Origins and rationale of centres for parents and young children together

Auteur :

Miwako Hoshi-Watanabe, Tullia Musatti†, Sylvie Rayna‡ and Michel Vandenbroeck

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The range of centres where parents and children come together has
mushroomed in different parts of the world, as new social work
practices address the emerging non-material needs of parents in
changing demographic contexts. In this paper, we explore the origins
and modi operandi of these centres in Belgium, France, Italy and
Japan. Analysis of previous studies and policy documents reveal
diverse political rationales, including addressing declining birth rates,
preventing psychosocial problems and social isolation of mothers and
promoting social cohesion and equality of educational opportunities.
Remarkably, despite the diverse cultural and socio-political contexts
and rationales, these centres also share very similar ways of functioning
and provide an informal type of social support to parents with
young children. As these recently emerged centres are seldom
studied, further research is welcomed to explore parents’ and professionals’