This research will begin with the statement that the family is the primary growing environment for children and remains the most important care provider, welfare state policies can only support and supplement the family’s efforts to generate desired social and economic outcomes. A measure of the goodness of a society is how well it cares for its children. This standard has particular importance for vulnerable groups of children, such as those facing special health challenges. Thus, the level of care that children with special needs receive could be seen as a critical marker of the success of the nations’ health programs. Most comparison studies focus on social security systems, risks covered, the structure of entitlements and the effects such systems have on income redistribution. Diversification of family forms; demographic change and rising employment rates of women; the rising rates of divorce and single parenthood; and dual career families, impact the child care needs outside the family and the ability of the state to provide this has led to a revaluation of state policies with the aim to establish a new balance between the different providers of care: the family, the market, and the state. Several EU member countries had begun to deal with the issue of child care in the 1960’s and 1970’s; however, very little attention was given to this area as priorities lay elsewhere. Priority matters that concerned governments were in generating a system that ensured equal pay, equal treatment in employment, social security.
... The young children with special health care needs add to the challenge that governments face in social care programs. 2.2 Selection of Countries for Comparison In Europe three models of child care provision can be identified: 1. The neo-familialist model adopted by Finland and France bases itself on a conservative view of gender difference. This model offers a choice to women to opt between a temporary housewife-mother role and participation in the workforce - as different from a choice between different forms of non-parental care. 2. The 'Third Way' design is followed by the UK and Holland. It finds its basis on gender equality and focuses on public support. However, complete gender equality is not assured and the emphasis remains on the mother's role as the primary caregiver (Lewis, 2001). 3. The egalitarian model that the Danish and Swedish states follow. In this system total gender equality is assured and the responsibility for care provision rests equally between the parents. These are reflective of the models suggested as the post war norm by Nancy Fraser (1997). Fraser suggested three models; the universal breadwinner model; the caregiver parity model (similar to the neo-familialist model); and, the universal caregiver model. The topology of Esping-Andersen is used to identify the two countries for comparison. Finland may be described as a social democratic regime where the role of the family is marginal, so also the role of the market and care is a central state issue. On the other hand the UK is a conservative regime gradually transiting to the liberal topology.