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date: 14 August 2018

Abstract and Keywords

In keeping with its long-term pattern as a public-private welfare model, the United States has developed a patchwork of provisions to reconcile the tension between families' care needs and wage-earning. These include child care, after-school programs, and family and medical leave, as well as tax policy and public assistance. Public funding for child care targets poor and low-income families, linking services to mandatory employment for recipients of public assistance. Public after-school programs are also targeted to low-income children, offering remedial and compensatory services as well as supervision. This leaves middle-income families to find and pay for private preschool and after-school care, with the cost only partially offset by tax breaks. The U.S. stands out for its lack of support to families, being the only advanced industrial society that does not offer paid maternity or parental leave. The 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act mandates up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave and only a minority of firms exceed this by providing paid leave. As a result, take-up rates among low-income employees are low. Although many other advanced countries provide high-quality public preschool, there is less difference between them and the U.S. when it comes to care for school-age children.

Keywords: child care, after-school care, family leave, maternity leave, parental leave, Family and Medical Leave Act, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, public-private, welfare state

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