Study on improvement plans in delivering public service for families in Seoul
Lee Sun Hyoung
Research Fellow, Seoul Foundation of Women & Family
This policy report studies on the facts and proposes policies in the delivery system of public service for families in Seoul Special Metropolitan City. This study focuses on difficulties and improvement points over core service in the Healthy Family and Multicultural Family Center which is a salient delivery agent in family policy. In accordance with the vision of the provisional Second Comprehensive Plan for Family Policy of Seoul Special Metropolitan City, “Work·Care·Rest that All Families Enjoy without Discrimination,” the direction and detailed tasks for the improvement of the family policy delivery system are proposed in this paper. The Second Comprehensive Plan’s five goals that this policy paper is derived from is as follows : ① Creating an equal family culture, ② Fostering a society cares each other, ③ Respecting family diversity, ④ Spreading gender-equal work-life balance, ⑤ Strengthening the family policy delivery system. For improvement in delivering public service for family policy, the Second Comprehensive Plan proposes integrating family support services focused on policy receiver groups, communicating family policies with citizens, and strengthening infrastructure for family policy service and so on. In this study, significant services of the existing family-related service delivery system are reviewed in terms of ensuring the value of gender equality and diversity, and achieving the vision of the Second Comprehensive Plan.
This paper conducted a survey and interviews. The survey participants included full-time employees with at least three years of working experience among those in charge of family education, counseling, and case management at social welfare facilities, childcare facilities and the Healthy Family and Multicultural Family Center. The interviews were conducted with 13 employees participating in family capacity building projects and special projects for multicultural families.
This study concludes that currently, family-related policy services in Seoul do not fully reflect family diversity. About 39.8% of public services for families are for household with married couple and unmarried children, 21.6% are designed for dual-income household, and 36.5% are for low income household. From a cultural diversity perspective, 43.3% of services are for families where all family members have citizenship. Overall, a high percentage of respondents said they provide services regardless of households’ type, which at first glance can be understood as providing universal services, but it can also be interpreted as a lack of customized services. In addition, only few respondents believe that their service is helpful for gender-equal family life and work-life balance. Respondents that stated the importance of increasing the number of staff and the organizations’ size in public services to improve the service delivery system comprised 56.1%. Respondents who expressed the importance of network between service agencies comprised 23.0%. Lastly, the increasing number of institutions that can provide professional services was the first priority for 16.9% of respondents.
Based on these results, this paper proposes expanding the content of current services and the network between similar service agencies simultaneously. Also this study suggests four strategies and eight detailed tasks for improving the family-related service delivery system. strategies include: first, improving the working environment and expanding the scope of service delivery to ensure the sustainability of family-related public services; second, supporting households in the lack of caring and providing various customized services on demand to strengthen the expertise of family-related services; third, establishing a network of hands-on officials and database sharing system for local governments to enhance public networks; fourth, establishing a cooperative network for private service organizations by region to strengthen public-private partnerships and activating citizen’s participation to discover various family agendas.
*Key words: Family-related policy service delivery system, gender equality, diversity, care, cooperation between public and private sectors.