- What is customary about customary care? How Dutch welfare policy defines what citizens have to consider 'normal' at home
- Critical Social Policy
- Volume | Issue number
- 35 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
In most welfare states, home care for elderly and disabled persons relies on a combination of private and public responsibilities, with gatekeepers adjudicating access to publicly funded care. Unlike other governments, the Dutch government has codified an explicit ‘customary care principle’ that defines the ‘normal daily care that partners, parents, co-resident children or other household members are supposed to offer each other’ (CIZ, 2013a) to calculate entitlements to publicly funded care. But the norms set by the Dutch government do not always mirror what citizens consider normal. Using national statistics and interviews with family care-givers, care recipients and assessors, we find that while the norm of customary care can sometimes protect citizens from taking on too much responsibility, it has an enforcing element for many others who do not agree with its norms. We discuss the implications of this coercive element for principles of equality, particularly in times of austerity.
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