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Editorial: Childcare proposals have political importance

The think-tank Policy Exchange has proposed a bold alternative to childcare funding for under-threes this week, signalling a clear challenge to the present system. As revealed by CYP Now last week, and followed up in this edition (p13), the Little Britons report calls for the creation of a universal Parental Care Allowance (PCA) of 50 to 60 a week per child. It would be financed through the abolitions of the childcare element of the working tax credit, electronic vouchers for childcare payments and the Sure Start Maternity Grant.

The importance of dads in the early years

During Mental Health Week, the Movember Foundation published its survey on new dads and there was some striking similarities with findings from a consultation we did with men in Blackpool about their experiences of being a new dad.

Affordable, flexible childcare plan would be a vote winner

There is a problem with childcare being so much in the public spotlight. People either become immune to the argument - a kind of "childcare fatigue" - or talk about it so much that we are lulled into a false sense of security that universal childcare is a reality or soon will be.

Sector must influence the coalition

They say that a week is a long time in politics. Quite. As predicted in these pages for many months, the new Tory Secretary of State Michael Gove has renamed the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) as the Department for Education.

How childcare can survive recession

The huge expansion in childcare over the past decade is one of this government's most visible achievements. Latest estimates suggest that 2.8 million families use childcare. We are now a childcare nation.

Vetting agency must foster responsibility

Keeping children safe from abuse is always a highly charged topic. It is naturally the first priority of most parents. It is vital for children's services departments, since a high-profile child abuse case causes untold damage not just to the child but to the whole service.

Election result prolongs uncertainty

At the time of writing -- on the historically uncertain afternoon of Friday 7 May -- the Conservatives were about to enter into negotiations with the Liberal Democrats about helping them to form a government.

Every Child Matters faces biggest test

The Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS) pledged, in its annual report last week, to assess and build on the progress of Every Child Matters (ECM) for the next five years, as a policy priority for the coming 12 months. It is a good priority to hold, particularly given the uncertainty ahead.

It's good logic to halve child poverty

The fiscal stimulus, be it tax cuts or increases in government spending, has been all the rage on both sides of the Atlantic, as the boldest way to ride the recession.

Give babies the best start despite pandemic

The nation’s mental health and wellbeing has been discussed at great length over the past few months and attention has recently been drawn to the mental health of babies and infants by a report commissioned by the First 1,001 Days Movement.

Fighting for survival

A manager at one voluntary organisation talks about what the cuts have meant for her project's work, the fight to keep it going and her fears for the future.

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