Updated Nov 2016
Children & Families
The state plays a delicate role in working with families. It is vital that parents, children and families are supported, but too much intervention can feel intrusive and lead to frustration and withdrawal. With so much of the rest of children’s development and life chances dependent on their early years, it is particularly important that all families can be supported to succeed during this vital period.
The state should provide good quality affordable childcare from the age of two
High quality, affordable childcare and early years’ education achieves three key things: better child development, higher maternal employment, and greater gender equality.
High quality support for pre-school children is essential to giving children the best possible start in life. It must be of a very high standard. Childcare should be well regulated, and provided by highly qualified professionals who are properly recognised and decently rewarded for their work.
Promoting gender equality and balancing work and family life
Our research shows that families where both parents work experience significantly lower levels of child poverty. Focus should therefore be on creating the conditions for parents to be able to work and earn enough to support their families. However, this must be balanced with an emphasis on the need to protect family time, so that parents can be there for their children and sustain their own relationships.
Policy must also ensure that mothers and fathers have the chance to fulfil their aspirations both at work and at home, rather than being pushed into traditional breadwinner and carer roles. It is vital that both mothers and fathers have the opportunity to look after their children in the early years.