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Research webinar: European Observatory on Family Policy

Logos of COFACE and Odisee side by side



Towards greater family policy integration across Europe:
Overcoming sectoral fragmentation in supporting families with young children

15th November, 14.00-15.30 CET

This research webinar was open to anyone interested in research on family policies (from a design or implementation perspective).

It was the occasion to discuss the results of the first research report of the European Observatory on Family Policy with COFACE Families Europe and the Centre for Family Studies of ODISEE University of Applied Sciences, founders of the Observatory. Download the full Observatory report here and watch the recording of the webinar here.

The Observatory aims to serve as a platform for the observation, analysis, and dissemination of evidence on family policy and other social concerns directly relevant to family well-being across the European Union.


14.00-14.10 Welcome
Annemie Drieskens, President of COFACE Families Europe
Kathleen Emmery, Coordinator of ODISEE Knowledge Centre for Family Studies

14.10-14.50 Presentation of the research findings
Martino Serapioni, Research Programme Coordinator, European Observatory on Family Policy
See full presentation here

14.50-15.20 Q&A with participants

15.20-15.30 Conclusions and next steps

Working language: English
Webinar platform: Zoom



About the report

Family policy is a complex and multifaceted domain that encompasses a wide spectrum of policies, programmes and services aimed at supporting families and promoting their well-being. This first Observatory report aims to provide a comparative description of the state of this field in five countries of the European Union (EU). The report focuses especially on processes of alignment and integration between policy areas catering to families with young children, as well as on the specifics of coordination between education, care, and health services.

Today, many signs point to the heightened significance of these policies. Within the framework of the EU, following the unveiling of the European Pillar of Social Rights in 2017, activity in the broader family domain has increased rapidly. The Pillar has been a catalyst for strengthening national parental leave legislation, tackling child poverty, raising targets for participation in early childhood education and care (ECEC), and developing national frameworks in the areas of long-term care and disability rights.

Families with young children face a complex array of needs prior to their children’s compulsory schooling. These needs, which are often intertwined with specific circumstances and contexts, span across different areas of the public sector. They cannot simply be defined on the basis of existing public administrations, as educational desires, healthcare demands, or caregiving wants. Addressing these needs requires the involvement of various public administrations, services, and professionals in a collaborative manner. Furthermore, this does not constitute a one-time event, but rather requires ongoing coordination between different services over an extended period of time.

In light of this, the report seeks to delve into three distinct scenarios of complex needs faced by families with very young children: balancing care, family life, and return to employment; managing early childhood development and education; and ensuring access to guidance and support during and after the perinatal phase. To achieve this objective, the report conducts an in-depth analysis of five country case studies, namely Finland, Germany, Italy, Poland and the Belgian region of Flanders. These case studies will provide valuable insights on how services that fall within the purview of related family policies can either effectively integrate or remain fragmented while addressing these complex needs across multiple sectors.





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