Childcare policy in the Czech Republic and Norway: two countries, two paths with many possibilities

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The objective of this paper is to analyse and compare the design and governance of the contemporary childcare policy in the Czech Republic and Norway in relation to the situation of households with dependent children under school age. Following this, we review certain provisions of the childcare policies of the two countries, whose systems possessed certain similarities at the beginning of the 1990s, although they represent distinct types of welfare state. Our analysis reveals that the chief differences in childcare policy have persisted and adapted to the key features of the welfare regimes. The two countries’ central childcare policy values contrast with each other (equity and free choice in Norway vs. re-familisation and strong ‘family dependency’ among individuals in the Czech Republic) and exhibit differences in the structure and extent of policy measures, as well. Policies in both are less sensitive to the needs of children with specific needs (such as migrants in Norway or Roma children in the Czech Republic).

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