Childcare is crucial in enabling many families with young children to combine work and family. Unfortunately, it is often insufficient, which is why families combine formal care provision with informal care by family and friends. Both types of childcare are far from universally accessible: formal care is sometimes too expensive or difficult to access, while informal care depends on the family’s network and specific needs among other things. In some cases, parents contend with a Catch-22 situation: it is harder for them to find work because suitable childcare is unavailable, and it is harder for them to access childcare because they are out of work.

In the PACE project, thirteen project partners from four countries tested new models of supporting parents into combining childcare and work. They created more flexibility in childcare and developed an integrated approach towards childcare and employment.

How: PACE book

The demand for flexible and occasional childcare is not new: it has existed for as long as childcare itself. However, the reasons for that demand are changing. With governments taking the line that everyone should work and more and more families operating according to one-and-a-half- or two-income models, the need to combine family responsibilities with work is usually the underlying reason.

The PACE project examined what is needed to make childcare more flexible and at the same time create comfort for children, families and staff.

The book ‘Flexibility in childcare’ relates why more flexibility in childcare is needed. It also looks into how flexible childcare can be organised, describing 5 prototypes. Finally, the book looks into what actions organisations can take to make flexible childcare sustainable on the business side, to assure pedagogical quality and a warm environment for the whole family, to support staff members and to cooperate with other stakeholders.

Download the pace book


Supporting parents into childcare and employment

Integrating childcare and employment support is at the core of the PACE project. This integration turned out to result in diverse practices. Different models work in different contexts. Common in these practices is reflection. The implementation gained strength when they created opportunities for staff members to reflect on how they could support parents into childcare and employment and enhance their quality of life.

Prototypes of employment support: These prototypes describe the different models used in PACE to guide parents into employment. This publication also includes questions for team reflection on the topic of activation.

PACE roadmap: This roadmap describes how to bring parents to employment from a ‘PACE perspective’: always considering the combination of childcare and employment.

Checklist: These checklists provide tips and tricks for different types of organisations working with families on work or childcare.

Feasibility study: PACE is a social innovation project. The project partners tried out new models of flexible childcare and integrated support. What is required to upscale these models? How easy or difficult is this to implement on a larger scale? The feasibility study gives an overview of the main legal and organisational barriers to upscale the PACE approach along with answers to deal with these barriers.

What makes the PACE magic?

There was a lot of diversity between the PACE project partners and the ways in which they worked towards more accessible childcare and employment. Still, there are some elements of success that made an overall difference – key ingredients of PACE. How do we know this? Because we asked the parents!

Impact report: This report summarizes the key results of the PACE projects as well as the key impact factors according to parents that were interviewed in the course of the project.


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