Everyone knows that pre-school child care is good for children and for the economy. Patricia Morgan asks for some evidence and argues that only the most expensive care can match a parentby Patricia Morgan / October 20, 1996 / Leave a comment
Published in October 1996 issue of Prospect Magazine
In the last ten years, child care has become the wonderbag remedy of the western world. To politicians of all stripes in Britain, it holds the key to economic success and social justice: the question is not whether, but how, to subsidise it.
The group Employers for Childcare wants a minister responsible for co-ordinating a national strategy. According to a study by Bronwen Cohen and Neil Fraser for the Institute for Public Policy Research, this will galvanise the economy by flooding it with eager skilled labour and allowing it to run “at a higher level” in one continuous boom time. With “affordable, universally available, quality child care” poor one-income families can be turned into better off two-income ones.
By coincidence-child care has also become the way we are supposed to change children’s lives for the better. The Transport and General Workers’ Union insists that it is as fundamental to the quality of life of the nation’s children as shelter, sustenance, and schooling. It will stimulate their learning and enhance their social development; provide them with secure, happy and healthy surroundings and unleash their potential. Parental care, by comparison, appears to be a form of neglect.