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Childcare: A strategic national priority? Priority

children , families , welfare


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Early years and childcare can serve three purposes in modern welfare states: promoting child development, supporting parents to work and advancing gender equality.

Often these objectives reinforce one another, but sometimes they compete. The aim of this project is to synthesise key insights from the latest research and practice to help policy makers consider the options for developing childcare and family policy in the years ahead. In particular, it will explore where different objectives can be integrated and where inherent trade-offs must be confronted.

The project comprises four stages.

  1. A comparative study of early years and childcare regimes across the OECD, with a series of in-depth country case studies.
  2. A systematic review of literature relating to the contribution of childcare to social and economic outcomes related to child development, parental employment and gender equality.
  3. Original modelling to explore the potential impact of childcare and early years on the public finances and household budgets.
  4. The development of new ideas and options for advancing childcare and family policy, compatible with medium term fiscal constraint.

The project outputs will include a briefing paper on OECD evidence and lessons; a public lecture by a leading international expert; and a final research and policy report. The project will achieve impact through regular media coverage, presentations at relevant seminars and conferences, and on-going contact with key policy makers and politicians.

This will draw on IPPR’s strong reputation for high quality research, creative policy thinking and demonstrated political influence.

This project is generously supported by the Nuffield Foundation.

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