Thursday, 11 December 2008

Child care

The following are excerpts from a Toronto Star newspaper article. I initially started to read the article curious about the quality of Canada's daycare system. But as I read, the focus of the article became apparent, and I became just a little ticked off. Good quality and available childcare is important, don't get me wrong. There are certainly family situations that require both parents to work (or, more urgently, a single parent to work) and in these instances child care is necessary. But I firmly believe in the importance of raising your own kids. I know many families (mine included) that went without luxuries in life so that my mom could stay home with us. It's not always an easy life, but if a parent can be the one to raise their children, they should not be casting off that responsibility to another.

Note especially the last two paragraphs here, which talk about the importance of a child's development in early years, and their rights to the best formative education. Experts agree that a child at home with a parent is the best option for early development. So why aren't governments helping moms to stay home with their kids by offering tax incentives?

Because of one reason, a reason that is clearly the focus of this article, and a reason that absolutely enrages me is the focus of providing good childcare: it is a booster to the economy, allowing parents to work and pay taxes.

Here are some excerpts, or go here to read the entire article.

"Canada ranks last in the first comparison of child care services in 25 developed countries, according to the United Nations Children's Fund."

"Canada's poor showing represents a lost opportunity for economic growth at a time of economic uncertainty...Building a system of high-quality early-childhood care and education creates jobs and allows parents to work and pay taxes."

"Toronto mother Laura Garrido knows about lost opportunities. The former hairdresser would love to be working full-time, but has been waiting since last spring for a subsidized child care spot for her 4-year-old daughter, Paola, who started kindergarten this fall. "I have always worked, but my daughter is only in school for 2 1/2 hours a day. I have no one to care for her the rest of the time and child care is too expensive," she said yesterday. With her husband's long hours in construction, Garrido makes do with the odd part-time shift at her local community centre. "I'm lucky to have that. But with child care I could do so much more," she added."

"[The study] notes high-quality child care has the potential to boost school success and enhance the cognitive, emotional and social development of children, as well as advance women's equality and mitigate the effects of poverty. However, poor-quality care, especially for infants, can do great harm, the report warns."

"The benchmarks, which represent the first attempt to evaluate and compare early childhood services for children younger than 6, describe a set of minimum standards for protecting the rights of children in their most vulnerable, formative years, the report says."

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