Better childcare provision increases public support for the service

November 15, 2016, University of Kent

People's attitudes to childcare are shaped by the perceived level and effectiveness of the service, new research led by the University of Kent has shown.

Expanding childcare provision can create a 'virtuous cycle' for public support, while rolling back on childcare can lead to a corresponding decrease in support.

The research, which was led by Dr Heejung Chung of Kent's School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, looked at data from 22 European countries. Results showed that, generally, parents across Europe were supportive of public childcare provision.

But the researchers found that existing structures of childcare provision were consistently related to parents' support for childcare. Irrespective of subjective considerations, such as self-interest and , the study found that a 'vicious and virtuous cycle' existed in the relationship between policy provision and support.

The findings showed that, at a national level, the larger the current public provision, and the more positively people assess it, the greater the support. Thus, governments' further investment in wider provision of good quality childcare has the potential to drive up assessment, then and later demand for public childcare.

The researchers concluded that there may be different mechanisms at play in explaining for welfare provision in 'newer' areas such as childcare and work-life balance, as distinct from what are perceived as 'old' areas such as unemployment and old age.

European parents' attitudes towards public childcare provision. The role of current provisions, interests and ideologies (Heejung Chung and Bart Meuleman, University of Leuven) is published in the journal European Societies.

Explore further: Family support more important than pre-school care in securing children’s wellbeing

More information: Heejung Chung et al, European parents' attitudes towards public childcare provision: the role of current provisions, interests and ideologies, European Societies (2016). DOI: 10.1080/14616696.2016.1235218

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Unprecedented study of Picasso's bronzes uncovers new details

February 17, 2018

Musee national Picasso-Paris and the Northwestern University/Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts (NU-ACCESS) have completed the first major material survey and study of the Musee national Picasso-Paris' ...

Using Twitter to discover how language changes

February 16, 2018

Scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London, have studied more than 200 million Twitter messages to try and unravel the mystery of how language evolves and spreads.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.