Solutions of Early Childhood Education and Care in Families with One-Year Old Children in Finland

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 17:50
Oral Presentation
Johanna LAMMI-TASKULA, THL (National Institute for Health and Welfare), Finland
Family policy in Finland supports parents of young children in reconciling work and family by providing them leave possibilities with income-related benefits until the child is about 11 monts old.

After parental leave, the policy model is dualistic: parents can choose either home care (care leave with a flat-rate benefit until child is 3 years old) or high-quality daycare (both public and private ECEC are subsidized).

”Freedom of choice” is the main ideology of family policy; however childcare choices and are made in the context of gendered practices as well as significant variation in local policies. About half of fathers use their parental leave quota, but care leave is mainly taken by mothers. Highly educated mothers return earlier to work while mothers with lower education level take care of their children at home longer. Some municipalities provide local supplements with various conditions to child home care, and support to private ECEC services varies.

In this paper, childcare solutions of parents with one-year-old children, and possible inequalities between children are analysed. The analysis is based on a survey carried out in 2016, exploring the utilisation of ECEC services and benefits and the justifications for related choices. The analysis shows that instead of a dualistic model (homecare vs daycare), childcare of one-year-old children is often a combination of several different forms of care including the utilisation of both statutory and local possibilities as well as part-time solutions and informal help.

While national policies have been stable, local measures are more volatile and can be changed according to state of public economy and local labour market. Thus, inequalities are constantly re-shaped not only between men and women, but also between children living in different parts of the country.