Mapping child protection systems in the EU

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), at the request of the European Commission, conducted research on national child protection systems in the 28 European Union (EU) Member States. It seeks to understand how national child protection systems work and to identify common challenges and promising practices.

FRA collected data on the main components of child protection systems focusing on the following areas:

  1. National legislative and regulatory framework, including child protection policies
  2. National authorities responsible for child protection and service providers
  3. Human and financial resources, focusing on qualification and training of personnel
  4. Identification and reporting procedures for children in need of protection and procedures for placing children in alternative care
  5. Accountability and monitoring systems, focusing on the monitoring and development of common quality indicators

The maps and tables presented on the following web pages show the scope, structures, actors and functions of the EU Member States’ child protection systems and how they aim to meet the diverse needs of different groups of children. A summary of key findings for each area is provided under the maps and tables.

Consultation with Member States - Member State representatives in the European Commission’s informal expert group on the rights of the child were consulted on a draft mapping of child protection systems in the 28 EU Member States. Representatives of 21 Member States provided written feedback: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom)

Research and methodologyThe research focuses on how national child protection systems respond to the needs of children with multiple vulnerabilities and on how institutions cooperate and coordinate work when developing and implementing the national laws and policies. It identifies legislative and policy gaps, implementation challenges but also promising practices. 

FRA’s expert contractors in the EU Member States, Franet, conducted the research’s desk research. The network collected secondary sources, including legal information and policy documents, and carried out a five-year literature review. Franet contacted government officials, representatives of child protection institutions and services, civil society organisations, national human rights institutions and children’s ombudspersons offices, where available, to obtain information not publicly available or for clarifications.

Timeline - FRANET conducted the research from December 2013 to March 2014.