In 2020 all families suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic but there was also a wave of unseen solidarity, creativity and resilience among people. Never before the family ties and family support was so vitally important: families served as first safety net when various care and support services were forced to close due to lockdowns.
It is time to focus our energies on shaping a healthy society, environment and economy fit for children and families. We are convinced that children will thrive if their family thrives and if the whole society cares enough to provide for them. COFACE’s Child Compass 2030 presents this direction to develop comprehensive, integrated and long-term strategies to support both children and their families.
For 2021 we and our partners from COFACE Families Europe have adjusted the way we work and identified how to react to this new reality. We shifted our events online and, helped by technology, bring people together in the online world. We have set new goals with special focus on well-established and quality family support systems for the wide diversity of families with special attention to those in vulnerable situations.
Our freshly launched European Family Lab brings the wide expertise of the members in supporting families on the frontline through breakfast bytes (webinars). The idea is to help connect family professionals from across Europe to effectively address common challenges together. Family supports are an essential part of making social rights a reality, and civil society has grown over decades to create a wide range of supports to families and children to ensure health and well-being. Now, more than ever, it is important to connect professionals in real time through transnational exchanges in order to tackle the social impacts of COVID-19 on families and children.
Monthly webinars throughout 2021 will spread knowledge, put the spotlight on the work of COFACE members who provide a wide range of family support, and grow our international community of family support practitioners. The target group of the webinars is especially professionals working with families and children but is open to all (researchers, policy-makers, teachers, health workers, families, and more).
This Breakfast Bytes series will focus on diverse types of family supports in 10 countries, including peer support, family mediation, housing support, bullying prevention, teenage parenthood, family group conferencing, work-life balance, loving long-distance, and digital parenting. The objective is to help family professionals meet and connect, aiming to build their capacity through transnational exchange and innovative solutions to ensure effective responses to all families without discrimination.
One can meet and connect with family professionals every month in 2021, for a 90-minute online webinar (9.30-11.00 Brussels time) to learn about family support and raise questions to our experts. There is a symbolic fee of 5 euros per webinar, or 30 euros for the full webinar series and you could register here. One could also offer a webinar (or the full series) as a present to a partner organisation.