The Council of Europe and Family Policy

Why do we protect the family – and how?

Social cohesion, democracy and human rights, the Council of Europe’s core values, are first experienced and learnt in the family environment. Families play an essential role in the individual’s emotional development and in preparing children for life in society. The family is often called upon to support its vulnerable members such as elderly people and people with disabilities.

Therefore, the Council of Europe promotes the social, legal and economic protection of families. Being aware of the existence of different family forms, we pay special attention to vulnerable family members, gender equality and children's rights.

Families and children in Council of Europe treaties:

    § The European Convention of Human Rights guarantees everyone the right to respect for his private and family life.

    § The European Social Charter (revised) guarantees the right of the family to social, legal and economic protection.

    § The European Convention on the Exercise of Children’s Rights grants children rights in proceedings affecting them before a judicial authority

    § The European Convention on the Adoption of Children sets standards for national adoption guided by the principle of the best interest of the child.