The Child's Right to Early Childhood Education and Care - Survey on the CRC Committee's concluding observations on the last EU Countries' reports

On the occasion of its Semester of EU Presidency (from 1st July to 31st December 2006), the Finnish government decided to hold a L'Europe de l'Enfance meeting on the 21st of November 2006 in Helsinki. For this event, the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health commissioned the ChildONEurope Secretariat to present a survey on The Child's Right to Early Childhood Education and Care in the CRC Committee's Concluding Observations on the EU countries' last reports. The survey points out that indications on early childhood education and care can be found in the CRC Committee's Concluding Observations (CO) addressed to the EU Member Countries and EU Accession /Candidate Countries, as well as in the Committee documents (General Comments, in particular n. 7 on implementing children's rights in early childhood and Days of General Discussion).
The aim of the survey was threefold . It wanted to identify the issues most frequently examined by the CRC Committee, to identify the points of strength and weakness in the EU Countries' CRC implementation, and to point out the issues on which EU Countries can improve their policies concerning early childhood.
The survey pointed out that the CRC Committee's most relevant indications on early childhood care and education are the following: 1) a definition of early childhood as including all young children at birth and throughout infancy, during their pre-school years, as well as during the transition to school (below 8 years); 2) States parties are urged to adopt comprehensive and coordinated plans and services for early childhood within a rights-based framework; 3) an increase in human and financial resource allocations is required; 4) where services are provided by the private sector, the States have an obligation to monitor the quality of provision; 5) where services are decentralized, this should not be to the disadvantage of young children; 6) work with young children should be properly paid and valued; 7) systematic child rights training for children, parents and professionals should be implemented.
The survey concluded that until now, the CRC Committee's CO specifically concerning early childhood education and care haven't been frequent because the Committee has normally included them in the general CO regarding education and care. Only in few cases and for those rights that have a more specific relevance for young children (i.e. right to identity) has the Committee given specific attention. With the adoption of the General Comment n.7 dedicated to implementing children's rights in early childhood, the Committee's CO started to focus more specifically on the category of children from 0 to 8 years old.


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