final report - Eurochild

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Contents




-

Acknowledgements



-

Foreword



-

Executive summary and key messages from the Seminar (EN, FR, ES
, PT
)



Part 1

: Background to the Seminar




-

A Changing Policy Context



-

The Concept of Positive Parenting



Part 2

: Report of Present
ations and Debate



-

Welcome Address and Opening Statement


-

Supporting Parents in Europe


-

Supporting Parents in the UK


-

Supporting Fathers


-

Supporting Parents through the Internet


-

Supporting Immigrant Parents


-

P
olicy and Practice in Northern
Ireland


-

Round Table Debate


-

Concluding Debate




Appendix 1:

Seminar

Programme


Appendix 2:
List of Participants


Appendix 3:
Participants’ Brief and

Preparatory Reading



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Acknowledgements



Eurochild
wishes to acknowledge
the
high quality contribu
tion
and enthusiastic
participation
of all those who took part in this f
irst Members’ Exchange Seminar.



Special thanks are due to:


Children in Northern Ireland

(
CiNI
)

for hosting the Seminar


Pip Jaffa, Chief Executive, Parents


Advice Centre, Northern
Ireland for chairing the
Seminar


Patricia Lewesley, Commissioner for Children and Young People, Northern Ireland for
hosting the Round Table debate




Authors


The Seminar Report was prepared by
Anne Williams, Consultant to Eurochild, who also
coord
inated

the Seminar programme.


The Report and presentations can be downloaded by following the appropriate links from

Eurochild’s website

www.eurochild.org



Printed versions of the Report are available in on

request fro
m the Secretariat.

Contact:
admin@eurochild.org
.




















This Report has been produced with the financial support of the European Commission DG
Employment, Social Affairs & Equal Opportunities. The vie
ws expressed do not necessarily reflect
the official opinion of the European Commission.


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Foreword



On 26
th
-
27
th

April
2007
, Eurochild held its first
Members’ Exchange Seminar in
Belfast, Northern Ireland. Hosted b
y Children in Northern Ireland (
CiNI
)



one of
Eurochild’s newest members
-

Promoting Children’s Rights through Positive Parenting
Policies
was attended by over 40 policy
-
makers, practitioners, researchers and academics,
from 19 countries and nation states across Europe, who came together to sh
are
information, experiences and ideas on promoting children’s rights through positive
parenting policies.


Members’ Exchange Seminars are a new initiative aimed at giving members the
opportunity of gaining greater insight into each others’ way of working
and deepening
members’ knowledge and exchange of ideas on a specific aspect of combating child poverty
and social exclusion. Seminars are also intended to contribute to the policy debates Eurochild
wants to influence at European level, whilst at the same t
ime, providing an opportunity for
member organisations in host countries to bring Eurochild’s collective support to national
agendas for children and young people. On the occasion of this Seminar, CiNI organised a
Round Table debate, hosted by the Commissi
oner for Children and Young People, on the
recently launched Family and Parenting Strategy
Families Matter: Supporting Families in
Northern Ireland
.


The theme of

parenting support was selected for this year’s Seminar following a call
to members to give fe
edback on their areas of specific interest. Several members were
concerned to explore ways in which policies to support parents can contribute towards the
fight against child poverty and social exclusion. The need for this debate was subsequently
endorsed
by the response to invitations to participate, which greatly exceeded anticipated
levels of interest. Both the variety of contributions and level of debate which followed were
inspiring, culminating in
Key Messages

for developing policies to support parent
s to promote
the best interests of their children. These will feed into Eurochild’s work in key areas of EU
policy development, central to which is the fight against child poverty and social exclusion.
We hope they will also stimulate a wide
r on
-
going and
fruitful debate.



Jana Hainsworth

Secretary General

Eurochild
AISBL


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Executive summary and
Key Messages from the Seminar

(EN)



Eurochild held its first
Members’ Exchange Seminar in Belfast, Northern Ireland on 26
th

-

27
th

April 2007.
Hosted by Children i
n Northern Ireland (CiNI), one of Eurochild’s newest
members, it was attended by over 40 policy
-
makers, practitioners, researchers and
academics from countries across Europe, who came together to share information,
experiences and ideas on promoting childr
en’s rights through positive parenting policies.



A changing policy context


There is currently an increasing interest in child and family policies at EU level and a
greater willingness to become involved in areas previously regarded as the private domain

of individuals. This changing climate has been fuelled by the persistence of unacceptable
levels of child poverty in one of the richest continents of the world


on average 20% of
children and young people under 16 years old remain at
-
risk
-
of
-
poverty
1

-

a
nd concerns to
break the transmission of poverty and social exclusion from one generation to the next. A
recent report by the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre on child well
-
being in rich
countries
2

further evidences the need for policy intervention, showin
g clearly that all
European countries have weaknesses that need to be addressed, regardless of their
ranking in the well
-
being league tables, and that there is no obvious relationship between
levels of child well
-
being and GDP per capita. Consequently, the

vast majority of EU
member states have now prioritised the development of strategies to combat child poverty
and social exclusion, adopting a policy mix which has support services for families,
promoting parents’ labour market participation and reconcilia
tion of work and family life at
its heart
3
.


The changing age composition of societies also drives this agenda. By 2050 the ratio of
people of working age to those aged 65 or over is expected to fall to 2:1. These changes
have stimulated a policy response
of ‘demographic renewal’ to encourage families to have
as many children as they want with promises of state support to reconcile the demands of
work and family life. The proposed “Alliance for Families”


intended to provide a platform
for high level discu
ssion between member states on family
-
friendly policies


is a good
example of the current climate of interest in supporting families in a changing social
context.


At the same time, we are seeing a greater recognition at EU level of children and young
peo
ple’s rights with the introduction last year of the EC Communication “Towards a
European Strategy on the Rights of the Child”
4
. All member states have adopted the
United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) but the reflection of this in
p
olicies concerning children and families has been disappointing. Few member states, for
example, referenced children’s rights in their National Action Plans on social inclusion and
social protection and there was virtually no recognition of children as ‘re
levant actors’ in
the planning process
5
. The Communication recognises that a growing number of EU
policies affect children and young people, directly or indirectly, and amongst its proposals
is the ‘mainstreaming’ of children’s rights, to ensure the impact

on children of all new EU



1

Eurostat
Population and social conditions

http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu.int


2

Unicef Report Card No. 7, 2007 “A
n overview of child well
-
being in rich countries”
www.unicef.org/irc


3

EC Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2007
ht
tp://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/social_inclusion/naps


4

EC COM (2006) 367 final, 04 07 06
http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg


5

Eurochild’s review of the 2006
-
08 national reports on strategies for social prot
ection and social inclusion, Jan
2007
Ending Child Poverty within the EU?

www.eurochild.org


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actions is taken into account. It also proposes the creation of a European Forum for the
Rights of the Child and that will allow children and young people to be brought into
decision
-
making processes.



The concept of positive pa
renting


Concern about children’s rights is not limited to the EU. The Council of Europe has a long
track record in this area and frequently operates as a ‘think tank’ for ideas which the EU
subsequently takes up. One initiative of particular relevance to
the current debate is the
CoE Recommendation on Positive Parenting produced in December 2006
6
. The
Recommendation defines positive parenting as “
parental behaviour, based on the best
interests of the child, that is nurturing, empowering, non
-
violent, and p
rovides recognition
and guidance which involves setting of boundaries to enable the full development of the
child”
. The importance of children growing up in a positive family environment is endorsed
and the responsibility of the state to create the right c
onditions for positive parenting is
emphasised. Creating the right conditions means ensuring access to appropriate material,
psychological, social and cultural resources. It also means taking steps to remove barriers
to positive parenting, promoting polici
es to improve the reconciliation of family and working
life and raising awareness of the value of positive parenting, to parents, children and the
state. The need to adopt an empowerment approach
-

based on consultation and dialogue
with parents in the spi
rit of a working partnership


is recommended as a central
component of policies to support parents; these should be geared towards engendering
support on three levels:


a)

informal
: creating and strengthening existing social bonds and encouraging new link
s
between parents and their family, neighbours and friends


b)
semi
-
formal:

empowering parents’ and children’s associations and NGOs and activating
a range of self
-
help and other community
-
based groups and services


c)
formal:

facilitating access to public

services


In keeping with the provisions and spirit of the UNCRC, the Recommendation promotes
the development of positive parent
-
child relationships, founded on the exercise of parental
responsibility to optimise the child’s potential development, rather
than the exercise of
parental authority. It recognises both parents and children as holders of rights, validating
parents’ role as guardians of children’s rights with a responsibility on the state to act as
final guarantor.






6

Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe: Recommendation 19 [2006]
http://www.coe.int/t/dg3/youthfamily


Key messages









(EN)





P
arents* are usually best placed to promote the best interests of their child;
children’s rights and parents’ rights are not generally in conflict, accepting that the
state has this residual responsibility
where a conflict of interests prevails




There needs

to be a much greater recognition of the need to support parents in the
parenting task at European level and all levels of national governance; parenting
cannot be regarded a “something which comes naturally” and left to chance




Creating the right conditio
ns for positive parenting requires that structural problems
in society are both recognised and addressed; parenting support cannot substitute
efforts to tackle the root causes of poverty and disadvantage




We need to shift the focus of parent support away f
rom regulation to resourcing, to
more appropriately reflect the spirit and provisions of the UNCRC in relation to the
state’s responsibility to support parent’s in the parenting task




Parent support should be an integrated part of policy development; suppo
rt should
be universally available and provided in a non
-
stigmatising way




Parent support programmes should be based on empowerment and partnership,
not deficiency and punishment; they should be needs
-
led and not prescriptive in
approach; they should be ev
idence
-
based and reflect best practice




Non
-
violent parenting should be promoted, incorporating the use of alternatives to
physical punishment into parent support programmes




Diversity must be recognised and respected in relation to family patterns, cultur
al
differences and gender differences, in keeping with the best interests of the child;
there should be positive policy adjustments for particularly vulnerable groups such
as immigrant families; there should be greater recognition of fathers’ parenting
res
ponsibilities, and support for their involvement particularly when living apart from
their children




Preventive work and early intervention strategies in situations of risk are crucial; the
need for support on a multi
-
dimensional basis to achieve an approp
riate work/life
balance is essential




We must validate parent support work, whether this takes place at an informal,
semi
-
formal or formal level, as outlined in the Council of Europe Recommendation;
appropriate standards, training programmes and quality of

workers
-

whether paid
or unpaid
-

is as important as the quality of programme content




The state should aspire to the same standard of positive parenting when fulfilling
parental responsibilities in place of parents




*
the term parent(s) is used to mea
n mothers, fathers, carers and other adults with
responsibility for caring for a child(ren)



Résumé

et messages clefs du séminaire

(FR)



Eurochild a tenu son premier séminaire d’échange des membres à Belfast, Ireland du
Nord, les 26 et 27 avril 2007. Le

séminaire a été accueilli par
Children in Northern Ireland

(CiNl), l’un des nouveaux membres d’Eurochild. Plus de 40 décideurs politiques,
chercheurs, praticiens et académiciens venus de toute l’Europe ont échangé leurs
informations, expériences et idées
sur la promotion des droits de l’enfant par le biais de
politique sur la parentalité positive.



Un contexte politique changeant


Il y a actuellement un accroissement de l’intérêt porté aux politiques concernant les
enfants et les familles au niveau europé
en et une volonté affirmée de s’investir dans ces
domaines en tant que domaine privé des individus. Cette mutation du contexte politique a
été renforcée par la persistance du niveau inacceptable de la pauvreté infantile sur l’un
des continents les plus ric
hes du monde


20% des enfants et des jeunes de moins de 16
ans sont au niveau limite du seuil de pauvreté


et par cette volonté de casser la
transmission de la pauvreté et l’exclusion sociale d’une génération à une autre.
Récemment, un rapport du Centre
de Recherche
Innocenti

de l’UNICEF sur le bien
-
être
des enfants dans les pays riches a mis en évidence le besoin d’une politique
d’intervention, montrant clairement que tous les pays européens avaient des faiblesses qui
devaient être traitées, malgré leur
niveau dans le classement du groupe des pays bien
-
portant et le fait qu’il n’y ait pas de lien évident entre le niveau de bien
-
être des enfants et
le PNB par habitant. Par conséquent, la majeure partie des États Membres ont décidé de
faire du développement

des stratégies de lutte contre la pauvreté infantile et l’exclusion
sociale une priorité en adoptant une politique mixte qui a mis en place des services de
soutien aux familles, et en promouvant au cœur de celle
-
ci l’intégration des parents sur le
marché
du travail et la conciliation de la vie professionnelle et de la vie de famille.


La mutation démographique de la société est aussi un fil conducteur de l’Agenda. Dans les
années 2050, le pourcentage d’actifs dans la société par rapport aux personnes âgées

de
plus de 65 ans va diminuer considérablement. Ces prévisions ont stimulé une réponse
politique de “renouvellement démographique” afin d’encourager les familles à avoir autant
d’enfants qu’elles le souhaitent en leur promettant un soutien étatique leur p
ermettant de
concilier vie professionnelle et vie familiale. La proposition “Alliances pour les familles”


visant à créer une plateforme pour un débat entre États Membres sur les politiques
amicales de familles


est un bon exemple de l’intérêt actuel por
té aux soutiens pouvant
être apportés aux familles dans un contexte de changement social.


En même temps, on observe une meilleure reconnaissance des droits des enfants et des
jeunes au niveau européen avec notamment l’introduction, l’année dernière, de la

communication de la Commission européenne
“Vers une stratégie européenne sur les
droits de l’enfants”.

Tous les États Membres ont adopté la Convention Des droits de
l’enfant des Nations Unies mais la réflexion menée sur les politiques concernant les
enfan
ts et les familles sont décevantes. Peu d’États Membres, par exemple, font référence
aux droits des enfants dans les Plans Nationaux d’Action pour l’inclusion et il n’y a pas eu
de reconnaissance des enfants en tant qu’acteurs pertinents dans le processus
planifié. La
Communication reconnaît qu’un nombre de plus en plus important de politiques de l’Union
européenne affecte les enfants et les jeunes, directement ou indirectement, et parmi ces
propositions se trouve l’intégration des droits de l’enfant, qui g
arantit que l’impact sur les
enfants, de toutes les nouvelles actions menées par l’UE, soit pris en compte. Il propose
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aussi la création d’un Forum européen pour les droits de l’enfant qui permettra aux enfants
et aux jeunes d’être présents dans les proces
sus de décision.



Le concept de la parentalité positive


La préoccupation concernant les droits de l’enfant ne se limite pas au cadre de l’Union
européenne. Le Conseil de l’Europe a fait ses preuves en la matière et opère
fréquemment comme une cellule de
réflexion sur les idées que l’Union européenne
reprend par la suite. La recommandation du Conseil de l’Europe sur la parentalité positive
produite en Décembre 2006 est une initiative d’une particulière pertinence pour le débat
actuel. La recommandation ent
end promouvoir “un comportement parental fondé sur
l'intérêt supérieur de l'enfant, qui vise à l'élever et à le responsabiliser”, la non
-
violence et
les conseils qui mettront en place les limites qui permettront le développement de l’enfant.
L’importance d
’élever un enfant dans un environnement familial positif est recommandée
et la responsabilité de l’État de créer les bonnes conditions pour une parentalité positive
est soulignée. L'État doit fournir des services pour soutenir les parents. Créer les bonnes

conditions signifie assurer l’accès aux ressources matérielles, psychologiques, sociales et
culturelles appropriées. Cela signifie aussi prendre des mesures pour retirer les obstacles
à la parentalité positive, à la promotion de politiques visant à la réc
onciliation de la vie
professionnelle et familiale et augmenter l’attention portée à la valeur de la parentalité
positive par les parents, les enfants et les États. Le besoin d’adopter une approche
d’émancipation


basée sur la consultation et le dialogue
avec les parents dans l’esprit
d’un partenariat efficace


est préconisé en tant qu’élément central des politiques de
soutien aux familles; cela doit se faire par la création de support à trois niveaux:


a)

informel
: création et consolidation des engagements
sociaux existant et
l’encouragement de nouveaux liens entre les enfants et leurs familles, le voisinage
et les amis

b)

semi
-
formel
: rendant plus indépendant les associations de parents, d’enfants et les
ONG et en mettant en place des groupes ou des services d
’entre
-
aide
communautaires

c)

formel
: en facilitant l’accès aux services publics


Dans le respect de l’esprit de la Convention des droits de l’enfant des Nations
-
Unies, la
recommandation préconise le développement de relations parents
-
enfants positives,
fondé
es sur l’exercice de la responsabilité parentale pour optimiser le développement
potentiel de l’enfant, plutôt que sur l’exercice de l’autorité parentale. Elle reconnaît les
parents et les enfants comme titulaires de droit, validant le rôle de parents comm
e
gardiens des droits de l’enfant et responsabilisant l’État qui doit agir comme l’ultime garant
de ces droits.



Messages clefs









(FR)


Les participants du séminaire ont adhéré au concept et aux principes sous
-
jacents du
Conseil de l’Europe dans la

recommandation de la parentalité positive, qui a fondé et
inspiré le débat, posant ainsi le contexte dans lequel s’inscrivent les messages clefs:




Les parents sont, en général, les mieux placés pour promouvoir l’intérêt général de
leur enfant; les droits
des enfants et des parents ne doivent pas être en conflit, il faut
accepter que l’État ait une responsabilité résiduelle lorsqu’il y a conflit d’intérêt



Une meilleure reconnaissance du besoin de soutenir les parents dans leur tâche à un
niveau européen et
à tous les niveaux de gouvernance nationaux; la parentalité ne
devrait pas être considérée comme “quelque chose de naturelle” et laisser à la chance



Créer les bonnes conditions de la parentalité positive nécessite que les problèmes
structurels soient recon
nus et abordés; le soutien à la parentalité ne peut remplacer les
efforts engagés pour s’attaquer aux causes profondes de la pauvreté et des
désavantages sociaux



Il faudrait focaliser l’attention des programmes de soutien aux parents sur les
ressources plu
s que sur la régulation, afin de mieux refléter l’esprit et les dispositions
de la Convention sur les droits de l’Enfant des Nations Unies sur la responsabilité
étatique de soutien aux parents dans leur tâche



Le soutien aux parents devrait être intégré dan
s une politique de développement, le
soutien doit être universellement reconnu et prodigué de manière non
-
stigmatisant
pour les bénéficiaires



Les programmes de soutien aux parents devraient être basés sur une indépendance et
un partenariat, et non sur des
failles ou des châtiments; ils devraient répondre à des
besoins et non à des prescriptions dans leurs approches; ils devraient avoir des bases
pertinentes et être fondés sur des réflexions sur les bonnes pratiques; les États
membres devraient promouvoir pl
us de recherches sur des programmes de parentalité
effectifs



La parentalité non
-
violente devrait être promue, incorporant l’utilisation d’alternatives à
la violence physique comme punition dans les programmes de soutien aux familles



La diversité doit être
reconnue et respectée (différents types de famille, différences
culturelles, etc.) dans l’intérêt supérieur de l’enfant; il devrait y avoir des ajustements
positifs de politique pour les groupes particuliers vulnérables comme les familles
d’immigrants; il
devrait y avoir une meilleure reconnaissance des responsabilités
parentales des pères, et un soutien pour la participation des enfants avec les deux
parents dans le cadre d’une séparation (dans la mesure où il est sûr de le faire)



Des stratégies sur un tra
vail de prévention et d’intervention rapide dans les situations à
risque sont cruciales; la nécessité d’un soutien sur des bases multidimensionnelles
pour parvenir à un équilibre travail/famille est essentielle



Il faut valider un travail de soutien parenta
l qu’il soit informel, forme, ou semi
-
formel,
comme l’a souligné le Conseil de l’Europe dans sa recommandation; des standards
appropriés, des programmes d’entraînement et la qualité des travailleurs


rémunérés
ou non


sont aussi importants que la qualité

du contenu du programme



L’État devrait aspirer à mettre en place un standard de parentalité positive élevé quand
il remplit les responsabilités parentales à la place des parents.


* le terme de parents est utilisé dans le sens de mères, pères, travail soc
ial et autres
adultes qui ont des responsabilités de prise en charge d’enfants


Resumen y
Mensajes clave del seminario

(ES)



Eurochild celebró su primer seminario de intercambio entre miembros el 26 y 27 de abril de
2007 en Belfast, Irlanda del Norte.
Ch
ildren in Northern Ireland

(CiNI en sus siglas en inglés),
uno de los miembros más recientes de Eurochild, actuó como anfitrión. Al seminario
asistieron más de 40 políticos, expertos, investigadores y académicos de distintos países de
Europa. Todos ellos s
e reunieron para compartir información, experiencias e ideas sobre
cómo promover los derechos de los niños a través de políticas de
paternidad

positiva.



Un contexto político en evolución


Hoy por hoy crece el interés por las políticas sobre el niño y la
familia a nivel de la Unión
Europea, así como la voluntad de participar en áreas que antes eran consideradas del
dominio privado de los individuos. Este clima de cambio se ha visto estimulado por la
persistencia de un nivel de pobreza infantil inaceptable
para uno de los continentes más
ricos del mundo (una media del 20% de niños y adolescentes menores de 16 años sufren
aún riesgo de pobreza
7
) y el empeño por romper la transmisión de la pobreza y la
exclusión social de una generación a otra. Un reciente inf
orme del centro de investigación
Innocenti

de UNICEF sobre el bienestar del niño en los países ricos
8

demuestra además
la necesidad de una política de intervención. Dicho informe muestra claramente que todos
los países europeos padecen debilidades que debe
n afrontar, independientemente del
puesto que ocupen en el ranking de la “liga del bienestar”. No existe una relación obvia
entre el nivel del bienestar del niño y el PIB por capita. Por tanto, la gran mayoría de los
Estados Miembros de la UE han priorizad
o el desarrollo de estrategias para combatir la
pobreza infantil y la exclusión social, adoptando una mezcla política de servicios de apoyo
para las familias, promoción de la participación de los padres en el mercado laboral, y
reconciliación de la vida fa
miliar y laboral
9
.


El cambio en la composición de edad de las sociedades también impulsa nuestra agenda.
Para el año 2050, se espera que el ratio de personas en edad de trabajar frente a las
personas mayores de 65 años caiga hasta el 2:1. Estos cambios ha
n estimulado una
respuesta política de “renovación demográfica” para animar a las familias a tener tantos
niños como quieran, con la promesa del apoyo estatal para reconciliar las demandas de la
vida laboral y la familiar. Se propuso la “Alianza para las F
amilias”, cuyo objetivo es
ofrecer una plataforma de debate a alto nivel entre Estados Miembros sobre políticas de
apoyo a las familias, y que constituye un buen ejemplo del clima de interés existente para
apoyar a las familias en un contexto social en cam
bio.


Al mismo tiempo, el reconocimiento a nivel de la UE de los derechos del niño y del
adolescente aumenta gracias a la introducción el año pasado de la Comunicación de la
CE “Hacia una estrategia europea sobre los derechos del niño”
10
. Todos los estados
miembros han adoptado la Convención de la ONU sobre los Derechos del Niño (UNCRC),
pero sin que esto se vea reflejado en políticas referentes al niño y a las familias de forma
satisfactoria. Por ejemplo, pocos Estados Miembros han hecho referencia a los de
rechos
del niño en sus Planes de Acción Nacionales sobre inclusión y protección social, y el
reconocimiento de los niños como “actores relevantes” era prácticamente inexistente



7

Eurostat
Población y condiciones sociales
http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu.int

8

UNICEF Report Card No. 7, 2007 “A
n overview of child well
-
being in rich
countries”
www.unicef.org/irc

9

Informe conjunto de la CE sobre protección e inclusión social 2007
http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/
social_inclusion/naps


10

EC COM (2006) 367 final, 04 07 06
http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg

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38

durante el proceso de planificación
11
. La Comunicación reconoce que un número cr
eciente
de políticas de la UE afectan a niños y jóvenes de forma directa o indirecta, y entre sus
propuestas se encuentra situar los derechos del niño en el punto de mira, para asegurar
que se tiene en cuenta el impacto en los niños de todas las nuevas acc
iones de la UE.
También se propone la creación de un Foro Europeo para los Derechos del Niño, lo cual
permitiría incluir a niños y jóvenes en los procesos de toma de decisiones.



El concepto de
paternidad

positiva


La preocupación por los derechos de los

niños no se limita a la UE. El Consejo de Europa
tiene un largo historial en este campo, y muchas veces ha ejercido como “
think tank
” de
ideas que la UE ha adoptado después. Una iniciativa particularmente importante para el
debate actual es la Recomendaci
ón del Consejo de Europa sobre la
paternidad

positiva
que se hizo en diciembre de 2006
12
. En dicha Recomendación se define la
paternidad

positiva como un “
comportamiento paterno, en beneficio del niño, que sea enriquecedor,
fortalecedor, pacífico, y que ofr
ezca reconocimiento y pautas que incluyan la creación de
fronteras para permitir un desarrollo pleno del niño
”. Se respalda la importancia de que los
niños crezcan en un entorno familiar positivo, y se subraya la responsabilidad del estado a
la hora de cre
ar las condiciones adecuadas para una
paternidad

positiva. Crear las
condiciones adecuadas significa asegurar el debido acceso a los recursos materiales,
psicológicos, sociales y culturales. También significa trabajar para eliminar barreras a la
paternidad

positiva, promover políticas para mejorar la reconciliación de la vida familiar y
laboral y sensibilizar a padres, a niños y al gobierno sobre el valor de la
paternidad

positiva. La necesidad de adoptar un enfoque de delegación basado en la consulta y el
diálogo con los padres en forma de una asociación de trabajo, se recomienda como
componente central de las políticas de apoyo a los padres. Deberían dirigirse hacia la
creación de un apoyo a tres niveles:


a)

Informal
: crear y fortalecer nexos sociales exi
stentes y promover nuevas relaciones
entre los padres y su familia, vecinos y amigos.


b)
Semi
-
formal:

promover las asociaciones de padres y niños y ONGs y activar una serie
de grupos de autoayuda y grupos basados en la comunidad y en los servicios.


c)
Fo
rmal:

facilitar el acceso a los servicios públicos.


Esta recomendación mantiene el contenido y el espíritu de la UNCRC, y gracias a ello
promueve el desarrollo de relaciones positivas entre padres e hijos, basadas en el
ejercicio de una responsabilidad pa
terna para optimizar el desarrollo potencial del niño, en
vez del ejercicio de la autoridad paterna. Reconoce tanto a los padres como a los niños
como poseedores de derechos, se valida el papel de los padres como guardianes de los
derechos de los niños, si
endo responsabilidad del estado actuar como garante final.






11

Revisión de Eurochild de los informes nacionales 2006
-
08 sobre estrategias para la protección e inclusión
social, Ene
ro 2007
Ending Child Poverty within the EU?

www.eurochild.org

12

Comité de Ministros del Consejo de Europa: Recomendación 19 [2006]
http://www.coe.int/t/dg3/youth
family

Mensajes clave









(ES)


Los participantes del seminario apoyan el concepto y los principios subyacentes de la
Recomendación del Consejo de Europa sobre la
paternidad

positiva, que fundament
ó y al
mismo tiempo inspiró el debate, ofreciendo un contexto para los siguientes mensajes
clave:




Los padres* suelen ser las personas en la posición más adecuada para promover los
intereses de sus hijos. Los derechos del niño y de los padres no tienen que

estar
necesariamente en conflicto. Se debe aceptar que el Estado es el responsable último
en caso de conflicto de intereses.



Se necesita reconocer de forma más extensa, tanto a nivel europeo como a todos los
niveles administrativos nacionales, la necesida
d de apoyar a los padres en su tarea
educativa, que no se puede considerar como “algo que nos llega de forma natural”, y
se deje al azar.



Crear las condiciones adecuadas para una
paternidad

positiva requiere reconocer y
atacar los problemas estructurales d
e la sociedad. El apoyo a los padres no puede
sustituir esfuerzos para abordar las causas de base de la pobreza y las desventajas.



Se necesita cambiar el enfoque del apoyo a los padres, diferenciándolo de la
regulación de recursos, para que refleje mejor e
l espíritu y el contenido de la UNCRC
en lo referente a la responsabilidad del Estado de apoyar a los padres en su tarea
educativa.



El apoyo a los padres debería ser una parte integrada en el desarrollo de políticas. El
apoyo debería estar disponible de fo
rma universal, y debería ofrecerse sin estigmas.



Los programas de apoyo a los padres deberían basarse en la delegación y la
asociación, no en la deficiencia y el castigo. Deberían estar dirigidos a las
necesidades, sin tener un enfoque preceptivo. Deberían

basarse en pruebas, y reflejar
las mejores prácticas. Los Estados Miembros deberían promover una investigación
más profunda de los programas efectivos de
paternidad positiva
.



Debería promoverse una
paternidad positiva

pacífica, que incorporara el uso de
a
lternativas al castigo físico dentro de los programas de apoyo a los padres.



Se debe reconocer y respetar la diversidad en relación con los patrones familiares, las
diferencias culturales y de género, siempre de acuerdo con el interés del niño. Las
polític
as positivas deberían ajustarse a grupos especialmente vulnerables, como
familias inmigrantes. Debería existir un mayor reconocimiento de las
responsabilidades de los padres como educadores, y un mayor apoyo para la relación
de los niños con ambos padres e
n caso de separación (siempre y cuando sea seguro
hacerlo).



Las estrategias preventivas de trabajo y de intervención temprana en situaciones de
riesgo son cruciales. Es fundamental un apoyo multidimensional para conseguir un
adecuado equilibrio entre vida
laboral y familial.



Se debe validar el trabajo del apoyo a padres, sea a nivel informal, semi
-
formal o
formal, tal y como se perfila en la Recomendación del Consejo de Europa. Contar con
los estándares adecuados, programas de formación y trabajadores de ca
lidad (sean
remunerados o no) es tan importante como la calidad del contenido del programa.



El Estado debería aspirar a un alto estándar de
paternidad

positiva cuando cumpla
con las responsabilidades paternas en lugar de los padres.


* El término padre(s)
se usa en referencia a madres, padres, cuidadores y otros adultos
con responsabilidad para cuidar a uno o más niño(s).

Conclusões e Principais Mensagens

(PT)


O primeiro seminário
d
e intercâmbio dos membros do “Euroc
h
ild”, decorr
eu
,
n
os dias 26 e 27
de

Ab
ril
d
e 2007, em Be
l
fast,

na Ir
la
nda do Norte. O anfitrião deste s
eminá
rio
f
oi a
orga
ni
zação “Ch
i
ldren
in

Northern I
re
land” (CiNI) do
R
eino Unido, um
d
os mais rece
n
tes
membr
os

do “Euroc
h
ild”. Estiveram
pr
esentes mais de 40 políticos,

dic
os
, investi
ga
dores

e a
ca
démicos dos vár
ios

países da
E
urop
a, com o intuito de partilharem informações,
experiências e ideias a fim de promover os direitos das crianças através de políticas
educacionais positivas.


Alteração do contexto político


Existe actualmente
u
m intere
ss
e acresci
do nas polí
ticas da fa
mília e da criança a

níve
l
da
UE e u
ma grande necessidade

de
envolvência em áreas previamente consideradas do
domínio privado dos indivíduos.
A ju
s
tificação para esta m
u
dança reside nos níveis
ina
c
eitáve
is

de pobreza
in
fant
il,
ai
nda existe
nt
es, nu
m
dos mais ric
os

continent
es do
mundo


em mé
dia 20% das cria
n
ças e jove
ns

com menos de 16 anos de
idade vivem no
limiar da pobreza
13



e na preocupação de alterar o facto de a pobreza e exclusão social
serem transmitidas de geração
em geração.
Um rece
n
te relat
ó
rio elabo
ra
do pelo Centro
de Instigação “Innocenti” da UNICEF sobre o
be
m
-
estar infantil

n
os países ri
c
os
14
,
evidenciou desde logo a necessidade de int
er
venção política, mostrando claramente que
to
do
s os países Europeus têm
po
n
t
os fracos que necessitam de ser tomados em conta,
independentemente da posição que ocupam nas tabelas, e de que não existe qualquer
relação lógica entre os níveis de bem
-
estar infantil e o PIB per capita.
C
o
nsequentemen
te
,
a g
r
a
n
de maioria dos Estad
o
s
-
M
e
mb
ros da UE dão agora pr
i
oridade ao

d
esenvolvi
men
to
de estra
t
égias com o o
b
jectivo de

c
ombater a pob
re
za infant
il

e a excl
usão social,
adoptando uma política mista, que contem subsídios de apoio para as famílias, que
promove a participação no mercado de trab
alho dos educadores e a reconciliação da vida
profissional e familiar na totalidade
15
.


Um ou
t
ro pont
o
debatid
o
neste seminário
esteve na base das alterações etárias da
sociedade.
Em 2050
e
spera
-
se
qu
e a percenta
g
em de indi
v
íduos em idade la
b
oral
relativa
m
e
nte

a
indivíd
uos com ida
de igual ou superior a 65 anos de idade, desça para os

2:1. Estas al
terações tê
m estimu
l
ado a res
po
sta pol
í
tica
no
âm
b
ito do rejuvenes
cimento
demográ
fico com o in
t
uito de encorajar as

famílias a terem mais filhos, com a promessa
de
um subsídio por parte do governo para que as famílias possam conciliar a procura de
emprego com a vida familiar.
A
de
signada proposta “Aliança par
a
as Famílias”


p
re
tendeu estabelecer

uma p
l
ataforma de

d
is
cussão a alto nível entre os Estados
-
Membros sobre

as políticas favoráveis às famílias


é um bom exemplo do actual
interesse existente no que diz respeito ao apoio de famílias que estão inseridas num
contexto social diferente.


Ao mesmo tempo
, estamos pe
ra
nte um

e
levado re
c
onhecimento d
o
s dire
i
tos das
cr
ianças
e jovens ao ní
vel da UE, com

a introdução, o ano passado, do documento emitido pela
Comunidade Europeia intitulado “Caminhando para uma Estratégia Europeia sobre os
Direitos da Criança”
16
.
Os Es
t
ados
-
M
em
bros adoptaram

a Con
v
enção sobre

os Direit
os
da

Criança

das Nações Unidas

(CDCNU), mas a reflexão feita sobre este tema nas políticas
relacionadas com as crianças e respectivas famílias não tem correspondido ao que seria
de esperar.
Poucos

f
o
ram os E
s
tados
-
Membros, por ex
e
mplo, que referen
ci
aram os



13

Eurostat
Population

and social conditions

http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu.int

14

UNICEF Report Card No. 7, 2007 “A
n overview of child well
-
being in rich countries”
www.unicef.org/irc

15

EC Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2007
http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/social_inclusion/naps

16

EC COM (2006) 367

final, 04 07 06
http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg

Page
1

of
38

dir
e
i
tos das crian
ças

no P
l
ano de Ac
ç
ão N
ac
ional, no âmbito da inclusão

e protecção
social, não
h
avendo qual
q
uer reconhecimento de crian
ças

como elemento
s
fundamen
tais
neste processo
17
.
O do
cumento emi
tido pela Comunidade

Europeia

re
c
onhece que a
maior parte

d
as

políticas
ex
istentes na UE a
f
ec
ta, directa ou indirectamente, as crianças e
jovens e que dentro das várias propostas está inserido o tão importante tema que são os
direitos das crianças, a fim de assegurar que todas as novas acções da UE são tidas em
co
nta e que produzem algum impacto nas crianças. Existe também a proposta para a
criação de um Fórum Europeu para os Direitos das Crianças que irá permitir que as
crianças e jovens sejam tidas em conta nos processos de decisão.


Definição de Política Educaci
onal Positiva


A pre
ocupação relacio
nada com os dire
ito
s das crianças

não se r
es
tringe s
ó

à UE.

O
Conselho
da

Europa poss
ui

uma vasta ex
pe
ri
ência nesta área funcionando muitas vezes
como um impulsionador de ideias, as quais são frequentemente aceites pela
UE.
Um dos
aspec
t
os par
t
i
c
ularmen
te

relevantes a ter em

conta para o actual de
bat
e é o
do
cumento
elaborado

pelo Conselho da Europa, em Dezembro de 2006
18
,

sobre as políticas
educacionais positivas.
O documento

define polí
tica educ
acional positiva

co
mo o

co
mportamento parental baseado nos superiores interesses da criança, que são a
educação, a autonomia, a inexistência de violência
,

proporcionando reconhecimento e
orientação, o que implica que sejam colocadas barreiras que impeçam o total
desenvolvimento da
criança”
.
É de extrema importâ
n
cia que
u
ma criança

se
desenvolva
n
um ambie
n
te familiar
po
sitivo, mas
p
ara

que isso possa acontecer o governo terá de ter
a responsabilidade de criar melhores condições para que as políticas educacionais
positivas possam ser
uma realidade.
Quando se fala na criação de
m
elhores

condiçõe
s
,

iss
o significa que se teria de assegurar o acesso a meios apropriados e a apoios
psicológicos, sociais e culturais.
Isto signifi
c
a tamb
é
m
qu
e se teria de ava
n
çar no intuit
o
de retirar as barre
iras da pol
í
tica
e
ducacional
positiva

a
tra
vés da prom
o
ção de po
l
íticas
que me
l
horassem

a relação entre a família e o trabalho, passando a divulgar mais a
verdadeira importância das politicas educacionais positivas a “parents”*, crianças e
governo.
O princi
pal co
mponente das polí
ticas reco
men
dado para apo
i
ar as famílias
p
assa pela
ne
cessidade de ad
o
ptar uma maior
a
prox
imação às famílias, através da
consulta e diálogo com os “parents”*, no intuito de desenvolver um trabalho de parceria;
os diferentes apoios d
evem subdividir
-
se em três níveis:


a)

informal
: criar
e

fortificar

as liga
ç
ões sociais existent
e
s e promover novos
vínculos entre
os pais e a própria família, vizinhos e amigos.


b)
semi
-
formal:

dar

mais auto
no
mia
às associações de pais e crianças e às Or
ganizações
Não
-
Governamentais e activar um serviço de entreajuda bem como outros grupos e
serviços direccionados para a comunidade


c)
formal:

facilitar o acesso aos

s
erviço
s
p
úblicos


Seg
ui
ndo as direc
tr
izes e o es
p
írito da CDC
NU,
o documento
do Comité

E
u
r
opeu
promove o desenvolvim
ento de relações positivas entre pais e filhos, que está
estabelecida no exercício da responsabilidade parental, mais do que no exercício da
autoridade parental, com o intuito de favorecer o potencial desenvolvimento das crianças
.
Este documento rec
o
nhece ainda
os “parents”*

e cr
ia
nças como detentore
s
de dir
ei
tos,
validando o papel dos “parents” como guardião dos direitos das crianças embora seja o
governo que detenha a palavra final.




17

Eurochild’s review of the 2006
-
08 national reports on strategies for social protection and social inclusion, Jan
2007
Ending Child Poverty within the EU?

www.eurochild.org

18

Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe: Recommendation 19 [2006]
http://www.coe.int/t/dg3/youthfamily

Principais Mensagens








(PT)


Os particip
a
ntes do seminá
rio va
lo
rizaram o conceito e s
ubli
nharam os princípios

do
documento so
b
re as politi
ca
s educacio
nais positivas,

e
l
aboradas pelo Co
n
selho d
a
Europa, servindo ambos como fonte de inspiração para este debate do qual se retiraram
as seguintes men
sagens:




“Parents”*, são normalmente o
s princip
a
is

indicad
ores

para pr
o
mover os
s
uperiores
in
t
eresses das cria
n
ças; os di
r
eitos das
cr
ianças e
d
os
pais não têm de estar
necessariamente

em conflito, atendendo a que quem detém a responsabilidade
quando preva
lece o conflito de interesses é o próprio governo



É

nece
ss
ário que h
a
ja um ma
io
r reconhecime
nt
o da

necessidade de apoi
ar

os

pa
rents” nas questões educaciona
is tanto a ní
vel
Europeu como a todos os níveis de
administração nacional; o acto de educar não pod
e ser encarado como algo que surge
naturalmente e que depois é deixado à sua sorte



Para que
se possam cria
r as c
on
dições f
av
oráveis para uma boa educa
ç
ão, os
pr
oblemas estr
u
turais de uma so
ci
edade
têm de ser aceites e identificados; o apoio
concedido ao se
ctor educacional não pode substituir os esforços para combater as
principais causas e desvantagens da pobreza



Para se

poder aplicar
o
espírito e mensa
g
em tra
nsmitida pela CDCNU é necessário

r em

prácti
ca

o principal foco de suste
n
tação

do “parent” e não
continuar a observá
-
lo somente no papel, relativamente à responsabilidade que o governo possui para
apoiar os “parents” nesta área tão difícil que é a educação



O apoio ao “parent” deverá ser

parte
integrante
do

desenvolv
im
ento polí
t
ico, ser válido
universa
lmente e concebido de forma não estigmatizada



Os pr
o
gramas de apoio

ao “pa
re
nt” de
v
em basear
-
se na c
o
ncess
ão e parceria e não
na carência e punição; os programas devem conter

as necessidades específicas e
não as determinadas por aproximação; devem basear
-
s
e nas evidências e demonstrar
boas práticas; os Estados
-
Membros devem promover pesquisas sobre programas
educacionais eficazes



Deve promover
-
se a educação n
ão violenta, podendo incorporarem
-
se outras
alternativas de castigos físicos nos programas de apoio
ao “parent”



Nunca es
qu
ecendo o s
u
perior

interesse d
a
criança
,

devem as d
i
ferenças ser aceit
es

e
respeitadas

relati
va
me
nt
e aos

padr
ões familiares, diferenças culturais e diferenças de
género; devem ser feitos alguns ajustes políticos mais positivos, direcci
onados para
grupos particularmente vulneráveis, como são, por exemplo, as famílias imigrantes; as
responsabilidades dos pais ao nível da educação devem ter maior reconhecimento e
caso exista um processo de separação dos progenitores as crianças devem poder

usufruir de algum apoio



Em situ
a
ções de risco é fundamen
ta
l que exista
um trabalho preventivo e estratégias
de
int
ervenção primária; para que se consiga atingir o equilíbrio apropriado tanto a
nível profissional como pessoal,

é essencial que o apoio seja
efectuado numa base
multi
-
dimensional



Tal como referenciado no documento do Conselho da Europa, a valorização do apoio
ao “parent” a nível laboral é muito importante quer seja a nível informal, semi
-
formal ou
formal; habilitações académicas adequadas, prog
ramas de formação e boa mão
-
de
-
obra


quer seja remunerado ou não


é tão importante como o conteúdo qualitativo
do programa



O governo deve apostar num padrão elevado sobre este tema quando assumir as
responsabilidades parentais no lugar dos “parents”


*
o

termo “paren’t(s)” é utilizado para designar mães, pais, profissionais e outros adultos que
tenham a responsabilidade de cuidar da(s) criança(s).

Part 1: Background to the Seminar



A Changing Policy Context


There is currently an increasing interest in
child and family policies at EU level
. This is
fuelled, to a large extent,
by the persistence of unacceptable levels of child poverty in one
of the richest continents of the world


on average 20% of children and young people
under 16 years old remain at
-
r
isk
-
of
-
poverty
19

-

and concerns to break the transmission of
poverty and social exclusion fr
om one generation to the next.
A recent report by the
UNICEF
Innocenti

Research Centre on child well
-
being in rich countries
20

further
evidences the need for policy i
ntervention, showing clearly that all European countries
have weaknesses that need to be addressed, regardless of their ranking in the well
-
being
league tables, there is no obvious relationship between levels of child well
-
being and GDP
per capita. Consequ
ently, the vast majority of
member states
have now prioritised the
development of strategies to combat child poverty and social exclusion, adopting a policy
mix which has support services for families, promoting parents’ labour market participation
and rec
onciliation of work and family life at its heart
21
.


Demographic change also drives

th
e

agenda.
The age composition of societies is
changing and
the ratio of people of working age to those aged 65 or over is expected
, by
2050,
to fall to 2:1
, s
timulat
ing

a
policy response of ‘demographic renewal’ to encourage
families to have as many children as they want with
promises of
state support to reconcile
the demands of work and family life. N
ew gender roles
and diverse family arrangements
are
consequently emerging

as more women participate in the workforce and
family
members
share caring tasks.
Increased levels of migration across Europe add
another
layer of diversity and change.
The
recently launched

European
Alliance for Families”
22



intended to provide a platfo
rm for high level discussion between Member States on
family
-
friendly policies


is
yet
another
example of the current
investment in

supporting families in

a rapidly
changing social context.



At the same time, we are seeing a greater recognition at EU lev
el of children and young
people’s rights with the introduction last year of the EC Communication
Towards a
European Strategy on the Rights of the Child
23
. All
member states
have adopted the
UNCRC but the reflection of this in policies concerning children an
d families has been
disappointing. Few Member States, for example, referenced children’s rights in their
National Action Plans for Inclusion and there was virtually no recognition of children as
‘relevant actors’ in the planning process
24
. The Communication

recognises that a growing
number of EU policies affect children and young people, directly or indirectly, and amongst
its proposals is the ‘mainstreaming’ of children’s rights, to ensure the impact on children of
all new EU actions is taken into account.
It also proposes the
creation

of a European
Forum for the Rights of the Child and that children and young people be brought i
nto
decision
-
making processes.






19

Eurostat
Population and social co
nditions

http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu.int


20

UNICEF Report Card No. 7, 2007 A
n overview of child well
-
being in rich countries

www.unicef.org/irc


21

EC Joi
nt Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2007

http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/social_inclusion/naps


22

EC Communication
Promoting solidarity between the generatio
ns

launched the Alliance

10 May 2007

23

EC COM (2006) 367 final, 04 07 06

http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg


24

Eurochild’s review of the 2006
-
08 national reports on strategies for social protection and social inclu
sion, Jan

2007
Ending Child Poverty within the EU?

www.eurochild.org


Page
1

of
38

The Concept of Positive Parenting


Concern about children’s rights is not limited to the EU. The
Council of Europe, a separate
body from the EU, has a long track record in this area
.
One initiative of particular relevance
to the current debate is the Co
E Recommendation on Positive Parenting produced in
December 2006
25
. The Recommendation defines positi
ve parenting as “
parental
behaviour, based on the best interests of the child, that is nurturing, empowering, non
-
violent, and provides recognition and guidance which involves setting of boundaries to
enable the full development of the child”
. The importan
ce of children
growing up in a
positive family environment is endorsed and the responsibility of the state to create the
right conditions for positive parenting is emphasised. Creating the right conditions means
ensuring access to appropriate material, psy
chological
, social and cultural resources. It
also means
taking steps to remove barriers to positive parenting, such

as policies to
promote improvements in the

reconcilia
tion of family and working lives and

raising
awareness of the value of positive parent
ing, to parents, children and the state. The need
to adopt an empowerment approach
-

based on consultation and dialogue with parents in
the spirit of a working partnership


is recommended as a central component of policies to
support parents; these should

be geared towards engendering support on three levels:


a)

informal
: creating and strengthening existing social bonds and encouraging new links
between parents and their family, neighbours and friends


b)
semi
-
formal:

empowering parents’ and children’s as
sociations and NGOs and activating
a range of self
-
help and other community
-
based groups and services


c)
formal:

facilitating access to public services


In keeping with the provisions and spirit of the UNCRC, the Recommendation promotes
the development of

positive parent
-
child relationships, founded on the exercise of parental
responsibility to optimise the child’s potential development, rather than the exercise of
parental authority. It recognises both parents and children as holders of rights, validating

parents’ role as guardians of children’s rights with a responsibility on the st
ate to act as
final guarantor.





25

Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe: Recommendation 19 [2006]

http://www.coe.
int/t/dg3/youthfamily


Page
2

of
38

Part 2: Report of Presentations and Debate


Welcome address and Opening Statement




Pip Jaffa, Chief Executive, Parents Advice Centre, Northern
Ireland



Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild


Pip Jaffa
,

as Seminar Chair, welcomed participants to the Seminar. She commented that
the level of participation and number of countries represented evidenced the level of
interest in this topic across

Europe
.
She reminded participants that the UNCRC recognises
the family as “the fundamental unit in society” for the growth and well
-
being of all its
members, particularly children. The “essential nature of families and of the parenting role”
is also ackno
wledged in the Council of Europe Recommendation to Member States on
Positive Parenting. The Seminar presented an exciting opportunity to learn, share and be
part of mechanisms in Europe for promoting good practice. Most importantly, it offered the
opportun
ity to improve the lives of children and young people, especially those who are
most marginalised.
It was now up to us to push the agenda
forward in our own countries.
She invited everyone to participate fully in the debate.


Jana Hainsworth,
Secretary Gen
eral of Eurochild,
opened the Seminar by reminding
participants that this was the first Members’ Exchange Seminar organised by Eurochild
since it was set up in 2004. As such, it was a “testing ground” for future events and we
looked forward to participants
’ feed
-
back and suggestions in this evolving process. She
thanked CiNI for their enthusiasm and commitment to Eurochild in facilitating the Seminar
in their first year of membership. This was an historic and exciting time for Northern Ireland
and a crucial

time for setting the agenda for children and young people. Eurochild was
pleased to contribute by demonstrating the relevance and importance of European
org
anisations to national agendas.


Member States are increasingly realising the importance of Europea
n organisations like
Eurochild, not only to support national agendas, but also to ensure the rights of children
remain in focus when family policies are discussed in Brussels. The Seminar was taking
place against a background of policy change at European l
evel, with an increasing
emphasis on combating child poverty, promoting children’s well
-
being and the need to
support families in the pursuit of these objectives. Anticipated outcomes of the Seminar
were that
Key Messages

would contribute to current policy

debates on social inclusion,
demographic

change and lifelong learning.
Messages from the Seminar would also be
carried forward to Eurochild’s Annual Conference in Malta in November this year. The
conference
-

Preventing Social Exclusion of Children and Yo
ung People in Europe:
Participation and Early Intervention


will include presentations on positive approaches to
supporting families at risk and social integration and empowerment of immigrant parents
and children.



Supporting Parents in Europe




Mary Dal
y, Professor of Sociology, Queens University, Belfast; EU Independent
Social Inclusion Expert for the Republic of Ireland; Expert Advisor to the Council of
Europe


Mary Daly

was Chair of the
Council of Europe
high level Task Force on Social Cohesion in
Eur
ope and is editor of the forthcoming Council of Europe publication
Positive Parenting in
Europe
26
.
Her
presentation outlined
the latest developments in terms of policy proposals to



26

See

www.coe.int/t/e/social_cohesion

Page
3

of
38

protect the well
-
being of children and families at
the
trans
-
national level
in Europe
,
focusing on:


a)
EU policy around Children’s Rights and Child Poverty

b)
the Council of Europe Recommendation on Positive Parenting


The

background to current developments was one of
increasing interest in child and family
policy
,
an attitudinal

change
-

a

greater willingness to become involved in areas previously
regarded as th
e private domain of individuals

-

and
an increased emphasis on provision of
services to families as well as financial support. Several factors could be identified as
drivi
ng this change; firstly
,

the failure of
current policies to adequately address child
poverty and social exclusion; secondly, demographic changes; thirdly, the adoption by
Member States of the UNCRC.


EU policy around Children’s Rights:
the EU Charter of Fu
ndamental Human Rights
[
introduced in 2000
]

made children holders

of both direct and indirect rights.
Dir
ect rights
,
for example,
include the right to know and have a relationship with their parents and the
right to a decent standard of living. Indirect ri
ghts

include the best interests of the child,
now enshrined in public policy.
The EC

Communication
Towards a European Strategy on
the Rights of the Child

[
July 2006
]

sets out the EU’s intention to lead
on the development
of
the first EU strategy

on childre
n’s rights and commits to a number of actions. Amongst
these are specific actions such as a single European number for child
help lines

and one
for missing children hotlines
; support for the commercial sector in combating the use of
credit cards for intern
et pornography purchases; work on combating child poverty
;
an
Action Plan on
c
hildren in
d
evelopment
c
o
-
operation
, to address the needs of children in
developing countries.
Amongst the ‘horizontal’ actions is the intention to ‘mainstream’
children’s rights

when drafting new EU legislation and to carry out an assessment of the
impact
of existing EU actions affecting children; the intention to set up a European Forum
for the Rights of the Child

(
meeting
for the first time
on 4
th

June
this year
)
; setting up a
Commission Inter
-
Services Group and appointing a Coordinator for the Rights of the Child;
involving children in decision
-
making process
es

and designing a communication strategy

with information in a child
-
friendly format
.
Up to now, there has been no

consi
stent
approach taken to
include children
in the EU policy
-
making process. The Communication
does not propose new legislation, or extend into new policy areas, but it will help ensure
that existing and new policies are based on children’s rights principles.

The Commission
intends to work with the Council of Europe
to draw on their expertise in relation to
aid in
the

mainstreaming


proposals.


EU policy around Child Poverty:
child poverty feature
s

as one of two key priorities in the
current round of Natio
nal

Action Plans for Inclusion (
2006
-
2008 National Reports on
Strategies for Social Protection and Social Inclusion
)
, the second priority being activation
in the labour market.
The
recent analysis (
January 2007
)

of the NAPs/Inc
lusion undertaken
by Eurochild w
as generally positive in terms of the increased status of child poverty


especially early education and care


and the more balanced policy mix
of services to
support families
.
However, on the negative side,
the commitment to reduce child poverty
was yet
to be translated into quantifiable targets
, few Member States
tackled child poverty
from a children’s rights perspective and there was a lack of commitment to involving
children and young people in the planning process, even where children’s rights
were
en
shrined in law.
On this latter point, Professor Daly commented that the Scandinavian
countries are perhaps giving children more independent social rights. However, it was not
clear how these would be promoted
both
individual
ly
and within the family context
.


The Council of Europe Recommendation on Positive Parenting
: t
he Council of Europe

is a
separate institution

of 46 Member States which
come together in a spirit of collaboration to
achieve a
greater unity between members. Human rights


and some aspects
of social
Page
4

of
38

rights


are the only areas where the Council has direct powers. However, the Council
has
a long history of working in the field of children’s rights

and often
operat
es

as a ‘think tank’
for ideas which the EU
then
takes up.

Positive Parenting ha
s its origins
in the Council of
Europe.
The Recommendation
on Positive Parenting
focuses on the legal, policy and
practice areas of the parent
i
ng role, within the context of the UNCRC
. The Council would
argue that the UNCRC has changed the whole context of

parenting
, notably that it has
shifted attention to children, giving them rights as individuals
,

and shifted
the emphasis
from parental authority to parental responsibility

for promoting the best interests of the
child and upholding the child’s rights.
Th
e UNCRC also places responsibility on the State
to ensure pare
nts have access to the

necessary
resources

to exercise their parenting role
in a positive manner.

The “how


of

parenting is therefore critical and the Recommendation
lays a lot of emphasis on th
is, identifying 4 elements ie: parenting should be nurturing;
should pr
ovide the child with structure (
setting guidelines and being role models
)
; should
give
recognition and acknowledgment (
valuing the child’s opinions and participation in
family life
); sh
ould be empowering (
how to control
one’s own behaviour and influenc
e

the
behaviour of others
)
. The two
-
way nature of parenting is also recognised

ie.
that parents
sh
ould

also
have expectations of their children and parenting practices should change and
pro
gress as the child gets older. Parenting should
always
be exercised in a non
-
violent
manner. In summary,
promoting
Positive Parenting means
that
member states
should start
to inaugurate policies which create
the right conditions

for
this to take place
, tak
ing steps
to both
resource

parenting
-

in terms of skills, information, material and social support


and
r
emove the barriers which exist.


Debate:
the debate turned on three issues; firstly,

what kind of programmes the Co
E had
in mind


whether these shou
ld be orientated towards education or support; secondly, how
to protect children’s childhood; thirdly,
the
risk of giving children too much power.


Profe
ssor Daly clarified that the Co
E Recommendation was not intended to be
prescriptive; rather it sets out

principles for empowering, enabling and supporting parents
to enrich family life. Services should be universal, geared towards all three levels of
informal, semi
-
formal and formal support, with measures
within this to
target families at risk
of social exc
lusion
.

In relation to children’
s

childhood, i
t could be argued that a lot of what
the EU is doing is contrary to the spirit of the UNCRC
and that
concern over child poverty
is
primarily
about breaking the intergenerational transmission of poverty, rather
than
improving the conditions in which children are growing up. The EU can, however, be seen
as a mechanism for advancing children’s rights within the overall emphasis now being
given to children and families, with organisations like Eurochild well
-
placed
to influence.
In
relation to the dynamics of power within families, there were significant

cultural differences
in parent
/ child relationships. The UK and Ireland

were very individualistic.



Supporting Parents in the UK




Mary Crowley, Chief Executive
, Pa
renting UK


Mary Crowley
,
as well as being Chief Executive of ParentingUK
27
,
is a member of the

Conseil Administratif of the

d
é
ration Internationale pour l’Education des Parents

and
directs the EU Leonardo da Vinci project
Parenting in Europe in the 21
st

century
28
, which
aims to create
a Europe
-
wide network of organisations working with parents for the
exchange of information and good practice.

Her
presentation focused on:






27

See

www.parentinguk.org

28

See

www.europarent.org


Page
5

of
38

a)
the myriad policy initiatives in the field of parent supp
ort

b)
the work of Pare
ntingUK

and
the
National Academy for Parenting Practitioners

(
NAPP
)


Policy initiatives:

p
arenting has climbed to the top of the government agenda in England
over the past eight years
, beginning with the
consultation document
Supporting Families

in
1999 an
d culminating in
Every Parent Matters
29

published this year by the Department for
Education and Skills

(
DfES
)
. This sets out the part that parents can play in improving their
child’s life chances and educational attainment and the role of government in supp
orting
parents in this task.
Initially, the impetus
for parent support came from the Home Office

with the introduction of

Parenting Orders

in 2000, which made p
articipation in programmes
to improve parenting skills
compu
l
sory for parents
of young people wh
o became (
or were
at risk of becoming)

involved in crime.
The program
me

reinforced the parental
responsibility to take proper care of their children; it indirectly empowered the community
as well.


There was
initial scepticism that this would give parent s
upport a

bad
name’,
but the
program provided parental

help and raised the whole profile of parent support
.
T
he
National
F
amily and Parenting Institute

(
now

the
Family and Parenting Institute
30
)

proposed by
Supporting Families
was set up in 1999 to advise a
nd inform government on
parenting issues
.
ParentingUK [
until 2006
known as the Parenting Education and Support
F
orum
] retained responsibility for training standards and workforce issues.
At the same
time, the government announced the
formation

of the Paren
ting Fund,
which made
available £40m to support the voluntary sector
to provide parenting support services.
Every Child Matters
31



the government strategy
launched in 2005
to

promote better
outcomes for children
-

established the expectation that all Child
ren’s Centres would
provide a range of services for parents and the principle that Extended Schools
[all schools
by 2013]
would enable parents to access services either in the school or provided locally
.

The Respect Action Plan



launched
in
2006 to tackle

anti
-
social behaviour and make
communities a safer place
in which
to live
-

and the Youth Justice led Parenting Orders are
on the more punitive end of the scale
.

Significant developments in the field of public health
include the National Service Framework

for Children, Young People and Maternity
Services; the National Institute for Clinical Excellence [NICE] training programmes for
parents of children with conduct disorders; the
recently launched trials of the
US
Nurse
-
Family Partnership
32

in England

delive
ring intensive, structured support programmes t
o
families assessed as at risk.


ParentingUK and the National Academy for Parenting Practitioners
(
NAPP
)
:
ParentingUK
is the umbrella body providing quality assurance services in England to those who work
with

parents.
Commissioned by the DfES, i
t
also
provides a data base
of replicable
parenting programmes
for
local authority
Commissioners of Parent Support
in England

(
Toolkit for Commissioners
)
. T
he importance of a workforce
that is trained to

work with
paren
ts
,

rather than some related area
,

is increasingly recognised in the UK.
ParentingUK
led
the development of National Occupational Standards for Work with Parents
,

agreed by
the UK Approvals body in 2005.
The Parents Advice Centre in Northern Ireland is the

lead
partner with
the Qualifi
cations Curriculum Authority (
QCA
)
, City and Guilds and
ParentingUK in rolling out nationally accredited training for practitioners across the UK.

The consortium of ParentingUK, the FPI and Kings College London, has recently b
een
awarded
a
£50m
contract to provide the new
National Acad
emy for Parenting Practitioners
[NAPP]
, t
o be launched in October 2007
. The Academy will be a centre of excellence,
providing training for those who support parents in the community and research o
n what



29

www.direct.gov.uk/prod

or

www.teachernet.gov.uk


30

www.familyandparenting.org


31

www.everychildmatters.gov.uk


32

www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/social_exclusion_task_force


Page
6

of
38

methods work best.
It will be an international hub for the exchange of ideas and learning,
help
ing to
ensure that those who work with parents are trained for that purpose and meet
N
ational Occupational Standards.


ParentingUK
believes
that working w
ith parents is not easy. It can be heart
-
rending work
and workers need support. Research shows that
how

you work with parents is as
important as what you do. Choosing a good programme is not enough; you need trained
practitioners to implement it.
But there

is
currently a huge gender imbalance
,

with neither
enough men in the workforce nor fathers in parenting programmes.


Debate:
the debate turned on three issues;

how to engage professionals who may be
resistant to training;
whether
elevat
ing the
status
[and

salary]
of parenting support work

would attract more men
; how to elevate the status of parenting one’s own ch
i
ldren
.


In relation to resistance from professionals,
Mary Crowley
propos
ed

a ‘skills scanning
process’ which may evidence skills gaps.
She comm
e
nted that
it takes 22 days to
undertake
the
Academy
programme
;
it is very
intensive and
emotional work and demands
this amount of time. She also believed that the Academy would go some way towards
elevating the status and salary of the work. If more men we
re attracted, it may in turn help
advance this agenda. It was a fact that
parenting was often undervalued
b
ut we could not
ignore the demographic challenges facing us;
it was sad that children were often not seen
as a joy.
A point of agreement from the dis
cussion was that promoting parenting should
not deflect from the state’s responsibility to address structural social and economic
problems.


The afternoon session of the Seminar took the form of short thematic presentations,
allowing time for interventions

from the floor and debate. Two of the presentations looked
at issues facing specific groups and one looked at a specific approach to working with all
groups. The final presentation was on policy and practice developments in Northern
Ireland, in preparatio
n for the Round Table Debate the following day.



Supporting Fathers




Tony Ivens, Children in Wales,

UK
33


Tony Ivens

is Fatherhood Development Officer for Children in Wales. Children in Wales is
the national umbrella organisation for those working with chi
ldren and young people in
Wales. Its aims are to promote the interests of these groups and take action to meet their
needs. It carries out a range of work relating to fathers and hosts the
Fatherhood Wales
Forum.

The presentation focused on the particular
problems faced by fathers, issues
surrounding parent support services and examples of positive responses.


Presentation:

Although the academic argument has been made that involved fathers
provide better outcomes for children and young people across a whole

range of measures


for example, better educational achievement, less offending behaviour, fewer mental
health problems
-

finding the most effective way of achieving this is still being debated. The
economic benefits and increased flexibility
in work
-
life

balance were evident but there were
still huge issues around equal opportunities; parity for women in the workplace would
never be achieved until parity for men was achieved in caring for children. Fathers are not
a homogenous group; they may include biol
ogical fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers,
fathers separated from their children, fathers caring for their children alone etc. These
groups of men often have quite different sets of needs and it is not a question of “one size



33

www.childreninwa
les.org.uk


Page
7

of
38

fits all”.
Historically, the r
ole of men was seen primarily as that of breadwinner. This was
particularly true in the South Wales valleys where heavy industries such as coal and steel
predominated. However, family life is changing; the number of women with pre
-
school
children who go ou
t to work has virtually doubled in recent years; the number of children
living in lone parent households has increased to 25%; the number of parents who marry
has halved; the numbers separating have probably trebled.


Parenting Support Services in Wales ca
n be broadly divided into two categories; u
niversal
services
such as health visitors, midwives, telephone help lines, and t
argeted services

such as
Surestart

for pre
-
school children and
Flying Start

for those living in particularly
disadvantaged areas. The

Welsh Assembly Government has taken a strategic lead on
parent support and in 2005 published the
Parenting Action Plan for Wales
34
. Input from
Fatherhood Wales ensured that the plan
“recognises that the needs of mothers and
fathers, of male and female care
rs are not always the same”. The accompanying
P
ractice
Guide on Parental Participation

identified “k
ey groups of parents/carers [who] may need
additional support to participate”.
First on the list of key groups were fathers and other
male carers. Some Wels
h Local Authorities either have, or are in the process of
developing, Local Parenting Strategies. These are designed to map local services and
share best practice and resources. Services are most often delivered by the voluntary
sector. The childcare workf
orce in Wales is predominantly female (around 99% according
to a recent Care Council for Wales mapping exercise).
The work is often part time and
perceived as low paid, with few opportunities for career progression.
Although the new
Duty to Gender Equality

is now in place, the Specific Duties which should deal with issues
such as these are not yet decided for Wales.


Examples of good practice
:
Pen Pych Super Dads
, attached to a school and offering
fathers the opportunity to become more involved in their ch
ildren’s lives through a range of
joint activities;
Ty Hapus Family Centre,
which has created a “men
-
friendly” image by
running weekly sessions for fathers;
RCT Dads Matter Project
, funded through
Surestart

and offering one to one support to fathers of vul
nerable families
. Fatherhood Wales

offers
professionals opportunities to share best practice and access specialist training. The forum
also provides an opportunity to influence related policy initiatives through representation on
a number of Welsh Assembly

Government Working Groups.


A recommended reading list was offered by the presenter and can be accessed from
Eurochild’s website
www.eurochild.org
.


Debate
:
family support work has historically been with women and

men were still largely in
the minority. Some centres worked with mixed groups of women and men; others felt men
and women have different learning styles [for example, men do not generally respond well
to didactic models] and single sex groups work better.

One contributor commented that
work with fathers often takes place because they’ve done something wrong; we have to
change the culture to welcome men into services in the same way as women; we need to
create “men
-
friendly” environments, which involves loo
king at staff attitudes and those of
women clients; we have to overcome pre
-
conceptions that people working with fathers are
there to teach men how to be fathers. A presentation from a conference recently organised
in Estonia on fatherhood was shared; “
One

is born to be a man, but one grows into a
father”
35

offered a sociological perspective on fatherhood, proposing measures to respond
to contemporary family lifestyles. One organisation worked with fathers who are, or have
been, in prison, commenting that th
ey still have a role to play and it is important to
organise activities that are relevant to them and respect their continuing role as parents.
One contributor commented that, in working with fathers generally, we needed to make a



34

www.learning.wales.gov.uk


35

Estonian Union for Child Welfare

www.lastekaitseliit.ee


Page
8

of
38

distinction between the g
ender issues and the role issues; we often saw a distinction being
made between women’s groups and parenting groups and should replicate this for men.
There was further discussion about creating “men
-
friendly” environments; some
organisations offer a servi
ce to assess this; the counter
-
view was that we risk perpetuating
gender stereo
-
types. One contributor commented that women can sometimes be resentful
of what they see as men’s intrusion into their domain; it’s a big issue when women see
themselves as “gat
ekeepers” of their children and won’t allow men in. A contributor from
one country said there were no procedures in place to help couples ‘re
-
frame’ their
relationship as parents in a changing world; divorce was on the increase and there was no
culture of
handling domestic violence; they needed to learn from other more developed
countries to avoid repeating mistakes. A final comment was that we should keep the rights
of children in focus in all the work we do with parents, whether mothers or fathers.



Supp
orting Parents through the Internet




Maria Arkio, Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, Finland
36


Maria Arkio

is Voluntary Supervisor of Helplines with the Mannerheim League for Child
Welfare in Finland (MLCW). MLCW is a non
-
governmental organisation which
works with
other public and private organisations to promote the well
-
being of children and families. It
believes that every child is entitled to a good and happy childhood and is a pioneer in
promoting a culture of parenting support and education, focusin
g strongly on the
relationship between children and their parents and seeking to increase the visibility of
childhood. The presentation focused on new projects to support parents through the
internet, touching briefly on parent support in a wider context
to conclude.


Background to new projects
: MLCW has a helpline for parents as well as a web mail
service. The same service exists for children and young people. Services are based on
voluntary work and, at the moment, there are 165 volunteers in Helsinki. P
arentline
operates on the basis of peer support and the children and youth line on adults that are
there for children and have time to listen. Parentline has operated for 17 years and the
web mail service for 7 years. Last year 87% of the people contacting

MLCW were women.
The concerns of managing to bring up children and running out of energy were the most
discussed topics of parents in the last year contacts. The development of projects through
the web is a natural progression from this, especially as Fin
land has one of the highest
levels of internet access in the world. One of the main ideas is to offer services and
information free of charge.


Presentation of new projects
: there are three new projects;
Tools for Every Home
,
completed and in full use;
Too
ls for Every Home2
and
Impact

[Parent School], currently in
development.


Tools for every Home

is a project to support the self
-
motivated coping of families with
children under 12 years of age. The project includes self help tools
-

such as self
-
evaluation

tests, workbooks, agreements for families, information pages, discussion
boards
-

to help solve problems in everyday life and decrease uncertainty related to
parenthood. There is also a workbook for grandparents. Materials are based on cognitive
theory, s
olution
-
focused methods and on theories of health promotion. The methods are
practical, workable and easy to use. The tools are also used by professionals and
volunteers.





36

www.mll.fi


Page
9

of
38

Tools for Every Home2

is a

follow
-
on

project to support the self
-
motivated coping of

families with young people aged 13 to 18 years. The aim of the project is to help parents
solve problems by themselves, through given information and knowledge and a similar
range of self
-
help tools. The project is currently at the starting point, collect
ing “test”
parents to survey needs. There will be separate information and workbooks for parents
and young people, but these will be used at parent’s initiative. The results of the project will
be used by parents
, professionals and volunteers.


Impact

(Par
ent School): is a two
-
year EU funded project (2007
-
2008), directed at

parents
with children aged 3 to 10 years. The main coordinator is Erlangen
-
Nürnberg University,
Germany; other participant counties are Turkey, Romania, United Kingdom and Finland.
Again
st a background of complex changes in modern society, parents have to master the
ever harder task of raising healthy, socially competent and capable young people. The
project aims to strengthen educational competence and support firm parental practices to
avoid punitive, violent reactions to difficult behaviours. Internet support packages like these
are regarded as more realistic than face
-
to
-
face contact as they overcome the problems of
time constraints and lack of mobility; there is also greater anonymity
.
Impact
also

aims to

address the low take
-
up of (
and/or high drop
-
out rate from
)

parenting courses by parents
of lower socio
-
economic status. It will develop courses with low usage barriers and simple
course instructions and target a significant number of

parents from the same social
background.
Courses will be organised in
thematic modules and on
-
going expert support
and mutual exchange of experiences between parents will be facilitated by online e
-
courses and
parents’

discussion board. As this is funded
by the EU, there will be an
expectation that the learning will be transferable to other countries.


Other parenting programmes: a
t the moment in Finland, families’ social networks are not
that strong and relatives are not as close as they used to be. Many
children live in
extended families or in a family with one parent. Biological grandparents are not an active
part of the family. Problems in relationships are common in young families. One of
MLCW’s aims is to strengthen the bonds between families, to give

them the opportunity to
get together and share ideas and common experiences.
Family Caf
és

and
Communal
grandparenting
were presented as examples.
Family Caf
és

bring families together and
enable parents to start to develop mutual assistance networks. Child
ren also
have fun
things to do, make friends and learn how to socialise with other children. Activities may
also be focused on special groups, for example immigrant families. There are now over
400
Family Caf
és

across Finland.
Communal grandparenting
creat
es possibilities for three
generations to get acquainted and become involved in activities together. Being together
with different generations enriches both children’s and adults’ lives and the valuable life
experience and wide skills of senior citizens ca
n
be
utilised. Grandparenting is understood
in the wider context than just biologically.


Debate:
there was a great deal of interest in the internet projects


particularly the
Impact
project


and many participants wanted to know if programmes would be tr
anslated into
languages other than Finnish so they could look more closely at materials used. There was
general agreement that parents and children should be encouraged to be more open in
talking about their experiences and problems, and a feeling from som
e that the media has
a responsibility not to idealise the parenting task.
Family Caf
és

and
Communal
Grandparenting
were also warmly received as good examples of the power of volunteer
work and peer support in helping to prevent social exclusion.


Page
10

of
38

Supporti
ng Immigrant Parents




Henk Dries, The Netherlands Youth Institute
37

and Simten Goren, Amsterdam
Higher Vocational Training School
38


Henk Dries

is a pedagogue and works for the Netherlands Youth Institute. The Institute is
an independent research and resourc
e organisation based in Utrecht.
Simten Goren

is a
pedagogue and teacher at the Education Faculty of Amsterdam Higher Vocational Training
School, department of pedagogy. She teaches parenting support and intercultural
communication. She has developed and i
mplemented parenting support programmes and
courses with groups of parents and professionals. The joint presentation focused on good
practice in working with immigrant parents in The Netherlands, in the context of Dutch
policy and structures to support par
ents.


Presentation
: Henk Dries provided a profile of families and children in The Netherlands.
The average age of mothers having their first child is
29 years; 33% of marriages end in
divorce; 6
-
10% of children live in poor households; 1
-
4% of children fe
ature in reports on
child abuse; 10% of children live in one parent

families and 3% live in stepfamilies. In
relation to parent support, 75 % of parents seek support, usually in their own environment;
15 % of parents have moderate problems and actively see
k professional support; 5 % of
parents experience serious problems and seek help; 2% are multi
-
problem families.
National policies to support families are modest and there is no national policy for
immigrant families. There is a Minister of Youth and Famil
y but most of the responsibility
for supporting parents falls to local communities. National legislation now requires that all
Centres for Youth and Family have to undertake 5 tasks: to inform and advise all parents,
children and young people; to detect de
velopmental and parenting problems at an early
stage; to refer parents to appropriate support and care; to help parents to parent (through,

for example, self
-
help initiatives, skills training, social support); to coordinate care, for
example assistance in
daily tasks at home.


Initiatives shown to be effective have been peer support programmes
-

such as
Home
-
Start

and
Mothers Inform Mothers;
home visiting by public health nurses
-

based on the
US Nurse
-
Family Partnership or Old’s programme; parenting train
ing courses in groups,
aimed at increasing parenting knowledge and skills and facilitating exchange of
experiences. The
Triple P
-
Positive Parenting Programme

has
now
been chosen as the
evidenced
-
based programme for implementation in Holland. This is a mult
i
-
level parenting
and family support strategy, aiming to prevent behavio
u
ral, emotional and developmental
problems in children by enhancing the knowledge, skills and confidence of parents. The
programme is for parents from birth to 16 years old. A further
programme is being
implemented for children between 2
-
6 years old from disadvantaged backgrounds, to
stimulate language and cognitive development in preparation for primary school entry.


Simten Goren

followed with information about the immigrant demograph
ics in the
Netherlands, the problems immigrant parents face and some success factors she identified
in working with immigrant parents from personal experience. Overall in the Netherlands,
10% of inhabitants are of minority ethnic origin but in cities, for
example Amsterdam, this
reaches almost 50%. In certain areas, the concentration of immigrant families is even
higher, reaching 70%
-

80%. A combination of involuntary and voluntary segregation
hinders integration. The ethnic origin of the immigrant person
is still referred to in the
Netherlands


for example, children of Turkish or Moroccan parents will be referred to as
second generation Turkish or Moroccan [instead of Dutch], which makes integration
difficult. In areas with high concentrations of immigran
t families, closer links are often



37

www.nji.nl


38

www.ehva.nl

Page
11

of
38

maintained with countries of origin, resulting in further isolation and even more difficulty in
integrating into the host country. Typical multicultural neighbourhoods (usually the
suburbs) are also characterised by socia
lly excluding factors like poor housing, high
unemployment, high social security dependency, high crime rates, low educational levels
in the first generation and school drop
-
out in the second generation.


From field experiences, engagement with parent supp
ort services revealed
similarities and
d
ifferences between native Dutch clients and immigrant clients
. The similarities were that,
in b
oth cases
,

mothers are the ones who visit the pedagogue

and the
problems tend to be
with children between
the ages of
1 a
nd a half and 4 years


old.

The differences are that
D
utch clients need one or two sessions with the pedagogue
,

while immigrant
clients
need
at least
4 or more sessions.

Dutch clients tend to start sooner with discipline, structure and
regulation of their
children
, whereas i
mmigrant
clients

do so much later,
which
is

crucial
because it is
then
more difficult to change the pattern of
behaviour
.

Dutch
clients
need
information
such as

social
skills for their children

and how to deal with things like divorce.
T
hey
also
get more support from their husbands.

Immigrant
clients
tend to have different
family issues that need resolving, for
example,
the influence that their
families
in
-
law have
over the education of the children
. T
hey

also
tend to have much less suppo
rt from the
ir
husband
s
.

Mothers
also frequently experience
psychological problems originating from
being alone, not having family support, not speaking the language

of the host country and
being married ver
y young
. T
he mother is the one who does the lion
’s

share of household
work
;

this means
she is
tired and parenting is
more onerous. This correlates with
contemporary research in The Netherlands
39
, which found that the problems experienced
by immigrant parents were not necessarily to do with parenting but mo
re related to the
social and cultural problems of being immigrants.


Successful strategies for providing parent support programmes, from personal experience,
had been shown to be: work with evidence
-
based programmes and provide training to
maintain profess
ional quality; make use of professionals from the same cultural
background who are themselves successfully integrated, engendering trust and providing
good role models of bridging two cultures; spread information of available programmes
provided by profess
ionals and parents; guide and lead parents to the various activities
available. It is important to start from parents' questions; to provide information in a
language that is understood, using professional interpretation when necessary; to draw on
parents’

strengths; to mentor new families; to visit families at home. Finally, the most
crucial aspect for success is the interaction between the individual professional and the
individual parent; we need professionals who are culture
-
sensitive, which means
aware
ness of one’s own culture and respect for other cultures; awareness of one’s own
values and biases and how they influence perceptions; an ability to be flexible in approach.


Debate
:
there was some concern that over
-
emphasis on integration could become
ass
imilation and cultural origins are lost; a proper multi
-
cultural society that is inclusive is a
richer society; we have to be careful that children do not lose sight of who they are and
where they come from and be proud of this; this is how racial tension
is avoided. One
contributor from an organisation working with immigrant families commented that only
about 50% of families are accessing services; there are a lot of pre
-
conceptions in host
countries about parenting methods in other countries but commonali
ties can also be found;
the best approach in their experience was to present options to immigrant families for
doing things differently; this found some support from other participants. Another
contributor, from an organisation working with marginalised yo
ung people of mostly
migrant backgrounds, described the difficulties presented by a lack of support from parents
to get young people into vocational training. It was necessary to do a lot of work with
parents to help them understand how important vocationa
l training was in the host country;



39

Dekovic, Pels and Model (2006)

Page
12

of
38

if young people drop out, they’re excluded. It was therefore critical to gain parents’ trust. A
contributor from an organisation working with Traveller families said many parents do not
send their children to school beca
use they feel alienated from the system; the organisation
works with parents to get children into the education system; the problems, and required
strategies to overcome them, seemed similar to those experienced by immigrant families.
The presenter was ask
ed who does the home visiting of parents; in reply, Ms Goren
explained that workers from schools, consultation bureaux, family centres or health
professionals visit families, as necessary.



P
olicy and Practice in Northern Ireland




Elaine McElduff,
Childre
n in Northern Ireland and
Charlene Moore
, Parents Advice
Centre, Northern Ireland


The joint presentation focused on policy and practice in Northern Ireland in preparation for
the Round Table Debate hosted by the Commissioner for Children and
Young People
the
following day.


Elaine McElduff
described the policy context and priorities for action for parenting and
family support in Northern Ireland. The ten year Strategy for Children and Young People in
Northern Ireland 2006
-
2016
-

Our Children and Young Peop
le


Our pledge
40

-

was
launched at the end of last year. It sets out 6 high level strategic outcomes for children ie.
that children and young people will be: H
ealthy; Living in safety and with stability; Enjoying,
learning and achieving; Experiencing econo
mic and environmental well
-
being; Contributing
positively to community and society;
Living in a society which respects their rights. The
Strategy


influenced by the
Every Child Matters
strategy in England


is the first
comprehensive, coordinated strategy

for children and young people in Northern Ireland
and is distinguished by the additional commitment to respect and enhance children’s
rights. In support of the Strategy, the Government pledges to offer support to parents,
carers and families, to ensure th
at they are able to take primary responsibility for their
children, and to assist them with the challenging task of parenting, where this is required
.
The Government will also work to energise communities so that they can also play a
supportive role for th
e benefit of children and young people. In respecting and progressing
the rights of children and young people, the Government will be
guided and informed by
the UNCRC.


A key pillar of the Strategy for Children and Young People is the [draft] Regional Fami
ly
and Parenting Strategy for Northern Ireland,
Families Matter: Supporting Families in
Northern Ireland
41
.
This aims to c
reate confident, responsible and empowered parents who
can support their children to realise their rights and reach their full potentia
l as active
participants in the family, community and society. Parental support is a priority theme and
encompasses proposed action to support parents to develop and embed alternatives to
physical punishment of children. The term Positive Parenting is used

in this context.
Proposed actions include: the provision of parenting classes on positive parenting and
anger management; initiation of an information campaign to increase parents’ awareness
of the alternatives to physical punishment; encourage profession
als to highlight
alternatives to physical punishment; issue guidance to professional groups on the change
of law and the importance of promoting positive parenting initiatives. CiNI would like to see
a widening out of this to embrace the concept and recomm
ended policy initiatives
of the
Co
E Recommendation. Other priorities are to: increase the provision of parenting
education programmes, implement a quality standards framework for all providers of



40

www.ofmdfmni.gov.uk


41

www.dhsspsni.gov.uk


Page
13

of
38

parenting and family support services and support the establ
ishment of parenting
networks; design and implement a Regional Information Database on available services
and a Regional helpline to enable parents to obtain advice and support; establish 6 new
Children’s Centres allowing parents to gain access to a wide r
ange of support services.


Charlene Moore
described c
hanges in attitudes and trends that have influenced practice
in Northern Ireland and
the work of the Parents Advice Centre.

Since the 1990’s, parenting
support has moved from being “an
alien concept” to
becoming an integral part of society.
Changes in family structures and the availability of more services have influenced this
change and parents are now more empowered to make informed choices. A range of
support services are currently provided, including
initiatives like
Surestart, Lifestart and
Homestart,
Extended Schools and the more traditional support services provided by health
professionals. Many services are provided by the voluntary sector, including the Parents
Advice Centre [PAC]. PAC operates fr
om 4 centres across Northern Ireland; it provides a
telephone helpline service; runs parenting courses; hosts the Men’s Project and the
Parenting Forum NI; and offers training in alternatives to physical punishment, in
partnership with Save the Children UK
. PAC
is also the lead partner in the rolling out of
National Occupational Standards and Accredited training for work with Parents
.



Round Table Debate




Hosted by Patricia Lewesley,
Commissioner for Children and Young People,
Northern Ireland


The Commiss
ioner

welcomed Seminar participants and representatives of Government
departments in Northern Ireland who attended. The debate was taking place at an historic
time in Northern Ireland as the new Assembly Government would be inaugurated on 8
th

May.
Pip Jaff
a

opened the debate by outlining the Seminar programme and objectives,
followed by
Jana Hainsworth
, who told participants about Eurochild, its aims and
objectives and the work it does on child poverty and social exclusion on the European
scene. The Seminar

was taking place against a background of policy change at European
level and a resum
é
of the policy processes in train was given. There was an increasing
interest in combating child poverty, promoting children’s well
-
being and the need to
support families
; what happened at European level filtered through to national levels;
Members’ Exchange Seminars would make an important contribution to these debates,
ensuring the rights of children remained in focus. Seminars also provided the opportunity
for Eurochild

to support host organisations in facilitating debate to advance national
agendas; the Round Table debate was a good example of this and thanks were due to the
Commissioner for her support.
Pauline Leeson

responded on behalf of CiNI who were
delighted to h
ost the first Seminar. CiNI was impressed by the work Eurochild was doing
and the influencing capacity Eurochild had at European level. CiNI fulfils this role at
Regional level. The new Assembly Government brought with it a sense of enthusiasm and
drive; C
iNI hoped it would be an optimum time to advance the children’s rights agenda. It
was already encouraging that the Strategy for Children and Young People made a
commitment to respect and enhance children’s rights, mirroring the steps taken at EU level
thro
ugh the EC Communication on the Rights of the Child.
Families Matter
also reflected a
strong commitment to children and young people, showing that family policy in Northern
Ireland was beginning to catch up with developments at European level.
The Co
E
Reco
mmendation on Positive Parenting was particularly inspiring, advocating a holistic
approach to parent support that involved creating the right conditions for positive parenting
that promoted the best interests of the child. It advocated non
-
violent parenti
ng but went
much further than this; CiNI hoped this would trigger a debate on what positive parenting is
and how expression could be given to it in Northern Ireland
.


Page
14

of
38

Debate
: t
here was considerable interest from participants


particularly those from non
-
U
K
countries


in the role of the Commissioner and the implications for work with children and
young people of the Reconciliation process. The Commissioner explained that her role
was to promote the best interests of children and young people; to support th
em in having
a voice in matters that concerned them; to challenge and engage with the world they live
in. There was a legal team to support children and young people in making complaints,
including legal action if necessary. During the time she had been in

office, the
Commissioner had met over 1,000 children and young people but was answerable to all of
Northern Ireland’s 5
00
,000 children. There were, at present,
37.1% (148,000) of

children
growing up in poor households

and this presented a challenge. Child
ren were now coming
out of situations of

conflict and the ripple effects were becoming evident. Children had
been caught up in family feuds which they did not fully understand. Issues affecting
children and young people and anti
-
poverty strategies were cro
ss
-
departmental issues and
there would be an investment in the new generation. The Commissioner’s Report on the
State of Children in Northern Ireland would be incorporated into the 4
th

UK Report to the
UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Further comme
nt from the floor from the policy
-
maker group was that
-

as part of the implementation of the Strategy for Children and
Young People


the Government would be collecting data to draw up a set of indicators to
measure children’s well
-
being. One of the respo
nses from the floor was that it was
important to ensure that all relevant parties were involved in this data collection, otherwise
the outcomes were skewed, for example if you need information about fathers, you must
ask the
m, not mothers on their behalf.


A lot of the debate turned on children’s rights: there was some concern expressed from the
floor that the public view was that “children can have rights as long as they’re good”;
another concern was that the upholding of children’s rights should not be ex
perienced as
paralysing to parents; it was important to emphasise that rights are not being taken away
from parents; perhaps people needed reassurance as to how the balance of children’s
rights and parents rights would be achieved. Comment from the floor f
rom the policy
-
maker group was that children’s rights have to be put at the centre; the additional provision
in the Northern Ireland Strategy for Children and Young People to respect and enhance
children’s rights was not just an “add
-
on”; when canvassed, c
hildren and young people
were more enthusiastic about providing proper support for their parents than any other
provision. Another contributor from the floor reminded participants that strategies for
children and young people predicated on the UNCRC were a
lready in place in other
countries of the UK, offering examples of how policy translates into practice.



Concluding Debate




Pip Jaffa
,
Chair



Jan
a Hainsworth
,
Eurochild


Pip Jaffa

and Jan
a Hainsworth

jointly led this concluding debate.
Seminar participants

endorsed the concept and underlying principles of the Council of Europe Positive
Parenting Recommendation, which both informed and inspired the debate, providing the
context for the

Key Messages
in the beginning of the document.


Pip Jaffa
, as Chair, clos
ed the Seminar and thanked all participants, on behalf of
Eurochild and CiNI, for their investment in making this first Members’ E
xchange Seminar
such a success.



Page
15

of
38

Annex I: Seminar
Programme


Thursday 26
th

April 2007


Chair: Pip Jaffa
, Chief Executive,
P
arents Advice Centre, Northern Ireland


09.30

Registration


10.00
Welcome and Introductions

Pip Jaffa
, Chair


10.30

Opening Statement

Jana Hainsworth
,
Secretary General, Eurochild


10.40

Supporting Parents in Europe

Mary Daly
,
Professor of Sociology, Queens Univ
ersity, Belfast; EU Independent Social
Inclusion Expert for the Republic of Ireland; Expert Advisor to the Council of Europe


11.25

BREAK


11.40
Supporting Parents in the UK

Mary Crowley,
Chief Executive
, Parenting UK


12.20

Key points from morning sessi
on

Pip Jaffa
,
Chair


12.30

LUNCH AND NETWORKING


13.30

Re
-
convene for afternoon session
.
The Chair will lead the debate following formal
presentations, when there will be time for interventions from the floor from other countries


13.30

Supporting Fathers: A Nat
ional Perspective from Wales

Tony Ivens
, Children in Wales, UK


14.30

Supporting Parents through the Internet: A National Perspective from Finland

Maria Arkio and Anne Viinikka
, The Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, Finland


15.00

BREAK


15.15

S
upportin
g Immigrant Parents: A National Perspective from the

Netherlands

Ingrid Ligtermoet and Simten Goren
, The Netherlands Youth Institute


16.15

P
olicy and Practice in Northern Ireland: Agenda for Round Table Debate

Elaine McElduff
,
Children in Northern Ireland
,
Charlene Moore
, Parents Advice Centre,
Northern Ireland


17.00

Key points from afternoon session

Pip Jaffa
,
Chair


17.15

CLOSE


19.15 Evening Social Event


Friday 27
th

April 2007


09.30

Round Table Debate

Hosted by Patricia Lewesley
,
Commissioner for Children
and Young People, Northern
Ireland


11.00
Visit to Stormont Parliament Buildings


12.30

LUNCH AND NETWORKING


13.30

Promoting Children’s Rights through Positive Parenting Policies:

Plenary Session on Key Messages for Member States


Chair

Pip Jaffa
,
Parents

Advice Centre, Northern Ireland


15.00

CLOSE

Page
16

of
38

Annex I
I
: Seminar Participants

(by country)



first name

last name

Organisation

country

Altin

Hazizaj

Children’s Human Rights Centre of Albania
-

䍒CA

Alb慮áa

blsa

lsã慮á

SOS Children’s Villages

Alb慮áa

䵡j


䑡湴c桥îa

SOS Children’s Villages Bulgaria Association

B畬条êáa

b湥

qçã扥êg

bs瑯íá慮 啮á潮⁦潲⁃çál搠t敬f慲a

bs瑯íáa

䵡êáa
䵡a瑵í

Aêâáç

q桥⁍ 湮敲桥áã⁌ 慧略⁦潲⁃桩l搠t敬f慲攠

cá湬慮d

A湮É

sáá湩ââa

q桥⁍ 湮敲桥áã⁌ 慧略⁦潲⁃桩l搠t敬f慲a

cá湬慮d

j
慲楡
-
q棩êa

䑯湩湩⁆敲É整É

c潮摡íáç渠nDA畴敵ál

cê慮cÉ

m慴物câ

副畧敶á渠BaîállÉ

c潮摡íáç渠nDA畴敵ál

cê慮cÉ

䵩c桡敬

c摲楣h

vbp
c潲畭
⼠LAd
bî慮g

g畧敮摳çzá慬慲扥áí

d敲ã慮ó

B慲扡aa

uó摯u

q敬数桯湥⁈敬élá湥
-
䍯湮Éc瑩潮 AKm⹈⹃KA

dê敥cÉ

䵡êáa

䡥ecz潧

c慭
álóⰠ
䍨áld

v潵í栠佲条nás慴a潮

䡵湧慲ó

d敲慬dá湥

B敲敲整潮

l湥⁆慭áló

䥲敬慮d

䍡湤ó

䵵ê灨ó

Children’s Rights Alliance

䥲敬慮d

dêazáÉlla

䍡C瑩llç

c潵湤慴a潮⁦潲⁓潣áal t敬晡牥⁓敲Éác敳

䵡lía

䡥湫

䑲á敳

q桥⁎整 敲É慮摳 vç畴u⁉湳íá瑵íÉ

乥瑨敲l慮摳

d潲敮

páã瑥í

b摵c慴áç渠䙡nulíó 潦⁁ãs瑥ê摡ã⁈ 杨敲⁖潣慴a潮al
qê慩湩湧 pc桯潬Ⱐ摥é慲瑭É湴n潦⁰ d慧çgó

乥瑨敲l慮摳

A杮á敳zâa

h潭慲
-
䵯ê慷sâa

Ombudsman for Children’s Office (Director)

m潬慮d

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Stephen

Harvey

Children in Scotland

UK
, Scotland

Lucy Anne

Akhtar

Children in Wales

UK, Wales

Lynne

Hill

Children in Wales

UK, Wales

Tony

Ivens

Children in Wales

UK, Wales





Organisers




Jana

Hainsworth

Eurochild

Belgium

Anne

Williams

Consultant on children's issues in Europe

France

Pauline

Leeson

Children in Northern Ireland

UK, Northern Ireland

Caroline

King

Children in Northern Ireland

UK, Northern Ireland

Elaine

McElduff

Children in Northern Ireland

UK, Northern Ireland

Pip

Jaffa

Parents Advice Centre, Northern Ireland

UK, Nor
thern Ireland

Charlene

Moore

Parents Advice Centre, Northern Ireland

UK, Northern Ireland

Ian

Brough
-
Williams

Volunteer






Invited guest speakers



Mary

Daly

Queen's University, Belfast


Mary

Crowley

Parenting UK




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Annex II
I
: Participants
Brie
f
and
Preparatory Reading


Members’ Exchange Seminar 2007

26
-
27 April, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK


Promoting Children’s Rights through Positive Parenting Policies


Participants’ Brief and Preparatory Reading


(
Please follow links for key papers to which

we will refer in the Seminar. The language of the
Seminar will be English but papers are available in most of
the other languages of the EU.)


1.

About Eurochild


Eurochild

is an international non
-
profit making asso
ciation promoting the rights and welfare of
children in Europe. Established in 2004, the network now brings together over 40 member
organisations from 20 countries, many of whom are themselves national umbrella
organisations. This enables the network to re
ach out to several hundred organisations across
Europe, all of whom are working directly with or for children and share a commitment to
promoting the principles enshrined within the

UN Convention of
the Rights of the Child
.
Eurochild is particularly concerned to promote the rights of the most excluded children and
young people to participate in society and to influence on national and EU level policies to
further this objective.


2.

The EU policy contex
t of Eurochild’s work


Member States of the EU collaborate towards the achievement of agreed Common
Objectives to promote greater social cohesion and increased economic prosperity. The basis
of this collaboration is a process of policy exchange and mutual
learning known as the Open
Method of Coordination (OMC). This allows Member States to jointly develop policies without
compromising subsidiarity. The Common Objectives for the OMC on social protection and
social inclusion are contained within the EC

Commun
ication
“Working together, working
better: A new framework for the open coordination of social protection and inclusion policies
in the European Union”.

Member States

translate these objectives into national policies and
produce National Reports on Strategies for Social Protection and Social Inclusion. The EC
publishes, analyses and assesses National Reports, producing Joint Reports on progress,
examples of good practi
ce and key priorities for the next planning cycle. The
2007 Joint
Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion

was adopted by the Council o
f Ministers in
March this yea
r.


European Networks are considered an important instrument for facilitating the participation of
civil society in this process. As a European network of children’s organisations, Eurochild
receives funding from the EC to facilitate the exchange of inform
ation, experience and best
practice on issues concerning children, young people and families to feed into this policy
process. Members’ Exchange Seminars are a
n expression of this objective.


3.

Members’ exchange seminars


Members’ exchange seminars have a th
ree
-
fold purpose:


a) to give members’ greater insight into each others’ way of working thereby facilitating future
collaboration and capacity building


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b) to deepen members knowledge and exchange of ideas around a specific aspect of tackling
child povert
y and social exclusion


c) to contribute to the policy debates Eurochild wants to influence at European level


The Parenting Support Seminar in Northern Ireland

will be the first Exchange Seminar to be
held but it is anticipated that Exchange Seminars wil
l become a regular feature

of Eurochild’s
work programme.


4.

Contributing to the national agenda in Northern Ireland


Seminars also provide an opportunity for member organisations in host countries to bring
Eurochild’s collective support to national agendas
for children and young people by facilitating
debate with policy
-
makers and sharing examples of policy developments in other European

countries.
Children in Northern Ireland

is hosting the members exchange on parenting

support to bring attention to
the recently launched Family and Parenting Strategy

Families
Matter: Supporting Families in Northern Ireland
”.

During the seminar, the Commissioner fo
r
Children and Young People will host a debate on this new strategy
.


Families Matter is a key supporting pillar of Northern Ireland’s first cross
-
government 10
-
Year
Strategy for Children and Young People in Northern Ireland. The 10
-
year Strategy sets a
se
ries of high level outcomes for children and young people and core to these outcomes is
the creation of a society in Northern Ireland t
hat respects children’s rights.


Families Matter, guided and informed by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ai
ms
to support the implementation of the 10
-
Year Strategy by creating confident, responsible and
empowered parents who can support their children to realise their rights and reach their full
potential as active participants in the family, community and soci
ety. Parental support is a
priority theme and encompasses proposed action to support parents to develop and embed
alternatives to physical punishment of children. Children in Northern Ireland (CiNI) will
examine these proposed actions more fully in its inp
ut to the semina
r.


5.

Children, young people and families on the EU agenda


There has been an increasing focus on children’s wellbeing at EU level since the Spring
Council of March 2006, when Heads of State called for Member States to “
take necessary
measure
s to rapidly and significantly reduce child poverty, giving all children equal

opportunities, regardless of their social background”

(
Point 72 of the
Presidency conclusions
,

March 2006).

Member States have responded to this with an increased emphasis on
strategies to break the intergenerational inheritance of poverty and disadvantage. Access to
education and training is central to this, with early years’ services commanding p
articular
atten
tion.


The subsequent launch in July 2006 of the EC Communication

Towards an EU Strategy on
the Rights of the Child


has further increased children’s

visibility and raised awareness of
rights
-
based issues.


At the same time, the need to support families has gained momentum, driven by the
challenges of demographic ageing and the need to encourage families to have as many
children as they wish by providi
ng better early years services and a better work/life balance.

The
Spring Council Presidency conclusions of March 2007

referred to ‘the establishment of
an "Alliance for Fam
ilies" that will serve as a platform for the exchange of views and
knowledge on family
-
friendly policies as well as of good practices between Member States”.
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A specific Communication on family policy is expected to be launched by the European
Commission


prepared by the Unit for social situation and demography


in May 2007
.


6.

The Council of Europe recommendations on positive parenting


In December 2006, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted

Recommendation 19 [2006]

to Member States on policies to support positive parenting.


The fundamental principles of the rights
-
based approach advocated in the
Recommendation include the recognition of both children and parents as holders of righ
ts;
the acknowledgement of the importance to children of growing up in a favourable family
environment and positive atmosphere; the responsibility of the state, in keeping with the
provisions of the UNCRC, to create the right conditions for supporting pare
nts in this task.
Creating the right conditions means ensuring access to appropriate material,
psychological, social and cultural resources; taking steps to remove barriers to positive
parenting, such as a better reconciliation of family and working life;
and importantly, raising
awareness of the value of positive parenting, to p
arents, children and the state.


7.

Anticipated outcomes of the seminar


Eurochild anticipates a high level discussion of what constitutes good practice in supporting
parents to promot
e the best interests of their children. There will be expert input from
speakers on policy and practice developments at European and national levels and a rich
international exchange of knowledge and experience from 18 differe
nt countries and nation
states
.


We expect the debate to culminate in key messages for success in developing positive
parenting approaches, articulating values and principles that underpin a best practice
approach. These key messages will be published in the seminar report and on the E
urochild
website
.
Good practice examples of innovative project work should also be made available
from this webpage. We hope that these key messages will launch an on
-
going debate, and
will also feed into the on
-
going work of Eurochild in the following key

a
reas of EU policy
development:


a) the fight against poverty and social exclusion

The focus on child poverty within the EU social inc
lusion agenda is very welcome.
Most
member states are proposing a policy mix that includes policies and measures targetin
g
parents. It is important that the debate builds upon concrete experiences of effective
parenting support strategies and approaches. Eurochild is keen to illustrate with examples of
how a child rights approach is consistent with efforts to empower and sup
port families at risk.


The views and experiences of Eu
rochild members will feed into:



A Peer Review between EU member states of policies and measures to tackle child
poverty planned for October 2007



The ‘Round Table on social inclusion’ hosted by the Port
uguese Presidency in October
2007 where there will be a specific workshop on child poverty



The Joint Report on social inclusion and social protection 2008 that is expected to have
a specific focus on child poverty



Consultation for the preparation of the Eu
ropean year against poverty and social
exclusion (2010)


b) tackling the challenges of demographic change

All Member States are facing unprecedented change in the age composition of their societies.
At the moment there are four people of working age for e
very citizen aged 65 or over; by
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2050 the ratio is expected to be 2:1. The key tenet of Member States policy response is
‘demographic renewal’


that is encouraging citizens to have the number of children they
want through family support and reconciliation

of work and family life. Often this is ‘reduced’ to
child care provision. While crucial, Eurochild emphasises the need to look more broadly at
how children are valued in society and ensuring family policies reflect the best interest of the
child.


The vie
ws and experiences of Eu
rochild members will feed into:



Eurochild’s response to the forthcoming Co
mmunication on Families and the



Recommendations to the “Alliance for Families”



Preparations for the next Forum on demographic change (2008)


c) promotion of l
ife
-
long learning

The idea of lifelong learning (LLL) has grown considerably in importance both at EU and at
national level. It is a key element of the so
-
called Lisbon strategy and a guiding principle of
the programme ‘Education and Training 2010’ that se
ts concrete objectives for changes in the
EU’s education and training systems
.


Early childhood learning


including the family environment and parental education


is
referred to as particular concern of several Member States in their reports to the EU on

life
-
long learning strategies.

(
Implementing lifelong learning strategies in Europe
, December
2003)


It should also be noted that the Leonardo da Vinci programme


an EU funding programme to

support vocational training


has supported an EU
-
wide project “
Parenting in the 21
st

Century

designed to help partners in the EU share knowledge and expertise in practices fo
r
supporting parents
.
Eurochild hopes to build on the results of this work in its follow
-
up work
on promoting children’s rights through positive parenting policies.


In addition to contributing to Eurochild’s on
-
going policy development in these key areas,

the
results

of the seminar will feed into:



Eurochild’s 2007 Annual Con
ference on early intervention:
preventing social exclusion
from the perspective of the child,

the parent and social services



Children in Northern Ireland’s response to the UK’s 4
th

Repo
rt to the UN Commi
ttee on
the Rights of the Child



Eurochild, Brussels

April 2007