Caritas CARES

Caritas CARES reports describe the main problems related to poverty and social inclusion of disadvantaged people in individual European countries and propose to legislators and government institutions how to address these problems. Caritas Czech Republic publishes its national report every two years and a similar document is drawn up within the Caritas Europa network by other European countries where Caritas operates.

On Wednesday 26 February we presented the Caritas CARES 2019 report in the European House on the availability of services for vulnerable population groups. The most pressing problem is poverty, being at the same time an obstacle to the exercise of guaranteed social rights.

Other serious problems in the fight against poverty in the Czech Republic are the availability of housing, the availability of pre-school care facilities for vulnerable groups (especially mothers with children), vocational guidance for these population groups, and the availability of social and health care services. The situation is not helped by the standardised approach of the state apparatus to clients in need (especially at job centres).

Differences are increasing between both social groups and regions. There have also been significant changes in the composition of the population: the number of working-age people is decreasing compared with children and pensioners, i.e. care-dependent individuals. The Czech report was drafted in association with Peter Verhaeghe from Caritas Europa by analyst and coordinator Iva Kuchyňková and analyst Martina Veverková. Sixteen other European countries publish their own national reports. For more information, see press release.

History

It all started in 2014, when Caritas described the social situation in a Shadow Report, based on its own survey, in individual countries, including the Czech Republic. This report sets out the core legal-aid related topics on which Caritas focuses in defending the rights of the weakest.

Core legal-aid related topics

1. good quality work
2. reasonable wages for work
3. allowances and child benefits
4. affordable social housing
5. health care for all
6. education for children and adults
7. adequate minimum income (including addressing people's indebtedness)

Caritas CARES reports, published every other year, have followed the Shadow Report since 2015. They focus on an area that seems to be the most pressing for most European countries. The subject of the current report is proposed by the Caritas Europa Action Group and approved by the Secretary-General.

National charities are key players in the fight against poverty and social exclusion and in promoting social fairness. They provide social, health and ancillary or humanitarian services to those in need and propose remediation of unequal structures, policy decisions and measures. Caritas CARES reports are an important part of this activity. Based on its experience of day-to-day work with people living in poverty, Caritas informs local, regional, national and pan-European authorities of the current situation and recommends solutions.

Caritas CARES national reports are drawn up on the basis of a standardized questionnaire prepared for Caritas Europa member organisations representing the different countries of Europe. The aim of the reports is to stand up for the most vulnerable people in society, to seek solutions to the situation and to support Caritas’ legal work at national and pan-European level through surveys and data collections in specific areas.