The Council of Europe and Family Policy

Child day care – a service for children

Child day-care is often primarily seen as a service allowing parents to pursue employment. While this is certainly a major purpose of child day care, the Council of Europe puts the child’s perspective in the centre and takes into account the central importance of children’s rights.
Child day-care must respond appropriately to the needs of children, which include the need to be able to grow up and develop according to their own capacities, the need for security, stability and confidence in their environment, and the need for unconditional love and acceptance.

In its Recommendation Rec(2002)8, the Committee of Ministers recommends that governments take action to promote accessible, affordable, flexible and good quality child day-care services.
General principles on child day-care:

    § Child day-care is for children: it must therefore be organised in their best interests;
    § Child day-care should be available for all children;
    § The quality and content of child day-care should be subject of exchanges involving all actors in the field, including children themselves according to their age and development;
    § Child day-care services should have a developmental focus and promote activities that combine care and education in a social context;
    § Children should be protected from all forms of physical and psychological violence, such as neglect, sexual abuse, bullying and corporal punishment.