The UP2YOUTH project has collected a number of case studies on policies and practices in our research fields. These case studies have been selected to represent current trends in policy-making in Europe. An explanation of the idea behind this collection can be found here.
In the following, UP2YOUTH coordination team member Barbara Stauber draws policy and practice implications from the UP2YOUTH research findings. More general policy implications of our research can be found in the "Results" section of this website.
In the field of transitions into parenthood a core
concern is not to reduce young men's and women's choices to the timing of
parenthood (too early or too late).
Policies that aim to support young people in the shaping of their
transitions into parenthood need to be cognizant of the young people's needs
and interests, and to be aware of the young people's subjective interpretation
of concepts such as parenthood, mother and father, and family forms.
resulting from the difficulties in reconciling different transition demands
need to be recognised. Policies addressing core problems in transitions to
parenthood contribute to;
The solving the difficulties in reconciling young parenthood with training,
The reconciling young
parenthood with the demands of the workplace and career development, including
an influencing enterprises such as
implementing family-friendly work cultures so as to encourage active fathering
The reconciliation of young parenthood with youth life.
such as access to part-time education,
Access to public childcare facilities and accommodation. This
includes innovative ideas around supporting private solutions for childcare to
allow for flexible use based upon individual needs and life arrangements;
On this policy level we are returning to the basic idea of securing spaces for young people to navigate
and create their own ways into parenthood. For example, space for
negotiation among partners and between generations regarding issues such as
work share or housing always have an underlying crude material basis, which has
to be provided for in social policy.
However, in order to make
use of space for negotiation, additional programs are needed to support young
people in family activities. This includes parental and familial education
which is not limited to competency in baby care traditionally provided by
medical counselling. It requires support in all those areas which are necessary
for shaping a relationship under new circumstances; for developing and
defending concepts of partnership in everyday life, and for negotiating with
institutions and employers.
Modern parental education
needs to therefore include concepts such as gender competence, civic
participation, and accessible local facilities for the creation of one's own
networks. It should recognize that not
all young parents have access to such programs and that this access is
something which has to be actively created and organized. The New Deal for Lone
Parents in the United Kingdom is one example how educational elements are
included in employment programs for lone parents, empowering them in doing
A further dimension refers
to the policies which support, empower and acknowledge informal network
building, e.g. father's networks. These
networks are crucial for strengthening young people's ability to actively shape
their transitions into parenthood. Additionally, they allow young parents to
renounce normalising scripts dictating when the transition into parenthood
should take place and how parenthood should be perceived.
Policies addressing specific
groups run the risk of stigmatising respective groups. This requires the
formulation of policies which acknowledge the development of each person's own
imagery of how to be a young parent. The UK Father Figures Project serves as
one of the scarce examples of this type of programme.
Two examples of policies
which have the potential of bridging the three topics of transitions into
parenthood, migration and participation in an exemplary way are (1)‘the Brede
Schools' in the Netherlands (addressing ethnic minority families and allowing
the reconciliation of family and work) and (2) the ‘Mothers' project in the
city council of Alessandria in Italy (bridging the topic of transitions into
parenthood and participation, a feature of all policies which support
networking initiatives for young
The collection of current
practices which follows in the end of this document represents a set of
snapshots. The majority of these practices do not include all the of dimensions
or aspects mentioned above but they are relevant steps in the further
development of policies appropriate to supporting young people in their
transitions to parenthood and as actors of social change.