How we work
Cooperation on children at risk in the Baltic Sea region began in 1998 and was included as part of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) in 2002. The CBSS Expert Group on Children at Risk is a platform of exchange for officials and professionals working to support children at risk. The Expert Group consists of senior officials from the CBSS Member States appointed by the ministries responsible for children’s issues in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden. The European Commission has a seat in the Group. Together the group shares national developments and discusses ways to address gaps in services, expertise and capacity.
Ensuring a safe and secure region is one of the priorities of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), and the Baltic Sea Region is a model for regional cooperation in child protection. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) guarantees the world’s children human rights, dignity and integrity as well as safety and security. Based on the UNCRC, the CBSS Member States are implementing legislative, political and administrative measures in order to combat violence against children and ensure that children are safe, healthy, educated and motivated – thus enhancing societal sustainability and prosperity.
As outlined in the CBSS Expert Group on Children at Risk Mandate July 2017-2020, the Expert Group will support the member states in bolstering their child protection and welfare systems, notably in the following priorities:
- Prevention, early intervention, parenting and family support
- Child-friendly justice
- The wellbeing and best interests of children in alternative care
- Protecting children from sexual abuse and sexual exploitation
- Preventing trafficking and exploitation of children
- The best interests of children in migration
The Children at Risk Unit and the Expert Group address the situation of children by implementing projects that conduct research, develop trainings, and nurture professional networks. Expert consultations are widely used to highlight good practices and agree on recommendations. Cooperation among ministries, academia, the private sector, civil society and children is encouraged at national and regional levels in order to strengthen local implementation capacity. The United Nations, Council of Europe, European Union and other regional entities are important standard setters and continue to inspire action and reflection.