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Family-Sensitive Policy: Broadening the Conceptual Lens for Evaluating Social Protection


The changing patterns of social relations in modern times have weakened the bonds of family life and the capacity of this institution to perform its functions essential to human development. Conventional analyses of the impact of family policies tend to focus on the extent to which these measures help to reconcile work and family life, advance gender equality, boost fertility rates and provide financial supports for families. This paper makes a case for broadening the analytic perspective to include the impact of policies on family functioning. This family-sensitive analytic lens focuses on outcomes that strengthen the bonds of family life and the capacity to perform the basic functions of procreation, socialization of the young, care for dependent members, emotional companionship and mutual support over the life course. The family- sensitive lens encourages policymakers to consider alternative consequences of social programs and normative issues regarding their impact on family life.

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