Work-Family Policies and Child Well-Being in Low-Income Families

Jane Waldfogel

in The Oxford Handbook of Poverty and Child Development

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199769100
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Work-Family Policies and Child Well-Being in Low-Income Families

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  • Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
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The families in which American children live have changed dramatically in recent years. Stay-at-home mothers, once the norm, have become an increasingly rare phenomenon, due to 2 major trends in family and work arrangements. These trends have profound implications for the role of work-family policies in promoting child well-being, particularly in low-income families. In this chapter, I consider the 4 major types of work-family policies: parental leave; other types of paid leave; flexible work arrangements; and child care. For each policy domain, I review what we know about how policies affect child well-being and then critically assess the current state of such policies in the United States, with a particular emphasis on their adequacy with regard to meeting the needs of children in low-income families. Because these policies tend to be more widely developed in other countries, I draw on evidence from overseas as well as from the United States. I conclude by discussing important policy considerations.

Keywords: child care; flexible work arrangements; parental leave; work-family policies

Article.  8850 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Developmental Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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