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Parents At Home For Baby's First Year Endorsed

Media Release New Zealand Playcentre Federation

Playcentre Endorses Supporting Parents to Stay at Home in Baby’s First Year

March 23rd 2011

A report released this week by the Children's Commissioner, John Angus, recommends that, in an ideal world, care at home by parents or whānau is in the best interests of under one-year-olds.

“Helping parents stay at home with their baby for its first year is a recommendation we wholeheartedly support” says NZ Playcentre Federation President Maureen Woodhams. “It is refreshing to see a report which calls for young children’s needs to be at the centre of policy decisions.”

“Through Their Lens”, the report on non-parental care of under two year olds, recommends strengthening public policy settings to encourage parental care of infants, and tightening up standards in formal out-of-home care for infants and toddlers. The New Zealand Playcentre Federation fully supports these recommendations.

“It is important that society and government help parents to nurture their children in the best way possible, and providing financial and social supports for this to happen is vital”, says Mrs Woodhams.

One suggestion made by the report, extending paid parental leave, would have a positive effect and need not cost much more than current education subsidies. John Angus explains: “Rather than spend a large amount of tax payers’ money on subsidies for infants to be in child care, that money might be better put into supporting care at home by the parent. For an under 2-year-old child in full time care, the taxpayer subsidy actually comes close to what a parent receives in paid parental leave.”

Where parents need to use some out-of-family care for their child, the report recommends this be part-day, with small groups sizes and high adult:child ratios. A maximum group size of eight children aged under two is recommended.

“At Playcentre we recognise that it's a demanding job raising your child in isolation. Our centres provide a supportive community for parents and whanau and a quality adult education programme to develop parenting skills and help parents to take an active role in their child’s education,” said Mrs Woodhams.

For more information or to visit a local Playcentre, please contact www.playcentre.org.nz.


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