The conference will be conducted in English and Polish. Translation in both directions will be provided.

online event



The Ministry of Justice

 of the Republic of Poland

Ombudsman for Children

Mikołaj Pawlak


The idea of the conference

In many countries, the development of the welfare state has not only responded to the problems of groups requiring support, but also unexpectedly created new challenges for the proper functioning of society. This situation is also the result of distant changes in economic relations and related lifestyle changes in the societies of most countries of the world.

First, urbanization and industrialization resulted in the reconstruction of a traditional three-generation family model. Migrations to cities were associated with leaving the oldest members of the family – mostly people in the working age were migrating. From such an atomized society a nuclear family emerged – consisting of two working adults and children born in the city. Due to much worse housing conditions and the gradual becoming of such a family form a cultural norm, the next generations also lived in nuclear families – seniors separately from working age people and children.

Then economic realities, forcing women to work, and not just leaving the right to work it in the sphere of individual choice, caused a weakening of fertility and further reduction of intergenerational contacts and contacts between generations.

European countries, where this process have started, respond to the needs of such a rebuilt society with various forms of institutional assistance – people whose work does not allow daily care for their offspring are offered nurseries and kindergartens, older people deprived from natural care of the family can count on assistance in the nursing homes. Apart from the fact that solutions of this type are only a prosthesis of family care, it should be noted that the mass use of their offer preserves the civilization changes leading to the further disappearance of basic interpersonal bonds. Recent events related to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic have shown that changes in the natural patterns of family functioning can have far-reaching consequences in completely different areas, such as health. Nursing homes and other institutions for the elderly have become the places most affected by the epidemic in many countries due to the gathering of people from the most vulnerable group in one place, in a small area.

It seems, therefore, that we are in the right moment to determine appropriate paths for the development of assistance mechanisms.


Click on the image to see bio

dr Valeriu Ghiletchi

prof. Angela Gandra

dr Sławomir Kowalski

Paweł Wdówik

dr Imre Balásházy

prof. Piotr Szukalski

Leo van Doesburg

Karolina Pawłowska

Željka Markić

dr Tymoteusz Zych 

att. Jerzy Kwaśniewski

Anna Jackowska

prof. Michał Michalski

Filip Furman

Bartosz Zalewski

dr Balázs Molnár

dr Robert Wyszyński

Einar Columbus Salvesen

Dorota Bojemska

prof. László Márki

Steven Bennett


11.15 – Panel 1: Small children care support: how much of institutions, how much of the family?

The first three years of a child's life are indicated by many researchers as a period of fundamental importance for his/her development. It is also a time of special challenges for the parents. In the perspective of changes in the family structure, especially those related to the transition from a multi-generational family model to a nuclear family, it is necessary for the state to conduct a reasonable and balanced policy aimed at supporting parents. The question of an efficient, tailored to the needs of parents and their children model of childcare is particularly relevant today, in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, which may, according to forecasts of scientists take up to two years. The etatist model of care for a small child, which dominates in many countries, including Poland, assuming taking care of the widest possible number of children, does not work today. This is not only because of its apparent failure due to the pandemic and the resulting sanitary and epidemiological threat. The lack of flexibility and respect for the individual needs of parents and their children has long been pointed out as one of the main problems of this system. The current situation may be an excuse to permanently revise the approach to supporting parents in the care of young children by the state. It seems that it is the policy based on deformalizing forms of care and giving parents the decision-making power to choose the best model for it is a response to today's challenges and a way to avoid the collapse of the entire system. The aim of this panel will be to present the best experiences of European countries regarding effective and subjective family policy.

12.35 – Panel 2: Elderly and disabled care: towards deinstitutionalisation

In the face of the progressing aging of the society, sketching and implementing a coherent and consistent senior policy should be a priority for state action in the social, health and economic area.

The issue requiring addressing is determining whether such actions should be implemented by institutions directly or whether institutions should only provide support for the family in strengthening its capacities.

13.55 – Panel 3: When can the state interfere with family life? Practice of institutions established to protect children and oversee the proper functioning of the family

The weakening of the social and economic role of the family often leads to a situation in which the family becomes dependent on state care, becoming at the same time subject to abuse by public institutions. Such a situation is not uncommon in countries basing their social policy on the welfare state model - in Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom. Unjustified interference in family life, most often consisting in depriving parents of custody of children, and consequently the loss of parental rights and forced adoption, often leads to a permanent distribution of ties between children and parents, reconciling both the right to respect for the family life of children and their parents, as well as the principle of protecting the child's best interests.