The Consequences for Caring Mothers

Edited by Jorma Sipilä, Katja Repo and Tapio Rissanen

This insightful book examines the meaning of, and impacts on, cash-for-care systems for mothers of small children. The contributors present a comprehensive overview of the major political and economic contradictions, theoretical debates concerning cash-for-care, and explore the possibility of implementing it into the social policy system.

Chapter 3: Cash-for-Childcare: Unnecessary Traditionalism or a Contemporary Necessity?

Jorma Sipilä, Katja Repo, Tapio Rissanen and Niina Viitasalo

Subjects: economics and finance, welfare economics, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy


Jorma Sipilä, Katja Repo, Tapio Rissanen and Niina Viitasalo Cash-for-childcare (CFC) is an exhaustively debated subject. The heated debate, however, concerns only one of the two basic forms of CFC presented by Kamerman and Gatenio Gabel (Chapter 2 in this volume). The first alternative is that the cash benefit is money given to a qualified individual user to purchase care. A typical context for such a policy is a country where the government does not subsidize children’s daycare. In such a case the CFC policy will hardly raise fervent emotions. The second option is that the government gives cash benefit instead of daycare, requiring that the child does not take part in subsidized daycare. This policy raises fierce international debate and therefore it will be the subject of this chapter. Formally, cash-for-childcare is a means to support the parents of young children in providing childcare. However, speaking of parents as receivers of the CFC is formally true but actually it confuses the basic understanding of the consequences of cash-for-care schemes. Almost all of benefit recipients tend to be mothers who receive a small financial benefit to support their subsistence while taking care of children at home. The prevailing intention behind cash-for-childcare schemes, at least in Europe, has been to encourage mothers to take care of their children at home. In this theoretical chapter we therefore concentrate on this function. As mentioned, the idea of paying for parental childcare1 has spawned controversial discussion. The idea was vehemently resisted first by conservatives...

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