“The children, common good”: Conference in Parma (Italy)

“It is time that good practices for the family are put into practice”.

“ Children, common good is a slogan that we have known since the 1980s, yet today nothing seems to have changed and unfortunately we are starting to face the first real negative effects. We find ourselves faced with an emergency that we can no longer postpone and the time for concrete solutions has come .” With these words Monsignor Enrico Solmi opened the conference “Children, common good – Family and birth rate policies in the area” which took place in Parma, on the afternoon of Friday 17th, at the Public Assistance Auditorium.

And concrete solutions made up of synergistic networks and solutions already in place in some virtuous municipalities were discussed in the speeches of the speakers involved in the meeting.

The conference, opened by greetings from Enrico Fermi , president of ACLI Parma, Alfredo Caltabiano , president of the National Association of Large Families ANFN and Maddalena Faccioli , president of the Forum of Family Associations of Emilia-Romagna, immediately got to the heart of things in the words of Lidia Borzì , ACLI national delegate Family and Lifestyles. “ Children are our hope, the incubator of the future. Yet, our patronage highlights that we are close to the point where we will not be able to pay pensions, because our system is based on the sums set aside by new workers and therefore, when we reach the point where young people will be fewer than older people , we risk collapse ” explains Borzì . “ One of the main causes of this demographic winter – continues the ACLI national delegate – is to be found in the absence of work; today young people have to deal with solutions of poor and precarious jobs, which increasingly postpone the choice of having a child” . For this reason, we spoke about the need for measures for dignified work, security and lifelong learning, salaries to be aligned with European ones and aid for women, who no longer have to choose between work and family. “ It is also important to remember two other themes: the need for reception policies, since foreigners who arrive in Italy have children, who risk not being welcomed appropriately in our country and a change of mentality in our culture, for which the sense of “we” has been lost, in the name of a dangerous individualism .”

Francesco Belletti , director of the International Center for Family Studies, focused on a series of technical reflections on what it means to make policies for the family: ” Since 1991 we have been talking about a demographic emergency and today, after 30 years without targeted political actions, the downward slide is real. It is essential to work on the link between tax policies in favor of the family and social justice – claims Belletti . We need a family-friendly tax system, we need to modify the ISEE, strengthen the single universal allowance and parental leave and support parents in the first years of the child’s life, stopping – a very Italian reality – taking refuge in the support of grandparents or other relatives ”.

There are stories of virtuous municipalities, said Alfredo Caltabiano, president of the Italian Large Families Association ANFN. ” It would be enough to study and reproduce the case histories of the national network of family-friendly municipalities, initially born in Trentino and Sardinia and which today have 202 participating municipalities (therefore already as many as 7 million and 800 thousand citizens). These Municipalities choose to follow a series of good practices that place the issue of the family and birth rate at the center of the Council’s attention and adhere to a certification that involves following a Plan for the family, at no cost”.

The final report by Luciano Malfer , Research Family Development Manager of the Bruno Kessler Foundation, focused precisely on the possibility of creating a family-centred approach, reducing costs and making the most of goods and services already available, in order to deal with the demographic, environmental and digital transition we are experiencing is successful. “ We are working, and some Municipalities are already successfully testing it, on a mapping of existing services and on an integrated and holistic system in which everyone can participate; 9 points to create a synergy of all the policies of a Municipality, a network model that involves every area and has family services at its centre. The use of Artificial Intelligence allows us to design and structure the best plan for each different Municipality, mapping other already existing situations that can be used as an example and creating new collaboration networks .”

At the end of the conference, the interventions of the Regional Councilor Barbara Lori , the Councilor for Participation of the Municipality of ParmaDaria Jacopozzi and Sandro Campanini , PD City Councilor, who testified to their experience and the steps forward made and in the process of realization both in the Municipality of Parma and in the Region.

The first seeds have therefore been planted, now it is the task of politics and the institutions to allow, to paraphrase a phase of Francesco Belletti, “these flowers finally become a shared garden”.

Video of the conference (in Italian)

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