Family First NZ is welcoming a report from the Children’s Commissioner today highlighting concerns about childcare policies in New Zealand.
“It is timely that it is released in the same month that the government has announced a policy on Early Childhood Education centre sizes which is flawed, harmful to children, babies and parents, and will end up treating children with less dignity than animals such as pigs and hens,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“At the same time as regulations are being changed and challenged on sow stalls and battery hen cages, the new regulations for childcare will triple the maximum number of under two’s at a centre from 25 to 75, and the maximum centre size of all pre-schoolers from 50 to 150. We are ‘packing and stacking’ them.”
“The Children’s Commissioner is right to question the prevalence of babies in childcare and the potential harm, to call for extended paid parental leave, to call for funding to follow the child, to ask for better staff / child ratios, and to argue that parents should be better supported and offered real choice and information rather than continuing with the current ‘one size fits all’ approach.”
“The assumption that ‘professionals’ can look after babies and children because parents are more valuable working is flawed thinking and has failed to examine the research on the effects of long periods of childcare – especially on young children and babies, but also on the parents. It is failing to recognize the concerns of the Brainwave Trust or the New Zealand Council for Educational Research’s report in 2007 that found poor staff ratios for under-two’s posed a potential developmental risk for infants and babies, and that crowded settings were unsuitable.”
“Why is the government in a blind rush to pay hundreds of millions for professionals to care for ‘packs’ of 75 babies, but offer no tax breaks or financial recognition for parents who sacrifice careers and income to do it – at a far more economical rate, and more beneficial to all the family members.”
“An analysis of research across a number of countries clearly indicates that increased use of childcare is associated with a decrease in the well-being of both babies and toddlers and the parents,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“Government policy and spending should enable parents to have the choice to parent ‘hands-on’ – so that children are raised in the best environment possible for that family.”