The Danish presidency coincided with the Expert Group welcoming Olivia Lind Haldorsson as the new Head of the Children at Risk Unit at the CBSS Secretariat, as the mandate period for Turid Heiberg had ended.
Mandate and strategy 2020-2025
On the 6th of May 2020, the CBSS Children at Risk Expert Group held their third and last meeting under the Danish Presidency of the CBSS.
At this occasion, the Expert adopted the Children at Risk Mandate and Strategy for 2020-2025. In adopting these documents, the Expert Group agreed that it will continue to stimulate dialogue and exchange on cross-border concerns, to develop and nurture strategic partnership and to contribute to the development and implementations of tangible projects to promote children’s rights and bolster national child protection systems. The Expert Group thanked Denmark for facilitating the development and adoption of the Mandate and Strategy, and welcomed the Lithuanian presidency starting 1 July 2020.
Our vision and strategic objectives
The vision of the Children at Risk Expert Group is a Baltic Sea region where children fully enjoy their rights as recognised in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Effective national child protection systems offer comprehensive prevention, protection and support. Each child has equal opportunities for participation and active involvement in building a prosperous, safe and secure region for all. To this end, the Expert Group focus on the following strategic areas:
- Prevention and Early Intervention: Strengthening National Child Protection Systems
- Protection, Support and Justice: Promoting multidisciplinary and interagency services for child victims and witnesses of violence (Barnahus)
- Partnerships for children’s rights and child protection: Promoting law, policy and joint strategies
Working together, the expert group will support Member States in raising awareness to promote positive attitudes, norms and values to safeguard the rights of children. The expert group will promote integrated strategies, including sustainable measures that have been demonstrated to contribute to real positive change in the lives of children at risk, including:
- Prevention, Early Intervention and rapid response at first signs of harm
- Tailormade Multidisciplinary Response and Support Services
- Encouraging a positive justice, law and policy setting
- Safe environments
- Parent and caregiver support
- Education and life skills, including investment in early childhood education.
You can find the entire Children at Risk Mandate & Strategy 2020-2025 here:
At the May 2020 meeting, the Expert Group adopted the following take-home message:
- The expert group acknowledges that the current situation with COVID-19 presents additional challenges for children in general, and especially for children in vulnerable situations. Furthermore, there is the risk that many of the children’s challenges go undetected when normal everyday life is disrupted. This creates a need for unconventional forms of support functions in order to ensure that the children are still able to get the help they need. In the group, we can benefit from exchanging experiences about good practice in relation to the current situation and the subject will be on the agenda for the next meeting.
Prevention, early intervention and the welfare of children in care
In addition to adopting the mandate and strategy, the Danish Presidency priorities for the Expert Group also included prevention, early intervention and the welfare of children in care and child-friendly case handling. On this front, the group held a roundtable which discussed relevant services to establish an environment that reacts quickly and efficiently to risk situations for children, including expert interventions. Drawing on the exchange, the Expert Group agreed that it can play an important role to build bridges on this subject among municipalities both nationally and internationally.
The Expert Group adopted the following take-home messages:
- International cooperation and exchange of practices has a strong role to play in promoting prevention, early intervention and relevant services at national level. The Expert Group can play a role to build bridges among municipalities both nationally and internationally.
- Early intervention is in the best interest of the child and constitutes an effective allocation of funds.
- The rapport between the family and the persons they meet can have a notable impact on how well the service is received and the progress the family makes. Participatory approaches promote progress, ensures interventions are relevant, and can build trust. Participation empowers families and children and is an important tool for reform.
- To ensure inclusivity, it is important to balance reaching the target groups who need the programmes the most against ensuring a great uptake of target groups that may not be in same need of the interventions through universal interventions. The most vulnerable and in need are hard to reach, and demand targeted, selective and indicative approaches.
The PROMISE Barnahus Network launched during the Danish Presidency, as did the third phase of EU co-funded PROMISE projects promoting the Barnahus model in Europe.
New logo adopted
In conjunction with discussions about renewing the mandate, the Expert Group also adopted a new logo, which is the heart logo of the Non-violent Childhoods project updated with CBSS colours.