The National Council for Children
The National Council for Children works to safeguard the rights of children and young people in Denmark. We focus on providing information on the conditions for children in Danish society. We offer advice and consultancy to authorities on issues concerning children’s conditions and we 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.
The National Council for Children speaks out on behalf of children in the public debate. In particular, our focus is on factors that may have an unhealthy influence on children’s lives and development. Where legislation or practice directly ignores or fails to accommodate children’s needs, the Council voices concern and brings attention to this.
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 the psychiatric health care system
- Children placed in alternative care
- Children affected by their parents' divorces
- The influence of media on children
- Physical punishment
- Sexual abuse
- 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. The Council is linked with the Ministry of Children, Gender Equality, Integration and Social Affairs administratively.
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 The Council does not have a mandate to deal with individual complaints.
The National Council for Children has an interdisciplinary composition, consisting of a chairperson and six members. Together, the Council represents broad-based insights into the development, rights, needs and perspectives of children. The Council’s day-to-day work is undertaken by the secretariat of the National Council for Children,which currently consists of 19 employees.
The chairperson of The National Council for Children is appointed by the Ministry for Social Affairs. The other six members are nominated by organisations that work within the area of children's affairs and are selected by the Minister for Social Affairs. All members of The Council are appointed for a term of three years.
The National Council for Children was established in 1994 – initially for a trial period of three years. In 1997 the Danish Parliament decided to make the National Council for Children permanent.
The National Council for Children was established in pursuance of Section 88 of Danish Act No. 453 of 10th of June 1997 on the Rule of Law and Administration in Social Areas.The Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration executive order no. 1367 of 20th of December 2012 describes the mandate of the National Council for Children in greater detail.
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 citizens with attendant rights.
Children’s attitudes, views and recommendations can inform the policy decisions and make policy more relevant to children.
The National Councils' Children’s Panel consist of around 2,500 children (aged approximately 13) from across the country, who volunteer their opinions on a variety of subjects taken up by the Council.
A similar panel of approximately 1,000 children aged 4-6 years has been established 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, isues facing children due to their parents' divorce and bullying. We disseminate these views of the children to the public at large, child experts, politicians, children and others with an interest in the field of children's issues.
The National Council for Children work actively to involve children in their work and encourage methodological development in the field.
Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Denmark
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child lay an important foundation 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. One of the primary functions of The National Council for Children is to hold the government to account for the rights enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
As society is contantly developing, adhering to the rights enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child places a constant demand on politicians, public authorities, and professionals working with children.
We closely monitor the developments in the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. In the Danish reporting process, we contribute to the Committee’s assessment of Danish conditions by providing supplementary reports to the Committee based on our knowledge and insights into the conditions under which children in Denmark live.
Find out more:
The National Council for Children also informs the public about its work through the media, in press releases, newsletters, publications, conferences and in an annual report. Many of these materials can be found in Danish on this web-site.