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Martha Friendly Challenges and opportunities for Canadian child care Market or system...? or why kids are still not for profit.

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Presentation on theme: "Martha Friendly Challenges and opportunities for Canadian child care Market or system...? or why kids are still not for profit."— Presentation transcript:

1 Martha Friendly Challenges and opportunities for Canadian child care Market or system...? or why kids are still not for profit

2 Question: Do child care markets work? (Penn) Neoliberal view of the market – Role of the state should be minimal; Taxation, regulation, etc. are impositions on business; Individual choice – including that of parent- consumers– is paramount. Entrepreneurs are the best to provide child care based on their accurate reading of demand.

3 The state of child care in Canada.. Dismal? Stagnant? Critical? Code blue?  Rate of expansion has steadily decreased – space for only 20%;  Sky-high parent fees;  Growth in public funding very slow;  Human resource, quality issues remain;  For-profits growing at a rapid rate

4 A key reason for this dismal state We’re relying on a failed market, instead of building a system

5 In 2013… Child care is scarce, costly, under- funded, inequitably distributed, and often of less-than-stellar quality.

6 A key reason for this…  Canada relies on the market for child care rather than building a system, and  This has substantial negative effects Relying on the market has an impact on every aspect of child care that we care about

7 Key question: Is early childhood education and care a commodity or a public good? Commodity – A good/ material, bought and sold as an article of commerce (Parents are proxy consumers, for their children) Public good - An item whose consumption isn’t decided by individual consumer— but society as a whole—financed by taxation

8 Treating child care as a market commodity, not a system, shapes it in many ways... 1) Hit-and-miss service development 2) Consumer-model financing 3) Limited public management 4) Limited planning 5) Programming aimed at the market 6) Staffing to the minimum 7) Limited integration of care and education 8) Relying on privatized services/arrangements 9) Inequitable access 10) Quality takes backseat to budgets/profit

9 1. Hit-and-miss development of services In a market, it—not what families need— determines… Where it’s located Who it’s for When services open up...(or close down) … these are private decisions in a market

10 2. Consumer-model financing Important: How child care is paid for, and by whom By whom – In a market, it’s primarily paid for by consumer-parents who pay whatever the market will bear How (public funds) – in a market, public funds are limited; demand-side financing (not core or base funding) is heavily used (UCCB, CCED, subsidies, etc)

11 3. Limited public management, In a market - Public management is limited, individualized and hands-off Approach to regulation is “compliance”, not “technical assistance” or support

12 4. Limited planning In a market – Planning is weak, incomplete, short-term Reliance on private initiatives instead No real policy frameworks, long-term planning, sustained funding, stated principles, goals, targets/timetables

13 5. Limited integration of care/education In a market - system change is more difficult When child care is a commodity, there’s usually a “split system”, with kindergarten-like programs and child care are separated In many of the split ECEC systems, the “education” part for 3-5 year olds is a public system, with “care’ for infants/toddlers remaining a marketized commodity

14 6. Programming aimed at the market In a market - programming may be influenced by competition/ marketing – e.g., promises to improve human capital (technology or package curriculum packages) or teaches French or provides webcams

15 7. In a market—staffing is to the minimum Staffing is biggest cost in child care budget Child care services operating in marketized financial environment need to contain staffing costs, often keep wages, ratios, working conditions, benefits to a minimum Profit motive adds an additional incentive to keep staffing costs as low as possible (best source of profits)

16 8. Markets tend to rely on privatized services and private (unregulated) arrangements Relying on private (non-profit and for-profit ) child care services and unregulated arrangements goes hand in hand with market approach Why? Initiating and managing private services is a private—not public—responsibility in a market However, it’s not a “given” that publicly-managed ECEC systems are solely publicly-delivered—But public services tend to be the main model, with some non-profits (and sometimes a little for-profit) (Sweden/Denmark)

17 9. Inequitable access Poor/inequitable access is a hallmark of marketized child care Why? Hit-and-miss service development Consumer-model financing - afforability Limited public management, planning Poor integration of care/education Aiming at more profitable consumers

18 10. Quality takes backseat to $ considerations including (but not limited to) profit-making Uneven quality is another hallmark of a market approach (deficits usually structural) Why? Consumer-model funding is inefficient Public management is limited, hands-off Staffing to the minimum Profit-making introduces strong motivation to cut corners Regulation is compliance-based

19 Question and conclusion: Why do certain countries perform so poorly (or – at best—mediocre-ly) on child care? Conclusion: High quality accessible services have not developed in some countries due to government reliance on market models and private providers without regulatory regimes capable of ensuring high quality (White and Friendly, 2012)

20 To illustrate this… (UNICEF, 2008)

21 What’s next? If the conclusion is “The market doesn’t “work” for child care”….what’s the solution? An ECEC system – from Ideas to Financing to Data

22 But that’s a story for another panel….

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