On 30 November, COFACE Families Europe launched its report ‘Who cares? Study on the challenges and needs of family carers in Europe’ in the European Parliament. The event was hosted by MEPs Olga Sehnalova (S&D) and Marian Harkin (ALDE) and among the participants, there was a mixed delegation of Members of European Parliament, representatives of the European Commission, national governments, civil society watchdogs, and social partners.
The event was opened by MEP Olga Sehnalová and Chantal Bruno, President of COFACE Disability. Magdi Birtha, Policy and Advocacy Officer at COFACE presented the findings of the study. With more than 1,000 answers from family carers across 16 European countries, the report provides a better understanding of the situation in Europe and offers policy recommendations directly from family carers to better meet their needs and tackle their social exclusion. Family carers fill an important gap in social care provision and provide support to their disabled, or older relatives, or to their children with chronic disease, or complex needs.
Three key stakeholders reacted to the study: Irma Krysiak, Team leader for the Work-Life Balance Initiative in the Social Investment Unit at the DG EMPL (European Commission), Rait Kuuse, Deputy Secretary General on Social Policy, Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs and finally, Lieve Declerck, a family carer with lived experience representing Gezinsbond, shared her experience. Gezinsbond, member of COFACE Families Europe has published a plea for recognition “Caring for family carers“ (see factsheet).
The closing remarks were presented by MEP Marian Harkin and Annemie Drieskens, COFACE Families Europe President.
COFACE Families Europe has been advocating for the rights of family carers for many years, through our work on disability and work-life balance and our involvement in key European alliances and platforms, such as the European Expert Group on Deinstitutionalisation, or the Work-Life Balance informal Alliance. We will continue in the future to stand up for the rights of persons with support needs and their relatives to ensure thousands of European families can live together in dignity.
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