Enable parents to parent

According to the Herald on Sunday today

Unprecedented numbers of small babies are in the care of unqualified home-based carers, as the Children’s Commissioner investigates early childhood services. The Commissioner, John Angus, is to report in February on which types of childcare are providing the safest and most nurturing environments. He is likely to recommend an increase to the 14 weeks’ paid parental leave to which mothers are entitled.

It should be at least 2 years, and possibly even three – this is what both the child and the mother needs

His inquiry coincides with a court charge against home-based carer Rachel Simons, of home-care service Porse, who admitted to the Herald on Sunday last week that she left a 4-month-old boy alone in Te Atatu all morning while she took her own child to the doctor.

A one off case which the childcare industry is trying to use to undermine home care

According to Education Ministry figures, 8704 babies under 12 months old were enrolled in licensed services, a 30 per cent increase on five years ago. Numbers of 1- to 4-year-olds in care have also gone up due to a baby boom from 2007 onwards, but not at the same rapid rates. Home-based care has seen the biggest growth – up 74 per cent since 2006 – and this option is especially popular among parents of babies.

Of course – parents who can’t be there still want the focused low ratio in-the-home type care similar to what they would provide – not the ‘pack’ mentality of the big industry ones

(John Angus) says that literature on the issue was “contentious” and it was an important area to investigate so he could inform parents on how to best choose childcare.

Rubbish! The research is quite clear that long term early childhood care is not good for either the child or for the parent.

…Childcare-centre and home-care operators were predictably split on which was safest. Kidicorp owner Wayne Wright, who has about 100 centres nationwide including Topkidz and Mainly Kids, said childcare centres had more staff, and they were highly qualified, so were safer and better than home-based care. But Jenny Yule, the managing director of Porse which is the country’s biggest home-care service provider, argued they had an average ratio of only two children per carer, providing one-on-one attention. Yule said Simons, who left a 4-month-old baby alone in Auckland this month, was a lone case in the organisation’s 16-year history. They had 5000 Porse kids being lovingly cared for, she said.

The childcare industry is too well funded by the government for there to be a real honest assessment of what the research says and what is really best for our children and families. Which is a tragedy.


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