Childcare Controversy Highlights Germany’s Regional, Historical Divides

Childcare Controversy Highlights Germany’s Regional, Historical Divides

Editor’s note: Catherine Cheney reported on German policymaking as part of the German-American Fulbright Commission’s Berlin Capital Program, which is funded by the German Foreign Office.

BERLIN -- The Betreuungsgeld, a policy that will provide a monthly allowance to parents who keep their toddlers out of public daycare programs, is at the center of an emotional debate on family politics in Germany. Approved last month and scheduled to go into effect next year, the subsidy is an attempt to make it easier for parents, in most cases women, to care for children ages one to three on their own. Critics say the law will reverse the recent progress the German government has made to encourage women to return to work after having children, calling it a state-funded return to a family structure of the past.

Anette Stein, director of the Early Childhood Education program at the Bertelsmann Stiftung, a public policy foundation based in Gütersloh, Germany, told Trend Lines the controversy over the subsidies reflects changing views of the family in Germany.

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