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Cash and carePolicy challenges in the welfare state$
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Caroline Glendinning and Peter A. Kemp

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9781861348562

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861348562.001.0001

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Reciprocity, lone parents and state subsidy for informal childcare

Reciprocity, lone parents and state subsidy for informal childcare

(p.187) Fourteen Reciprocity, lone parents and state subsidy for informal childcare
Cash and care

Christine Skinner

Naomi Finch

Policy Press

This chapter investigates the potential of a state subsidy for informal childcare. Utilising evidence from a study of 78 qualitative in-depth interviews and eight focus groups with lone parents, it explores preferences for informal care and how such care is negotiated in families. The study found that lone parents held deeply embedded preferences for informal childcare based on trust, commitment, shared understandings, and children's happiness. It is important, therefore, for government to support informal as well as formal care. However, the evidence also shows that the way informal childcare was negotiated involved complex notions of obligation, duty, and reciprocity, suggesting that a subsidy could potentially intrude upon private family relationships. Yet, on closer examination, it was found that care was negotiated differently depending on who was providing it, with lone parents tending to favour paying for childcare provided by other family members and friends than by grandparents.

Keywords:   state subsidies, single parents, informal childcare

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