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 26: Policies on family support and parenting support in a global perspective

Mary Daly


This chapter by Daly has two main aims: to identify key developments globally in regard to the forms and modalities of relevant policies and to take a critical look at the developments. The overall goal is to uncover the extent to which concerns about the family and the role and practices of parents are mobilising public policy and related agency in different parts of the world. Daly draws mainly from research carried out for UNICEF in 2014 and covers nine countries: Belarus, Chile, China, Croatia, England, Jamaica, Philippines, South Africa and Sweden. Analysis reveals a strong trend cross-nationally towards providing a range of resources (typically termed ‘support’) to improve familial functioning and increase parents’ information and knowledge, resources and competence for child-rearing. The measures are not uniform however. Parenting support frequently sits alongside family support policy but it can also be a standalone policy in a setting where there is no developed family policy. In some national settings the growth of family and/or parenting support involves the introduction of new policies and provisions; in others it involves a reorientation or reframing of existing policies. In a further clarification, one has to distinguish between the high-income countries where policy is very well developed and where parenting support represents a specialisation of existing policy and the low- and middle-income regions of the world where family support and parenting support are expected to achieve a more generic set of outcomes and where they are much less specific in concrete policy terms.

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