National policy framework (action plan or strategy)

A comprehensive national strategy or national action plan for children that builds on the framework of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child is another key component of an integrated child protection system.

A comprehensive national policy covers sector-specific national action plans and policies setting out specific goals, targeted implementation measures and allocation of financial and human resources. 

Does the state have a specific national policy framework (action plan or strategy) on child protection and/or child rights ? (More information on national policy framework by EU Member State can be found below)


Source: FRA, 2014

  Yes, but expired – new policy framework is currently under development

Key findings

  • Many Member States have not yet developed a comprehensive national policy on child rights and on child protection in particular.
  • In some Member States that lack a national strategy or policy, local or regional policies have been developed; in others, local and national policies are drawn up in parallel with national strategies and policies.
  • National coordination and harmonisation of policies remains a challenge in most Member States. National strategies are not always linked to sector-specific, local and regional strategies or budgets.
  • Where national polices exist they are not always accompanied by concrete action plans with specific time-bound and measurable goals that could facilitate effective implementation and monitoring.
  • In most Member States there are multiple policy and legislative documents addressing particular issues – domestic violence or sexual exploitation – or particular groups of children – unaccompanied children or child victims of trafficking. Policy and legislation are not, however, always interlinked and coordinated to address the needs of children facing multiple vulnerabilities.

Only 13 Member States have a specific national policy or strategy on child protection. Four Member States (Croatia, France, Italy and Romania) have a draft national policy in the adoption process. In some Member States without a national policy, such as Greece, the government has announced that it is prioritising the development of a comprehensive child protection policy.

Some Member States have action plans at local/regional level. Denmark, for example, lacks a national policy; municipal authorities with child protection responsibilities are charged with developing policies locally.

In some Member States with decentralised systems, such as Finland or the Netherlands, local, regional and national policies co-exist.

In some federal Member States, like Germany and Belgium, policies are developed at country-community level. In Austria’s federal government developed a national policy targeting children rights.


National policy framework on child protection, by EU Member State
EU Member State National policy
framework on
child protection
and/or child rights
Respective national policy framework
AT Yes National Action Plan 'Austria Fit for Children' (Ein kindgerechtes Österreich), adopted in 2004
BE No  
BG Yes National Strategy for the Child 2008–2018 (Национална стратегия за детето 2008–2018)
CY No  
CZ Yes National Strategy for the Protection of Children 'The Right to Childhood' (Národní strategie ochrany práv dětí 'Právo na dětství')
DE No  
DK No  
EE Yes Development plan for children and families 2012–2020 (Laste ja perede arengukava aastateks 2012–2020), adopted in 2011 and coordinated by the Ministry of Social Affairs
EL No  
ES Yes National Strategic Plan for Childhood and Adolescence 2013–2016 (II Plan Estratégico Nacional de Infancia y Adolescencia 2013–2016 (II PENIA))
FI Yes

Child and Youth Policy Programme (Lapsi- ja nuorisopolitiikan kehittämisohjelma 2012-2015 / Barn- och ungdomspolitiska utvecklingsprogrammet 2012–2015)

National Development Plan for Social Welfare and Health Care (Sosiaali- ja terveydenhuollon kansallinen kehittämisohjelma / Det nationella utvecklingsprogrammet för social- och hälsovårdenCare, Kaste 2012–2015); it covers families and children support services

FR Yes, but expired – new policy framework under development Governmental action plan will be launched by the end of 2014
HR Yes, but expired – new policy framework under development National Strategy for Children's Rights 2014–2020 was adopted on 25 September 2014
HU No  
IE Yes National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014–2020 'Better outcomes, brighter futures', adopted in April 2014
IT Yes, but expired – new policy framework under development New National Action Plan of Measures for the Protection of the Rights and Development of Subjects in developmental Age is under development by the National Observatory for Childhood and Adolescence
LT Yes

Child Welfare Programme 2013–2018 (Lietuvos Respublikos Socialinės apsaugos ir darbo ministro įsakymas ‘Dėl vaiko gerovės 2013–2018 metų programos patvirtinimo‘)

National Programme on Prevention of Violence Against Children and for Assistance to Children 2011–2015 (Lietuvos Respublikos Socialinės apsaugos ir darbo ministro įsakymas ‘Dėl nacionalinės smurto prieš vaikus prevencijos ir pagalbos vaikams 2011–2015 metų programos patvirtinimo’)

LU No  
LV Yes Guidelines 'Latvia suitable for children' (Bērniem piemērota Latvija)

Guidelines of the State Family Policy 2011–2017 (Ģimenes valsts politikas pamatnostādnes 2011.–2017.gadam)

MT No  
NL Yes National Strategy on Child Protection is part of the Action Plan 'Children Safe, Action Plan against Child Abuse 2012–2016' (Kinderen veilig, Actieplan aanpak kindermishandeling 2012-2016), launched on 28 November 2011
PL No  
PT No  
RO Yes, but expired – new policy framework under development New National Strategy in the field of Promoting and Protecting the Rights of the Child for 2014–2020 (Strategia nationala pentru protectia si promovarea drepturilor copilului pentru perioada 2014–2020) is currently under development
SE Yes National Strategy to strengthen the rights of the child (Strategi för att stärka barnets rättigheter)
SI Yes Programme for children and youth 2006–2016, updated (Program za otroke in mladino 2006–2016)
SK Yes

National Action Plan for Children for 2013–2017 (Národný akčný plán pre deti na roky 2013– 2017)

National Strategy to Protect Children against Violence (Národná stratégia na ochranu detí pred násilím)

UK No  

Source: FRA, 2014