This chapter first emphasizes the effect of family allowances on poverty in European countries. It stresses the fact that if family allowances appear to have a remarkably redistributive effect, they are only one component of child policies. Further their objective is not just poverty alleviation; they also aim at fostering female employment and fertility. The chapter shows that there exist sharp differences in the level and pattern of child policies across European countries, the Nordic countries leading the pack in terms of generosity. The issue of early child development is then discussed because it is considered as crucial for achieving a successful life. Finally, the issue of reconciling parenthood and employment is addressed.
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