Published online by Cambridge University Press: 27 May 2019
In light of social policy’s growing focus on children and a changing family policy portfolio, we need better classifications and a more nuanced understanding of policy approaches to children. The aim here is to contribute to further thinking and analysis by reviewing some of the existing conceptualisations and the latest relevant policy developments on the one hand and developing an analytic framework for further research on the other. The article takes an EU-wide approach and empirically examines developments in income support policy, parenting-related leaves, early childhood education and care and children’s right to participation to see what they reveal about prevailing approaches to children. The paper identifies some strong moves towards a greater focus on children in social policy but suggests differentiating between three different approaches: family-oriented, childhood-oriented and child-oriented. These approaches differ in terms of whether their primary focus is on children or adults, whether they engage with children directly or indirectly, the set of entitlements involved and the desired outcome.
I offer my sincere thanks to the editors and former editors for their help with this article. I also acknowledge with gratitude the excellent feedback from the reviewers.