Session: Family Policy Around the World (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

117 Family Policy Around the World

Friday, January 13, 2023: 2:00 PM-3:30 PM
Alhambra, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: International Social Work & Global Issues
Symposium Organizer:
Daniel Meyer, PhD, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Irwin Garfinkel, PhD, Columbia University
Family policy faces a variety of dilemmas and tradeoffs, and US policymakers can learn from the approaches and experiences of other countries. This symposium brings together four novel papers focused on policies affecting children in several different countries, describing some key policies and examining their effects. While there is some literature in this area, we know relatively little about whether policies are similar across countries, and even less about the effects of policies. This symposium includes countries beyond the typically-studied European and Anglo countries. While a broad range of family policies is included, particular attention is paid to child support, policies governing physical custody (with whom children live after parental separation), and foster care.

The first paper (Child Support Policy in Middle and Low-Income Countries) sets the context by providing a broad overview of what is known about child support policy in countries not typically studied. The paper is based on a systematic literature search of 31 countries and quantitative analyses of household survey responses in 6 countries. The paper describes policy similarities and differences across countries, paying special attention to how policy in these countries compares to that of high-income countries. The next two papers examine child custody. In the second paper (Shared Care and Family Policy) the authors consider four family policy areas in 11 countries, focusing on whether these policies acknowledge and respond to shared care (in which children spend half or nearly half their time with each parent after parental separation). This policy analysis shows substantial variation in whether and how countries are responding to this emerging family form. The third paper, "Sharing Care and Sharing Costs?" is a more focused analysis of the effects of shared care policy in Finland and Wisconsin. Using survey data from each country and quantitative methods, the authors examine whether families with shared care have child support arrangements, and how decisions about sharing other child-related expenses are made. The final paper, "Inequitable Access to Relative Caregiving: Implications for Foster Care Regulation in Finland, New Zealand, and the United States" changes the lens from policies for children living with one parent to children who have been removed, exploring the policies in three countries for how easy it is to use kin care within the foster care system. This analysis evaluates the policies in place on three criteria.

The symposium is capped by a senior discussant. A US policy scholar will discuss the implications of these papers for US policy as well as the strengths and limits of comparative policy research. The audience not only learns about the ways several countries structure policy and the effects of these different policies for economically vulnerable families, but also is challenged to consider changes to US policy.

* noted as presenting author
Child Support Policy in Middle and Low-Income Countries: Current Approaches and Policy Dilemmas
Laura Cuesta, PhD, Rutgers University; Mia Hakovirta, PhD, University of Turku; Mari Haapanen, PhD, University of Turku; Daniel Meyer, PhD, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Shared Care and Family Policy: A Comparative Analysis from 11 Countries
Mia Hakovirta, PhD, University of Turku; Daniel Meyer, PhD, University of Wisconsin - Madison; Mari Haapanen, PhD, University of Turku
Sharing Care and Sharing Costs? Allocating Child Related Expenses across Households in the United States and Finland
Mari Haapanen, PhD, University of Turku; Quentin Riser, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Judi Bartfeld, PhD, University of Wisconsin - Madison; Lawrence Berger, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Mia Hakovirta, PhD, University of Turku; Daniel Meyer, PhD, University of Wisconsin - Madison; Anneli Miettinen, Kela (Social Security Department in Finland)
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