Childcare Issues in Other Countries
This article was sparked by an article in an Australian newspaper, the Newcastle Herald, reporting reaction to local government requiring a 400% increase in contributions from parents for daycare. Some commenters pointed out the increase was actually from $5 to $20 dollars a day, and said people were upset because they were not receiving something for nothing anymore, or it was taking from the pockets of the middle class, or didn't compare to government schooling. Another commenter, who had been affected by the increase, said yes, the cost was much less than private care, but she had budgeted and made her employment decisions based on the costs at the time she signed up and four times the cost did make a difference to her. Yet another commenter, who was not affected, said the percentage increase was not reasonable and comparing it to government school fees was also not realistic.
Tammy Schirle, a labour economist, in the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail blog, discussed the economic benefits of quality childcare. She said,
First, what impact do inexpensive child care programs have on the employment and career opportunities of parents? We know that providing inexpensive child care will significantly increase the employment rates of secondary earners in the family -- and these are typically women.
She went on to refer to a study done in Quebec on the effects of $5 a day daycare, which showed employment of women in two parent families increased over 7% with the low-cost care. She also discussed the impact of childcare on the types of employment taken by women, especially in summer when school is out.
The Dutch government commissioned an official study and report, with suggested policy changes - Background report to the OECD-project Thematic Review of Early Childhood Education and Care Policy. In the executive summary they said,
The foundations for lifelong learning are laid during each child’s early years. This highlights the importance of good quality child rearing and the developmental conditions during these years for a child’s future life. As more and more women participate actively in a booming economy, and as ECEC facilities for their families grow in number and quality, we are concerned for those at risk, especially among specific groups such as some ethnic minorities. This concern calls for additional policy measures.
They also referred to the academic achievements of Dutch children, and the positive effects of early childcare on at-risk children.