Between State, Local Government and Market
Edited by Hellmut Wollmann and Gérard Marcou
Chapter 4: The Local Government Role in Pre-school Child Care Policy in France, Germany, Italy and the UK
4. The local government role in preschool child care policy in France, Germany, Italy and the UK Michael Hill, Martine Long, Anna Marzanati and Frank Bönker INTRODUCTION Child care policy for pre-school children may be seen as including: ● ● ● ● care that will supplement (or even exceptionally replace) the care provided by parents; care for children who are exceptionally vulnerable because of their own health problems or disabilities; educational activities for children that will prepare them for the compulsory education system; care to facilitate labour market participation on the part of the parents. There is evidence that these distinctions are valid across the four countries, particularly because widespread attention is being paid to the issues of both early years education and parental labour market participation. But, naturally, modern provisions emerge within systems established earlier, when the first two concerns were more dominant, so it is often difficult to separate later services from the more limited earlier forms. These earlier forms are important inasmuch as they determined the roles of local authorities and other providers in each country. While in all these cases there are likely to be reasons for provisions to be located close to families and homes, there is scope for very varied roles for local government. These may be seen as involving both regulatory roles and provider roles, but their exact manifestations will be affected by: ● roles adopted by religious and voluntary organizations as protectors of families and children, and as education providers; 75 76 ● The provision of public...
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