Edited by Guðný B. Eydal and Tine Rostgaard
Child and family policy has traditionally been very weak in Southern Europe. Comparative research on welfare states has often suggested that Southern European countries are more family-oriented, meaning that the role of the family in welfare provision is stronger. The strong family ties go hand in hand with a very low fertility rate in recent decades. This chapter by Guerrero and Naldini provides a historical and comparative analysis of child and family policy in Southern Europe, focusing on Italy and Spain as examples of similar cases, but also with recently diverging patterns. In Southern Europe, family benefits are not able to mitigate, as in other countries, the very high rate of child poverty. Childcare services and paid leaves to care for children are poorly funded, despite important improvements in some countries. The continuing overall underdevelopment of child and family policy is the result of several historical features of the South. Changes towards more generous services and some advances in gender parity in Spain are related to divergent forms of party competition, public opinion and developments in female employment.
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