The Consequences for Caring Mothers
Edited by Jorma Sipilä, Katja Repo and Tapio Rissanen
Chapter 4: Finnish Child Home Care Allowance – Users’ Perspectives and Perceptions
Katja Repo INTRODUCTION The Finnish public and political debate on childcare emphasizes parents’ right to choose between different childcare arrangements. The option to apply for the child home care allowance plays an important role in this respect. The home care allowance is not, however, the only childcare choice the parents can make after parental leave. Finnish parents also have a right to public childcare services and to monetary compensations for choosing private childcare solutions. In spite of a variety of different childcare alternatives, the option to apply for home care allowance has gained considerable popularity in Finnish society. This has resulted in its turn in a situation in which over 50 percent of small children are cared for at home. Concurrently it has meant that the enrolment in publicly funded child daycare is relatively low compared with other Nordic countries and that a growing number of Finnish mothers have in recent years stayed outside the labour market. This chapter considers the Finnish child home care allowance. It describes the main features of the allowance and positions it in the broader picture of Finnish childcare policies. The chapter also approaches the home care allowance from the daily life perspective. Although popular, we know little about the users’ experiences of child home care allowance. This is why the chapter tackles this question and will describe how the recipients of the benefit perceive home care and the choice it has provided. The discussion of the issue is based on interviews with 20 parents...
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