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Where Do Rich Countries Stand on Childcare?

Where Do Rich Countries Stand on Childcare?


Anna Gromada; Dominic Richardson


Publication series:
Innocenti Research Report

No. of pages: 30

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(PDF, 0.83 MB)

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Even before COVID-19, some of the world’s richest countries were failing to offer comprehensive childcare solutions to all families. In some instances, this reflected their policy priorities rather than available resources. The COVID-19 pandemic also challenged children’s education, care and well-being as parents struggled to balance their responsibilities for childcare and employment, with a disproportionate burden placed on women. In the context of lockdown and school closures, childcare was one of the worst affected family services and had a significant knock-on effect.

This report shows how governments can help parents through paid parental leave, followed by affordable and high-quality childcare. Using the most recent comparable data, it assesses the parental leave and childcare policies in the 41 high-income countries that are part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) or the European Union (EU). The report concludes with nine recommendations for how policies can be improved to provide comprehensive solutions to all families.

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Where do rich countries stand on childcare?

Where do rich countries stand on childcare?

Accessible, affordable, and quality childcare helps parents return to work after parental leave, improves children’s social and cognitive development, and promotes a more gender equitable society. Yet, despite its many benefits, UNICEF Innocenti's report reveals that childcare is inaccessible to many parents in the world's richest countries. Where Do Rich Countries Stand on Childcare? ranks high-income countries based on their national childcare and parental leave policies. The best-performing countries combine affordability with quality of organized childcare while offering long and well-paid leave to both mothers and fathers.
Are the world’s richest countries family friendly? Policy in the OECD and EU

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