Promoting the social, legal and economic protection of families
Social cohesion, democracy and human rights are first experienced and learnt in the family environment. They play an essential role in the individual’s emotional development and 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, becoming a provider of last-resort social protection in time of need.
The Council of Europe promotes the social, legal and economic protection of families. We pay special attention to vulnerable family members, gender equality and children's rights. The “best interests of the child” is the guiding principle behind all our family policies.
Brainstorming meeting on
children's rights and social services
On 10 and 11 September 2009, experts from
different countries in Europe met in Strasbourg to discuss
the issue of children's rights and social services.
This meeting allowed experts to analyse the situation in
their respective countries and to identify indicators that
can help them evaluate whether these services take into
account the rights, opinions and needs of children.
Experts formulated recommendations as to the follow-up work
of the Council of Europe in this field.
Link to the
Council of Europe ministers call for family-friendly policy
European family ministers announced their intention to
promote "family friendly societies and children's rights" at
Council of Europe Conference of Ministers
responsible for Family Affairs, held on 16 and 17 June in
Vienna. The theme of the conference, which was opened by
Federal President of Austria Heinz Fischer and Council of
Europe Deputy Secretary General Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, was
"Public policies supporting the wish to have children:
societal, economic and personal factors".
Final communiqué, the ministers agreed on the importance
of creating child and family-friendly environments,
committed themselves to facilitate better reconciliation of
work and family life and encouraged equal sharing of family
responsibilities between women and men.
people in care are a resource, not a vulnerable target
was one of the key messages to emerge from the seminar "Children
and young people in care - What do YOUth think?", organised
jointly by the Council of Europe and
SOS Children's Villages International in December 2008.
The objective of the seminar was to listen to young people's
views on how to put into practice existing standards on the
rights of children in care.
Participants from 13 countries from Europe and Central Asia
based their work on Council of Europe
Recommendation (2005)5 on the rights of children living
in residential institutions, the
Quality4Children standards for out-of-home child care
and, most importantly, on their own experience. They drew up
set of recommendations to help the Council of Europe
develop further action to promote the rights of children and
young people living in care.