Activities, measures and institutions, both state-funded and private, exist in Liechtenstein to promote child welfare, with emphasis placed on equal opportunities regardless of the child's background. Family policy is focused on the best interests of the child within its core family and extended family. Self-help and parental responsibility are supported.
Family policy in the modern sense of the term was once not needed. It was taken for granted that families were members and bearers of society. Help was only provided if the person responsible for bringing up the children (mother) became ill. In 1894 general provisions were introduced to support the sick, and in 1913 these were supplemented by new provisions for the sick and women who had recently given birth. Following Liechtenstein's rapprochement with Switzerland, most Swiss legal provisions on family affairs and marriage were also adopted in Liechtenstein. However, these provisions were only set out in the General Civil Code; it was not until 1974 that a law in its own right (Marriage Act) was introduced.
Families have received financial support from the family allowances fund ("Familienausgleichskasse") since 1958. Until around 1940 only civil servants were entitled to family welfare payments, though some companies also granted workers with families financial support on a voluntary basis. Since 1999 single parents have been entitled to additional financial support.
Inspired by a similar system in Switzerland, the municipalities in Liechtenstein introduced "family assistance associations" ("Familienhilfe-Vereine") in 1956. These provided assistance to households in cases of illness or accident. In 1966 these individual associations merged. Financing was provided through membership fees, donations from foundations and public funding. In 2013 a centralised coordination system was introduced, meaning that assistance for households throughout Liechtenstein is coordinated by a single office.