Date: Fri, 13 Jun 97 10:54:59 CDT
From: MichaelP <email@example.com>
Subject: France Leads Way with Childcare
Isn't governmental provision of child care centers destructive of family values?
ONLY 41 per cent of single mothers in Britain are employed, compared with 82 per cent in France, 87 per cent in Japan and 70 per cent in Sweden. In Europe, only Germany, The Netherlands and Ireland have lower employment rates.
Unlike many other countries, Britain has little statutory childcare
provision and no subsidy, tax allowance or benefit to help mothers
with childcare. The limited number of public childcare places
available are for children deemed to be
at risk. While the public
education system provides places for more than half the children aged
three to five, the opening hours are limited and do not allow lone
mothers to work full-time.
In France childcare is free and there is a long and accepted tradition
of early childhood education in the public sector. The State makes
universal educational provision for children aged three to
school-entry age at
ecoles maternelles. These state-funded
institutions are an acepted way of life for children and 35 per cent
of 3 to 6-year olds attend. In recent years, two-year-olds have been
admitted and the handful of
ecoles maternelles that are run privately
receive state subsidies.
Other services for children under three also receive state subsidies. They include nurseries and day-care centres also funded by local and regional authorities and by means-tested parental fees.
For schoolchildren up to 17 years there are recreation centres that provide care from 8am to 6pm or 7pm. These come under the Ministry for Youth and Sport at a local level and are sometimes subsidised by private companies.
In Sweden, public funds meet the costs of day care for 72 per cent of three to six-year-olds. In The Netherlands, the Government pays a third of the childcare bill, with parents and employers meeting the rest.