Family Policy in South Korea: Development, Current Status, and Challenges
We provide a comprehensive review of family policy in South Korea (Korea hereafter) for international readers. Alarmed by recent social and demographic changes, the Korean government has started to establish explicit family policies from the mid 2000s. These policies have signified a symbolic attention shift to family matters in the history of social policy in Korea. In this paper, we focus on three areas of family policy: (a) work-family policies, (b) a healthy family policy, and (c) a policy for multi-cultural families. Work-family policies aim to help working families with young children balance work responsibilities and family caregiving through multiple leave options and child care support. The Framework Act on Healthy Families, the first explicit family policy in Korea, requires local governments to provide family services through Healthy Family Support Centers. The Multi-Cultural Family Support Act also established a formal support system for multi-cultural families with immigrant spouses, a population group that has recently increased in Korea. We further discuss the domestic and comparative contexts of Korean family policy and provide suggestions for the remaining challenges.
KeywordsChild care policy Framework Act on Healthy Families of Korea Korean family policy Multi-cultural family support policy Work-family policy
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