Children and their families have become a focal point of debates on “new social risks” and innovative new public policies are being introduced in many European welfare states. Policy-related elites, including those from individual countries as well as UNICEF, OECD and the EU, have converged in defining such risks, engaged in mutual policy learning and put in place measures to better safeguard children, activate their potential and promote their well-being. Such measures are part and parcel of what has been branded a “child-centred social investment strategy” around which there appears now to be wide consensus.
Our research project focuses on investigating the nature of the “new” public policies directed towards children and their parents across four countries and also critically assess the sustainability of these policies by analysing potential ambiguities due to diffuse balance points between 1) prevention and protection, 2) too much and too little intervention, and 3) targeting on children of different ages and social class backgrounds.
Providing for children and families is a very complex undertaking, involving moral, political, economic and social issues. Against this backdrop, the multi-disciplinary project will critically address key aspects of provision for parents, children and families in general. The beneficiaries are therefore manifold, and include children and their families, the planners and providers of the services (including NGOs), and a range of different governing bodies and policy makers as well as academics. The research especially problematizes what makes for an effective and sustainable policy programme for children and their families in today’s Europe. Another type of relevant output will be the analysis of the history and background of relevant services. The project will contextualise services not just by information on how they operate but also in terms of where they fit in the historical context and in an international setting.
Project | Detailed Description | Funding | Research Question | Objectives | Methods