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High public spending fails to improve child welfare, says report

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Author: 
Focus News Agency
Publication Date: 
1 Sep 2009
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In its first comparative report on child well-being in 30 member states, the Paris-based OECD says high government spending on childcare doesn't lower child poverty rates or improve living conditions, Deutsche Welle reports.

The report, called "Doing Better for Children" was released simultaneously in Paris and Berlin on Tuesday and is meant to give policy guidelines to governments to secure better lives for young generations.

It's the first-ever comprehensive study of children's living standards, access to education and health in the 30 nations that are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The group's indicators for a good life for children primarily include their material well-being. But the study also takes into account other factors such as housing, smoking rates, educational achievements as well as less tangible indicators such as bullying at school.

High public spending not delivering results

The report shows strikingly large differences in government spending on childcare, ranging from the equivalent of about $380,000 spent by Luxembourg per child until the age of 18 to just $24,000 dollars spent by Mexico.

But government spending isn't all that counts, according to the study's authors. One of them, Monika Queisser, said it is quality rather than quantity that matters.

"High spending does not necessarily mean that countries do well on the outcomes of children's well-being," Queisser told Deutsche Welle.

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Germany, Great Britain and the United States, for example, are in a group of countries that spend about $145,000 on average per child until the age of 18.

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Germany lags when it came to offering children equal opportunities, particularly in education, the report said. On average, Germany spends 10 to 20 percent more on education, childcare services and direct cash handouts for parents. Despite that, almost every sixth child in Germany lives in relative poverty, the study pointed out.

By contrast, Britain has relatively high rates of teenage pregnancy, drunkenness and young people not in education, employment or training. And American youth suffer among the industrialized world's worst rates of infant mortality, teenage pregnancy and child poverty.

- reprinted from Focus Information Agency

 

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Entered Date: 
2 Sep 2009
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