State support for families in Europe: a comparative overview

Authored by: Kirsten Scheiwe

Routledge Handbook of Family Law and Policy

Print publication date:  May  2014
Online publication date:  May  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415640404
eBook ISBN: 9780203796221
Adobe ISBN: 9781134447534


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What is the role of the state and its interrelationship with private obligations in supporting families with children? Traditional family policies emerging as part of welfare state developments, mainly since the 1920s, were widely based on the assumption of a ‘male breadwinner’ and support for the married couple, but contained also some maternalist elements. Care obligations were widely left to the private domain, and public support was limited. This traditional model is becoming outmoded, ideas and practices about gender equality, employment and parenting have changed, and welfare state policies face new challenges, but they are dealing with them in very different ways. This chapter starts with an outline of typologies of family policies, mainly in Europe, and continues to discuss new challenges and responses in different fields of social policy.

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