Children First: Nordic policies and children’s well-being (ChildrenFirst)

Three main objectives are 1) to understand the pandemic’s impacts on the living conditions, educational outcomes and wellbeing of vulnerable children and young people; 2) to map social policy responses and analyse their effects to strengthen societal crisis management and preparation for future crises; and 3) to examine how to build resilient societies to protect children and young people.

These objectives are intertwined, and they are addressed through complementary perspectives across four work packages (WPs).

  • WP-1 will take a comparative approach to understand the trends and drivers in the economic and subjective wellbeing of children and young people in order to highlight the impact of the COVID-19 across European countries.
  • WP-2 will provide results in how policies have protected children and their rights during the crisis in order to enhance resilience and protect vulnerable groups in the society, and to develop policies to promote children wellbeing in the future.
  • The WP-3 will uncover changes in inequalities and vulnerabilities and identify how wellbeing is associated with not only learning outcomes but also longer-term educational prospects in terms of educational expectations and transitions.
  • WP-4 will develop a screening tool to integrate the cognitive, social-and mental health aspects in a new way in order to gain the comprehensive picture of child’s capacity to function at school during and after the crisis.

Children First addresses what factors and dynamics have supported Nordic children, families, schools and societies to respond to and recover from the pandemic and what changes in policies, political guidance or resource allocation are needed to support systemic resilience for future challenges. These results can be utilized to develop and reform evidence-informed child, family and social policies and intervention strategies and practices to ensure enhanced wellbeing and resilience among children and young people in the Nordic countries. The project creates opportunities for children and young people to participate in the creation of inclusive and equal child- and family-friendly Nordic societies.