Transformations of State Family Policy in Poland from 1989 to the Pandemic Period

Joanna Szczepaniak-Sienniak
European Research Studies Journal, Volume XXIV, Issue 4B, 883-900, 2021
DOI: 10.35808/ersj/2777


Purpose: The purpose of the article is to organize and comprehensively present the knowledge on the most important transformations of family policy in Poland and the political, economic, demographic and social conditions of these transformations. The core of the paper are transformations of family institutions seen as crucial for family-targeted policy. Design/Methodology/Approach: The article contains a systematic review of previous research on family and family policies in Poland, published in Polish and international literature on the subject, the institutional-legal method (analysis of Polish legal regulations) and the historical method. Findings: A significant increase in the intervention of the Polish state in family matters falls on the period of financial or economic crises (after 2008 and 2020). This situation provides arguments for the thesis that such crises do not have to hamper (pro)social activities of the state or be an obstacle to the continuation and implementation of important social programs It also may indicate an attempt to move away from the increasingly criticized - since the global financial crisis of 2008 - neoliberal model, towards which Poland has been heading since 1989. Practical implications: As one of the post-communist countries and an EU member state, Poland’s case is special, as it shows that often in spite of difficult systemic or external conditions, the state may increase the scope of its intervention in social issues (including family-related ones) and thus diversify the scope of family policy instruments. changes in the scope of financial (monetary) allowances should be particularly interesting, but also solutions concerning child care leaves or social services for families with young children. Due to the limited scope of this paper, the analyses are not exhaustive, but they should be an important starting point for comparisons of the presented changes in the international context or for future research on the model of family policy in Poland.

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