Child care: The perfect policy storm
Child care is the perfect policy storm. It involves economic factors and social policy. Above all, it involves a parent’s most intimate concern: His or her own children.
Good governance on this issue should work to maximize familial stability, cooperation between family members, and decrease dependence on government. All parents – including working parents and single parents – should be free to make decisions with the best interests of their children in mind.
Since the October 5, 2004, speech from the Throne, when then-Governor General Adrienne Clarkson announced a national system of early learning and child care, the child care debate has rotated around a national universal child care plan, as if such a centralized system were the sun and families the planets. In this position piece we turn that vision on its head: Parents are the sun, and the planets represent different child care choices.
This paper asks – and answers – one question: What is appropriate federal child care policy?
Ours is one possible solution among many, with one caveat: We maintain that a national universal system would bring more problems than solutions for Canadian families. It is unrealistic to expect the federal government to be a universal, high-quality daycare provider, a “creator of spaces;” an educator to infants and toddlers. Parents’ concerns are real; they demand a real, workable solution.
All current federal child care monies should bypass the provinces and go directly to parents, which would increase the universal child care benefit (UCCB). In addition to this, taxes should be substantially lowered for families with children so that their own money would not leave their hands in the first place.
The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada bases its position on four criteria:
- Parental desires
- Social science research
- Federal government jurisdiction
- Sound economic principles
Child care means the care of a child, and research shows there are a number of different ways to care for children well. Ultimately, this can – and should – be done without the direct involvement of the federal government in the child’s life.
It’s time we got children out of the House.
Download the full report below