Working better: childcare matters: improving choices and chances for parents and children

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Great Britain. Equality and Human Rights Commission
Equality & Human Rights Commission
Date of publication
1 November 2010
Families, Children and Young People
Social welfare
Material type

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The Equality and Human Rights Commission has created a new evidence base on work life balance including flexible working and shared parenting. It found that parents today defy the traditional ‘mother’ and ‘father’ stereotypes and want a wider range of flexible job opportunities in all types of jobs; policies that reflect the social and economic benefits of integrating work and care; more financial support from the Government for paternity and parental leave; and more affordable childcare.

In this report the Commission turns its attention to the fourth ‘ask’ from parents – affordable childcare. It draws on evidence from a wide range of sources including a comprehensive literature review of parents and childcare, a major survey of modern families, and How Fair is Britain? the Commission’s Triennial Review, to explore whether current childcare provision supports or hinders parents in their choices for work and care. We highlight the importance of quality, flexible, accessible and affordable early years education and childcare for improving child outcomes, life chances and social mobility and identify significant barriers to take-up, particularly among those families with the most to gain, with ability to pay being a key factor.

This is a critical time for childcare and early years policy. Evidence suggests significant challenges remain in providing more places, of the right quality, and at an affordable price for all. Improving provision against a background of spending reduction demands that change is fully informed by evidence of what works and what doesn’t, so that benefits for children and families can be shared more equally and not further ring-fenced for the better-off.

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