Child-Related Financial Transfers and Early Childhood Education and Care
This paper examines policies for the support of families with children, in particular child-related financial transfers and early childhood education and care (ECEC) services. The analysis is mainly focused on countries with institutionalized welfare states – primarily Western European and other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries – because that is where child-related benefits and services have the longest history. It focuses on the unfolding of the relevant transfers and services from the period of their inception in the early decades of the 20th century to the reforms that are currently underway. The paper highlights a number of core insights relevant to policy planning and decision-making for child-related transfers and ECEC services: Child-related financial transfers and ECEC services should not be seen as alternatives to each other, both are needed to provide continuous support across the life cycle. Children’s needs and well-being should be at the forefront when these policies are designed and put in place. While this may appear self-evident, policies that are intended to meet several objectives can result in a situation where the needs of children are not at the heart of the measures that are assumed to benefit them. The paper also underlines the need for gender equality to be a frontline consideration in this (as in other) policy domains. This paper was produced for UN Women’s flagship report Progress of the World’s Women 2015-2016, and is released as part of the UN Women discussion paper series.