The National Council for Children
- promoting children’s interests and rights
The National Council for Children works to safeguard the rights of children. We focus and provide information on conditions for children in society. We offer advice and consultancy to authorities on issues concerning children’s conditions and take children’s views on board in our work. The National Council for Children assesses the conditions under which children in Denmark live in relation to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
It is the National Council for Children’s brief to speak out on behalf of children in the public debate. In particular, the spotlight is on factors that may have an inappropriate influence on children’s lives and development. Where legislation or practice directly ignores or fails to accommodate children’s needs, the Council’s task is to point this out.
The National Council for Children deals with all aspects of children’s lives.
Within the past couple of years, for example, the National Council for Children has worked on:
·Children in divorces
·The physical school environment
·Inadequate parental care and control
The National Council for Children is an independent national institution for children
The National Council for Children is politically independent and acts on its own decisions. In administrative terms, the Council is linked with the Danish Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration.
In connection with legislative or other initiatives of significance to children, the National Council for Children is available for consultation. The Council can request that public authorities account for decisions and administrative practice in the National Council for Children’s focal areas, but we do not deal with specific complaints.
The National Council for Children has an interprofessional make-up, consisting of a chairperson and six members. Together, the Council represents broad-based insight into the development, rights, needs and perspectives of children. The Council’s day-to-day work is undertaken by the National Council for Children’s secretariat, currently made up of 11 people.
The National Council for Children’s chairperson is appointed by the Danish Minister of Social Affairs and Integration. Six members are appointed on the recommendation of an elected assembly of organizations whose terms of reference involve children. All are appointed for a term of four years.
The National Council for Children was established in 1994 – initially as a trial scheme. In 1997 the Danish Parliament decided to make the National Council for Children permanent.
The National Council for Children was formed in pursuance of Section 88 of Danish Act No. 453 of 10 June 1997 on the Rule of Law and Administration in Social Areas. The Ministry of Family and Consumer Affairs’ executive order no. 458 of 15 May 2006 describes the remit of the National Council for Children in greater detail.
The executive order can be read in full length on www.boerneraadet.dk or www.brd.dk.
The National Council for Children receives an annual government grant, as per January 2012 DKK 6.0 mio.
Children have opinions of their own
Children’s own descriptions of their thoughts, opinions and experiences are important contributions to the development of society’s view of children and their involvement as fully-fledged citizens.
Children’s attitudes, views and suggestions can inform the political work and make it more relevant to children.
The National Council’s Children’s Panel, which includes almost 2,000children from Danish 5th and 6th forms (aged approximately 10-12) spread across the whole of the country, volunteer their opinions on the subjects taken up by the Council.
A similar panel of approximately 1,000 children aged 4-6 years has been assembled in 2012. This panel provides unique insights into opinions, perspectives and experiences of pre-school children.
The panel. convey children's attitudes to, for instance, smoking in school, children’s problems with their parents’ divorce and bullying. We disseminate the children’s replies to the public at large, child experts, politicians, children and others with an interest in the field of children.
Children can also communicate their opinions on the National Council for Children’s homepage. We work actively to involve children in our work and encourage methodological development in the field.
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Denmark
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is an important basis for the National Council for Children’s day-to-day work to safeguard children’s rights and interests in society. Embodying the spirit and letter of the convention in Danish law and practice is an ongoing process. Given the developments in society, the Convention on the Rights of the Child is constantly making new demands of politicians, authorities and professionals. The National Council for Children constantly holds them to adhere to the Convention on the Rights of the Child as a self-evident basis whenever decisions involve children.
We monitor closely the reporting process to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, and contribute to the Committee’s assessment of Danish conditions by providing adequate and subtly differentiated picture of the conditions under which children in Denmark grow up.
Find out more:
The National Council for Children also informs people about its work through the media of press releases, newsletters, publications, conferences and an annual report. Many of these materials can be found in Danish on this web-site.