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Institutional Child Care in Belarus Open Access


Other title
Institutional child care
Child care policy
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Hurava, Iryna N
Supervisor and department
Breitkreuz, Rhonda (Human Ecology)
Examining committee member and department
Javornic, Jana (Sociology and Social Policy)
Fast, Lanet (Human Ecology)
Department of Human Ecology
Family Ecology and Practice
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
The purpose of this study on Belarusian child care policy was two-fold: 1) to explore the extent to which the state in Belarus shares in and supports familial child care and, 2) to explore the alignment between current child care policy and parental preferences. The former is achieved by an examination of Belarus’ child care policies through the lens of Leitner's model of familialism varieties. The latter is achieved through conducting a qualitative study with 13 Belarussian mother with pre-school children using a focus group method. My analysis showed that Belarus' policies differ between children under 3 years old and children of 3 to 6 years old. For the former group, Belarus' policies are characterized by optional familialism, while for the latter age group they are de-familialistic in nature. Using latent content analysis, I found that overall, Belarussian mothers are satisfied with the current public child care system inherited from the Soviet times with its focus on quality and affordability and view it as an appropriate function for the state. However, women are not satisfied with the environment of optional familialism in the form it is implemented in Belarus. Although women like the option of caring for their young children at home while on parental leave, they would have liked to use the option of state child care sooner. I conclude that the optional familialism that is apparent in the current child care policy encouraging mothers to stay at home with their young children does not align with the preferences and values of mothers, particularly those from higher socio-economic strata. By and large, Belarussian mothers support de-familialism. Further studies of parents’ experiences with child care should include fathers and parents of a lower socio-economic status.
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