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For focused child care [CA]

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Globe and Mail
Publication Date: 
12 Aug 2006

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With so many mothers going out to work, and so many couples striving to find the best care for their children, the notion of a universal public daycare program seems to make good sense. But does it? An important new study says, probably not.

John Richards and Matthew Brzozowski argue in their C. D. Howe Institute study that there is little evidence daycare improves the wellbeing or the prospects of children in most stable, middle-class families.

The truth is that most middle-class and well-off families generally find satisfactory care for their children while the parents work. Some work part time or juggle shifts so they can care for the kids themselves; others get help from grandparents or other relatives; others send their kids to a neighbourhood babysitter; still others find high-quality licensed daycare. Though it's sometimes a scramble to find the right kind of care for the right times at the right location, most families work it out somehow.

Not very many middle-class women stay out of the work force because it is impossible for them to find child care. In fact, despite the absence of a national daycare program, a growing proportion decide to work…. So a national daycare program would seem to be a solution in search of a problem.

Mr. Richards and Mr. Brzozowski recommend that governments focus their help on disadvantaged families, for example by creating more child-care centres in neighbourhoods with high ratios of "at risk" families. Now that makes sense.

- reprinted from the Globe and Mail

Entered Date: 
14 Aug 2006
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