Councils and Carer Strategies

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2009
Councils and Carer Strategies
74
Sun, 04-12-2009 - 6:16pm

Here is a letter written by a member in response to her local council's Carers' Strategy


What about parents bringing up their own children?

I have just been reading the above strategy on the LB Greenwich website, and would like to make the following comments.

I believe parents who choose to stay at home to bring up their dependent children should be classified as carers and their needs and aspirations included in your carers' strategy.

I note that your definition of carers is based on the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995, and you define a carer as 'someone who looks after or provides regular unpaid help to family members, neighbours or friends who are sick or disabled. This includes parents of children with disabilities'.

However, I would challenge this as being too narrow, and I believe Greenwich Council should be challenging it too, if you are to meet the needs of all your residents. Greenwich is a forward-looking borough in so many ways (school meals, recycling, the Olympics, to name but a few) and you should be looking to lead in this area too.


Support for parents is unfairly skewed

There is considerable help available to parents of dependent children who wish to return to work. This includes Government-funded programmes such as Sure Start centres and the childcare element of Tax Credits, but it also includes extensive Council resources such as subsidies to childcare services, support for childminders and a plethora of literature promoting commercial childcare and how to choose it.

By contrast - even though ALL ratepayers fund these initiatives - there is no corresponding support for parents who choose to stay at home with their children. Yet we are making a valid personal choice and arguably giving our children the best possible start.

(As I am sure you are aware, there is an avalanche of evidence about the negative effects of too much paid work on family relationships and children's outcomes and attainment. Study after study also shows that a significant number of parents with dependent children would prefer not to work outside the home while their children are young, if they felt they could afford that choice. I can supply many specific references for these research areas if you are interested.)

Financial hardship faced by stay-at-home parents

By doing what we believe is best for our children, and putting them first, we are also forgoing current income and future pension rights at precisely the time when our costs have risen through having to support additional dependents. In this, stay-at-home parents are no different from other kinds of carers.

For example, it becomes hard to afford things like standard prices for leisure centre activities, full-price public transport or prescription charges. Stay-at-home parents have no income and I would suggest they should receive concessions similar to those for retired people. Perhaps as a start, for example, these concessions could be to made available to all parents at home with a child under five, with a means-tested ceiling to exclude parents with very high-earning partners.

This would also send out a strong signal that Greenwich Council places a high value on the care and wellbeing of young children. Supporting those parents who wish to stay at home would help improve children's readiness to learn when they start school (eg vocabulary, speaking and listening skills; cooperative behaviour; concentration skills; and secure attachment). Again, there is considerable research evidence in this field, which I can supply if desired.

EU recognition of carers in GDP

Finally, I believe LB Greenwich should be joining the lobby at European level to achieve recognition in GDP of carers' contribution to the economy. This campaign is being led by Ireland and Sweden and would give a huge boost to the status and recognition of carers across the EU. Yet there is no mention of it in your strategy. Could it be included in your work programme?

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any comments about my submission. I look forward to hearing your views in due course.


http://www.fulltimemothers.org/submissions/greenwich_carers.html

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Mon, 04-13-2009 - 6:56pm

Here in the US, we had a situation similar to the one the letter writer describes.


It worked like this, with many variations: Young woman gets pregnant and cannot find work because she never finished high school. Deadbeat boyfriend goes to jail for dealing cocaine so he can't help her with her living expenses. Government pays woman to stay home and take care of her child. Woman realizes what a sweet deal this is, so she finds another, presumably more law-abiding boyfriend and gets pregnant again. Alas, the boyfriend can't help her out much, because he has three other kids by three other women and is unemployed. The government pays her even more money to stay home.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-12-2005
Mon, 04-13-2009 - 7:50pm
I do not see what the author's problem is. Since her children will be so much better equipped for school, her children will receive scholarships to college and be able to pay for her retirement. So really, she should be sending us money to help cover our kids' college funds.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-15-2006
Mon, 04-13-2009 - 10:31pm
say no more.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2008
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 5:52am

To be honest, I am not sure what the OP is talking about, just free money, a tax deduction or credit, or something else.


However, your little scenario doesn't work either since many working single parents and couples, also receive some type of welfare. So, the picture you are painting of a sahp is not necessarily accurate. That is, any more accurate then a

Community Leader
Registered: 02-06-2006
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 7:30am

Because if you're actually working the hope is that eventually you'll work yourself out of needing the assistance someday.


My mom accepted food stamps when she was in her early twenties and was a single mother

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2008
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 9:27am

>>Because if you're actually working the hope is that eventually you'll work yourself out of needing the assistance someday.<<


Yes, but not all sahm's are receiving assistance. And working doesn't guarantee ppl are contributing to the pot. On top of this, who is to say, just because a person works, they will eventually stop collecting any type of

Community Leader
Registered: 02-06-2006
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 11:34am

Well I never stated that all or even many SAH are accepting assistance.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2008
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 12:24pm

>>Well I never stated that all or even many SAH are accepting assistance.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-22-2007
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 1:03pm
Also, the taxes that you've paid are available and useable by the government until you've filed your return and they've cut you a check for any refund you might be owed. An interest free loan to the government, some of my friends call it.

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Why hide your light under a bushel of bears, I ask you?

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Why hide your light under a bushel of bears, I ask you?
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-07-2009
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 1:29pm

Those that receive the EIC do often receive more back in their income tax return than they paid in.

That was intended to be a reward for low income workers who choose to work when they could receive an equal amount money off welfare not working.

I am very glad that we have never made low enough income to qualify to the EIC but I am also glad that it is there for the workers that do. I do think that someone who chooses to work in those low paying jobs over receiving welfare should be rewarded.

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