The Expert Group on Children at Risk held its first meeting under the Lithuanian Presidency on 5-6 November 2020. The two-day meeting started with the Lithuanian CBSS Presidency conference “Children’s emotional health: what achievements the countries can be proud of and what challenges remain unresolved”.  

The conference gathered actors from across the Region to learn from each other and share knowledge about children’s emotional health. Participants included representatives from the Lithuanian Pupil’s Union, the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania. 

The Ministry of Social Security and Labour of the Republic of Lithuania held a welcome speech stating that concerns related to mental health issues among children and adolescents in Lithuania, especially now during the Covid-19 crisis, is on the rise. The Minister highlighted measures to support parents, including positive parenting programmes; children’s participation in decision-making; access to community services and family friendly policies and support systems.  

He concluded his speech by emphasizing the importance of prioritizing children’s emotional welfare at national level and in international cooperation to ensure integrated measures. 

The Director General of the CBSS, Grzegorz Poznanski, welcomed the conference as an important and timely initiative of the Presidency. He emphasized children’s right to be provided with opportunities to survive, grow and develop to their full potential and to live in conditions that promote their physical, emotional and social well-being. He expressed gratitude to the Lithuanian Presidency leadership for facilitating a regional exchange of good practices in this area as well as the CBSS Expert Group members’ generosity in sharing national observations and good practices. 

Watch the full conference here: Conference “Children emotional health” 

View the conference agenda

Expert Group on Children at Risk 

The meeting of the Expert Group on 6 November 2020 was opened by Ms Kornelija Jurgaitiene, Ambassador at Large at  the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Coordinator of the Lithuanian Presidency in the CBSS. Ms Jurgaitiene expressed her gratitude for the continuous contribution of the Expert Group to children and societies across the Baltic Sea Region. She also presented the Presidency priorities, emphasizing children at risk, including the emotional well-being of children and trafficking in children.  

Mr Grzegorz Poznański, Director General of the CBSS, expressed his support to the expert group and confirmed the Secretariat’s strong commitment to the CBSS priority to protect children at risk.  

The Expert Group members engaged in an exchange on the Presidency priority to protect children’s emotional health. The Expert Group members shared national data, lessons learnt and good practices.They confirmed the importance of children’s participation in decision-making, inclusive access to community services and family friendly policies and support systems, including to support parents, for example to adopt positive parenting strategies.  

The Expert Group members also discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children, including on their emotional well-being, Member State responses and considerations for the future to build back sustainable and effective health and child protection systems that are resilient to crises.  The next meeting of the Expert Group will take place on 6 May 2021, with a focus on Prevention and Early interventions to address trafficking and exploitation of children. 

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