Family and Child Policies

What are family and child policies?

Research on family and child policies analyses how individuals interact with the institutional and organisational context, and how policies affect families and individual family members. Families show growing diversity (e.g. nuclear families, single parent families, rainbow families, multicultural families, stepfamilies etc.), which is considered in our research by disaggregating the analysis to capture policies’ impacts on and needs of different family types. Comparative research enables researchers and policymakers to assess the effectiveness of different family and child policies addressing, for example, gender and economic inequalities, social exclusion, child poverty, new social risks due to the societal and economic changes, and family diversity.

Family and child policies use instruments such as legal measures to implement rights, tax regulations, monetary benefits, and benefits in kind such as leave schemes, child-related education, and care services to meet the needs of families and individual family members. They are crucial for the well-being and functioning of families with dependent children. They play a significant role in providing support to families and children in a vulnerable situation due to poverty, disability, or other reasons. The set of measures varies between countries and regions with a heterogeneity of goals such as compensating families for the child-related costs, supporting parents in the role as carers, enabling parents to reconcile work and family life, improving gender equality, supporting early childhood development, and ensuring the rights of children as well as maternity protection.

Why are family and child policies important?

Family and child policies shape the societal role of families and affect families’ and individuals’ opportunities, choices, constraints, and capabilities. They influence how families and public institutions interact, and how family members interact among each other. For example, policies can determine whether the task of caring for small children is solely assigned to the family or supported by public and private childcare services, which affect the distribution of (unpaid) caregiving and labour market participation of parents.

What we offer:

The European Centre's research team offers interdisciplinary research and policy analysis with strong expertise in comparative research. We use quantitative and qualitative research methods to assess the impacts of family policies and evaluate the effectiveness of family and child policies in achieving their defined goal. We specifically offer research and policy analysis of family and child policies by:

  • Examining and categorising cross-national and regional variations in family policies such as childcare services, leave systems and rights of children and parents.
  • Assessing the implementation and effect of international treaties, guidelines, and recommendations, issued by various EU and UN bodies in the UNECE region.
  • Analysing policy reforms’ impact on the distribution of (unpaid) care work between parents, the well-being of children, the conciliation of work and family life and gender-specific differences between parents.
  • Evaluating social protection systems and assessing the fiscal and distributional impact of policy reforms for families and children through tax/benefit micro-simulation (models EUROMOD and SORESI).
  • Developing and applying analytical frameworks and indicators measuring the output, outcome, and political determinants of policymaking.
  • Providing training and organising mutual learning events for different stakeholders to enable exchange of knowledge between researchers, policymakers and practitioners across disciplines and countries.

Project examples

Contact persons

Magdi Birtha

Magdi Birtha

Michael Fuchs

Michael Fuchs