On September 7th, the European Commission released the European Care Strategy. The Strategy focuses on the importance of providing accessible, affordable, high-quality, and available care services to all. With this purpose, the Strategy aims to set an agenda to improve the current situation for both carers and service users.
The EEG welcomes the inclusion of elements such as gender-related issues among caregivers – both formal and informal – the call for affordable care and services, the push for support to family carers as well as the proposal for more EU action to promote national policy reforms. Moreover, the EEG acknowledges the focus of the Care Strategy on ensuring sustainable financing of social services and the Commission’s call to Member States on promoting both private and public investment within this area. The EEG welcomes the draft Council recommendation on the revision of the Barcelona Targets on early childhood education and care (ECEC). The recommendation states that “children with disabilities have the right to participate in mainstream ECEC on an equal basis with others”. It emphasizes accessibility including adequate infrastructure, including adaptation to special needs of parents and “the professionalization of staff and specialists to adequately support children with disabilities” as key aspects of inclusive ECEC. These features make the recommendation an example of good policy practice for the inclusion of disabled children into mainstream education and against any form of segregation.
Nevertheless, the EEG remarks several points which should be addressed for the general improvement of the current EU Care Strategy (full statement here)