Early Childhood Development and the Childcare Crisis (June 2016)

Theirworld – Briefing: Early Childhood Development And The Childcare Crisis (June 2016)

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Childcare, especially for very young children, is often left to mothers and families to provide themselves. But this can be a struggle for poor women who need to work and can have a negative impact on the child’s development and their siblings’ education and opportunities.

This briefing shows that providing affordable, high-quality childcare has multiple benefits for children, families and societies.

High-quality childcare supports healthy early childhood development so that children are better able to make the most of school. It frees adults to work and means older children, particularly girls, can stay in school rather than dropping out to look after younger brothers and sisters.

Alternatively, poor-quality childcare leaves children at risk of neglect, abuse, accidents and inadequate cognitive, emotional and social development.

Drawing on the Overseas Development Institute’s report on childcare, this paper presents five recommendations to achieve universal access to high-quality childcare that offers a variety of options to parents and provides support in emergency situations.

Briefly, they are:

  • Expand access to high-quality early childhood care and education programmes to all children, targeting in particular the poorest and most marginalised.
  • Implement labour market policies that improve parents’ care options.
  • Expand social protection and social service programmes that take into account the realities of caregiving.
  • Expand collection and dissemination of data on childcare
  • Address the problem of childcare in emergency and conflict settings.