Article

Family Policy

Neil Gilbert

in Social Work

ISBN: 9780195389678
Published online June 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0003
Family Policy

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As a field of study, the boundaries of family policy have shifted over time in response to changing concerns about family life. Early interests in family policy focused on the provision of children’s allowances and benefits to increase fertility rates and help families manage the costs of childrearing. As the market economy and the welfare state have evolved in modern times, public agencies and private enterprise have come to assume many of the social functions performed by the family in an earlier age, from caring for children to supporting parents in their old age. Since the 1960s, the increasing rates of divorce, cohabitation, and single parenthood have weakened the traditional bonds of family life. In response to the growing needs that accompanied the attenuation of these traditional bonds, the role of the state has expanded in helping to address the issues and pressures of family life. The literature on family policy embodies analyses of the trends in marriage, work and family life, supports for children, and a wide range of public measures, which are reflected in the growth of social welfare provisions for cash and in-kind benefits, including family allowances, household help, parental leave, lone-parent cash benefits, and payments for childcare. The scope and substance of family policy vary among industrialized countries, which encourages learning through international comparisons.

Article.  4130 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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