Esf and yei support to children

AuthorGiannetto, Andrea; Pagnini, Costanza
ESF support to investing in children Final Report
The issue is currently being negotiated between the European Parliament and the Council
of the EU.
2 ESF and YEI support to children
2.1 The logic of the ESF intervention in supporting children
Key findings
Different types of operations can support investments in children under the ESF/YEI.
These actions can be divided into three broad categories: (inclusive) education and
training operations, work-life balance and childcare operations and other inclusive
services, including a wide range of social services, deinstitutionalisation and support to
vulnerable children. From a first reading of the ESF Investment Priorities and their
respective allocations, it would appear that the most relevant ones for investing in
children, directly or indirectly, are: IP 8iv, IP 9i, 9ii, 9iii, 9iv and 10i. In general, the
focus of this report has been on information which could be linked clearly, though at
times indirectly, to children. Figures should be treated with caution due to the
impossibility to reliably account for some of the indirect benefits on children and related
risks of underestimation.
The ESF is a key funding instrument for supporting quality employment and fairer job
opportunities for all EU citizens. Most importantly, ESF is a programme centred on people,
investing in Europe’s human capital its workers, job seekers, and inactive individuals,
including young people and children. ESF also helps entities and organisations supporting
them. In parallel, and as a prerequisite for moving towards a smarter, sustainable and
inclusive growth, the ESF support has been increasingly focusing on promoting a more
inclusive society, tackling poverty and supporting the most disadvantaged groups,
including households and children at risk of poverty and social exclusion.
The drive towards human capital development and a more inclusive society are the key
drivers of ESF intervention logic for investing in children and helping break the cycle of
disadvantage. To have a better understanding of the overall objectives supporting ESF
investment in children we look at ESF Investment Priorities that are potentially supporting
them, directly or indirectly. These are:
Under Thematic objective 8:
8iv, aimed at promoting equality between men and women in all areas, including
access to employment, career progression, reconciliation of work and private life
and the promotion of equal pay for equal work: operations under this investment
priority can support the development and provision of childcare services, together
with other child-related initiatives related to improving the situation of women on
the labour market;
Under Thematic objective 9
9i, Active inclusion, including with a view to promoting equal opportunities and
active participation, an improving employability: operations under this investment
priority can target the most vulnerable children, including children with disabilities
ESF support to investing in children Final Report
or without parental care. In addition, such operations often target individuals and
parents at a certain distance from the labour market through active inclusion
measures. This might greatly (indirectly) benefit children by breaking the vicious
cycle of intergenerational child poverty;
9iii Combating all forms of discrimination and promoting equal opportunities:
possibly also targeting children with disabilities, from marginalised communities or
children with a migrant background and unaccompanied minors;
9iv Enhancing access to affordable, sustainable and high-quality services, including
healthcare and social services of general interest: possibly benefiting children and
particularly the most vulnerable ones, including children with disabilities or without
parental care, including unaccompanied minors;
9ii Socio-economic integration of marginalised communities such as the Roma:
possibly targeting children from these communities;
Under Thematic objective 10
10i Reducing and preventing early school-leaving and promoting equal access to
good quality early-childhood, primary and secondary education including formal,
non-formal and informal learning pathways for reintegrating into education and
training: these measures benefit children in all school grades and particularly at
risk of poverty and social exclusion, as most students at risk of early school-leaving
come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
In addition to these, another important strand of investments might support operations
which target young people and children. These are notably the investments carried out
under the Investment Priority 8ii “Sustainable integration into the labour market of young
people, in particular those not in employment, education or training, including young
people at risk of social exclusion and young people from marginalised communities,
including through the implementati on of the Youth Guarantee”. Although youth
employment does not fall under the specific scope of this study, as it falls outside the
scope of the recommendation “Investing in children” and mainly focuses on young people
above 18 years old, some of such allocation has been used, as described further below, to
reduce early school leaving, both by preventing drop-outs as well as further education for
individuals aged 15-18 years old.
In order to glean a first approximate idea of the available resources for investments in
children it is worthwhile to look at the Investment Pri orities’ financial allocations. Among
the above mentioned priorities, the one that receives the highest share of ESF planned
allocations (potentially relevant to children) in most Member States is IP 10i; this is also
the one that funds operations that are almost entirely directly or indirectly targeting
children (see Table below). This is followed by allocations on IP 9iv (enhancing access to
affordable, sustainable and high-quality services, including healthcare and social services
of general interest), IP 9ii (socio-economic integration of marginalised communities such
as the Roma) and finally IP 9iii (combating all forms of discrimination and promoting equal
opportunities. However, the largest ESF allocation is linked to IP 9i (active inclusion), which
as already mentioned above could be indirectly targeting children, although it is difficult
to identify the indirect impact on children of ESF’s active inclusion measures targeting
households (as it is not always possible to know whether they are targeting households
with dependent children up to 18 years old).
ESF support to investing in children Final Report
More generally, it should be considered that these figures are only meant to tentatively
appraise where investment could take place, and do not provide estimates of how much
ESF funding planned under aforementioned IPs will be targeted directly at children or
vulnerable children.
A more detailed analysis which estimates, with caveats, the amount of resources targeting
children is presented in section 2.2.5.
Table 1. Total allocation by Investment Priorities
Total allocation (ESF +
Source: SFC2014
Finally, it should be mentioned that although the exact share of investments benefiting
children cannot be assessed from the available administrative data,23 25.6% of the total
ESF allocation of EUR 86.4 billion was earmarked for social inclusion measures.
Based on the above priorities, it appears that different objectives can potentially be
addressed through ESF funding to support children, directly and indirectly. The main ones
23 European Parliament, 2018. Fighting Child Poverty: the role of EU Funding

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