Our Ideas Updates

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.

READ MORE: The Condition of Britain: Strategies for social renewal

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.

READ MORE: Extending the early years entitlement: Costings, concerns and alternatives

READ MORE: No more baby steps: A strategy for revolutionising childcare

READ MORE: Childmind the gap: Reforming childcare to support mothers into 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.

READ MORE: Who’s breadwinning in Europe? A comparative analysis of maternal breadwinning in Great Britain and Germany

READ MORE: Women and flexible working: Improving female employment outcomes in Europe

READ MORE: Great expectations: Exploring the promises of gender equality

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