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Social and Child Care Provision in Kinship Networks: an Agent-Based Model

by   Umberto Gostoli, et al.
University of Glasgow

Providing for the needs of the vulnerable is a critical component of social and health policy-making. In particular, caring for children and for vulnerable older people is vital to the wellbeing of millions of families throughout the world. In most developed countries, this care is provided through both formal and informal means, and is therefore governed by complex policies that interact in non-obvious ways with other areas of policy-making. In this paper we present an agent-based model of social and child care provision in the UK, in which agents can provide informal care or pay for private care for their relatives. Agents make care decisions based on numerous factors including their health status, employment, financial situation, and social and physical distance to those in need. Simulation results show that the model can produce plausible patterns of care need and availability, and therefore can provide an important aid to this complex area of policy-making. We conclude that the model's use of kinship networks for distributing care and the explicit modelling of interactions between social care and child care will enable policy-makers to develop more informed policy interventions in these critical areas.


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