80 % of care work is still provided by informal carers in Europe. There are thousands of Europeans, mostly women caring for a family member with support needs, for example older people or persons with disabilities. Many of them are out of the labour market and face challenges in accessing adequate resources, support services and social benefits. Leaving family carers without support puts them at risk of poverty, health problems and undermines gender equality.

COFACE Families Europe will organise the event Who cares?” Results of the stocktaking study on the challenges and needs of family carers in Europe in November 30. COFACE will present the results of our data collection on the needs of family carers and good examples of policies from different EU Member States. The survey provided a great overview on their situation and the most concerning challenges they face, including poverty, long-term unemployment and social exclusion.

With more than 1,000 answers from family carers from 16 European countries, the study provides better understanding of the situation in Europe and offers policy recommendations to better meet their needs and tackle their social exclusion.

The event is co-hosted by MEP Olga Sehnalova (S&D) and MEP Marian Harkin (ALDE) and brings together high-level policy makers from the European Commission and Member States, representatives of non-governmental organisations, and family carers with lived experience.

More information about the results of the study here

European Charter for  Family Carers

COFACE Disability, founded by COFACE Families Europe in 1998 to better represent persons with disabilities and their families has just released an updated version of its European Charter for Family Carers (click here).

The European Charter for Family Carers is written in light of the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and other major international conventions and documents drafted under the auspices of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union, and the European Disability Forum, as regards to the life, dignity, rights and full citizenship of persons with disabilities and their families.

The Charter is developed as a reference tool to be implemented by various organisations representing persons with disabilities and/or complex needs and their families in the European Union, as well as by the European Union’s institutions.

Articles of the charter:

1. Definition of family carer
2. Choice of family carer
3. Public solidarity
4. Family solidarity
5. The place of the family carer within the health system
6. Official status of the family carer
7. Quality of life
8. Right to respite
9. Information/Training
10. Assessment and monitoring

Support the European Charter for Family Carers by sharing these messages on Social Media:

The European Charter for #FamilyCarers aims to give recognition to family carers and to raise awareness on the disadvantaged situation they often face in their personal and/or work life

The ultimate purpose of the European Charter for #FamilyCarers is to ensure that family carers can enjoy the same rights and opportunities, as anyone else

A family carer is a woman or man, who is not a professional caregiver, but by default or choice cares for a person with care or support needs in her/his immediate circle #FamilyCarers

Families play a key role to prevent the institutionalisation of their relative with support needs #FamilyCarers

Informal care provided by family members should not replace the duty of Member States’ public authorities to provide support services #FamilyCarers

In most EU countries, there is a lack of adequate community-based services to support persons with care, or support needs #FamilyCarers

#FamilyCarers are often providing care without being paid, or being entitled to social benefits

#FamilyCarers need training, psychological support and respite

Resources and flexible time arrangements at work for family carers would help to avoid poverty of the family #FamilyCarers

Formal recognition of #FamilyCarers would enable work-life balance for both men and women and protect the rights of all family members

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