State support to the family

On the occasion of its Semester of the EU Presidency, the Republic of Portugal decided to hold a L'Europe de L'Enfance meeting on 31st of October 2007. The Portuguese Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity entrusted the ChildONEurope Secretariat with the task of drafting a survey on "The role of parents and the support from the Governments in the EU".
The objective of this survey was to identify the different kinds of State support to the family provided in the EU Member States in recent years, focusing in particular on the socio-pedagogical support given to parents though parental education programmes and counselling.
The first part of the report identifies the instruments adopted by the international organizations such as the United Nations (UN) and those working at a European level: the European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe (CoE). Concerning the UN, the survey analyzes in particular the CRC Committee's concluding observations to the EU countries' reports with the aim of identifying the achievements of the 27 EU Member States as well as the obstacles and challenges which remain to be addressed in the process of full implementation of the CRC on this specific issue. As regards European organizations, the survey outlines the approach developed by the EU and CoE on family support, giving particular attention to the evolution path followed by the CoE in developing its approach to positive parenting.
The central part of the survey is dedicated to national policies and it is based on the information received from the ChildONEurope partners, as well as from the documents of the Council of Europe and the national reports to the UN CRC Committee. From the analysis undertaken, it clearly emerges that EU Member States are devoting an increasing attention to parenting support policies and programmes focusing specifically on a socio-educational dimension especially by introducing a family support dimension in the provision of health services. Among the most common forms of parental support we find parental education and counselling that can be provided through general courses, workshops or conferences addressed to all interested parents or through individual advice to parents upon request. The use of telephone help-lines, web-sites as well as awareness-raising campaigns is also increasingly used.
Other forms of parenting support are: pre-marital counselling for young couples, involvement of parents in child-care services or the school, family mediation, specific programmes for families at risk or for families with children with special needs. An important role is also played by parents' associations .
Finally the survey points out some critical aspects, namely the limited availability of such services having as a consequence the impossibility to reach all interested families, the provision of these programmes only or mainly for families at risk and the difficulty in including migrant families and in networking among the different bodies.
The survey includes in annex the list of the relevant national and international web sites and a bibliography on State support to families.


To download the Survey on the role of parents and the support from the Governments in the EU :
- Report _blank (1,75 Mb)

- Presentation _blank (586 Kb)