Family Policy Index: A Tool for Policy Makers to Increase the Effectiveness of Family Policies Articles uri icon

publication date

  • February 2019

start page

  • 387

end page

  • 409


  • 1


  • 142

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0303-8300

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-0921


  • This paper presents the Family Policy Index (XFPI), an analytical tool designed to measure and compare different models of countries' provision of educational services, parental leave and economic transfers to support families with children aged 0-3years. The objective of this index is twofold: from a scientific perspective, it aims at measuring and comparing the overall support families receive through public policies; it also serves advocacy purposes, since the index may offer guidance to policy makers on best practices and may also increase citizens' awareness of the efforts each country is making to support families. The XFPI has been conceptualized following a gender equality principle, considering that policies must involve both mothers and fathers in the exercise of their equal responsibility as parents. The XFPI was measured for two countries, Spain and Norway, in the 1999-2014 period, to test its applicability to different real scenarios and models of Welfare State with different policies and intentions, in which responsibility for childcare falls on two different agents: the State in Norway, and the family in Spain. The results show the extremely low development of Spanish pre-educational services for children 0-3 and, simultaneously, the existing limitations of Norwegian family policies in respect of gender equality. The index has the capacity to provide robust results applicable in different countries and to project into the future the potential scenarios that countries may face when designing new policies.


  • family policies; spain; norway; childcare; gender equality; care policies; countries