The Role of the European Social Fund in Supporting Childcare Provision in the European Union

by Emma Harte, Joanna Hofman, Anastasia Sikiaridi

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Research Questions

  1. What role does the European Social Fund play in supporting Childcare Provision in the European Union?
  2. What examples exist of how the European Social Fund has enabled childcare provision across European Union Member States?

Parents' access to employment can sometimes hinge on the availability of good quality childcare. Some EU policies exist that relate to the question of childcare, social inclusion and access to employment. This policy brief discusses the role that the European Social Fund (ESF) plays in supporting childcare provision in the European Union (EU). Specifically, this brief looks at some of the Operational Programmes from the current funding cycle (2014–2020) which incorporate an element of childcare into their plans. In addition, this policy brief categorises and compiles different examples of ESF funded projects from across the EU, which relate to childcare, from the previous 2007–2013 funding cycle, with the aim of encouraging new applicants to access the ESF.

Key Finding

The European Social Fund provides support to a wide range of initiatives across the EU Member States. These practices serve as examples to inspire future use of ESF grants.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was prepared for the European Commission's Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion and conducted by RAND Europe.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.