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Government Intrusion Has Perks, Drawbacks

nihIn the end, the whole child-care debate may be irrelevant to how children turn out. “Virtually no research has examined the cumulative, long-term effects on children of attending child care arrangements of varying quality as preschoolers,” according to the National Research Council.

Even in the short term, the National Institutes of Health has found that regardless of how much child care a child receives, its effects are dwarfed by the influence of family. Even if it could be proven that child care is good for most children, every child has unique needs. The best solution to the day-care debate is to allow parents to make the decisions that require keeping the unique needs of each child in mind.

The administration’s desire to have …

Affordability, And Who Pays, Really, For Child Care?

really-child-careThe Early Learning Fund, despite its name, which suggests a program designed for children, is yet another sop to unions representing child-care providers. According to the White House, the fund would be used for providing basic training to child-care providers, connecting individual child-care providers to centers for education and support, and providing home visits and parent education.

President Clinton announced, “Nothing is more important than finding child care that is affordable, accessible, and safe. It is America’s next great frontier, in strengthening our families and our future.” Certainly we all agree on the importance of nurturing children. The real question is, Are moms and dads incapable of raising their children without help from the government?

According to American parents, they are doing …

Good Morning Happy Sleeper: A Mouthpiece Story

gmssEveryone needs sleep. We need it to live and we need it to be able to continue functioning. There have been tales of those who have not slept nearly enough and have died in the process. People who snore probably feel like they aren’t getting enough sleep. This can be because they either way themselves up with their snoring, or they keep their partners awake which can lead to sore ribs from being jabbed. Without enough sleep our bodies and minds can’t recover so it is very important to improve our quality of sleep.

There are many reasons why people snore. Some snore because they are overweight and there are some who snore because they drink alcohol heavily before they sleep. Some people …

Talking Universal Is A Great Idea

childhood-developementIn California, partly as a result of Hollywood director Rob Reiner’s campaign, a special cigarette tax is channeling funds toward local care services, including after-school programs. While New York’s GOP Governor, George Pataki, hasn’t delivered fully on the promise of a universal pre-K program (he seems irritated that it will actually cost money), he’s moving in that direction. A number of other states are developing programs with names like Community Partnership, Child Care Matters and Smart Start.

These are promising developments. Still, most of the public money spent on childcare falls into the stingy, stigmatized, income-tested category. Of total federal childcare spending of about $11 billion in 1998, 39 percent went to Head Start and 28 percent to block grants that are targeted …

Getting Petitions Happening Can Sway Governments’ Thinking

small-childrenWomen write their own issues onto any important petition–like the cost of food in the dorms if one’s child was over a certain age–two adult meal tickets being prohibitive and over three years of age you couldn’t sneak the girls in any more. I wrote the entire problem up for NWSA Action and they didn’t print the summary. (A freedom of speech issue here? Too threatening to report actual organizing activity?) But the ad hoc task force was born. Rivkah Polatnick and I created it. We wanted a whole platform–educational activities for children, so they get the input of feminist educators etc. Asking the conference to call for women to submit proposals for workshops in which they provided feminist education for the girls …

Headstart Looks To Fix Ills

physical-abuseHeadstart is one of the few early-intervention programs in Canada designed to help neglected, disadvantaged, and often abused children by focussing plenty of attention on their parents. The four-day-a-week program was started in Moncton, New Brunswick with the idea that the best way to help kids in the long run is to help their parents. For the kids there are various activities, from story time to brushing their teeth, and nutritious meals. For the parents there is group and individual counselling, support, literacy classes, cooking school, and a sense of community. They learn appropriate disciplinary action, nutrition, hygiene, and the importance of structure and routine in a child’s life. They have mandatory evening courses and group sessions to talk about their problems, and …

Did Canada Drop The Ball With Child Care?

child-careA group of 34 non-governmental agencies condemned Canada, in November 1999, for not living up to its commitments under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child because daycare and early education programs are inadequate. There are other disturbing rights violations in the spotlight too

In 1997, child-welfare officials across Canada reported a growing number of child-abuse cases. No one was sure whether the incidence of abuse was growing or simply the public’s awareness of it. In Montreal alone, in a four-year period, the city’s anglophone child-protection agency (the Batshaw Youth and Family Centres) had 65% more confirmed cases of physical abuse in which the agency seized custody of the child — up from 108 cases in 1992 to 178 in …

Estate Taxes May Bring Future Pain To Your Family

future-painLanguage, as george Orwell famously observed, is a good sign of political mischief. I’m not quite sure when the words “estate tax” morphed into “death tax,” but the shift speaks volumes. The words “death tax” belong up there with “hate crimes” and “affirmative action” as newspeak for pernicious political agendas. No matter what George W. Bush says, there is no “death tax” in America. Dead people can no more pay taxes than they can vote (Cook County excepted, of course). Nor is anyone’s death taxed. What is taxed is a dead person’s estate; and the point of this tax, as with all taxes, is to raise money for the government.

Is this an awful way to raise revenue? No. In many respects it …

Is 100% Government Sponsored Health Care Possible?

nurturing-relationshipGovernment support isn’t a new idea, although it is an idea that many resist. In the Public Agenda survey, respondents said that access to child care should be the responsibility of the families themselves, rather than the government or employers. Respondents also said that having one parent at home is the best child-care arrangement. However, two-thirds of parents said that having one parent stay home is an unrealistic option in today’s world. So if the best care is the kind that many parents are unable to provide, wouldn’t it be in their best interest to support government policies that would help establish and maintain high-quality child-care facilities? We support public schools. Why shouldn’t we support early childhood care?

“We know it’s expensive,” says …

Where Has All The Quality Child Care Gone?

quality-child-careYou would think that people would be clamoring for excellent child care all over the country. But they’re not. Why? A 2001 survey by Public Agenda, a nonprofit policy analysis group, found that most parents are satisfied with their child care arrangements. Perhaps most people are not aware of what constitutes a quality program or of the damage mediocre care can do to their children.

“Sadly, many parents haven’t seen high-quality child care,” explains Keyser. “They don’t have a comparison.” She suggests that parents ask the following questions: 1. How many teachers are available to the children? 2. Is the group small enough? 3. Do children have the same caregiver for the first three years? 4. How do caregivers communicate with parents? 5. …