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International Day of Families

Established by the United Nations (UN) in 1993, the International Day of Families is celebrated annually on May 15. In 2015, the UN also adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 goals that aim to eliminate poverty, discrimination, abuse, and preventable deaths, combat environmental destruction, and usher in an era of development for everyone everywhere. Families and family-oriented policies and programs are vital to the achievement of many of these goals. In 2023, the UN proposes to mark the International Day of Families by raising awareness of the impact of demographic trends on families.


At the Center for Psychological Research and Social Intervention (CIS-Iscte), the Community, Education, and Development (CED) research group explores the psychosocial adjustment of children, adolescents, and families, considering the quality of relationships as a central premise. In several research lines, the CED team conducts research concerning the assessment and intervention of individual and family systems, as well as formal and informal education settings. We talked with two researchers from this research group who work on the role of families throughout the development of children and youth to learn more about their work.


Joana Baptista (JB) is a psychologist and is currently the coordinator of CED. Her research, among other topics, explores the effects of the quality of relational care on the development of babies and children at risk, such as those in residential and foster care and those born prematurely.



Eunice Magalhães (MS), also a psychologist, has developed research in the area of protection of children and youth at risk and danger, particularly in the area of residential and family foster care.




What is foster care, and what are the (dis)advantages of this system compared to others?

How does the concept of family, particularly in the context of foster care, align with the themes and goals of the International Day of Families?

In your research, what are the most significant challenges faced by families involved in the foster care system, and how does this affect their overall well-being?

Could you talk a bit about innovative approaches or programs that have been, or are being, implemented to strengthen family connections and reunification within the foster care system?

What policy or legislative changes do you consider necessary to improve the support and outcomes for families involved in foster care, in line with the objectives of the International Day of Families?

On this commemorative day, what message would you like to leave to families about their importance to the future of children and young people?


© 2019 HUlki Okan Tabak | Unsplash

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