36 initiatives, 72 centres to support Emirati families

Officials during the press conference  announcing the details of The National Family Policy at the Ministry of Community Development in Dubai.-Photo by Dhes Handumon
Officials during the press conference announcing the details of The National Family Policy at the Ministry of Community Development in Dubai.-Photo by Dhes Handumon

Dubai - Awareness programmes will also be organised for children to protect them against abuse.

By Sherouk Zakaria

Published: Mon 26 Mar 2018, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 26 Mar 2018, 4:19 PM

The Ministry of Community Development on Sunday launched over 36 initiatives to implement the National Family Policy and create stable Emirati families able to contribute to social development.
The ministry will coordinate with relevant local and federal entities to implement the projects that include drafting new regulations for child protection, granting paternity leave and carrying out workshops and awareness campaigns for the youth and newlyweds. As part of this, 72 local and federal counselling centres will support Emiratis.
Awareness programmes will be organised for children to protect them against abuse, and discounts arranged for those who desire to marry.
By the end of the year, a guide for enabling a stable family will be launched and distributed to Emirati homes.
The National Family Policy was announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, during a cabinet meeting last week to build a stable and responsible Emirati family in line with the UAE Vision 2021 and UAE Centennial Strategy 2071.
The initiatives aim to bridge gaps in the policy's six components of marriage, family relations, balance of roles, child protection, family protection and re-engineering the provision of family services.
Through the initiatives, the ministry will address challenges faced by Emirati families including high marriage costs, reliance on domestic helpers, raising children with two working parents, limited family counselling centres in the country and the need to develop communication between family members in modern life.
Hessa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development, said the ministry will extend its efforts to facilitate a healthy environment for Emirati families. "Modern life's quick pace and changes definitely impact families, and therefore, the entire society," said Buhumaid.

Coordinating council

To carry out the initiatives, the ministry will form a Coordinating Council for Family Policy that connect parties involved with families to the ministry under a unified vision, mission, policies, initiatives and objectives.
It will include about 7-9 representing bodies of parties involved in the family sphere, supported by the ministry. The initiatives will be followed up every quarter of a year, with constant communication with parties involved to ensure implementation.

Child protection

With female employees amounting up to 46 per cent in 2014 and 66 per cent in the government sector according to 2016 data, officials said there are many childcare challenges. To overcome this, the ministry will introduce programmes to help achieve work-life balance, including a 'working from home' initiative and awareness workshops, and reducing reliance on domestic help.


The youth will be educated on the importance of family and sound financial planning. "The goal of each initiative is to prepare young people to assume their marital responsibilities and raise awareness on the importance of psychological and social harmony to achieve marital happiness," said BuHumaid.
Through partnerships with economic and tourism institutions in UAE, the ministry will encourage discounts of facilities and halls to reduce marriage costs, especially for low income families.

Family relations

The ministry will launch a guide across the UAE to educate families on the rights and duties of family members, the general principles of marital relations and procedures that protect against family disintegration. 72 local and federal counselling centres will be available, licensing marriage counselling centres' requirements will be reviewed and amended.

Balance of roles

Paternity leaves will be discussed and counseling services offered for fathers to enhance their role in the family. Parents, widows and divorced women will also be advised through counselling services. A guiding programme will be dedicated for single parents, to empower and support them in adapting post-divorce life. The main objective of all this is ensuring family stability and cohesion.

Family protection

The ministry will target child protection institutions and bodies via programmes to educate staff on protecting the child's psychological and emotional well-being.
Through interactive applications matched according to age, the ministry will focus on educating children on their rights and ways to protect them-selves against different kinds of abuse.
Programmes will also cater children living with divorced parents, to protect them against any exploitation or pressure exerted by either their parents.
Families will also be educated on drug prevention, and individuals trained in anger and emotion management courses.

Re-engineering provision of family services

The ministry will cooperate with federal and local entities to conduct field studies on Emirati families to collect data to help evaluate the status of families, number of divorce cases, fertility, marriage delays and other challenges.
Such information will help develop a framework and programmes that ensure happiness, family cohesion and stability. The ministry will enhance and re-engineer services offered by family counselling centres and their beneficiaries, to ensure happiness.

National Family Policy will bridge gaps in:

>Family relations
>Balance of roles
>Child protection
>Family protection


Vision for future

The UAE leadership has a vision for the Emirati families. Through the National Family Policy initiative, the leaders are lending help and guidance to the nationals as they embark on their distinct journeys in life. When policymaking is so deeply engaged with the real life of the residents, societies are bound to prosper. People must make the most of the opportunity to ensure a more fulfilled and stress-free life.

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