Presentation on theme: "Why Do Canadians Suffer Inadequate Supports for Families with Children? What Can the UWLM Do? Support Cultural Change to Achieve 15 by 15 Dr. Paul Kershaw."— Presentation transcript:
Why Do Canadians Suffer Inadequate Supports for Families with Children? What Can the UWLM Do? Support Cultural Change to Achieve 15 by 15 Dr. Paul Kershaw University of British Columbia on behalf of the Human Early Learning Partnership Prepared for the United Way of the Lower Mainland AGM, June 25, 2009 Burnaby, British Columbia
UWLM: How We Work Our challenge today is to address the underlying causes of our most critical social issues. Our community needs United Way to be more than a fundraiser… Our community needs a catalyst for social change. Inspired by Michael McKnight at meeting of the BCBC.
BC Government Strategic Plan for 2008/ /11, p. 30
What is the Problem? Not a technical problem. Not a problem of insufficient research evidence. Not a problem of $.
G7 Debt over GDP Source: Department of Finance Economic and Fiscal Reference Tables, #57 National tax-GDP ratio = 3 percentage points below OECD average. Beware confusing ‘affordability’ with priorities.
The Problem is… Canadian Culture 1.We convince ourselves we can’t afford it. 2.We opt to treat illness, rather than promote health 3.We ignore that good family policy requires gender equality policy. 4.As a generation, the collective action of Canadian babyboomer implies they are content to compromise the future for those who follow.
Optimal Investment Levels PreschoolSchool Post School Age0 Mismatch: Social Investment vs. Health Promotion Opportunity Cumulative Public Investment Source: Carneiro & Heckman, Human Social Policy (2003) What is MAGICAL about Age 6?
Sweden’s Public Expenditure for Children 0-17 Source: S. Bremberg (2006), National Institute of Public Health, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
We must become sophisticated critics of medical care, in order to bridge health promotion with non-medical care... Key questions: 1.What medical care do we owe one another as our capacity to save increases dramatically with costly technology and drugs? 2. Do we really want to target so much of our health expenditures toward the final stages of our life course? 3.And what does it mean for a society when it spends hundreads of thousands, if not millions, of dollars to save a pre-term baby – one life – but is remarkably hesitant to invest in health promotion for the population through programs like early learning and care, housing, food?
Content to Burn-Out Women, and leave unquestioned the place of patriarchy in family policy… A very early universal program = family allowance. Why was it implemented as WWII ended? Male breadwinner ‘family wage’ model of social policy. The child care services paid by for by federal government during the war years were eliminated. Continue primarily with cash approach to this day. Major innovations = maternity and parental leave; CCTB/NCBS; UCCB.
Children won’t get the healthy, happy starts they deserve until we recommit to eliminating women’s inequality Feminism and declining male wages the majority of women with young children are in the labour market; and the majority of these work full-time. But we as a society have not adjusted by using policy to demand that men assume additional responsibility for caregiving; or that communities provide more supports. Key implication = TIME POVERTY!
2008 Gender Gap & Family Policy Rankings Sources: World Economic Forum and UNICEF
Collectively, Baby-Boomer Decisions = a Social Problem Baby-boomers = dominant political generation, especially in office: Tolerate nearly 30% of children becoming vulnerable before school. Tolerate Canada being a fossil fuel dinosaur, compromising environmental sustainability. Inherited next to no public debt. But content to leave other generations with public federal debt that = over 30% of GDP. Not the generation that made great sacrifices during Depression and World Wars… Ignoring intergenerational justice?
What Should We Do? Understand the Cultural Context; and BE STRATEGIC ABOUT DISRUPTING IT! PK: a careful strategy of blame and shame? UWLM: prioritize changing cultural norms.
UWLM: Nothing Less than the 5 Policy Recommendations for 15 by 15 = Acceptable Time: 1.Parental leave to 18 months; plus Revise F-T Employment Standards Resources: 2. Income and Employment Supports Community Supports: 3.ECD coalitions, community planning, to make seamless… 4.Pregnancy, parenting and early intervention, with monthly monitoring for developmental trajectories until 18 months; and 5.Early childhood education and care for children over 18 months, where developmental monitoring and family support will continue. BE GONE POLARIZING DEBATES ABOUT PROVIDING SERVICES OR SUPPORTING PARENTS (MOTHERS) TO CARE PERSONALLY!
Recommendation 1: Build on parental leave to: increase duration to 18 months improve coverage improve benefit levels, 80% of $62,000 reserve six months of time for fathers.
Recommendation 2 Build on income and employment support policies to reduce child and family poverty : Raise welfare benefits
Recommendation 2 Build on income and employment support policies to reduce child and family poverty : Raise welfare benefits Enhance family/in work tax credits and/or minimum wage levels
Child Poverty Rates by Province 38% of poor BC children live with an adult who works full-time full-year.
Recommendation 2 Build on income and employment support policies to reduce child and family poverty : Raise welfare benefits Enhance family/in work tax credits and/or minimum wage levels Make ECEC services available and affordable strengthen and increase labour force attachment, increase (net) incomes: 2-earners = best insurance against poverty Adapt employment standards to shorten full-time hours work/life balance & reduce family time poverty
Recommendations 3 & 4 Build on work of ECD Planning Committees to coordinate and integrate ECD programs and services – pregnancy; parenting and early learning resources (FRPs; Strong Start), screening and intervention, etc. to achieve… Universal monthly trajectory-based monitoring of ECD before age 18 months. USE EDI and other data as accountability framework to monitor effectiveness of policy implementation
Recommendation 5 Build on early childhood education and care to provide: universal access to quality ECEC, with inclusion, and seamless transitions to elementary school For example: full-employment-day Kindergarten for 5-, 4-, and 3-year-olds. extend services to 18 month old children in time.
Source: Starting Strong ll: Early Childhood Education and Care; September 2006 Few spaces; Insufficient quality; High cost; Inadequate Inclusion
HELP’s Policy Framework for Optimal Early Child Development in BC Required Social Infrastructure Investment Family: Time and ResourcesCommunity Supports 49% of Investment51% of Investment Parental LeaveIncome Supports ECD Coalitions, Pregnancy, Parenting, Screening & Intervention Early Childhood Education & Care (ECEC) Total Additional Investment Total as % of GDP $591$820$95$1,576$3, %
$3 Billion/Year in BC?!? $22 Billion/Year across Canada = Price for Reducing vulnerability from roughly 30% to 15%, and eventually 10% About 12-20% of total fed/prov health care spending. Less than half what we spend cumulatively on Federal Old Age Security and RRSPs.
Human Capital Benefits BC data project what a reduction in vulnerability from 29% to 15%, and then to 10% will mean for later school success. .5 standard deviation improvement in language and cognitive test scores .63 percentage point increase to GDP = $35 billion plus to BC annually ; 264-$274 billion plus to Canada But patience is a requisite virtue, because the children have to get through school; become the majority in the labour market In meantime, partial returns from labour supply; work-life balance savings to health expenditures; poverty reduction savings to health expenditures; crime reduction savings
Stimulus Now! Parents with young children lifecourse stage where they spend more than save. ECEC Capital and construction investments to remodel schools and build appropriate facilities. Family Policy should be integral to stimulus package.
15 by 15 = Smart Economics A Just Cause: minimizes inequality among children; across sexes Now Canadians just need to make this objective a priority. If we don’t, being ‘Canadian’ may be compromising our health because we fail to invest in its determinants.
Thank you. Paul Kershaw, Ph.D. The University of British Columbia College for Interdisciplinary Studies Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP)