Finnish Childcare Policies: In/Equality in Focus (CHILDCARE)

Public description of the goals at the beginning of the project

Finnish childcare policies encourage children’s participation in early childhood education, but they also support home and informal care, and private childcare by cash-for-care benefits. This dualistic model is often considered as securing equality between families, but municipal childcare systems vary increasingly. The project will examine how the municipal childcare systems condition parental childcare decisions, and hence the study scrutinises the potential sources of inequality of the systems. The focus is on possible inequalities between regions and families, and in children’s early education trajectories and wellbeing. The study applies a multimethod approach. It will be carried out in collaboration with 10 municipalities that provide different combinations of childcare services and cash benefits. The research will provide tangible models and ideas about how to support equality in Finnish childcare locally and nationally.

Public description of the results at the end of the project

The starting point of the CHILDCARE consortium has been the variation in municipal childcare benefits and provision of early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Finland. The consortium has studied how the variation impacts families' childcare decisions, participation in ECEC, and gender equality in reconciling work and family life. The project has provided new information on the tensions between municipal childcare subsidy and ECEC policies, the selectivity of clientele in private ECEC services, the associations between the socio-economic background of the family and childcare solutions, and the division of caring responsibilities in families. The project has collaborated with municipalities and governmental and non-governmental organizations. The researchers have been actively involved in discussions on childcare benefits and ECEC systems locally and nationally.

More information

  • Consortium's website
  • Consortim PI Maarit Alasuutari, University Researcher, firstname.lastname(at)

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