On 6 December 2018, the Expert Group and stakeholders celebrated in Riga – the birthplace of the Group – the achievements of the last 20 years, honour the founding members and the work done on national, regional and international level in the field of children’s rights. At the 1998 Summit in Riga, the Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers supported CBSS initiated cooperation activities on children at risk, which firmly established the regional work and commitment to protecting children at risk under the auspices of CBSS. In 2002, the CBSS Senior Officials established the Expert Group as a formal group of the CBSS and the Children at Risk Unit as part of the Secretariat.
To raise attention to the fact that it is possible to change policies, attitudes and behaviours, the Council of the Baltic Sea States organised a high-level conference on implementing the prohibition of corporal punishment. One president, several ministers, along with other high-level policy-makers and representatives from child ombudsmen´s offices, academia and international and national organizations and institutions joined to give their reflections and guidance. The conference was arranged as the final conference of the Non-violent childhoods project, co-funded by the European Union.
The CBSS in cooperation with the Nordic Council of Ministers and Norweigan authorities held an international conference which endorsed the Oslo Conclusions on Identifying Children at Risk of Exploitation and Trafficking.
The European Barnahus Movement was launched in Brussels as part of the final conference of the first phase of PROMISE. The conference advocated for child-friendly, multi-disciplinary and interagency services supporting child victims of violence. Several high-level speakers gave their support to the European Barnahus Movement, including Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, and Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative to the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children. Bragi Guðbrandsson, lead expert in the PROMISE project, presented the Icelandic experience and how it has inspired the European Barnahus Movement. The expert panels discussed multi-disciplinary and interagency responses to violence against children in Europe and how the Barnahus Model embodies children’s rights.
The Expert Group adopted its 2017-2020 Mandate and Strategy documents, along with the new internal acronym CAR, at its May 2017 meeting. The URL of the website was changed, leaving the Child Centre framework formally in the past and highlighting instead the influence of the Children at Risk Expert Group.
The Icelandic Presidency of the CBSS in cooperation with the Central European Initiative held a conference in Stockholm which endorsed The Stockholm Conclusions on protecting migrant and asylum-seeking children.
The Estonian Presidency of the CBSS hosts a conference on Alternative Care and Family Support, which endorsed The Tallinn Recommendations and Action Plan on Alternative Care and Family Support 2015-2020.