Mothers ‘undervalued’ for childcare contribution

TVNZ 8 Feb 2012
A new report into childcare in New Zealand is calling for an overhaul of the system to provide more support for “undervalued” mothers. The report, Who Cares, commissioned by the family group Family First NZ, was prepared by UK psychologist Dr Aric Sigman, an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society. He argues that attending daycare for an extended time, and the consequent separation from parents, is a significant source of stress for many young children which could have potential long-term consequences for their health as adults. “There is growing evidence of profound beneficial neurobiological effects a mother’s physical presence has on her young child that cannot be achieved by anyone else, including paid childcare workers,” he said. “Mothers have been undervalued. New Zealand should undergo a timely and long overdue re-evaluation of motherhood.” Among his recommendations, Sigman says paid parental leave should be extended to allow parents more time with their children, and the Government’s preference for childcare facilities should be scrapped in favour of providing more help for stay at home mums and dads. “Terms, such as ‘family-friendly policies’, ‘flexi-hours’ and ‘maternity leave’ often amount to meeting the needs of the parent and the economy, not the child,” he said. Family First is welcoming the report, saying it provides important insight into the value of early childhood education – a service the Government has invested heavily in. “This report provides compelling evidence that the political and policy focus has been on the needs of the economy and the demands on mothers, rather than on the welfare of children and the vital role of parents,” National Director Bob McCoskrie said.

 Peter Reynolds (Early Childhood Council CEO) looks at the report into childcare of  the Children’s Commissioner. (Gives it a B- !!)