An integrated approach to childcare services from a children’s rights perspective


The European Commission (EC) has announced its new plan to develop a European Care Strategy expected to strengthen long-term care and early childhood education and care, as envisaged under the European pillar of social rights.

The strategy will further help reinforce gender equality and social fairness. The initiative will propose two Council recommendations, on childcare (revision of the Barcelona targets) and on long-term care. The goal of the revision of the Barcelona Targets is to increase women’s participation in the labour market, which will contribute to reaching the EU’s employment deadline target. At Make Mothers Matter, we believe achieving the Barcelona targets is fundamental to allow women to better conciliate work and family life and to reduce the gender gaps in employment, income, and pension.

To aid the development of the Strategy, MMM contributed to the EC Call for evidence and a joint answer together with its partners of the Alliance for Investing in Children.


MMM has built upon the UN Charter on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to formulate recommendations that are centred on children’s rights. Since children’s rights and parents’ rights are interconnected, these recommendations serve to bring about equality for mothers by reinforcing the rights of children and families.

To act in the best interests of the child, accessible, affordable, quality, non-segregated and inclusive early childhood education and care (ECEC) needs to be provided. We recommend, “family centred” solutions (such as Leihomas or “borrow a grandmother” and child minders), as they allow parents to choose from a variety of options based on their needs.

Such solutions also help to redistribute unpaid family care work between men and women and between families and society. MMM puts forward the Finnish ECEC model as policy inspiration for states, as this system gives parents a choice between outsourced or in-family care without fear of economic or professional consequences.

MMM also calls upon the private sector to uphold their social responsibility to support parents. Companies should recognize the skills acquired by parents while providing informal care. Furthermore, policies that encourage and enable fathers to take parental leave, implementing work-life balance policies and flexible working options for parents and the recognistion of skills acquired by parents while doing care activities can help make companies more parent and child friendly.

These recommendations for the Barcelona targets would make the work place a more flexible and empowering place for parents. They would also help to make childcare more accessible to families from all backgrounds.

See MMM’s full response and joint answer of the Alliance for investing in Children 

Most read articles

MMM welcomes first ever Human Rights Council resolution on Care


UN Geneva, Human Rights Council - Entitled ‘Centrality of care and support from a human rights perspective’, this landmark resolution was presented by the governments of Argentina, Iceland, Mexico

Lire plus

Call to action: make 2024 the EU year for Women’s Mental Health


In June this year, the European Union (EU) Commission announced a new high-priority initiative to address the mental health of all Europeans.

Lire plus

Investing in mothers key for inter-generational change


UN New York, CSocD62 - MMM's intervention to the Commission on Social Development reiterates that investing in mothers through recognition, education, protection and adequate support is a smart invest

Lire plus
See all the articlesof the category

News from the MMM European Delegation

Time Poverty and the Motherhood Penalty
Unveiling Economic and Social Injustices


Mothers play an essential role in families by ensuring their loved ones are nourished, educated, and healthy, but their unpaid care work often leads to economic and social injustices, known as the motherhood pe

Read more

MMM teams push for strengthening the right to education


UN Geneva – A resolution aimed at strengthening the right to education in international legal instruments will be negotiated during the 56th session of the Human Rights Council, which began on 18 June. This r

Read more

Mothers Can-Bringing mothers back to work


MMM is working on the project “Mothers Can-Bringing mothers back to work”, a European partnership between six countries (Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Romania, Spain and Greece). The project aims to support mot

Read more

Breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty by investing in children and their families


Make Mothers Matter participated in the conference “Investing in an inclusive and fair future for Europe. European Child Guarantee: from engagement to reality", organised within the framework of the Belgian p

Read more

La Hulpe Declaration: positive step for social justice in the EU


MMM welcomes the recent adoption of La Hulpe Declaration, under the Belgian presidency. This inter-institutional document aims at shaping the future social agenda of the European Union for the period 2024-2029.

Read more

Every mother should have access to the long-term care she needs and deserves


In a timely joint statement, we at Make mothers Matter, along with 16 European NGOs, have urged EU policymakers to prioritise long-term care in the upcoming 2024-2029 legislature. This call comes as the Belgian

Read more