Gender matters in child welfare partly by virtue of the relationship of men, masculinities and men's practices to children, young people and childcare. This problematic is considered within a European context. The article sets out some of the major ways in which men relate, or do not relate, to children and young people. These include men's care of, violence to and abuse of children and young people. Drawing on work with the EU Research Network, 'The Social Problem of Men', we locate men's relation to children in the context of men's gendered position within different European societies and 'welfare states'. The final part of this article discusses more research and policy on men, children and childcare. These include somewhat contradictory findings on parental leave, violence and abuse, and professional interventions in Nordic, supposedly 'women-friendly' 'welfare societies'.