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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.
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Chapter 8: The Paradox of Cash-for-Childcare: Are There Ways to Solve the Dilemma?

Katja Repo, Jorma Sipilä, Tapio Rissanen and Niina Viitasalo


Katja Repo, Jorma Sipilä, Tapio Rissanen and Niina Viitasalo Cash-for-childcare as a social benefit is a contested and controversial subject. The main paradox of cash-for-care schemes is their contradictory nature: they have strong positive and negative features at the same time. In this chapter we discuss this paradox, taking into account the comments and ideas developed by the authors of this book, but we also look at the future and ask how the negative features of such schemes could be minimized. We start by making an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of cash-for-care schemes and then continue by considering how cash-for-childcare schemes could be developed in the future. THE ADVANTAGES OF CASH-FOR-CARE SCHEMES In principle, cash-for-childcare benefits provide parents with more flexibility in daily life practices when it concerns reconciling work and family responsibilities (Rønsen and Kitterød, Chapter 6 this volume). They provide families with flexible means to arrange childcare while improving women’s access to the labour market (Kamerman and Gatenio Gabel, Chapter 2 this volume). One possible function of CFC is to increase consumerism in childcare. It, for its part, evinces incentives to develop childcare markets where parents, mainly mothers, can make their choices regarding childcare consumption. (Kamerman and Gatenio Gabel, Chapter 2 this volume; Uttal, 2002).1 In this book, however, we have not studied CFC benefits as childcare vouchers but have concentrated on another function: CFC as a way to support maternal childcare at home. One reason why cash-for-care schemes are popular today is...

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