Building children's futures - Using children's rights to recover from the global pandemic

Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on children and young people across Europe.

Pandemic restrictions have led to school closures, the curtailment of services and parental unemployment. Consequently, many children have experienced increased exposure to abuse, neglect, poverty, hunger, social exclusion and mental health difficulties. Certain groups of children have been disproportionately affected including, children in care, children with disabilities and refugee/migrant/ethnic minority children, including Travellers and Roma. The cumulative impact of the Covid-19 measures will have major implications for a generation of children and young people across Europe. However, poor outcomes are not inevitable.

In collaboration with our project partners, Eurochild will examine the effect of the pandemic measures on activities and services for children and young people through consultations with groups that were disproportionately impacted. By working with youth researchers, Ireland will be used as a case study to document how child participation structures worked during the pandemic. Best practices in Covid-19 responses in Europe will be identified, and the project will explore how Child Rights Impact Assessments (CRIAs) can embed a children’s rights approach, including during times of emergency. A prototype CRIA and training supports aimed at embedding children’s rights will be developed.

The project will support the pandemic recovery and lead to changes in activities and services for children and young people by building a coalition for a Covid-19 recovery involving the Irish Government, local structures, academic, NGO and European partners. Best practices in protecting children’s rights during the pandemic will be identified and the use of CRIAs in decision-making, including in emergency situations, will be strengthened and mainstreamed throughout Europe. Evidence of CRIA implementation will also inform the EU Network for Children’s Rights work in relation to the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child 2021-2024.