Minimum age and social rights: Balancing child protection and participation

A new set of findings on differences in legal minimum ages covering social rights, education, employment and finance, alternative care, LGBTI and mobility has been released by the Agency.

By highlighting the differences, FRA aims to help the EU and its Member States eliminate inconsistencies, protection gaps and seemingly arbitrary restrictions resulting from different age thresholds. The findings on social rights, education and employment are also closely linked to the Agency’s recent child poverty report.

The findings complement previously released findings on such areas as: marriage and sexual activity; citizenship; political participation; health; religion; migration and asylum procedures; as well as the digital world.

The findings on children in justice as well as children in asylum procedures have also been made into separate reports.

Together they underline the wide differences across different areas among Member States. They point to the need to improve the way age limits are set to achieve consistency and better balance child protection with empowering children.

The Agency’s report will contribute to the debate on minimum ages. Both UNICEF and the Child Rights International Network (CRIN) are advocating for clear criteria and for involving children in discussions about resetting minimum ages.