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Family Policy and the Organisation of Childcare

Hierarchies of Care Ideals


  • Proposes a novel conceptual framework for explaining children’s care arrangements during the early years

  • Brings into focus the role that childcare policy instruments actually play in shaping lived experiences of organising formal and informal care and the negotiation of work-family reconciliation at the micro level

  • Offers an unprecedented, empirically rich read about Romanian families and their relationship with the Romanian welfare state fifteen to twenty-five years after the demise of state socialism

  • Provides engagement with state-family relationships in the realm of childcare from a gendered perspective


Table of contents

About this book


This book explains and theorises the ways in which family policy instruments come to shape the routine care arrangements of young children. Drawing on interviews with close to a hundred parents from very different walks of life in urban and rural Romania, the book provides a rich account of the care arrangement transitions these parents experience during their children’s first five years of life. The influence of family policies emerges as complex and uneven, affecting childcare decisions both directly and indirectly by contributing to the reproduction and legitimation of age-related hierarchies of care ideals. These cultural artefacts, reflective of both longstanding institutional legacies and recent policy innovations between 2006 and 2015, are the prism through which mothers and fathers from diverse backgrounds view and make decisions about their children’s care. This unique volume will be of interest and value to students and scholars of childcare, its organisation and family policy, specifically in post-socialist contexts.


Romania Pre-school Children Youth Household Socio-economic Central Europe Eastern Europe Welfare state juvenile justie social policy social care social work

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Aarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark

About the authors

Borbála Kovács is a EURIAS research fellow at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, Denmark, and Visiting Faculty at the Central European University, Hungary. She has written widely on family policy and its impact on private lives, as well as post-socialist welfare state adaptation. 

Bibliographic information