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: 12-31-2008
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 5:50pm

Good point, but I think the debate is over federal guidelines though.


I don't know if this helps, but there's a chart on this site: http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/22600.html


Maybe I am misinterpreting this, but if the cap for EIC is $48,000, doesn't that fall under middle class?


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-07-2009
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 6:11pm

I was mistaken about the $48,000 figure.

According to my 2008 tax booklet the maximums are:

2 or more qualifying children, single filer $38,646

2 or more qualifying children joint filers $41,646

1 qualifying child single filer $33,995

1 qualifying child joint filer $36,995

No children, single filer $12,980

No children joint filer, $15,800.

I would not consider any of those amounts to be middle income.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-22-2007
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 6:16pm
Yep, where I live, $48,000 for a family of four means you are probably struggling pretty hard.

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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: 02-22-2007
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 6:18pm
You're right about that. I think the federal poverty guidelines are ridiculously skewed though.

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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: 08-31-2008
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 6:22pm
The cap for EIC in 2008 for MFJ with 2 or more children is $37,263.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-31-2008
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 6:27pm
Is median income and middle class interchangeable terms?
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2008
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 6:35pm

>>I would not consider any of those amounts to be middle income.<<


That might be so, but I think it only matters what the government considers middle class. My understanding, which opinions vary, is ppl making between $25,000 - $100,000 a year. So, wouldn't some ppl within that range qualify for an EIC?


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2005
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 6:42pm
I totally agree about the poverty guidelines being skewed.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2009
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 7:52pm
It's a little under $42k for a married couple.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-17-2007
Tue, 04-14-2009 - 8:09pm

By the local government, yes. A few years ago our county did some sort of study that resulted in a determination that our local poverty line for a family of four is $68k (or around there). A family can qualify for housing subsidies and make up to $100k.

The federal poverty level is a made up thing anyway. In the 1960's a person at HHS went out and determined that the average family spends 1/3 of its income on food. She then went out and priced what ti would cost to feed a family nutritious but inexpensive food and multiplied it by 3 and voila that wit basically the same formula they have been using ever since. Unfortunately, food has decreased in relative cost and housing has increased. Now the average family spends about 15% of its income on food. It is recognized that the "official" federal poverty level is too low. That is why you see families qualifying for services at 150% or 200% of the "official" poverty level.

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