Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pros and Cons: Child Care

Pros

o Social assistance childcare allowance that does not requiring receipts allows parent(s) to utilize private child care services which are more affordable.
o Research by Linda White demonstrates, through a comparative analysis of various countries, that the increased provision of childcare increases women’s labour force attachment, while the lack of childcare has a negative impact on women’s labour force attachment. This outcome of increasing childcare through an allowance as well as universal child care fits well with the labour force attachment model, while also addressing structural concerns.
o Social assistance childcare allowance provides parent(s) choice of more quality childcare options, providing funds to pay upfront for services that otherwise they could not afford or wait to claim on their income tax.
o Universal care provides a quality setting for early childhood emotional, physical and mental development.
o Social assistance childcare allowance that is provided regardless of who is caring for the child allows parent(s) the options of caring for their children at home, or having family members care for their children. This associates a sense of value to domestic work.
o Both social assistance childcare allowances as well as universal child care takes into account the gendered nature of poverty, allowing women more freedom from the childcare role, while accepting that women are most likely affected by childcare concerns.

Cons

o Requires increased funding at a time when the world is concerned about an economic crisis. It may be hard to engender support for universal programs and increased funding for welfare at this point in time.
o Universal care promotes the idea that children should be placed in day care services outside of the home, implying that every parent should be partaking in the mainstream labour force. This does not address the misconception that parents work (and most often women) in the home is not economically valuable.
o Universal childcare requires massive structural changes in government funding and responsibilities. The federal government would be required to remove some of the power of the provincial/territorial governments in terms of social spending designs and implementation. There could be concern of too much power being placed in the hands of the federal government.
o Geographical concerns may have a factor. Rural communities may have less access to government regulated universal child care.
o Universal child care diminishes the legitimacy of in-home private child care, adversely affecting those businesses. Also, provides parent(s) with less choice concerning their child care options by providing government regulated services, as opposed to upfront funds.
o By not requiring receipts, allowing family members to be caretakers, and not requiring a working status these may act as disincentives to find employment or move off of social assistance.

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