Maintain, strengthen, expand: civil society recommendations for the reform of child protection through the post-2020 EU budget


Opening Doors for Europe’s Children – a pan-European coalition of 124 civil society organisations campaigning to strengthen families and end institutional care – releases recommendations to the EU at a critical moment for the reform of child protection in Europe. 

As preparations for the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework get underway, the campaign calls on the EU to maintain, strengthen and expand its commitment for the child protection reform in the next budgetary plan and to champion the transition from institutional to family and community-based care as a human rights cause.

The EU has the chance and means to give millions of children within and beyond its borders access to a better life – no longer confined to institutions, but growing up with the love and support of their families and communities, included in the society,” urge the campaigners. “The pivotal role of the EU towards children’s deinstitutionalisation and the strengthening of child protection systems should be maintained and reinforced in the next funding period.”

In its recommendations, the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign sets out five key priorities which should be considered in the next programming period to ensure that investments continue and that children grow up in inclusive, prosperous societies:

  1. To continue promoting the transition from institutional to community-based care through targeted investments via the European Structural and Investment Funds;
  2. To strengthen and expand the existing ex-ante conditionality 9.1 of the Structural and Investment Funds – which refers to deinstitutionalisation;
  3. To ensure that EU funds are used in line with deinstitutionalisation strategies and action plans at national level;
  4. To ensure that EU internal and external funding follows the same principles of the European Social and European Regional Development Fund regulations to promote the transition from institutional to community-based care;
  5. To improve the implementation of the European Code of Conduct on Partnership.

The recommendations highlight that in the current funding period, the European Union has already taken leadership in recognising and making progress towards the transition from institutional to community-based care, in particular, through the  ground-breaking regulations for the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). In the next funding period after 2020, the pivotal role of the EU towards children’s deinstitutionalisation should be maintained and reinforced. Social inclusion of people and the transition to family and community-based care must remain a priority under the cohesion policy.

Read the full text of the recommendations here.


The recommendations reflect the input of five international organisations working to improve the lives of children without or at risk of losing parental care: EurochildHope and Homes for ChildrenSOS Children’s Villages International, the International Foster Care Organisation (IFCO), and the European branch of the International Federation of Educative Communities (FICE Europe). They also reflect concerns and experience of the civil society from 16 European countries participating in the campaign.

For more information please contact: Katerina Nanou, Policy and Advocacy Officer, Eurochild, +32 (0) 2 211 0559,