Handbook of Family Policy
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Handbook of Family Policy

Edited by Guðný B. Eydal and Tine Rostgaard

The Handbook of Family Policy examines how state and workplace policies support parents and their children in developing, earning and caring. With original contributions from 44 leading scholars, this Handbook provides readers with up-to-date knowledge on family policies and family policy research, taking stock of current literature as well as providing analyses of present-day policies, and where they should head in the future.
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Chapter 12: Triggers and drivers of change in framing parenting support in North western Europe

Trudie Knijn, Claude Martin and Ilona Ostner


The chapter by Knijn, Martin and Ostner elaborates reforms in parenting support as a rather new public policy domain balancing between the public and the private domains as well as between surveillance and support. The focus is on reform trajectories in three European Union countries (France, Germany and the Netherlands) by exploring triggers and drivers of change. In an effort to understand public policy reforms, many authors refer to policy tracing and/or policy design strategy as an outcome of a given political economy. In this chapter, however, it is assumed that particular policies at the intersection of private and public domains such as those in the field of parenting support are first the expression of triggers of change, such as drastic changes of the global society, in terms of population trends, family composition, labour market developments, gender and social inequalities and so on. In addition, those policy reforms can be envisioned as a battlefield of ideas concerning parenthood and care (responsibilities, family culture, controversies about childhood) and actors (political actors, experts, professionals, interest groups or lobbies), defined as drivers of change. The authors explore this battlefield of ideas and assumptions by comparing the main reforms (and projects of reforms) in parenting support, and more widely on family policy in the three countries.

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