The COVID-19 pandemic, and the accompanying measures put in place to control it, are having a dramatic impact on some of Europe’s most vulnerable children, families and communities, compounding structural weaknesses in child protection and welfare systems. In the long-term, the socio-economic impact of the crisis, coupled with strained government services, will test the capacity of vulnerable families to care for their children. We fear that the number of children at risk of separation, in need of additional support, or in alternative care is likely to increase.
In this context, COPE, alongside 14 other child rights organisations are calling on European governments and European Union institutions to reinforce actions to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable children and families. We believe it is essential to pre-emptively scale up the capacity of quality family-based care and social protection systems, to enhance family resilience, prevent unnecessary family separation and ensure no child is institutionalised as a result of the pandemic.
Please find the full Call to action to protect vulnerable families and children in alternative care across Europe here.