) on Breaking the Cycle of Deprivation  
•    Report (2016) Investing in children's services publication launch report
•    Report (2016) Investing in Children’s Services, Improving Outcomes 
•    Report (2018) Promoting the social inclusion of migrant children and young people: The duty of social services

•    Article (2016) Guardian: EU states are denying child migrants essential services

•    Seminar (2012) Vulnerable Youth in Transition
•    Peer Review (2013) First Peer Review on Investing in Children's Services
•    Peer Review (2014) Second Peer Review on Investing in Children’s Services
•    Peer Review (2015) Third Peer Review on Investing in Children’s Services
•    Workshop (2015) European youth between education and employment - Improving participation in society
•    Workshop (2016) Young offenders in Europe – active inclusion and rehabilitation
•    Seminar (2017) Migrant children and young people – Social inclusion and transition to adulthood


External resources