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International Conference on
Child Rights

Romania ( Bucharest ), 2 and 3 of February 2006

Child Rights, the Role of Families and Alternative Care Policies

Developments, Trends and Challenges in Europe

States Parties to the CRC still face serious difficulties regarding care provision for children in informal or formal fostering, including kinship care and adoption, or residential facilities. The CRC includes a number of articles which serve to make clear States' obligations to support families in their role, and to remove children from parental care only if certain conditions are met. On the other hand, the Convention also requires States Parties to ensure appropriate substitute care for all children who are without parental care for whatever reason.

Despite the thorough attention to this topic within the Convention, and the existence of certain supplementary instruments which provide further guidance on some of the areas covered, the Committee on the Rights of the Child has called during 2004 for the development of “United Nations Guidelines for the Protection of Children without Parental Care”.

Moreover, the last General Discussion Day of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (held on 16 th September 2005 ) debated the issue of “Children without parental care”. Also the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers adopted in 2005 a Recommendation on the rights of children living in residential institutions”. The Regional Consultation for the UN Study on Violence Against Children (held in Ljubljana in July 2005) also had a Panel Discussion on State Accountability to Protect Children from Violence in the Alternative Care System.

This remains unfortunately a highly acute issue – including in Europe – and the exchange of ideas and best practices in this regard could bring an important contribution for CoE Member States to make progress in this area.


Wednesday, 1 st February 2006

Arrival of international guests

Registration of participants



Thursday, 2 nd February 2006

09.00-13.00 Morning Session

09.00-10.30 Opening session

Plenary session

Chairperson : Baroness Emma Nicholson , the European Parliament, Vice-president of the Foreign Affairs Committee

Opening statement :

Romanian high level officials:

Ferdinand Nagy, Secretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs;

Gheorghe Barbu, Minister of Labour, Social Solidarity and Family;

Anca Boagiu , Minister of European Integration

Introductory Statements :

Council of Europe : Maud de Boer-Buquicchio , Deputy Secretary General

European Commission: Jonathan Scheele , Head of Delegation of the European Commission in Romania

UNICEF: Pierre Poupard , Country Representative , Romania

Awarding ceremony for the Romanian Students Essay Writing Competition winners - Bogdan Adrian Panait , State Secretary, the Romanian National Authority for the Protection of Child's Rights and Mihai Hardau , Minister of Education and Research.

Short allocution of an Essay Competition winner

Presentation of a short documentary movie – “Apartment 19”

10.30 -11.00 Coffee break; press conference (Beijing Room)

11.00 -13.00 International and European legal standards on child rights, the role of families and alternative care

Plenary session

Chairperson : Monica Octavia Musca , Deputy, the Romanian Parliament, Euro-observer

•  Elda Moreno, Council of Europe, Director of the programme Building Europe for and with children : "Advocating for Children's Rights: Council of Europe legal instruments"

•  Eugenia Dumitriu-Segnana , European Court of Human Rights: “Case Law of the ECHR related to child rights, role of families and alternative care”

•  Sylvain Vité , NGO Working Group on Children Without Parental Care, Geneva : “International Standards for the Protection and Alternative Care of Children without Parental Care”

- Kate Adie (BBC UK ): “The Identity of Foundlings”

13.00-14.30 Lunch

14.30-17.30 Afternoon Session

14.30 National experiences and best practices regarding child rights, family relations and alternative care

Plenary session

Chairperson : Minodora Cliveti , Deputy, the Romanian Parliament, member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

•  Bogdan Adrian Panait , State Secretary, National Authority for the Protection of Child's Rights and Camelia Goleanu , Deputy Ombudsman , the Romanian experience

•  Trond Waage , Senior Fellow, Innocenti Research Center , UNICEF, former Ombudsman for Children of Norway, the Norwegian experience

16.00-16.30 Coffee break

•  Vessela Banova , Vice-president, State Agency for Child Protection: the Bulgarian experience

•  Theodora Bertzi , State Secretary, The Romanian Office for Adoptions: “Adoption in Romania

•  Evelyn Robinson, author of “Adoption and Loss – The Hidden Grief” and “Adoption and Recovery – Solving the mystery of reunion: “ Adoption Separation – Healing through Understanding”


Pierre Cornelis explains the contents of each WG and also the methodology that will be followed during WGs

Ending – entertainment ( Tra-la-la theater band will perform a pantomime moment. The scenario is based on child's rights)


Friday, 3 rd February 2006

9.30-12.30 Morning Session

Four Parallel Working Groups

WG1 Family Support Policies in European Countries: Challenges and Constraints

WG2 States' Role in Preventing and Regulating Family Separation

WG3 Children in Residential Institutions

WG4 Other Types of out-of-home care: existing challenges

Each workshop will have a Chairperson, two Keynote Speakers and a Rapporteur.

11:00–11:30 Coffee break

12:30–14:00 Lunch

14.00-17.00 Afternoon Session

14.00–15.30 Working Groups continue

15:30–16:00 Coffee break

16.00 Reporting back from the Working Groups in plenary session

 Plenary session

Chairperson : Ioana Nedelcu , Sub-Secretary of State, the Romanian National Authority for the

Protection of Child's Rights

The rapporteurs draw conclusions from the debates held in the working groups

Bucharest recommendations - Bogdan Adrian Panait , State Secretary of the Romanian National Authority for the Protection of Child's Rights

17.00 Closing remarks

European Parliament : Ana Maria Gomes , Member of the European Parliament


Programming for the WGs

WG1: Family Support Policies in European Countries: Challenges and Constraints

Chair : Tone Dolcic , Human Rights Deputy Ombudsman, Slovenia

Rapporteur : Barry Wilson

Keynote Speakers:

1. Virginia Maria Bras Gomes, Head of Department , Directorate General for Solidarity and Social Security, Ministry for Labour and Solidarity , Portugal

2. Gaspar Fajth, Senior Advisor on Global Policy, UNICEF Division on Policy and Planning


WG2: States' Role in Preventing and Regulating Family Separation

Chair: Pierre Cornelis, the Attorney General's Office at the Supreme Court , Belgium

Rapporteur : Mieke Verheyde

Keynote Speakers:

1. Jyothi Kanics , Program Manager “Separated Children in Europe ” Project , Denmark

2. Izabella Popa, Director of Department for Strategies and Programmes, National

Authority for the Protection of Children's Rights, Romania


WG3 Children in Residential Institutions

Chair : Julien Attuil , Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe

Rapporteur : Arundhati Sanyal

Keynote Speakers:

1. Bragi Gudbrandsson , General Director, Government Agency for Child Protection, Iceland

2. Andrew Hosie , Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care


WG4 Other Types of out-of-home care: existing challenges

Chair: Lemme Haldre, Psychoterapist, Tartu Child Support Centre , Estonia

Rapporteur : Bep van Sloten

Keynote Speakers:

1. Elaine Farmer , Professor of Child and Family Studies, University of Bristol , UK

2. Emmanuel Sherwin , Chairperson of the Youth Committee, International Foster Care Organisation




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