On the 31st of May, the European Social Network (ESN) launched at the European Parliament its recent publication ‘Investing in children’s services. Improving outcomes’, which assesses how the principles of the European Commission’s Recommendation ‘Investing in children’ are being implemented across 14 European countries. In two of these countries, Italy and Spain, there have been events recently to address the situation locally.

On the 27th of October, ESN member - the Institute for Research on Population and Social Policy- organised an event in Italy to address the issues identified by ESN report. The discussions focused on improving the provision of early childcare services, which is a key component of the National Action Plan for Children presented by the Italian government, and the actions implemented by local social services to care for unaccompanied children. Local practice is becoming increasingly geared towards promoting child participation. For instance, participants learned about RadioImmaginaria, which is the first radio station in Europe entirely run by children and teenagers aged between 11 and 17.

On the 11th of November, ESN’s Policy Director, Alfonso Lara Montero, was invited as a keynote speaker at an event organised in Pamplona (Spain) by the regional ministry of social rights. This was an opportunity to discuss with public authorities in the region of Navarra key trends in children’s policies and services across Europe, as the Navarra government prepares its future children’s plan. During the discussions, the need to ensure that public policies for children place them at the centre of public policy-making, and ensuring that policies approach children from an integrated perspective, was underlined.

“An integrated approach means that children’s policies should have a multi-dimensional perspective and address not only household income and housing but also early years’ investment, work with schools and effective child protection ensuring that children grow in a nurturing family environment,” argued Mr. Montero.

These events contributed to celebrating Children’s Universal Day, when the international community joins in promoting awareness to increase children’s welfare. In both events, it became clear that regional authorities have key competences in children’s policies across the EU, and therefore they play a pivotal role in ensuring implementation of the recommendations put forward by the European Commission. These events offered an inspirational platform to discuss, advocate, promote and celebrate children's rights, translating principles into dialogue and actions to build a better world for children.