What COFACE Families Europe stands for


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Who we are

We are ‘COFACE Families Europe’.
We are an organisation that works for the rights
of all families in Europe since 1958.
In short, we are called ‘COFACE’.

At COFACE, we want to make sure
that all families can enjoy
a good, healthy and safe life.

We often think of families
as parents and children.

But families can have many forms.
For example,
there are children who grow up
only with one parent or with their grandparents.
There are also children who grow up
with two fathers or two mothers.

At COFACE, we believe that:

  • All forms of families are important
    and they have the same rights.
    No family should be left out 
    just because it has a different form.
  • Men and women are equal
    and they have the same rights and duties
    when they become parents.
  • All families have the right
    to enjoy a good life.
  • All families have the right
    to speak up for themselves.
  • Countries should give support to families in need
    so they can have a good life and take part in the community.
  • It is important that family members of different ages
    can learn from each other.

Our members

COFACE has more than 50 members
in 23 countries in Europe.

Our members are organisations which work
to help families to have a good
and safe life and especially those in higher risk of being left out.

For example:

  • Families who are very poor.
  • Single parents who raise their child alone.
  • Families with children with disabilities.
  • Families who live in places away from the community
    and do not have easy access to hospitals
    and other important things.

You can check the list of our members 
by clicking here

How we work

Once per year, we organise a big meeting with all our members.
This way we can talk about important topics for families in Europe
and plan our work to make things better.
We call this meeting ‘General Assembly’.

We also have:

  • The ‘Administrative Council’.
    This is a group of people
    who make decisions for COFACE.
  • The ‘Executive Bureau’
    This is a group of people who work
    to make sure these decisions
    are put into practice.
  • The ‘Secretariat’
    This is a group of people who work
    in our office in Brussels
    and do the every-day work of COFACE.

In 1998, we made
the ‘COFACE Disability Platform’.
This is a group of more than 20 organisations
that came together to make things better
for people with disabilities and their families.

For example, they push countries to:

  •  Listen to the needs
    of people with disabilities
    and their families and respect their rights.
    • Give them the right support to enjoy their lives
      and make their own choices.

    We wrote a booklet to talk about the inclusion
    of people with disabilities and their families
    in the community or society.
    Inclusion means to be part of something.
    It means to not be left out.
    Click here to read the booklet.

    What we​ work for

    At COFACE, we work to make sure that countries:

    • Understand the needs of all families,
    • Respect their rights,
    • Support them to have a good life.

    We want to have a society
    in which all families can take part and enjoy their rights. 

    We want to make sure that:

    • Parents who work get the right support
      to be able to take care of their families.
      For example, they should be able
      to take time off work
      when their children are sick.
    • Women and men who are parents
      have the same rights and duties.
      It should not be expected
      only from one of them
      to care for their child.
    • People with disabilities and their families
      get the support they need
      to be independent
      and make their own choices in life.
    • All children have the chance
      to go to school and take part in activities
      with other children.
      They should not be left out
      if they have a disability, they are poor
      or anything else.
    • Children have the right to grow
      in a safe and healthy family and society.
    • Countries spend their money
      to make things better
      for their people and the planet.
    • Countries help families in need
      like those who are very poor or left out.
    • All families have access to technology
      like computers or tablets.
      Using technology can help them
      to work, study, learn new skills
      and stay in contact with other people.

    Join us!

    At COFACE, we think it is important to come together,
    share our experiences and learn from each other.
    That is why in January 2021 we started
    organising the ‘Breakfast Bytes Webinars’.
    These are meetings that happen online
    every month.

    People working with families and children
    talk in these meetings about their experience
    and explain why it is important for families
    to get the right support. 

    Everyone who is interested in these topics
    can take part in these meetings.

    You can find more information about these online meetings here


    Our aims for 2020-2024

    There are 10 aims we ask the European Union
    to make happen by 2024:

    1. Recognise all forms of families
    2. Recognise parents as equal
    3. Make sure all children have a good and safe life
    4. Support families of people with disabilities
    5. Listen to the needs of families
    6. Make access to internet possible for all people
    7. Support families that are poor or left out
    8. Support family carers
    9. Respect the rights of all families
    10. Make the Sustainable Development Goals happen

    See the full booklet here: Our aims for 2020-2024

    More information

    If you want to know more about our work
    or if you have any questions,
    you can send us an email at