- European Union Publications Office
- Publication date:
G. Van Hove
E. De Schauwer
The Voice of Children’s study has been organised within the Feasibility Study for a Child Guarantee (FSCG) in the form of focus groups with 35 European children, aged between 9 and 17, in four countries: Belgium for children with disabilities; Italy for children living in precarious family situations; Romania for children residing in an institution; and Sweden for children with a migrant background (including refugee children). The primary objective of the consultation with children was to conduct a ‘reality check’ on the analysis carried out within the framework of the Feasibility Study for a Child Guarantee initiative, to confirm the findings, identifying any gaps or emerging issues not easily identifiable through research methods used by the FSCG experts. It also aimed at advising how child participation can integrate the development and delivery of a future Child Guarantee initiative. Children generally confirmed the findings of the experts’ analysis, while also enriching the discussion with original themes and proposals. In particular, children across the focus groups highlighted the importance of promoting the universality of services as the best way to ensure children’s access to Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC), education, nutrition, health and housing. Universality must be accompanied by additional resources for children in need (e.g. economically disadvantaged or with disabilities). Children also outlined that access might not suffice to ensure their wellbeing and avoid social and cultural rejection: quality must also be present. For children, quality means inclusion, or the capacity of services to understand individual difficulties in terms of learning trajectories, health or socio-emotional development and respond positively to specific needs.