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: 10-07-2004
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 2:14pm

<

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. >>

Keep in mind that most who qualify for EIC also qualify for welfare - maybe not cash, but food stamps, medicaid, free lunch, WIC, subsidized housing/daycare, etc. I have a friend who works 22 hours per week who gets all of those benefits plus gets a large refund every tax season.

I always thought the intent of the EIC was to roughly equal the amount paid in for social security and the like.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2009
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 2:28pm

Personal income taxes do not tell the whole story.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2008
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 3:33pm

>>I do think that someone who chooses to work in those low paying jobs over receiving welfare should be rewarded. <<


I guess it depends on what you consider a low paying job. Many middle class couples do receive the EIC.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-22-2007
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 3:36pm

I guess it depends on how you define "middle class."

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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: 12-31-2008
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 3:44pm

>>That is, of course,

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-07-2009
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 4:11pm
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-07-2009
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 4:14pm
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2008
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 4:59pm

What facts are you looking for? If an EIC is maxed out at $48,000, wouldn't that include many middle income families?


I am not sure what facts you are looking for. Do you consider $48,000 a year to be low income? I ask because my comment was directed at

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-17-2007
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 5:23pm

Depending on where one lives determines if $48,000 is "middle class" or "low income". Where I live, $48,000 would be considered to be "Low Income" for a family of four.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2005
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 5:33pm

<>

Would they be considered low income according to the government? I ask because WIC doesn't seem to alter their guidelines except for Alaska and Hawaii. For a family of 4, an income of $39,220 is regarded as being 185% of the poverty level with no distinction made between any of the continental states.

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