- Conteudo Principal
Here you can find information on the CNPDPCJ
Who We Are
The National Commission for the Promotion of the Rights and the Protection of Children and Young People – Comissão Nacional de Promoção dos Direitos e Proteção das Crianças e Jovens, briefly referred to as CNPDPCJ in the Portuguese abbreviation – is a national public institution endowed with administrative autonomy and own assets, operating under the tutelage of the Ministry of Labor, Solidarity and Social Security.
As an integrant part of the Portuguese system for the protection of children and young people, the National Commission coordinates all actions taken towards the promotion of the rights and the protection of children and young people in Portugal, contributing to reinforce the implementation of European and international legislation on the promotion and the protection of the rights of the child in Portugal – namely conventions and protocols Portugal is State-Party to, including, above all, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
As such, the National Commission promotes a culture of prevention, working in a cross-cutting manner and in close cooperation with the current 310 Local Commissions for the Protection of Children and Young People (Comissões de Proteção de Crianças e Jovens - CPCJ), while supporting, monitoring and evaluating their activity, and with representatives of all public policy and intervention areas at all levels, other entities endowed with competences on matters of childhood and youth operating in the public and private sectors, as well as with the civil society.
It is worth noting that the local commissions for the protection of children and young people are official entities of non-judicial nature, endowed with functional autonomy, aiming at promoting the rights of children and young people and at preventing or eradicating situations that may affect their safety, health, training, education or integral development, while fostering synergies at the local level.
An English version of the executive summary, conclusions and recommendations of the annual reports of the National Commission on the evaluation of the activity of the local commissions is available below:
Two decades of lessons learned on protecting children
The current legal framework of the National Commission for the Promotion of the Rights and the Protection of Children and Young People was established by Decree-Law no. 159/2015, of August 10, amended by Decree-Law no. 139/2017, of November 10, and builds upon the inheritance of more than two decades of experience and lessons learned on protecting children in Portugal by its predecessor - the National Commission for the Protection of Children and Young People at Risk, created by Decree-Law No. 98/98, of April 18 -, broadening the latter’s scope and competences.
As a matter of fact, the work accomplished along the years by the National Commission for the Protection of Children and Young People at Risk - specifically focused on children and young people at risk – and the knowledge gathered from national and international approaches made it clear that, despite the notably increased need of the most vulnerable for protection, all children and young people must fully enjoy and exercise their human rights and be protected from experiencing human rights violations.
Furthermore, the need for the creation of a new structure also arose from the increasingly recognized relevance of the dimension of prevention in eradicating child victimization and revictimization, along with the importance of raising not only children’s awareness and increasing their empowerment regarding the exercise of their rights, but also of raising the awareness of all entities and of the civil society towards the need for implementing and respecting children’s rights.
November 2015 opened the floor to a new stage: the creation of the National Commission for the Promotion of the Rights and the Protection of Children and Young People, allowed the establishment of a mission encompassing a broader target and the setting of a larger scope of action and competences, reflecting the inclusion of all children and young people and the promotion of their rights alongside their own protection, as entailed in its current designation.
Mission and Vision
The mission of the National Commission for the Promotion of the Rights and the Protection of Children and Young People is to contribute to the planning of State intervention and to the coordination, monitoring and assessment of the action taken by public bodies and by the community regarding the promotion of the rights and the protection of children and young people.
The National Commission for the Promotion of the Rights and the Protection of Children and Young People aims at being an entity of reference for the effective and full implementation and realization of all human rights of each and every child and young person in Portugal.
The CNPDPCJ has a Safeguarding Policy for the Promotion of the Rights and Protection of Children and Young People, an internal policy instrument that is decisive for all the actions of the National Commission and applies to everyone who is part of it, works and collaborates with it or intervenes in its projects or activities, on a permanent or temporary basis.
The document is inspired in a structure shared by the Council of Europe within the scope of Joint EU-Council of Europe Project CP4 Europe, of which the CNPDPCJ is a partner entity, as well as in European and international reflections based on key European and international legal instruments on children's rights. It also exists in child-friendly language, in Portuguese and English; both versions were created in cooperation with the National Council of Children and Young People, which is steered by the CNPDPCJ.
Our Attributions and Competences
In order to accomplish its mission, the National Commission for the Promotion of the Rights and the Protection of Children and Young People has been legally attributed several responsibilities, among which one can summarize the following:
- To be a regular dialogue and cooperation platform involving public and private entities, structures and programs for the promotion of the rights and the protection of children and young people in Portugal, in order to ensure a holistic, long-lasting and effective intervention based, first and foremost, on the best interest of the child;
- To support decision-making and public intervention with specialized information on the rights of the child, namely regarding children referred to and protected through the local commissions of protection of children and young people;
- To participate in the elaboration or in the amendment of national legislative proposals in response to emerging challenges or aiming at improvements deriving from learned national, European and international studies and best practices;
- To request, promote and participate in diagnostic and needs assessment studies on existing or future social measures and responses, within the scope of the system for the promotion of the rights and the protection of children and young people;
- To plan, monitor and evaluate a national strategy to further the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, namely:
- To contribute to the organization and operationalization of the effective intervention of entities with competence in matters of childhood and youth;
- To support, monitor and assess the activity of the local commissions for the protection of children and young people, provide them specialized training in order to improve the quality of their intervention and present the Parliament and the Government an annual evaluation report of the local commissions’ activity; and
- To monitor the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in Portugal, as well as of other European and international instruments and legislation in force in Portugal that contribute to promote the rights and protect children and young people.
The National Commission for the Promotion of the Rights and the Protection of Children and Young People is a public entity that integrates the Portuguese system for the protection of children and young people and is composed by:
- The President
Ms. Rosário he National Commission for the Promotion of the Rights and the Protection of Children and Young People
Ms. Maria João Fernandes is its Vice-President since August 2019.
- The National Council
The National Council is a multidisciplinary independent organ that meets regularly to debate current and future challenges and opportunities to improve the protection of the rights and the quality of the promotion of the rights of children and young people in Portugal. Headed by the President of the National Commission, the National Council is composed by:
- Representatives appointed by the members of the government in charge of public policy areas that may impact childhood and youth at the national, regional and local levels – namely, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, youth, justice, social security, health, education and home affairs;
- Representatives of the Regional Governments of Azores and Madeira;
- Representatives of the Office of the Attorney-General;
- Representatives of the Ombudsman;
- Representatives of entities with competences in childhood and youth; and
- Representatives of organizations of the civil society, including parents’ associations.
The National Council meets regularly in plenary sessions and in restricted format, the latter including only the representatives of core policy and intervention areas concerning the protection of children.
All strategic planning and intervention documents and evaluation reports produced by the National Commission are submitted by the President to the National Council for approval.
- The Regional Coordinations
The National Commission also includes:
- A central Technical Operational Team, with executive functions and multidisciplinary background, which supports the activity of the National Commission at the following levels: national secretariat; administrative and budgetary services; specialized legal services; studies and strategic planning; international relations; training; national projects; support to and monitoring of local commissions for the protection of children and young people; and editing, media communication and events.
- Five Regional Technical Teams, which are executive branches of the National Commission, acting in support of the implementation of the latter’s annual plan of activities in five different geographical areas, namely by providing support to the local commissions for the protection of children and young people of the respective geographical area of competence.