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Politicians slammed by leading childcare expert

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Sulieman, Cara
Publication Date: 
25 Aug 2009


Child care expert Dr Penelope Leach has slammed politicians for making decisions about family issues they don't fully understand.

Speaking to a packed tent at the Edinburgh Book Festival today (Tues), she said that the problem with the options available to parents today was that the policy makers have never experienced the problem themselves. Leach continues to describe how families have no choice and gives examples of maternity leave in other countries.

Dr Leach's talk stemmed from her new book, Child Care Today.

Book description:

From the universally admired author of the best-selling classic Your Baby and Child, the first comprehensive-and objective-book on the state of child care in America and the world today. Who is caring for today's children? How well are they succeeding? What does care cost, and who is paying for it? How do parents go about choosing care for their children, and are they satisfied with what they find? Penelope Leach answers these and other urgent questions with facts and figures gathered from the most current research, brought to life by the voices of parents, including those involved in her own five-year study.

Leach sees "work-home balance" as being the major conundrum of the day. She delineates the challenge of fitting children's unchanged needs into society's changing demands and the dilemma of today's parents needing to be in two places at once. She describes in detail the various ways Western countries address that challenge: care given by parents, extended family, and nonfamily; care provided in the child's home, in other homes, and in professional settings; child care funded by paying parents or by the government. Considering the issues from the various viewpoints of politicians, policy makers, professionals, parents, and children themselves, the author discusses the impact of each kind of care on children of different ages.

Leach highlights the urgent need in America today for measures to raise the quality of child care, and to make the best care we can provide available to all families, just as it is (often by government mandate) in most other developed nations. Setting out clearly and candidly what is known about every aspect of child care-including the often hidden feelings and fears of parents-Penelope Leach presents a critical case for building and implementing an agenda for change.


Entered Date: 
26 Aug 2009
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