Annual conference of Eurochild, established by the European Commission, under the title of „Building an Inclusive Europe – The Contribution of Children’s Participation”, was held from 13 to 15 November 2013 in Milan, and Child Protection Center of Zagreb also participated. Eurochild’s main aim is the promotion of children’s welfare and rights in Europe by building a network of active organisations and individuals who invest their efforts into the improvement of the quality of life of children and youth in Europe.
The Conference was held in Milan, and hosted by Albero della Vita Faundation, a member of the Eurochild network in collaboration with the Italian national Ombudsman for children, the Municipality of Milan and the PIDIDA network.
The key goal of the Conference was the promotion and recognition of children’s organisations, empowerment and influence on the lives of children, their families and the society as a whole, aiming at recognising children as fully-fledged citizens who participate in the community in which they live, and are not only the recipients or passive members depending on decisions made by others.
Participation of children in practice
A panel discussion was held within the Conference, where Center’s psychologist dr.sc. Bruna Profaca participated. Children’s participation, its significance and practice were considered. At the same time, the issue of how children and youth influence their living conditions and how they contribute to the building of inclusive society was discussed and dr.sc. Bruna Profaca presented experience from clinical work with children and youth and how their right to be heard in matters of their interest is being realised.
Examples of good practice from European countries in the realisation of the rights of children and youth to participate in the society and their active role in influencing the decisions affecting them were presented. Croatian experience was presented by Croatian Ombudsman for children Mila Jelavić, jurist, and Davorka Osmak Franjić, psychologist, about the Network of children and youth counselling the Ombudsman through which partnership with children and youth is being promoted and realised.
Participants of the Conference visited several institutions in Milan where they were introduced to children’s participation in various systems (education, recreation, sport and cultural activities, health, prevention and family support, child protection, decision making, etc).