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Children without parental care: urgent need for action

Recommendation 1939 (2010)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 7 October 2010 (35th Sitting) (see Doc. 12345, report of the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Mr Omtzigt). Text adopted by the Assembly on 7 October 2010 (35th Sitting).
1. Referring to its Resolution 1762 (2010) on children without parental care: urgent need for action, the Parliamentary Assembly draws attention to the fact that, despite numerous efforts undertaken with a view to improving the situation of children deprived of parental care at national, European and international level, the issue should be given a new sense of urgency in the current context of globalisation and the economic crisis. This should also be done with regard to national policies which are not sufficiently oriented towards an approach promoting the de-institutionalisation of childcare, notwithstanding that certain measures may have been found to be in the “best interests of the child” as enshrined as a guiding principle in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
2. The Assembly therefore calls on the Committee of Ministers to:
2.1 complete and consolidate Council of Europe activities undertaken under the current programme Building a Europe for and with Children and its 2009-2011 strategy by:
2.1.1 focusing on the issue of de-institutionalisation of childcare according to a broad understanding of the concept, including the development of prevention strategies, the restructuring of residential care and the transfer of children to arrangements which are more favourable to their personal development;
2.1.2 mandating the competent intergovernmental bodies to prepare a European practice report presenting the progress made as regards the de-institutionalisation of childcare in Council of Europe member states and to promote, amongst member states, the preparation of national studies which could develop synergies with the European reporting process;
2.1.3 mandating the same intergovernmental bodies to prepare a draft recommendation of the Committee of Ministers on the de-institutionalisation of alternative childcare, taking into consideration the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, adopted by the United Nations in November 2009, and the good practice guide on “De-institutionalising and Transforming Children’s Services” published in February 2010 by the European Commission’s Daphne Programme, as well as the Committee of Ministers Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)2 on deinstitutionalisation and community living of children with disabilities;
2.1.4 promoting, in the meantime, the implementation of existing international instruments, notably the recent United Nations Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, also by calling upon member states involved in relevant intergovernmental activities to prepare national action plans;
2.1.5 continuing to deploy and strengthen specific child-related activities which can contribute to consolidating the situation of children without parental care, such as those concerning child-friendly social services, health-care and justice systems;
2.1.6 launching a pan-European campaign to stop sexual violence against children as a way of contributing to the prevention of children being separated from their parents;
2.1.7 multiplying pragmatic approaches aimed at supporting the implementation of European and international standards at national level, such as those pursued in recent years by the Joint Council of Europe/European Union programme Enforcing the Rights of the Child and Re-integrating Children at Risk into Society, Russia 2007-2008;
2.2 with regard to any future Council of Europe reporting or standard-setting activities, continue to closely co-operate with other European and international organisations undertaking substantial work regarding various groups of children without parental care or adequate alternative childcare arrangements, such as the United Nations and its agencies (notably Unicef), the European Commission, and European networks such as Eurochild, SOS KDI or Save the Children.