Financial aid to families with children came in the form of child allowances, child care and maintenance allowances, and maternity benefits. Child allowances dated from the 1930s, and they were one of the oldest parts of the welfare system. The law in force in the late 1980s was the Child Allowance Act of 1948, which arranged for payments to parents for all children under the age of sixteen and resident in Finland, regardless of the wealth or nationality of the parents. By the mid-1980s, payments for the first child were a little more than Fmk2,000 a year, with payments increasing to Fmk4,800 for the fifth and additional children. Another payment of about Fmk1,200 was made for children under the age of three. Child-care allowances had been paid since the 1970s to those parents who stayed at home to care for small children or who had engaged someone else to do so. A child maintenance allowance of as much as approximately Fmk400 a month was paid when a court-ordered maintenance payment for a child of divorced parents was not being paid. A maternity benefit, based on legislation of the 1930s, was paid for each pregnancy. It came either as a grant of about Fmk500 or as a much more valuable set of materials needed to tend a child. It was withheld if the mother did not visit a clinic by the fifth month of pregnancy.
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