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Responding to Centre Forum’s Elizabeth Truss’ report into new approaches for Childcare (written with Centre Forum), 4Children Chief Executive Anne Longfield OBE said:
Elizabeth Truss is right to raise the issue of spiralling childcare costs as a key issue for working parents. It is absolutely essential that this is tackled, to help families and the economy. Cost effectiveness and quality of childcare provision must be looked at, but proposals to cut the number of staff working with children is not the answer.
Parents need to be able to work with the peace of mind that their children are well cared for. All the research shows that that children who are in the care of well qualified professionals, including child minders, have the best outcomes when it comes to their well-being and attainment and that it is particularly important for children from disadvantaged backgrounds to have support at this stage.
Children deserve quality provision that does not compromise their safety and their parents need to have a realistic chance of accessing this- whatever their background. Given the savings to the economy if parents are able to work and stay off benefits, investment in affordable childcare should continue to be a Government priority. Increasing the childcare element of tax credits and ensuring tax credits keep pace with inflation would also both be powerful tools in tackling the squeeze on families incomes and affect the margins of whether parents can or can’t afford childcare.
This country has worked hard to grow a high quality childcare system which we can be proud of. The job is not finished and the system is not perfect. However there is much to build on and it would be wrong to through it away with a backward step which risks undermining the welfare of children and the wellbeing of families
Truss’ points on deregulation are also problematic. We have a very effective, well supported and recently refined early years framework and this is a key to ensuring that we get the best outcomes for our young children –since the first EYFS in 2008 quality has improved substantially. Childminders will see the benefit of a slimmed down curriculum when this is implemented this September and the sector has always welcomed clear guidance.”
Notes to Editors
For further information please contact William Staynes at William.firstname.lastname@example.org (0207 522 6991 or 07833098911)
4Children is the national charity all about children and families. We have spearheaded a joined-up, integrated approach to children’s services and work with a wide range of partners around the country to ensure children and families have access to the services and support they need in their communities. We run Sure Start Children’s Centres as well as family and youth services across Britain.
We develop, influence and shape national policy on all aspects of the lives of children, young people and families. As the Government’s strategic partner for early years and childcare we have a crucial role in co-producing policy with the Department of Education and representing the sector’s views and experiences. Our national campaigns, like Give Me Strength, change policy and practice and put the needs of children and families on the political and policy agenda.
For more information visit www.4children.org.uk