Placing Care in the Center of Welfare: Interview with Eleonor Faur

Equity for Children interviewed Eleonor Faur, argentinian researcher, in view of the publication of her new book The Child Care in the XXI Century, juggling women in an unequal society.In this exchange, the author poses some major challenges for public policy regarding the expansion and improvement of care services, analyzing some possible strategies to address the issue, following a search for greater equality on the responsibility between the sexes and lower inequality by source class of every children.

Q.Which are the main challenges for public policy regarding the issue of care?

A: A central issue for public policy is to try to find devices that allow to displace family´s care to other institutions, to share those cares so that they are not permanently relapsing within the space of families, where they clearly take all time and energies of women. Then defamiliarization of care involves building care services, expand the coverage of care services, for example in terms of child care, kindergartens and nursery, childcare in-work of men and women. Coverages today are very rare and not always coincide with the schedule of working hours of the parents of children. That is a central theme.

Another issue has to do with the licenses for family care. The licensing regulation somehow assumes an adult worker man dedicated full time and without family responsibilities everyday level, then the licenses are very short, for those women who have licenses because they work in the formal sector of the economy, for childbirth they only have three months if participating in a formal private sector employment, clearly not enough for the care you need for a newborn child. Also extend the licenses for male parents to foster care responsibility of men and women.

Finally, there is another issue that has to do with the extension of time for care, that’s another strategy. Then, services, times and finally transfers, so families can have certain resources to care, thereby offering goods and services necessary for family care. Now, transfers need to be accompanied by services, because if they are not accompanied by services becomes this idea of the  familiarization of the care. I think this kind of policies, the combination of these policies, each of which is necessary but not enough by itself to any really make a good system of care that allows to transfer the care from families to other institutions and enable the families to provide care to the  individuals, members of those families.

You also need look from another dimension, I said family-no family, familiarization-no familiarization and the other has to do with not all services are private, because to the extent that there are not enough public services what happens is that the care begins to carve into social inequality at an alarming rate, then the women and families who have more buying power, that are in the middle class or affluent middle classes , we have those paying for their services, but on the other side the women and families of popular sectors, finding services and licenses and all these devices at hand, often end up giving up the output to the labor market and staying in the home taking care of their families and that inequality often has consequences not only for women but also for the whole family and households be played, because they end up having lower levels of well-being at home.

Q.According to your experience, which public policies, social projects and/or academic research provide important elements to include in the discussion on the need to address care from government intervention?

A: At present there are two countries that are having very interesting experiences, which are Costa Rica and Uruguay, who are organizing systems of care with care networks and other strategies. I think different countries have to give the discussion, you have to place the care as a central issue and a priority in public policies for welfare. Countries are also different, some are federal, others have other ways to generate public polices, so each country must make decisions according to their formats. What I think is important in terms of child care, is to overcome the false dichotomy between public educational services for the children of middle-class community, with lower levels of control and much smaller coverage for poor kids. I think it’s very important when the expansion of child care services to really associate different perspective to one common logic to all children who are subjects of rights.

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