Counselling services for (working) family carers in Austria and SwitzerlandIn Austria and Switzerland, the largest proportion of people in need of care are supported and cared for at home by (caring) relatives – an often exhausting task that has increased in intensity due to the coronavirus pandemic and at times many closed support services. Many family carers find it difficult to distance themselves or ask for help when they are overwhelmed by the situation. Therefore, good counselling structures are needed to support caring relatives in a preventive way, but also in an overload situation, to organise their own lives – also alongside employment and childcare – and to organise informal care well.
An overview by the Observatory produced in July 2021 (not published) shows that there are a variety of information and counselling services for family carers in both countries. Counselling structures that support reconciliation can be found increasingly in Switzerland. One explanation for this could be that the need is higher in Switzerland, as the proportion of working carers is considerably higher than in Austria. However, the majority of counselling services for family carers focus on the care (situation), disability or illness as the trigger for the need for counselling.
Children’s rights in the digital spaceSince the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, society has changed in many ways. Digitalisation creates the need to extend the protection of children and their rights to the digital space. This goal has been increasingly pursued in recent years at the international, European and national level. In March 2021 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child published a general comment on children’s rights in the digital environment. The comment is intended to demonstrate the relevance of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the digital space as well as to support states in protecting and fulfilling children’s rights in the digital environment. The comment was preceded by a two-year consultation in which more than 700 children participated.
Europe-wide Child Guarantee to Combat Child PovertyChild poverty is widespread in Europe, even in economically strong countries. Almost 22.5 percent of children in the European Union are at risk of poverty and social exclusion. Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic child poverty in Europe can be expected to increase.
The child guarantee was requested by the European Parliament in 2015. It aims to combat child poverty and social exclusion in Europe by ensuring access to affordable, inclusive, and high-quality services, especially for children who are affected by poverty and socially disadvantaged. Since 2018, within the framework of a broad preparatory action at the EU level, possibilities for design and implementation have been discussed. In June 2021, the EU member states adopted a Council recommendation establishing a European Child Guarantee.