Accept Refuse

EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Summaries of EU Legislation

Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage

Go to the summaries’ table of contents

Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage

In times of economic crisis, child-friendly social investment has a key role to play in offering solutions. Investing in children can result in reducing poverty in society as a whole by ensuring that the next generation does not suffer from disadvantage and social exclusion.


Commission Recommendation of 20 February 2013: Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage (2013/112/EU)


As part of its social investment package for growth and cohesion (SIP), the European Commission adopted a recommendation on child-friendly social investment. Its aim is to provide EU Member States with guidance on how to tackle child poverty and promote children’s well-being, as well as to set up a common European framework.

The recommendation calls for a children’s rights approach and for integrated strategies based on three pillars.

Access to adequate resources to reduce income poverty and material deprivation by:

  • supporting parents' participation in the labour market and making sure that their work pays;
  • providing for adequate living standards through a combination of child and family benefits, which should be redistributive across income groups but avoid inactivity traps and stigmatisation.

Access to affordable quality services to increase children’s life chances and improve their development by:

  • improving access to affordable early childhood education and care services to reduce inequality at a young age;
  • improving education systems’ impact on equal opportunities by ensuring all children receive inclusive high-quality education;
  • improving the responsiveness of health systems to address the needs of disadvantaged children;
  • providing children with a safe, adequate housing and living environment;
  • enhancing family support and the quality of alternative care settings.

Children’s right to participate by:

  • supporting the participation of all children in play, recreation, sport and cultural activities - informal learning opportunities outside the school context;
  • putting in place mechanisms that promote children’s participation in decision-making that affects their lives.

In addition, the Commission calls for developing governance, implementation and monitoring arrangements by:

  • strengthening synergies across sectors;
  • enhancing the use of evidence-based policy development and social policy innovation.

Lastly, the recommendation stresses that full use of the relevant EU instruments needs to be made by:

  • mobilising the range of tools and indicators available within the Europe 2020 strategy to give new impetus to joint efforts to address child poverty and social exclusion; and
  • making appropriate use of the opportunities provided by EU financial instruments to support the policy priorities outlined above.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Commission Recommendation 2013/112/EU



OJ L 59 of 2.3.2013


Socialinvestmentpackage forgrowth andcohesion (SIP)

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Towards social investment for growth and cohesion - including implementing the European Social Fund 2014-20 (COM(2013) 83 final of 20.2.2013 - not published in the Official Journal)

The package also comprises eight staff working documents (SWDs) (on demographic and social trends - part 1 and part 2, on active inclusion, on social services of general interest, on long-term care, on homelessness, on health and on the European Social Fund).

Last updated: 31.01.2014