Best interests of the child and policies to ensure a work-life balance
- Parliamentary Assembly
adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of
the Assembly, on 26 November 2021 (see Doc. 15405, report of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and
Sustainable Development, rapporteur: Ms Françoise Hetto Gaasch).
The Parliamentary Assembly refers
to Resolution 2410 (2021)
interests of the child and policies to ensure a work–life balance”.
The best interests of the child must be regarded as one of the ultimate
goals of the Council of Europe so that every child can be provided
with a good start in life. We know that “it is easier to build strong
children than to repair broken men” (Frederick Douglass).
2. Striking a better balance between work and private life without
impairing the child’s best interests is a challenge for authorities.
It is also a social, economic, political and demographic need. This
new ambition requires the co-operation of national authorities,
local and regional authorities, parents and professionals. It means
that we must strike at the root of child poverty and exclusion and
meet parents’ needs while making available the necessary resources
for children’s harmonious development.
3. The United Nations International Convention on the Rights
of the Child and Article 17 of the European Social Charter (ETS
No. 35) require States Parties to provide the necessary protection
for children’s development, particularly the most vulnerable children,
such as girls, migrants and children from ethnic minorities or born
to poor, single-parent or sexual minority families.
4. The Assembly is convinced that the Council of Europe can help
to set up inclusive early childhood family policies that respond
to the needs expressed by parents while protecting the best interests
of the child. It supports the current work to prepare a new strategy
for the rights of the child for 2022 to 2027 and invites the Steering
Committee for the Rights of the Child (CDENF) to incorporate early
childhood policies and policies for the first 1 000 days of life
into its activities.
The Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:
5.1 incorporate issues linked to
the policy for the first 1 000 days of life into the next strategy
for the rights of the child and groundbreaking work on the roots
5.2 help the member States to prepare national strategies
on early childhood, promote good practices and ensure exchanges
of information between the authorities running these national strategies.
6. Bearing in mind its role working alongside the member States,
the Assembly calls on the Committee of Ministers to advocate the
opening of negotiations as soon as possible for the European Union
to accede to the revised European Social Charter (ETS No. 163),
the aim being to enhance the consistency of European standards with
regard to socio-economic rights.