Cross National Comparison of Child Care Policy Options and Implementations

This collaboration concerned Child Care, Welfare Reform and Women’s Labour Force participation. The project was the first part of a cross-national comparative study of Australia and the UK.

Its aim was to produce a scoping study of child care policy choices and trajectories. A conference was held in Sydney at UNSW, ‘Building an International Research Collaboration in Early Childhood Education and Care’, in February 2008 at which all grant holders presented papers. This work is being continued through PASEC.

With the increased participation of women in paid work across the globe, the question of who will care for children, frail or disabled family members has become more central to governments, to working parents and people who need care and support. The need for care has intensified in Western societies with the ageing of the population.

Added to this is the question of how should care be paid for and provided. The research identifies the different ways welfare states in the industrialised world are providing support for care, how far they use the public, private and/ or voluntary sectors, what choices are open to people, the quality of the provision on offer and who carries the costs.

The work is focusing on the UK, Australia, Canada and Sweden and the research has found that increasingly states are using a migrant workforce to cut their costs in care provision.