FOR FAMILY AFFAIRS
REPUBLIC OF POLAND
NATIONAL PRO-FAMILY POLICY
by the Government on 3rd November, 1999)
I. - Changes in
demographic situation and family structure
II. - Improvement
of the family’s financial situation
III. - Improvement of
IV. - Upbringing of the young generation
V. - Improvement of the family’s health
VI. - Help for families with the disabled
VII. - Childcare
VIII. - Help for families threatened by dysfunction
IX. - Polish
X. - Culture and the media versus the family
XI. - Legal protection of the family
Formation of social order based on respect for human
rights, on the acceptance of family values, and on the principle of helping
others as well as state’s concern for common welfare – require active
pro-family policy of State.
Pro-family policy’s goal is to ensure the existence and development of
family and respect for its rights, including the right to economic
self-dependence and the right to decide about children’s upbringing. This is
why pro-family policy should develop and an effective social policy focused
on dysfunctional families and those in difficult situation should be of
intervening and complementary nature.
the primary tasks included in the AWS-UW coalition agreement is to pursue a
policy for the benefit of families, this was expressed in the document as
follows: “Government policy regarding families will aim at improvement of
their living standards, ensuring respect for their rights, and increasing
their economic self-dependence. Pro-family financial and tax policy will be
pursued and help for families will be provided”.
Family, as a basic unit of society, ensures the renewal of
generations and initiates the process of investing in human capital. This
capital, defined as the sum of knowledge, skills, health and vital energy
contained in a society, is the source of future ability to work, earn and
get satisfaction. Thus it is one of determinants of the tempo of economic
development, the one which influences its acceleration. Many authors of the
human capital concept were awarded the Noble Prize for Economy, these were
among others: J. Tinbergen (the first winner of the Noble Prize for
Economy), T.W. Shultz (Noble Prize, 1976), G.Stingler (Noble Prize, 1982),
F. Modigliani (Noble Prize, 1985), R. Solow (Noble Prize, 1987), R.J. Lucas
Jr. (Noble Prize, 1995) and G.S. Becker (Noble Prize, 1992) – the author of
the complete theory of human capital.
“National Pro-Family Policy Programme” was prepared by the
Interdepartmental Team for Working Out National Pro-Family Policy, appointed
by the Prime Minister. The document was created on the basis of the
conclusions of the “Report about the Situation of Polish Families”, approved
by the Government on 21st July, 1998. It also refers to the
document from 1997: “Pro-Family Policy Programme”.
A permanent basis of pro-family policy and its important tool is
the law. The legal protection of family is one of the underlying principles
of the Constitution of
the Polish Republic (art. 18, 48, 71, 72). Numerous international
conventions and pacts protect family
members, including marriage, child and woman (art. 16 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, the European Social Charter, part I – section
16, the Convention on the Rights of the Child), but what these documents
lack are the entries referring to direct legal protection of the family as a
whole. Moreover, the concept of family is not understood in the same way in
the legislature of various countries of the European Union. There exist
different conceptions of the family’s role in a society and the range of
obligations towards family is different in various states. This results in
the need for promotion and protection of the family rights in the
international system of human rights. In the near future
will present the United Nations Commission on Human Rights the resolution
about working out homogeneous document which will collect and put in order
the rights of the family, included now in various international documents,
such as the Charter of the Rights of the Family.
The strategy of social and economic development must be
congruent with the existing system of social values. And the family is one
of the most enduring values of this system in the Polish society. In
accordance with this principle, pro-family policy becomes an important
element of the new (just being created) model of the overall social and
economic policy of State. National pro-family policy programme should be
long-term, systemic and complex.
One of the primary, long-term goals of pro-family policy is
creation of conditions for full development and good functioning of the
family by supporting it at all stages of its development. Achievement of
this goal requires the application of such solutions that will allow to
replace the now dominant principle of state’s protection with the principle
of providing help to the family. The fundamental factor which must be taken
into account while choosing solutions for pro-family policy should be the
general respect for and acceptance of the family’s value and the belief that
expenditures on the family with children are the investment from which the
society will profit in the future.
The conditions of the family’s development are determined by
economic and social policy. However, the correlation of solutions applied in
these two fields is necessary. Only this kind of approach can ensure
permanent economic increase and development of social sphere. Joint effect
of achieving goals of this policy will be reflected in both the financial
situation of families and the quality of social services that are available
to them. This Programme refers to every family but especially to families
with children, requiring support in upbringing and education of young
The analysis of the situation of Polish families, presented in
the “Report on the Situation of Polish Families”, as well as numerous
opinions of experts have defined the following main goals of pro-family
policy for the coming years:
families in acquiring financial self-dependence,
improvement of housing conditions,
preparation of children and young people for fulfilling family and social
the existing negative trends in the country’s population development and
improvement of demographic situation.
to achieve these goals are presented in part II of the “National Pro-Family
Policy Programme”, entitled “Schedule of Accomplishing Tasks”, focused on
shaping demographic processes, improvement of families’ financial situation,
improvement of housing conditions and upbringing of the young generation. Of
these goals, special attention should be paid to the
change of procreation attitudes so that the number of children in
families is increased,
stopping a decrease in the number of marriages,
implementation of an effective system of supporting housing,
introduction of other pro-family solutions - besides the already
existing joint settlement of accounts by husband and wife - to the modified
improvement of living and working conditions of villagers, including
increase in farmers’ incomes,
introduction of new solutions about financing lower and higher
education, such as the system of credits for students, which was introduced
in the academic year 1998/99,
supporting parents in raising children and young people,
change of welfare system in order to increase its effectiveness.
The here presented National pro-family policy programme
requires implementation of new instruments that will ensure the family – a
basic unit of society – self-dependence and material security and that will
contribute to the increase of “human capital”, which should be an important
long-term goal and at the same time a determinant of the tempo of economic
and social development.
is associated with the necessity to endow work with appropriate value,
explain its sense and stimulate respect for its merits, including the
spiritual and creative ones in the sense of strengthening the personality of
man and – as a result – of a society. It is a very important and urgent task
for all educators: parents, grandparents, teachers at all levels of
education, and also clergymen and employers. Work, the effect of which is
the creation of material basis, should be a principal element in the
The fundamental task of State, resulting from the duty of
ensuring families material security, should be to aim at providing every
adult citizen with the opportunity to work and earn money. The existing
unemployment and the baby boom generation, which now enters the labour
market, require that State takes strong measures to create new jobs. It is
also associated with the urgent need of solving the problem of so-called
“unemployment trap” – this should be done by taking advantage of the
experiences of other countries.
One of urgent tasks of pro-family policy is to help
dysfunctional families and those that are in difficult material situation.
Help in fighting poverty should allow for equalization of development
opportunities of the young generation and prevent marginalization of poor
families. The latter should be achieved through various forms of
professional activation, oriented mainly towards the inhabitants of small
towns and villages, who are threatened by prolonged unemployment.
Realization of integrated pro-family policy requires close
cooperation of many entities working together in a harmonious way. At the
time of systemic changes the group of potential executors of pro-family
policy has grown and so have the possibilities of their cooperation. Besides
the institutions of governmental administration, local administrative organs
of all levels contribute more and more to realization of pro-family policy
as well as various non-governmental organizations, including the religious
ones. The latter, most of which are rooted in Christian humanism, not only
help to organize schools and educational and nursing institutions, but for
most citizens they are the environments where civil virtues are formed. They
also help people to go by these values while creating lasting family bonds
and to contribute to the common welfare.
In the new administrative system, local units should set goals
and pursue pro-family policy according to local needs. The analysis of
families’ situation, made in districts and voivodeships, will allow to
better recognize distinct local needs and will make it easier to make
effective decisions concerning division of public means and equalization of
the existing differences among voivodeships.
The tasks, assigned in the programme to various departments and
local administrative organs, will be financed mostly from the budgets which
are at their disposal. Accomplishing tasks pointed out in the Programme,
which is to be done in the subsequent years, will take into account the
priorities set by executors but at the same time will depend on the
possibilities of financing these actions with public means.
The process of carrying out some of the tasks included in the
schedule was begun in 1999, but the actual time for this are the years
2000-2010. However, the achievement of some of the goals will be possible
only in the long run and will require constant activity. The tasks,
accomplished according to the Schedule, will be congruent with the
programmes approved by the government: the Strategy of Public Finances and
Economic Development Poland 2000-2010, and the Conception of Medium-Term
Economic Development of the Country till 2002.
In the process of execution of the Programme, detailed goals
will be constantly up-dated and new actions taken, resulting from the
examination of the existing systems of the family assistance, tendencies of
change in living conditions and functioning of families, and also from
permanent monitoring of application of solutions included in the Programme
and the effects it brings.
National Pro-Family Policy Programme, being one of the elements
of AWS-UW coalition agreement, is a novel conception based on respect for
human rights and the value of the family, the conception which ensures the
autonomy and self-dependence of the family, which in the end should ensure
development, security and stabilization of State.
Objective I - Changes in
demographic situation and family structure
Human factor is the basis
for socio-economic development. Proper development of the population is the
necessary condition for smooth economic progress. All demographic
fluctuations cause the necessity of constant adjusting to the changing size
and age structure of the population. To guarantee stable conditions for
socio-economic development, care must be taken of proper development of the
In demographic situation of
Poland in the 1990s, the most important processes and trends are:
decreased number of marriages caused mainly by considerably lowered
tendency to change marital status among persons at the age when most
marriages are contracted, which leads to the adverse balance of marriages
increase in the absolute and relative number of divorces (yet
compared with other countries of Central and Eastern Europe and even more
with the countries of Western Europe and Scandinavia, the divorce rate in
Poland is still low),
much higher, compared to most European countries, death rate of men
resulting from accidents, neoplastic diseases and the diseases of
circulatory system, which causes family disintegration and orphanhood,
progressing birth-rate decrease as a result of the lowered tendency
to have children and of the strengthening model of the family with one or
two children. In 1997, 412 thousand children were born, that is 135 thousand
fewer than in 1990. In 1998, 395,6 thousand children were born, which means
that the number of births per 1000 people was 10,2. In 1990, that number was
14,4 and in 1995, there were 11,2 successful births per 1000 people,
lack of simple replacement of generations observed since 1989: in
1997, an average number of children born by a woman at reproductive age
(between 15 and 49 years of age) was 1,51 and in 1998, it was 1,43, whereas
simple replacement of generations can be ensured only if the rate is
systematic increase in the number of extramarital births in the
overall number of births: on average every tenth child is born from
extramarital relationship and some of these children are born by teenage
changes in the number and structure of families as a result of the
evolution of demographic processes. According to the data from the latest
Microcensus, in 1995 there were 10533 thousand families in Poland, including
6278 thousand (60%) married couples with children and 1733 thousand (17%)
incomplete families with one parent and children. Remaining families
constituted the group of childless families, but most of them were the
families where grown-up children left home. In all families there were
altogether 11793 thousand children up to the age of 24 who were supported by
their parents. In the families with at least three children there were 4430
thousand children, that is, on average every third child, and in incomplete
families – 1508 thousand, which constituted 13% of all children. In 1990,
the number of children born per one mother during the whole reproductive
period (15-49 years of age) was 2.,04 and 28,8% of children were born as the
third or subsequent child in the family. In 1998, the percentage of these
subsequent births dropped to 24,1.
The changes in demographic attitudes and behaviours are
caused by the growing educational and professional aspirations of young
people, the competition on the labour market, limitations concerning the
possibilities of satisfying housing and material needs and difficulties in
reconciling professional duties with family ones.
Disadvantageous changes in attitudes regarding marriage
and parenthood set specified goals for pro-family policy. Among these the
most important are:
pro-family education of the whole society. Preparation for family
life through a proper system of upbringing and education in the family and
school, popularizing in the media proper models of family life that point
out to the needs of others and pathologies in families, promotion of the
principle that everyone has the right to dignified life and that all members
of the family have not only rights but also duties,
formation of the system of norms and values in which the family and
children will be seen a priority values,
creation of conditions for reconciling family duties with the
individual aspirations of family members. In the current demographic
situation achievement of this goal requires:
ensuring education in secondary schools and colleges for greater and
greater number of young people,
creation for young people between 20-29 years of age the
opportunities of getting their own flats or houses on the terms depending on
the financial status of families,
aiming at keeping up the fast tempo of economic development as it
helps to create new jobs,
support for the family in taking care over its elderly and disabled
members, which should be reflected in adequate solutions in health policy,
the forms of social care and social insurance system.
Creation of the climate of respect for the family and
giving families assistance in solving their financial and nursing problems
are the activities which in the long run should result in stopping a
decrease in the number of marriages and in bringing about an increase in the
number of births allowing at least for simple replacement of generations.
Objective II - Improvement
of the family’s financial situation
years have brought about an improvement of the living standards of a
society. However, besides the visible tokens of an improvement in the
situation of an average family there are still many families which live in
very difficult conditions. It is even more disturbing because of the fact
that it concerns to great extent the families with many children and the
developable ones. These families are often affected by unemployment, which
is the main cause of difficult material situation of many of them. The
threat of permanent poverty is even bigger in the case of the families that
live in small towns and villages.
On account of this situation, State’s efforts to ensure families material
conditions for development will go in two directions which – if these
activities are carried out simultaneously – will allow to avoid drastic
in accordance with the principle of helping others, state will
stimulate activeness of the family by creating conditions for acquiring
families, which are in difficult material situation and are unable to
cope with it on their own, will be provided with state assistance in the
form of the social benefits system.
The basis for the self-support of the family should be its activeness,
especially professional. Therefore the most important aim is to create
conditions for every family, which will enable it to support itself from its
own work. For this purpose the following activities are necessary:
ensuring an increase in the number of jobs by constant economic
development of the country,
taking measures to reduce unemployment, especially the prolonged
unemployment which affects mainly rural environments and the families of
former employees of the State Farms; the reform of labour market will serve
increasing the significance of incomes from work as the source of the
family’s support. At present it happens quite often that incomes from work
are supplemented with social benefits. This tendency is growing among the
families with many children and with unemployed or disabled persons. Low
level of earnings, which forces people to live on various benefits, does not
motivate to increase one’s professional activeness. This problem concerns
especially the families of farmers where the significance of the incomes
from farming declines in favour of social benefits,
simplifying and cutting down taxes through introduction of new tax
system, which will encourage people to greater professional activeness and
which will also include new pro-family solutions. In the government’s
proposal these solutions are to concern, beginning with the year 2000, the
families with many children. The project is that these families will be
entitled to direct deduction of certain amount of money from tax, the amount
being specified in the first section of tax scale. This amount will depend
on the number of children in a given family. In 1999 families with three or
more children, which were in difficult financial situation, received single
support in the form of family allowances.
The above activities should motivate families to greater engagement and
effort aimed at gaining the best possible economic effects.
At the same time it is necessary to ensure social security for those
families that do not have any income or whose income is not sufficient for
them to function properly. Help will be given especially to families with
many children, incomplete families and the ones that have disabled, elderly
or chronically ill members. At present there are many various social
benefits targeted on the family at all stages of its development. These
benefits will be reviewed in relation to their effectiveness and adequate
targeting. The analysis of the current benefits will allow for creation of
welfare net, taking into account social needs as well as financial means of
State. Some of the current benefits will be considerably modified. The range
and extent of benefits (in the form of money and goods) will be verified as
The conception of guaranteed income will be worked on. It requires a lot of
expertise and social survey. Its implementation must be preceded by the
analysis of the existing welfare solutions and the examination of their
effectiveness, and it must depend on the State’s budget. First of all the
analysis should focus on elderly people who have no income as well as people
with the lowest old age or disability pensions and people completely unable
to work, etc.
Another urgent task is to define homogeneous rules of setting the income
level entitling families of farmers to benefits. At present this income is
set at different levels according to various needs, e.g. differently for
social benefits and family allowances. The change, however, will not be
possible before completion of the work on imposing on farmers the obligation
to keep farming accounts and completion of actions associated with
introduction of income tax in farming.
At the same time various kinds of environmental help for the family will be
developed, concerning mainly the organization of care over disabled, elderly
and chronically ill people. Specialistic family counselling will be
developed and perfected, especially that for families affected by violence
and having difficulties in raising children or other problems. In every
district there was created the District Centre of Family Help, which closely
cooperates with the welfare centres in civil parishes.
To the most urgent tasks concerned with social help for families in a
difficult situation belong also prolongation of the period during which
benefits are given to pregnant women and people with children whose
difficult situation entitles them to receive this type of help, and
prolongation of maternity leave.
The situation of rural families is especially disturbing. The registered
number of the unemployed living in rural areas is growing. Bad employment
situation in rural areas is worsened by the existence of considerable hidden
unemployment in farming.
Unemployment in rural areas is more durable than that in cities and more
difficult to reduce. This is a result of a small number of economic units
that constitute rural labour market, impoverishment of the village limiting
the scope of economic and trade activity and low level of education and
professional qualifications of the rural population. Especially dangerous is
the unemployment among former employees of the State Farms because it is
locally centred, prolonged and thus constituting real threat to development
of their families.
The awareness of this situation was the reason why the government, as early
as in April 1998, approved the “Medium-Term Strategy of Development of
Agriculture and Rural Areas”. One of the priorities of the new farming
policy is to increase farmers’ incomes and to improve working and living
conditions of village inhabitants. These goals will be achieved by
simultaneous application of economic, organizational and social tools. This
is so because the main challenge which the Polish farming now faces is its
restructuring which – to great extent – will result in reduction of the
number of people for whom farming is the main source of income. This will
happen not only as a result of a decrease in the number of farms and an
increase of their areas, but also because families having farms will earn
incomes from additional work or non-farming businesses.
Another element, which will influence the improvement of the financial
situation of families, will be realization of consumer-oriented policy whose
aim is to protect economic interests of consumers, including their family
Objective III - Improvement
of housing conditions
place to live, besides food, is a basic human need. The lack of it deprives
men of their social, economic and, first of all, biological security.
However, housing situation of Polish families must be regarded as bad. The
number of families exceed the number of homes by 1,5 million, which results
in the fact that families must live together and homes are overpopulated.
The effect is that every tenth family does not have its own home and over
40% of families live in overpopulated homes. Only one third of young
families have their own homes. Moreover, about 10 million Poles live in
substandard homes. About 40% of dwelling-places require major repairs.
Too little living space in
homes results in the fact that in many of them there is not enough room for
every child to have their own furniture to sleep and study and not enough
room for grown-up members to have a rest.
It must be stressed that the average living space of housing cooperative
flats (i.e. those for medium-income families), which have been sold in
recent years, constantly diminishes. This situation is caused by prices of
new flats as they are too high for most families wanting to live on their
own or improve their housing conditions. Also renting flats at standard
market prices is beyond their means.
Another serious problem, which affects more and more families, are overdue
payments for using flats, which may result in eviction of the growing number
Critical housing situation, which concerns many families, especially young,
seriously affects their functioning. In order to improve the situation,
State must urgently take actions to achieve the following objectives:
creation of opportunities to acquire a home,
help in improvement of housing conditions of families,
help in payment of rentals.
All the above problems are reflected in the document, which the government
approved on 13th July, 1999, entitled “The Outlines of the
Housing Policy of State for the Years 1999-2003”. Three most important
priorities of the new housing programme of State are:
creation of conditions to increase the supply and lower the costs of
realignment of rentals and improvement and rationalization of the way
the existing housing resources are used, including elimination of legal
obstacles concerning exchange of homes,
widening the sector of tenement houses.
The implementation of “The Outlines of the Housing Policy
of State for the Years 1999-2003” has already gone far. The laws
concerning complementary, detailed programmes have already been prepared and
some of them have been approved by the Cabinet and directed to the Seym.
These programmes are:
Support for the repairs of buildings
A modified system of housing subsidies
Support for thermomodernization (adequate law was enacted in January
Preferential loans for technical infrastructure connected with
Own home programme
Welfare housing programme
Help in elimination of the effects of natural calamities and personal
Help in paying off “old times” housing cooperative credits
Compensations for the owners of housing savings book
The above proposals, replacing the system of investment allowances, are more
just from the social point of view, because they are targeted on various
income groups, especially low and medium.
Objective IV – Upbringing of
the young generation
for children and young people is a fundamental domain of pro-family policy.
Children and young people deserve special attention because their health,
ethics and intellect will determine the future of our families and thus also
the future of our country and nation. Investments in the youth bring
multiplied returns because they allow to prevent many unwanted tendencies
and to avoid their consequences.
the most important aspects of raising young people is the focus on their
morals. Crucial here is the example given by parents. The Constitution of
the Polish Republic guarantees them the right to bring up children according
to their moral and religious beliefs. This right encompasses educational
programme of schools children attend as well as the programmes of the public
media, especially radio and television. State’s task is to ensure the
fulfilment of this right.
family is where civil virtues – that is, the capacity to do good - ripen, so
not only does it teach about goodness but also provides the ability to
behave this way.
virtues allow young people to enter and creatively participate in the life
of community and society, and at the same time to preserve the same morals
in both personal and public life. For there are no good citizens when there
are no mature, responsible and active people. Public morality cannot exist
without individual morality.
family is a community of parents, children and relatives, built on love, and
it is where first, crucial experience of entering human relationships
occurs. A child looks at the world with the eyes of his or her family
members and conveys the principles governing in the family into human
relations in a society. Hence, while experiencing goodness, love and
solidarity from the closest relatives in everyday life, a child learns to
acquire these virtues and matures to become a true citizen.
process of bringing up children requires that parents are adequately
supported not only by counselling centres established for that purpose or
other specialistic institutions, but first of all by creation of adequate
atmosphere around ethic values. It encompasses the issue of promotion of the
family in the media but also elimination of violence and pornography from
radio, television and press.
the most effective ways for State to influence upbringing is to cooperate
with the family. Thus it will be necessary to educate and teach parents
about raising children through educational programmes presented in the
public media and educational projects as well as through initiating and
supporting the groups, organizations, movements and associations dealing
with education of parents. The above mentioned parental groups of support
can play a major role because of the direct way they exert influence,
individualization of the forms of communication, exchange of experiences and
personal example. These activities, however, should be supplemented by a net
of psychological and pedagogical counselling institutions and this net
should be supported and developed. Counselling institutions should also
focus on families with small children (from 0 to 6 years of age), who do not
attend nurseries and kindergartens.
children grow, State begins to influence directly their educational process
through – in the case of some children – kindergarten education and then
school education. So it is very important to perfect the quality of the
kindergarten education process. Worth stressing is the necessity to increase
access to kindergartens, especially for children from poor families and from
neglected environments. A kindergarten should create for children from these
environments the possibility of catching up with other children in terms of
basic tasks of contemporary school, apart from passing on knowledge and
skills, is to properly shape social attitudes of children and this is why
school education system should be based on acceptance of and respect for the
system of values. It is also very important to resign from teaching
encyclopaedic knowledge in favour of strengthening upbringing system. To
ensure teacher a direct, individual and personal contact with a pupil, one
must aim at optimalization of the number of pupils in a class.
play a significant role in school upbringing. Increase in prestige of
teachers is first of all connected with improvement of their financial
status and it should go together with higher ethical and professional
requirements towards teachers.
right to bring up children should be reflected in obligatory establishment
of School Councils and, in the end, in introduction of so-called Educational
Bond. Through active participation in Councils parents will be able to
influence the profile of school upbringing.
present one can observe a very good tendency of an increase in the number of
young people who study at schools of higher education (in the years 1900-96,
the increase from 12,9% to 25,4%) and attend secondary schools (in the years
1900-96, the increase from 18,9% to 27,3%). Demand for higher education
still exceeds the number of places at colleges. Although in recent years
over a dozen schools of higher education have been established, the number
of places at universities must still be increased and a net of secondary
schools must be adjusted to local needs. There is also a need for the rise
of expenditures on education. In 1999, real expenditures on education will
rise by 8,5%; in 2000, they will rise by 4,7% whereas real expenditures on
higher education will rise by 3,3%.
Adolescents, during the period of rebellion connected with maturing, often
reject the authority of parents and come under influence of contemporaries.
In order to limit uncontrolled influence of informal groups, one must
support educational, sport and touristic associations as well as youth and
religious organizations. An important role in this sphere is played by
school, supporting and cooperating with these organizations, and also by
of the above mentioned organizations should be supplemented by
extracurricular activities organized by school. Extraschool institutions,
whose activity has been seriously reduced in recent years, should be revived
and further developed (in the years 1990-96 their number decreased from 598
to 351 and the number of young people involved in their work decreased from
514,4 thousand to 263 thousand). A dayroom should also be organized in every
school. Great role in all this should be played by local governments.
of State in the sphere of bringing up young people are not limited to
supporting the family and stimulating the activeness of school. State’s
recognition of the important role of educational, sport and touristic
associations as well as youth and religious organizations should result in
support for their work. State should, first of all, promote those
enterprises which assist the family. In so far as means allow, support
should be given to organizing children’s and youngsters’ free time as well
as their holidays. One of the ways to achieve this goal is to provide help
in training the leaders of such movements. Movements and associations from
rural areas deserve special attention and care as well as the organizations
established after 1989, which have to cope with numerous difficulties
associated with lack of technical and financial means.
Extremely important for creation of an offer addressed to young people are
sport and tourism. Activeness in these fields is directly connected with
health of the young generation, it prevents unnecessary future expenditures
on medical care and it is also an important element of upbringing process.
Direct sport activity is significant but no less the creation of proper
cultural habits. The media and school programmes may play an important role
here. Programmes such as “Sport for Everyone”, “All Children’s Sport” and
“Sport in Village and Academic Environments” will be continued. At the same
time support will be provided for development of social sport and touristic
activities organized by various associations, including religious ones, and
for development of generally available sport base.
young people a better start in life is an important element of upbringing.
Formation of adolescents who are socially active and industrious is – along
with proper education – a good remedy for the problem of unemployment.
Active young people are more hardened to temporary defeats and
disappointments associated with entering adulthood. Business activeness of
young people should be supported by adequate credits, easy access to cheap
housing and assistance in creating small and medium companies, including
family ones. It is also important to adjust education to current labour
market needs and to develop professional counselling.
way of their development, children and young people encounter threats to
physical and mental health, which exceed their ability to resist them. This
is why in the most difficult situations parents and society protect children
and young people against outside threats. At present these threats are
alcoholism, drugs, pornography and negative influence of the media and
sects. It is necessary to introduce proper legal regulations, e.g.
limitation of the right to register sects, protection against pornography,
ban on advertising alcohol and cigarettes, and to prepare teachers,
catechists, counselling personnel and youth leaders for dealing with these
social threats. In order to prevent the activity of sects, such measures
should also be taken as organizing a net of information and counselling
centres, preparing psychologists and therapists, creating training
programmes for parents and providing support for self-help parental groups.
Local teams for preventing alcoholism and drugs should be created as well
and they should cooperate with properly trained specialists, and the law in
this regard should be effectively enforced.
to bring up young people properly, a current degree of threat to the young
generation must be monitored and instructions must be worked out for Chief
Central Statistical Office and other opinion polls institutions as to
collecting necessary data, and an advisory centres to work out current
reports should be created.
people are the healthiest part of the Polish society. The above presented
actions are aimed at ensuring young people such way of entering adulthood
that will minimalize their defeats and frustrations, which are the source of
many pathological situations requiring later costly prevention. Therefore,
while balancing profits from such actions against their costs, all the
elements of this process should be taken into account.
Objective V – Improvement of
the family’s health
to the World Health Organization, the main determinants of health are:
life style (50%)
influence of environmental factors (20%)
genetic conditions (20%)
activity of health service (10%)
conception of improvement of the family’s health is based on promotion of
health, pro-health upbringing as well as shaping and propagating such life
style which helps to preserve health and the sense of responsibility for
one’s own health.
of the above, decision-makers and the whole society should be made to
realize that improvement activities carried out by health service are only
the result of earlier negligence and short-sightedness. The Ministry of
Health must change the proportion of prophylactic activities to improvement
activities, endowing the former with greater importance. These prophylactic
because of the fact that the majority of Polish families are not
prepared for activities aimed at preventing diseases, school – besides
medical circles and the media – must play an important role here. Its main
task should be pro-health education of the young generation,
improper life style – higher risk of diseases caused by one’s own
acts (nicotinism, alcoholism and others) – should burden financially a
person who chooses such way of living with, for instance, higher insurance
premium (over standard or alternative) or partial costs of treatment,
full observance and enforcement of regulations forbidding children
and young people to drink alcohol, smoke and take drugs,
verification of regulations concerning environment protection,
increasing control of environment pollution caused by companies and strict
imposition of penalties which would discourage these companies from illusory
saving in this regard,
working out and implementation of the programme of prenatal and
genetic examination connected with genetic and family counselling in order
to treat babies with genetic defects in prenatal period,
it is necessary to work out the programme of monitoring health
condition of various groups of people according to their sex and place of
babies up to one year of age, together with the analysis of epidemic
data concerning perinatal period and health condition of pregnant women (prematurity,
small birth weight, frequency of the occurrence of congenital defects,
children from one to five years of age,
school children divided into age groups,
women at reproductive age and menopausal age,
men at reproductive age,
people from seventy to eighty years of age, with special focus on
degeneration diseases, central nervous system, depression syndromes, motor
system and osteoporosis,
it is necessary to improve health service and focus its attention on
promoting family doctor service,
sanctioning (law enacting) and working out the scope and schedule of
prophylactic examinations of children, young people and other age groups
with special focus on pregnant women or women at reproductive age,
carrying out the National Health Programme and already implemented
health policy programmes, especially the “Programme of Improvement of
Perinatal Care in Poland”,
implementation of programmes aimed at prevention of main causes of
death and disability among children and young people, and at making parents
and guardians aware of the need for proper care. These programmes would
concern in particular:
prevention of injuries and accidents, involving police and insurance
companies (road patrols, introduction of insurance premiums related to
improvement of early detection and treatment of children’s neoplastic
prevention of infants’ sudden deaths,
correction of infants’ defects in prenatal and neonatal period,
working out medical care system for school children according to the
reform of health service,
cooperation with schools on health promotion,
improvement of the quality and accessibility of medical services,
increase in number and regional availability of screening
examinations in order to detect adults’ neoplasms,
working out the programme of prevention of accidents among elderly
working out and implementation of the programme of promoting
pro-health life style (organized physical effort, proper nutrition,
prevention of smoking, heavy drinking and obesity).
Objective VI – Help for
families with the disabled
family policy pays special attention to families with the disabled. It is so
because in these families the disability of their members generates a number
of difficulties which impede normal life and solving basic economic,
material, educational and nursing problems. Families with disabled persons
must cope with existential problems concerning material sphere of their
lives, necessity of nursing and looking after these persons, helping them in
everyday functioning, and ensuring conditions for home rehabilitation.
taken to help families with the disabled should be manifold. This is so
because the needs of disabled people who live alone are different from the
needs of big families looking after their disabled member. Similarly, other
kinds of help and support should be given to families where parents bring up
disabled children and other to those where disabled parents bring up healthy
significance of the problem of families with the disabled is even bigger for
the fact that the number of these people constantly grows. In 1997, the
problem of disability affected 14% of all Poles, that is, twice as many as
in 1978. Every fifth village inhabitant was disabled. The disabled were
present in every third Polish household and in 12% of households a disabled
person was the head of the family. In May 1998, the number of families with
the disabled was 3709 thousand: in 24% of these households there were
children up to 14 years of age. This data demonstrates great, constantly
growing importance of social, economic and medical problems concerning that
group of people.
families with disabled or ill persons is now and will be in the future
increasing the income of these families (benefits and other forms of
financial help resulting from the Welfare Act, Family and Nursing Allowances
help in looking after the disabled,
system of care over disabled children in school environment and their
efforts to professionally activate the disabled and help them in
acquiring economic independence,
specialistic medical care, including early diagnosing of disability.
requires major changes in the current system of institutional support and
help for the disabled and their families. It is necessary to introduce
supporting instruments that would be complementary to the financial ones:
broadly understood counselling, organization of local support groups and
versatile cooperation with families of the disabled. To accomplish these
tasks, support should be provided to local authorities and non-governmental
help families with the disabled should include versatile professional
activation of the disabled (through, for instance, creating jobs, providing
the disabled with training, helping them to change their qualifications, and
through elimination of all kinds of obstacles, including the architectonic
ones which limit self-dependence of the disabled) as well as ensuring the
conditions to find job for those family members who take direct care of a
disabled person but who do not want to resign from their professional
many activities carried out for the benefit of the disabled depends on the
way in which the means allocated to this purpose will be used. In many cases
it is better from the an economic but also social point of view if a
disabled person remains in the family in return for adequate financial help.
Necessary in such situation is support in the form of nursing and
rehabilitation services, support in managing the household and adjusting
home to the presence of a disabled person, and also – quite often –
psychological help. Financial help should be given in particular to those
people who resign from work in order to look after a disabled member of the
Development of nursing services is associated with development and
supporting of the activities of non-governmental organizations, including
voluntary societies. It is necessary to prepare adequate regulations that
would support these solutions.
children should have a possibility of remaining with their families, and
adequate help concerning upbringing and education of these children must be
ensured. The creation of a well functioning – at all levels - education
system for disabled children is necessary and this system should be as much
integrative as possible to ensure full socialization of these children. To
achieve this, tolerance for otherness and sensitivity to the needs of the
weaker and those who need help must be awakened in a society.
also needed for organization of sport events and recreational camps.
It should include proper training of personnel, especially teachers, for
work with the disabled.
for the disabled is also specialistic medical care. Main needs in this
regard are proper, early diagnosis of disability and improvement of the
quality and availability of rehabilitation services.
important thing is prevention of isolation and marginalization of the
disabled and their families. This can be achieved by creating conditions for
integration of the disabled with the closest social environment (family,
neighbours, local institutions) and preparation of the disabled – if
possible – for self-dependent life.
proper, possibly the fullest help for families with disabled persons
requires the analysis of its situation, mostly from demographic, social and
economic point of view, and constant monitoring of these families on the
national scale. Therefore it is essential to carry out comprehensive
research on families with the disabled, the results of which will allow to
define the scope of actions needed to help them.
Objective VII – Childcare
A child –
as the youngest and the weakest member of a society – deserves special care
and protection. In recognition of everybody’s right to live, legal
protection of human life from conception to natural death should be
observed. That issue is connected with presenting every human life as a
fundamental value. This should be the basis for shaping society’s awareness.
women should be provided with specialistic medical and psychological care.
The care of the youngest children is – first of all – a concern for safe
delivery and the promotion of breast feeding, help in upbringing and
education of children from 0 to 6 years of age as well as medical care of
for children’s health should also be included in national health service
programmes. A significant role in them must be played by promotion of
healthy life style, especially in connection to sport activeness and
nutrition – free from nicotine, alcohol and drugs. Promotion of healthy life
style, however, cannot be an independent propaganda action but should be a
part of total social education policy, pursued by schools, the media and all
public cultural and educational institutions.
place for upbringing and care of children is home. However, the necessity of
taking up work by both parents on the one hand and the educational needs of
children on the other point to the necessity of providing institutional help
for parents. In the case of the youngest children – up to three years of age
– we should aim at creating the possibility for one of the parents to take
personal care of children; this could be done by introducing the system of
parental leaves for parents who resign from job to look after children.
Whereas those parents, who do not decide to quit jobs, should be supported
in their care of children by a system of well functioning nurseries.
Introduction of more elastic regulations concerning working time to the
labour law as well as establishment of family businesses, in which parents
have more freedom to organize their own working time, are other important
ways to increase opportunities of taking care of children. Works on the
modification of the Labour Code have already begun.
case of children at kindergarten age, the family should receive support for
fulfilling its educational and socialization function - it is especially
important in neglected environments. Necessary is also professional
childcare for farmers’ families during the periods when parents work in the
is played by kindergartens whose number and localization should meet local
needs, and at the same time the quality of their services should be
constantly improved. Therefore, properly trained stuff must be ensured for
kindergartens, and the poorest families must be given financial help for
covering the costs of this kind of care.
Environmental dayrooms for children, youth clubs, specialistic workshops as
well as sport and recreational infrastructure are also an important element
of care, upbringing and education. Experienced personnel should be employed
in these institutions to ensure proper care and education of children and to
help them develop their interests. It is a significant task for local
solutions concerning care and education should be complemented with
promotion of family recreation activities.
care must be ensured for children who were left by their parents or
orphaned. The best way to help them is to create legal and organizational
conditions enabling their early adoption which will protect them against
orphanhood illness. Educational and popularization efforts should lead to
making full use of the existing legal solutions which thus will allow to
start instant intervention proceedings whenever parental duties are not
will be taken to quicken adoption procedures so that children can find new
parents as quickly as possible. It concerns in particular children rejected
by mothers instantly or soon after birth as well as children who live in
nursing and educational institutions.
regulations must be introduced concerning the procedure which precedes
adoption application to court so that the choice of future guardians –
whether Polish or foreign – is optimal and professional. Achievement of
these goals will require further development of a net of adoption and
nursing centres and their cooperation.
adoption, other forms of substitutive family care for orphans and social
orphans will be supported and developed – especially substitutive families
and family orphanages. They should replace most of current, traditional
orphanages. This requires simplification and quickening of procedures.
of changes in childcare should develop thanks to a change in the way
of financing these actions. Financial means should be addressed to and
allocated for concrete children and not for nursing institutions. An
important role in care of orphaned children should be played by local
authorities. Rules and ogranizational planning of this care should not be
worked out centrally by the government, but should be differentiated and
adjusted to concrete needs and traditions of local communities.
essential to increase effectiveness of reaching alimony verdicts as well as
those concerning the scope of parental power and the right to personal
contact with a child of the parent who does not take direct care of this
child on account of divorce or living elsewhere.
Objective VIII – Help for
families threatened by dysfunction
Dysfunctional families and those threatened by dysfunction need complex help
directed to all their members and concerning every sphere of life. The aim
of help should be to conquer difficulties and to make these families
self-dependent by showing them the ways out of problems and by appropriate
financial support. Thus focused help will be more effective and will not
result in the passivity of those in need nor will it encourage other people
to allow for similar situations in their own lives.
exist various causes of families’ dysfunction but in the case of many
families these causes accumulate. A good example of this are the families of
former employees of the State Farms, who require specific, multiple help.
Prolonged lack of professional activeness of parents, spreading alcoholism,
difficult material conditions limit or even completely deprive young people
of the opportunity to acquire a proper level of education and to shape their
life aspirations. The chances of the intellectual development of children
and youngsters from these families are also reduced by the lack of proper
values both in the family and the closest environment.
appropriate help for families threatened by dysfunction, new forms and ways
of helping must be introduced - such that would take into account the
conclusions from the analysis of current solutions. This help (concerned
with health, financial, educational, psychological, housing, legal,
employment problems and others) should be multidimensional and provided by
multidepartmental institutions. The procedure of providing this help should
also be changed, beginning with early crisis intervention. Services
associated with all this should be carried out in homes of the affected
families – as in the case of family doctors. Preparation for such activities
should be reflected in the programmes of graduate and postgraduate studies
(early prevention, multidimensional help, etc.)
of establishments for dysfunctional persons also needs to be changed.
Modernization of a net of traditional educational and correction
institutions should tend towards creation of a multifunctional institution
carrying out – among others – the projects of work with dysfunctional
families as well as work in outdoor environment. This activity would be
complemented by new established boarding-schools taking intensive care of
under age people who are beyond their parents’ influence and by the
institutions for single mothers and those who want to escape from home
important element of helping families threatened by dysfunction will be
further development and modernization of psychological and educational
counselling. Development of this counselling tends towards development of
family and youth counselling, capable of providing, among others, new,
intensive forms of help for families (e.g. the system of help in home
environment – in-home service), help for children and young people in
outdoor environment (among others: projects of work among homeless juveniles
or those in youth subcultures), help for under age people through a new
system of mediation (individual education projects alternative to
traditional legal means). Professional skills of counselling people should
be constantly improved and counselling centres should be provided with the
latest diagnosis methods.
Improvement of the family courts’ performance is another important element
of helping dysfunctional families. First of all, the effectiveness of the
courts’ work should be improved by creation of conditions for professional
development of judges, guardians, community homes as well as diagnostic and
consultation family centres. An increase in the motivation to work among the
staff and to receive training as well as changes in the law should result in
improvement of courts’ functioning. Moreover, the reform of judicial
guardianship must be completed so that it becomes professional and social.
Such actions should increase the prestige of family courts (see: Objective
XI – Legal protection of the family).
Objective IX – Polish
families affected by the problem of emigration are a permanent concern of
the authorities of the Polish Republic. The number of Poles and people of
Polish descent who live all over the world is estimated at 12-18 million –
depending on the criteria which were used. There are about 900 thousand
Polish citizens living overseas and there are also thousands of unregistered
Polish seasonal workers. While analysing the structure of this group of
Poles living abroad, one can see that most of them are at production age and
presented data is approximate because there is very little information or
surveys on the subject. For this reason complex research should be carried
out concerning Polish families living abroad. The aim of this research would
be to professionally define the situation, threats, opportunities and
directions of development of the Polish families overseas.
significant part of Polish emigrants constitute families that emigrated to
stay abroad permanently or that are staying there for long periods of time,
mainly in the USA, Western Europe, Brazil, Canada, Argentina, Australia and
South Africa. Most of them are citizens of the states in which they live,
who also have Polish citizenship. A specific group constitute mixed married
couples living abroad, but also in Poland, with one spouse being a citizen
of a different country. A distinct group are families that officially
emigrated to Germany (mainly in the years 1973-1989) and that for the most
part want to maintain their connection with Poland and Polishness.
different is the situation of Polish autochtonic families living in Belarus,
Ukraine, Lithuania, Russia, the Czech Republic, Moldavia and Romania or the
situation of displaced families (e.g. to Kazakhstan) who strive for
repatriation. A small group so far of actual repatriates requires special
attention. Specific problems of these families, resulting mainly from
difficulties in adaptation to new conditions, point to the need of providing
them with versatile help.
group are full families that live abroad (for business reasons) temporarily.
The number of families living in Poland, with one parent working abroad, is
estimated at several hundred thousand. There is also a big group of broken
families as a result of the fact that one spouse stayed abroad and lives
there in a new relationship.
presented issues will be successively dealt with by social policy on Polish
families abroad, according to the presented schedule.
Objective X – Culture and
the media versus the family
many scientific centres doing research on culture confirm that it is the
family that to greatest extent shapes cultural needs of children, young
people and adults. In the family are created the models of participation in
culture and there the scope of the young generation’s cultural participation
is defined. Young people also point to home as the place where they learnt
to feel needs associated with culture.
Participation in cultural activities should serve the purpose of developing
personality and stimulating overall activeness. The task of creating a model
of cultural activeness that could compete with passive monoculture of the
electronic media becomes more and more urgent.
taking actions concerned with shaping cultural needs and competence,
pro-family policy tries to achieve the following primary goals:
promotion of family values,
improvement of cultural education,
increase in cultural events participation.
of family values will be carried out through the following actions:
promotion of family values present in European culture,
organization of competitions for authors of the programmes promoting
systematic promotion of pro-family cultural programmes in the media,
Improvement of cultural education may be accomplished thanks to:
actions leading to widening the scope of extracurricular and
extraschool activities as well as preparation of personnel for them,
elimination of educational institutions’ statutes and introduction of
the standards of extracurricular and extraschool education,
cooperation of cultural institutions, schools, educational
institutions and non-governmental organizations,
promotion of books and newspapers with educational merits for
children and young people,
promotion of cultural education realized by cultural institutions.
increase participation in cultural events, the following should be done:
reduction of closing down cultural centres and educational
institutions by supporting the processes of these establishments’
supporting financially cultural institutions, schools, educational
institutions and non-governmental organizations which carry out programmes
of social prevention,
implementing a pilot programme of the new model of working with young
people, focused on stimulating their self-dependence and on prevention of
recommending the introduction – following the example of the
countries of Western Europe – of free admission to state galleries on
Sundays and of discount family tickets to cultural institutions.
exert greater and greater influence upon shaping the awareness of a society.
General and easy access to the production showing violence and pornography
requires that the existing administrative and legal solutions are verified
and adequate measures taken. Pro-family policy sets for itself a number of
goals in this regard. They are:
attempting to systematically diagnose the influence of the media on
the condition of the family and informing public opinion about the results
of such diagnosis,
following the principle of protection, especially of children and
young men, against contact with violence and pornography in the media
(broadcasting hours, content and quality of programmes),
promotion of family values in the public media,
preparation of an aware viewer,
involving the media in shaping the cultural attitudes of viewers and
obligating them to systematically promote pro-family programmes.
these goals, the following actions are planned:
working out regulations protecting against demoralization of children
and young people as well as devaluation of the family,
introducing to school programmes the issues concerning psychological
and social influence of the media as well as basics of knowledge about the
ways of appealing to the subconscious and manipulating information,
separating the cultural and educational tasks of the media from other
tasks by creation of a special public television channel with non-commercial
legal and financial support for local youth magazines and appropriate
newspapers for children and young people,
financial support for the activity of cultural institutions
concerning cultural education.
Objective XI – Legal
protection of families
concerning legal protection of families are aimed in particular
at improvement of functioning of family courts and their supporting organs.
Better help for families than so far can still be provided – connected with
both: solving internal family conflicts and fighting pathology without
creating new legal solutions.
Accomplishment of this task, however, depends on financial means. Lack
of sufficient financial means makes it impossible to decrease the number of
cases with which family courts’ judges and employees of these courts’
supporting organs are burdened, to finish the guardianship reform started in
1992, make full use of the therapeutic and mediatory functions of diagnostic
and consultation centres, and create sufficient number of guardianship
centres that would work with children and young people in their homes.
Despite these difficulties, the reform of legal family guardianship is
continued and it is to be finished by the end of 2000. Improvement of the
general courts’ efficiency in reaching verdicts will also depend on budget
means assigned after 1999.
important legal move is introduction of the institution of separation, which
is to be done by the end of 1999. This solution is also meant to serve the
purpose of supporting families during a period of serious conflict between
spouses and the purpose of using all possible means to eliminate it.
September 1998 new penal laws were enforced. The examination of their
effectiveness with regard to legal and penal protection of the family will
be done after quite a long period of the new law’s functioning because
before that adequate analysis must be made. Such research will be carried
out in order to continue the process of looking for optimal solutions.
against family pathology is one of the elements of pro-family policy.
The specific way in which courts and their supporting organs function is
such that they intervene at the stage when family conflict or pathology is
seriously developed. The extent to which courts and their supporting organs
are involved will be much lesser once the preventive actions of other
institutions responsible for the national pro-family policy are improved.