The new Strategy covers a wide range of topics relevant for social services providers, and highlights the need for more staff, better working conditions and to enhance the attractiveness of social services professions, to ensure high-quality, accessible, person-centred and affordable services for persons with disabilities.
On 3rd March 2021, the European Commission launched its new Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030. The new Strategy aims to achieve further progress in ensuring the full participation of persons with disabilities in society, and to contribute to the implementation the European Pillar of Social Rights, for which an Action Plan was launched in the same week.
The Commission includes a broad series of measures to reinforce independent living, inclusive education systems, access to the labour market, high-quality social services, accessible and inclusive housing, participation in lifelong learning, digitalisation, adequate social protection and a strengthened social economy.
The new Strategy also highlights the main barriers to achieve those targets, such as the workforce shortages, challenging working conditions, attractiveness issues in the sector and access to services in rural areas.
Sufficient and qualified social services workers will also facilitate the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by improving the access to justice, legal protection, freedom and security.
With the Strategy, the Commission announces the launch of several initiatives important for EU social services employers:
- Specific European Framework for Social Services of Excellence for persons with disabilities, to improve service delivery and enhance the attractiveness of jobs in this area, through upskilling and reskilling of service providers. (by 2024)
- Guidance recommending to Member States improvements on independent living and inclusion in the community services in order to enable persons with disabilities to live in accessible, supported housing in the community, or to continue living at home (including personal assistance schemes). (by 2023)
- Development, in the framework of the European Skills Agenda, of national skills strategies that cover the specific needs of persons with disabilities and that ensure equal access to education and to the labour market.
- promotion by Members States and secured financing for accessible and disability-inclusive social housing, including for older persons with disabilities.
- Synergies with the upcoming European Child Guarantee and issue a toolkit for inclusion in early childhood education and care, which includes a specific chapter on children with disabilities (by 2021)
To achieve the objectives of the Strategy and improve services for children and adults with disabilities, Member States are encouraged to use the opportunities offered by EU funding, including the European Social Fund+ (ESF+), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) the Just Transition Fund (JTF), Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps programmes.
Read the new Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030, in your own language HERE.