1. Priorities and activities to be funded
Projects shall support capacity building of professionals working for and with children in rights of the child and child protection. Project activities shall focus on putting in place robust national or regional mechanisms to support children ageing out of/leaving alternative care and they should encompass a strong child participation component (in project conception, design and implementation: agency, empowerment and resilience of children/the child’s right to be heard/children’s involvement in reviewing service delivery).
1.2. Description of the activities
Project activities may include:
mutual learning, exchange of good practices, cooperation;
design and implementation of protocols, development of working methods which may be transferable to other regions or countries;
capacity-building and training for professionals;
EU funding is not intended to cover operational or running costs, but to support the development of robust and sustainable mechanisms and frameworks for children in alternative care, to support their ageing out of/leaving care. EU funding is intended to provide an opportunity to get the necessary stakeholders to work together and establish an integrated approach that ensures better outcomes for careleavers. Children in families can generally rely on family support over relatively long periods as they move, often in a non-linear manner, into young adulthood. ‘Corporate’ or ‘State’ parents should have commensurate support mechanisms in place for children in care. This call also covers third-country national/migrant children (including unaccompanied children) who are in the care of the State. Children may be in care as a direct result of neglect, abuse and violence and aftercare supports should arguably be even more extensive, as evidenced by the fact that lack of support may lead to a high proportion of young careleavers ending up homeless/in poverty/in conflict with the law, etc. In Europe, supports generally need to be increased. Children in care and careleavers are often stigmatised. Siblings may have been separated. Projects should be practical projects fostering capacity-building and an integrated approach, the exchange of good practice, training on the rights and needs of careleavers (possibly involving former careleavers themselves in training, but at the very least taking account of their experience in designing training) and provide for the monitoring and review of aftercare plans, the continuous review of efforts resulting from this project and monitoring of outcomes. Given the target group, all projects would benefit from the involvement and taking account of the experience of careleavers themselves.
Projects should describe how they will contribute to the implementation of the 10 principles for integrated child protection systems (see bibliography).
Projects should be aligned with the UN Guidelines for the alternative care of children and Moving forward: implementing the guidelines for the alternative care of children (Focus 12). Proposals will be assessed against alignment with these two documents under the relevance criterion with a particular focus on individualised planning and the direct involvement and empowerment of the child/careleaver her or himself.
Projects should seek to address known gaps in policy and in service provision both in preparations for leaving care and for aftercare supports such as: a stronger focus by corporate and State parents on ensuring that children in care have a positive experience of education and the monitoring of educational outcomes all through alternative care, life skills/preparation for (semi)-independent living, addressing gaps in the child’s knowledge of their life history, therapeutic services, out-of-hours social services, housing, education, training and labour market integration services, promotion of positive sibling relationships and peer support services. There should be a very clear focus on inclusive services and community involvement that also take account also of minority groups, children with disabilities and third-country nationals in alternative care. For third-country nationals, status determination procedures may need to be addressed and the child’s status resolved in a timely manner as a matter of routine and an integral part of an integrated approach. ‘One-stop-shop’ or otherwise integrated models of support for careleavers could be explored. Social enterprise models and a corporate social responsibility focus on alternative careleavers could also be usefully explored as part of an integrated approach.
Applicants are invited to take note of previously funded projects:
The continuation or follow-up of successful initiatives, including the scaling up of existing initiatives and/or testing them in a different context, may be funded if it is aligned with the priority. However, the exact duplication of an initiative will not be funded.
Applicants shall explain and demonstrate how their proposals are aligned with the respective EU policies and with the documents published by the European Commission or referred to below (see bibliography). The degree of relevance to the priority of the call for proposals will be assessed under the relevance award criterion.
All projects must take a rights-based approach and be clearly grounded in the EU Charter of Fundamental rights and the UN Convention on the rights of the child (UNCRC). Applicants are required to include clear and explicit references to EU and international law and standards they will adhere to or be guided by in project design, implementation, evaluation and monitoring and explain the project rationale.
This call aims to fund targeted, practical projects ensuring maximum tangible and demonstrable benefits and impacts on the lives of beneficiaries (i.e. future careleavers). The projects should be practical projects rather than research and should include a combination of elements to form a coherent whole. All projects should not only develop a sound methodology using recognised existing good practice or tried and tested intervention models but consist of a large proportion of practical implementation measures and outcomes. These aspects will be taken into account when evaluating the quality of proposals. Applicants are invited to consider the weighting of the work streams, with a view to ensuring maximum practical benefits, positive outcomes and impacts for the target groups and the final beneficiaries, and to check that the management and coordination work streams (including travel) are not over-resourced. Activities such as the development of materials, the mapping of existing materials or research should be, at most, minor components of project proposals. If included, the need should be solidly justified in the proposal; they should lead to practical applications and interventions.
Any training and/or practical tools should have an overarching objective to make the system work better to improve outcomes for the beneficiaries. This may include development and delivery of new training modules/tools or roll out and delivery of previously tried and tested training modules/tools. Proposal should describe how access to those to be trained will be assured and describe how training/tools will be rolled out in the participating countries. In terms of promoting sustainability, capacity-building should preferably focus on train-the-trainer approaches and may also include tools such as checklists/draft protocols, etc. For national projects, we expect projects to be coherent and address the situation of all future careleavers in state care (see 1.1 and 1.2). For transnational projects, any training modules developed should be made available with a view to being replicated or adapted for reuse in other EU Member States. New training modules must be piloted and, if necessary, adapted prior to delivery.
All projects under this call can be either national or transnational and should be elaborated in close partnership with and/or be led by appropriate key players, such as child protection agencies, careleavers’ associations, ministries/authorities for children or social affairs, social protection, children’s ombudspersons, services responsible for: housing, labour market integration, higher education and vocational training (including scholarships and grants), health and mental health, counselling and psychosocial support; civil society organisations, the judiciary, social workers, academia, etc. Applicants must document that they have the prior commitment of participating key players. Good quality cooperation among partners will be instrumental in making innovative projects successful. Regardless of whether projects are national or transnational in nature, they should aim to produce results that create or contribute to implementation of minimum standards at European level, or that could be transferable to other Member States.
At least one public authority from each participating country must either be involved in the project (as applicant or co-applicant) or by providing substantial support, e.g. Ministries and/or agencies responsible for children (e.g. child protection agencies and services), Ministries for children, child protection, social services, social protection, labour market integration, education, health and mental health services, social affairs, justice, children's ombudspersons and/or national human rights institutes for children, responsible regional authorities, etc). The rationale for the choice must be documented and explained in Part B Project description and implementation. In practical terms, it means that if, for instance, a transnational project is submitted by a partnership involving four different eligible countries, at least four public authorities as described above (one per each eligible country) must either be involved in the project as applicant or partner(s) or express in writing its support of the application. In the latter case, this support will be expressed through Annex 5 - Letter from the public authority supporting the application. The requirement will be assessed under the award criterion b) quality.
All proposals are expected to respect the child's right to participate and be aligned with Article 24 of the Charter, relevant EU law and the UN Convention on the rights of the child. The child's right to be heard, as set out in UNCRC Article 12 and General Comment No 12, must be an integral part of all project activities. The involvement of careleavers themselves is strongly recommended; including in project design. Proposals must make children's involvement central and integral to the project, for example in designing and reviewing responses to reports and actual cases of child victims, in reviewing services, in complaint mechanisms, in assessing what needs to be changed at system level, in empowering children to be involved in decisions that affect them and in empowering children and young people to help themselves and other children, etc. Are there possibilities to involve children in project design prior to submission of proposals? Are the views of children on issues addressed in the call (possibly gathered elsewhere) reflected in the proposal? Accessible guidance on how to ensure child participation is also contained in the Lundy Model of Participation and the Lundy Voice Model Checklist for Participation, designed by Professor Laura Lundy of Queen's University, Belfast (see bibliography).
Child protection/safeguarding policy
If a project will involve direct contact with children, the beneficiaries of funding (including partners) need to provide their child protection/safeguarding policy, if they work directly with children during the project. Each partner must provide their own child protection policy if they will be working directly with children. However, given the subject matter of this call, for all projects, child safeguarding must be central to project design and implementation. The applicant must describe and submit the child protection/safeguarding policy it will adhere to (see Annex 4 of the Guide for applicants). A child protection policy should include standards that cover four broad areas: (1) policy, (2) people, (3) procedures, and (4) accountability. More information on these areas can be found in "Child safeguarding standards and how to implement them" issued by Keeping Children Safe (see bibliography). The quality of the applicant’s child safeguarding/protection policy will be assessed under award criterion b) quality.
Monitoring and evaluation
Appropriate attention has to be given to developing a robust evidence base and involving reliable monitoring, evaluation and reporting procedures based on recognised methodological approaches, developed by a competent and experienced policy impact evaluator (for further details please refer to "Applying Behavioural Sciences to EU Policy-making", Joint Research Centre Scientific and Policy Report (2013): http://ftp.jrc.es/EURdoc/JRC83284.pdf), in consultation with the relevant project partners. This should include defining the expected impact of the activity in measurable terms and defining a robust methodology and indicators to measure the impact of the activity. Applicants are free to choose the method for evaluating the impact of the activities, the method should be robust and appropriate, and involve rigorous data collection and monitoring. We expect all projects to address and systemise the monitoring of outcomes for future careleavers. Proposals must make provisions to document the number of persons reached, provide anonymised data disaggregated by sex and by age, and must describe in their grant application how this will be done and how the target group will be reached.
Sustainability of projects and dissemination of results
Applications should also include a clear communication, dissemination and sustainability plan, with measures to maintain and monitor results after the end of funding. Applicants should also describe the potential for scaling up the measure, should the activities produce the expected results. The projects should aim at ensuring their durability, including through the involvement of the relevant authorities in the project itself, and appropriate dissemination, including at the end of funding (by promoting and enabling access to their results to the widest possible audience).
1.3. Expected results
all children in state or corporate care are better supported in preparing to leave care;
support and preparation measures start well before children age out/leave care and are individualised;
known gaps at national level are better addressed;
ageing out of care systems are joined up, coherent and integrated and designed to ensure that all children who are care leavers have a strong support network and do not fall through cracks;
careleavers’ access to essential services, higher education, vocational training and the labour market is improved;
outcomes for children in care/careleavers are monitored;
good practice is collected and shared (also across borders) with a view to being replicated;
project activities reflect and contribute to practical implementation of the 10 principles for integrated child protection systems;
practices and methods live on after project end.
Violence against children and rights of the child
EU acquis on the rights of the child: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/fundamental-rights/files/acquis_rights_of_child.pdf (in particular the Victims' rights directive 2012/29/EU Directive 2011/93/EU on child sexual abuse and exploitation and Directive 2011/36/EU on trafficking in human beings)
DG Justice website on rights of the child: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/fundamental-rights/rights-child/index_en.htm;
Ten principles for integrated child protection systems: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/fundamental-rights/files/2015_forum_roc_background_en.pdf
DG JUSTICE website on child protection systems: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/fundamental-rights/rights-child/protection-systems/index_en.htm;
FRA mapping of national child protection systems: http://fra.europa.eu/en/project/2014/mapping-child-protection-systems-eu
Council of Europe Policy Guidelines on Integrated National Strategies for the Protection of Children from Violence: https://rm.coe.int/CoERMPublicCommonSearchServices/DisplayDCTMContent?documentId=090000168046d3a0
UN Convention on the rights of the child: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx
United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child General Comment 13 (2011) on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/docs/CRC.C.GC.13_en.pdf
HUDOC database; case law of the ECtHR: http://www.echr.coe.int/Pages/home.aspx?p=caselaw/HUDOC&c=
European Law Handbook on rights of the child: FRA/CoE/ECtHR Handbook on European law relating to rights of the child: http://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2015/handbook-european-law-child-rights
Council of Europe Convention on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (the Lanzarote Convention)
UN Guidelines for the alternative care of children: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c3acd162.html
CELCIS: Moving Forward: Implementing the Guidelines for the alternative care of children: http://www.alternativecareguidelines.org/MovingForward/tabid/2798/language/en-GB/Default.aspx
A training manual for care professionals working with children in alternative care, SOS Children's Villages, 2016: http://www.sos-childrensvillages.org/getmedia/94064fdf-41dd-4ca5-94fc-fac167857c2c/Realising-Childrens-Rights-Training-Manual-ENG-web.pdf
Child refugees and migrants
European Commission, DG Justice and Consumers, webpage children in migration: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/fundamental-rights/rights-child/protection-systems/index_en.htm
10th European Forum on the rights of the child, the protection of children in migration, 28 – 30 November 2016, general background paper (and bibliography with further links) http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/document.cfm?doc_id=42359
European Commission, 10th European Forum on the rights of the child, the protection of children in migration, webpage with relevant links (programme, background documents, webstreaming, presentations): http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/just/item-detail.cfm?item_id=34456
European Commission, Compilation of data, situation and media reports on children in migration: http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/document.cfm?doc_id=40299
Guidelines for Integrating Gender-Based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action: http://gbvguidelines.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/2015-IASC-Gender-based-Violence-Guidelines_lo-res.pdf
Undocumented and stateless children
European Network on Statelessness, ‘No Child Should be Stateless’, September 2015: http://www.statelessness.eu/sites/www.statelessness.eu/files/ENS_NoChildStateless_final.pdf
European Network on Statelessness, ‘Ending Childhood Statelessness – A Comparative Study of Safeguards to Ensure the Right to a Nationality for Children Born in Europe’, May 2016: http://www.statelessness.eu/sites/www.statelessness.eu/files/file_attach/ENS_1961_Safeguards_Stateless_children.pdf
Protecting undocumented children-Promising policies and practices from governments, PICUM, 2015: http://picum.org/picum.org/uploads/publication/Protecting%20undocumented%20children-Promising%20policies%20and%20practices%20from%20governments.pdf
Undocumented children in Europe: invisible victims of immigration restrictions, Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM), 2009: http://picum.org/picum.org/uploads/publication/Undocumented%20Children%20in%20Europe%20EN.pdf
Examples of gaps in status determination and resolution while in state care: Immigrant Council of Ireland: Child Migration Matters (Children and Young People’s Experiences of Migration, (2016): http://immigrantcouncil.ie/files/publications/9675c-child-migration-matters.pdf
Compilation of previously funded projects violence against children/rights of the child
Compilation previously funded projects on violence against children and the rights of the child, 2013 – present: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/fundamental-rights/files/rights_child/compilation_previously_funded_projects_rights_of_the_child_and_violence_against_children.pdf
Commission study evaluating legislation, policy and practice on child participation in EU28: Final report - Children and young people's summary - Research summary - Resource catalogue - Reports for each of the 28 Member States
Inclusion Europe participation rights children with disabilities: http://www.childrights4all.eu/?page_id=114
Welsh examples cited above: http://www.ssiacymru.org.uk/home.php?page_id=4769 and http://www.participationworkerswales.org.uk/
Laura, Lundy (2007) "Voice" is not enough: conceptualising Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child', British Educational Research Journal, 33:6, 927- 942
Lundy Model of Participation and Lundy Voice Model Checklist: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/fundamental-rights/files/lundy_model_child_participation.pdf
Ireland, Department of Children and Youth Affairs, National Strategy on Children and Young People's Participation in Decision-Making 2015-2020 (17 June 2015), p. 21-22. Accessible here: http://dcya.gov.ie/documents/playandrec/20150617NatStratParticipationReport.pdf and Lundy Model of Participation and Lundy Voice Model Checklist: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/fundamental-rights/files/lundy_model_child_participation.pdf
Child safeguarding policies
Keeping Children Safe standards: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/fundamental-rights/files/rights_child/standards_child_protection_kcsc_en.pdf
Monitoring of outcomes
See, for example, http://reclaimingfutures.org/resources/evaluation