Barnardos' childcare scheme fails needs of kids – Family First

Family First NZ says that Barnardos’ decision to extend childcare to evenings and weekends may be well-intentioned but fails to address the real needs of babies and children and the vital role of parents.

“The political and policy focus has been on the needs of the economy and the demands on parents – and mothers especially, rather than on the welfare of babies and children and the vital role of parents. It is disappointing that Barnardos which has historically focused on the wellbeing of children is being sucked in to the economic approach rather than addressing the far more important issue of the role of parents, the needs of children, and the work life balance,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Rather than benefitting from the government paying millions for ‘professionals’ to care for our children, Barnardos should be calling for home-based support, family tax breaks, and family-friendly working hours for parents.”

“As Australian child expert and author Steve Biddulph says, childcare is too much, too early and too long for our children. The best daycare in the world can never love a baby or toddler like a parent does, and young children deserve this love. The trend towards extended childcare is bad news for children,” says Mr McCoskrie.

A recent study of Australian mums, published in the NZ Research in Early Childhood Education Journal, found they preferred care in the home by a known person yet were often unable to access this care. Some parents expressed concern over staffing levels and group sizes of daycare centres and the constant ill-health of their child.

A report on Daycare released by Family First in 2012 – “WHO CARES? Mothers, Daycare and Child Wellbeing in New Zealand” – highlighted the growing evidence of the profound beneficial neurobiological effects a mother’s physical presence has on her young child that cannot be achieved by anyone else including paid childcare workers, and said that mothers have been undervalued.

“Full-time parenting should be seen as a child’s right, and any discussion of daycare should cease communicating what is assumed adults are interested in and instead make judgments about what is likely to be in children’s best interests. Terms, such as ‘family-friendly policies’, ‘flexi-hours’ and ‘maternity leave’ often amount to meeting the needs of the parent and the economy, not the baby or child. The so-called ‘quality’ of care should not be used to override or distract attention from the unavoidable fundamental issue of the quantity of care.”

“Barnardos should be focussing their energies and resources on supporting families to be there for their babies and children,” says Bob McCoskrie.

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Barnardos' childcare scheme fails needs of kids – Family First
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