2015 – present

2015 -Australia – the Bureau of Statistics estimates that carers save the federal government over $30 billion a year. In 2015 carers provided $13.2 billion worth of free mental health support to friends and family members. This ‘hidden workforce’ was estimated to be the equivalent of 173,000 full time mental health support workers.

2015- US  A Harvard university study of 268 undergrads from 1938 to the present finds that life satisfaction was closely related to early upbringing. IQ and good looks did not reliably predict success. Smoking and alcohol were key factors for early disease and death. The men who had had a loving relationship with their mother earned more money than those who did not, Those who had a warm relationship with their father had lower anxiety and more life satisfaction at age 75 than those who did not have such a warm relationship.

2015- Europe -The European Federation of Families of People with Mental Illness studied caregiving by 1111 family caregivers in 22 countries.  Most were providing care of a son or daughter, some care of a spouse or sibling. The study found that 80% of caregivers were women,care impacted paid work.  26% had full time paid jobs, 10% part time, 6% were self-employed, 43% were retired. 30% were concerned about the extra extra financial costs and not being able to meet them.

2015  Canada – Alberta The new premier, Rachel Notley, has removed the single rate tax and moved again to tax brackets.   Economist Mark Milke says the new move is a mistake. He says the single rate tax was fair. Milke says that a single rate tax is in fact progressive and already meets the criterion of taxing the rich more than the poor.

2015-  Canada – Data from the Sex Information and Education Council reveals that among teens pregnancy rates were down for a while but now are back up. Nationally the rates are 28.2 pregnancies per 1000 teens. Rates have gone up in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Newfoundland. Though sex education and birth control are widely available, the research suggests that many girls choose pregnancy.

2015- Holland-  registrations for daycare discounts are down 8%. Daycare use is down and 30,000 daycare jobs have been lost while dozens of daycare centres have closed or gone bankrupt.

2015- Canada – the Mental Health Commission estimates that mental illness costs employers $20 billion a year, 70% of disability costs are due to psychological problems

2015 – UK –  Global Women’s Strike is circulating a petition to Parliament to invest in a living wage for mothers and other carers. The group argues that caring must be recognized as vital work in society. It says that when caring work is devalued the result is social neglect

2015 US – Professor Nancy Fraser of the New School reassesses feminism and  argues that the work of reproductive activities should be more valued, and made equivalent to production activities to remove the inherent gender bias in treating the categories unequally

2015- Sweden – Jonas Himmelstrand finds that all Nordic countries except Sweden now fund home care of children till age 2 or 3 years. In Finland the home care allowance is claimed for care of 56% of children under age 3.

2015 – Canada – Children’s benefits are not universal. The Canada Child Tax Benefit was begun in 1993 for those aged 0-17 years. It is reduced based on household income, is at maximum $1446 per child  ($3.96 a day). It is indexed to inflation. The National Child Benefit was begun in 1998. Some provinces reduce it for families on welfare. It is based on household income and is at most $2241 per child ($6.13 a day). Those households using 3rd party childcare get, in addition a government subsidized daycare space and the ability to deduct many out of pocket daycare expenses.

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2015 -Nations differ on the age of pension eligibility.  It is 60 in Malaysia, 62 in Singapore, 60-55 in the UK, 65 in Australia, 65-67 in the US though age limits may be adjusted with lower benefits for early retirement and higher for later retirement in some countries

2015- Statistics Canada finds that 80% of parents in lone parent families are mothers and 20% are fathers

2015 UNICEF studies childcare and notices that EU provisions to protect people from discrimination based on age, disability, religion and gender or sexual orientation do not yet prohibit discrimination based on paid labor force participation. As a result those nations that fund care of children only for parents in the paid labor force escape charges of discrimination. Social Platform seeks widening human rights law to remove the bias against parents at home.

2015 – United Nations Report on Women defines work only as paid labor and surveys only earnings. It lists number of women employed or working, but ignores unpaid roles. It focuses on the rights of women to have a ‘good job with fair pay’ but does not mention rights to fair recognition for unpaid work.  This focus is despite the UN commitment in 1995 to have all member nations redefine work to include unpaid roles

2015 US – In the third world small loans or microcredit are offered to women to help them run their own small business.  Professor Nancy  Fraser of the New School raises an alarm though that such policies get used by governments as an excuse to cut social spending and to abandon anti -poverty measures. She recommends that social reproduction be as valued as economic production is.

2015-South Korea-  birth rate has fallen from 6 to 1.1-1.2 since the 1970s and government becomes concerned at lack of future taxpayers. It provides incentives for birth including cash allowances for newborns, boxes of beef and baby clothes for celebrations of births with government ads to welcome births and in Haenam county a parade celebrating children and pregnant women

2015-Economists around the world see flaws in the GDP for activities it does not count. GDP counts the  money value of goods and services produced so counts as job creators even national crises and earthquake recovery actions. The Human Development Index also looks at health, life expectancy, adult literacy, school enrolment, purchasing power. The Gross National Happiness Index used by the World Bank looks at culture and environment maintenance and good governance. Household satellite accounts look at value of goods and services within a household, unpaid work and the voluntary sector. The Inclusive Wealth Index used by the UN University International Human Dimensions program measured also human capital and natural capital.

2015- Canada- One  childcare research group finds that in one year the provinces and territories pay $4.2 billion to fund childcare spaces , or about $2,000 per child. This figure does not include the contribution of the federal government. The New Democratic Party estimates that the federal government needs to spend over $5,000 per child or ‘space’ also, making government funding per child in daycare about $7,000 per child per year. There are no parallel funds to children outside of daycare.

2015- China – Many nations now experience a birth dearth and are moving to increase births. Birth rates in China are 1.6, Spain 1.26, UK 1.94, Ireland .01, France 2.08 though the replacement rate demographically is often said to be 2.2.  Australia gives a birth bonus and one year maternity benefit. Norway gives new mothers 12 months home with the baby at 80% previous pay or 10 months at full pay. Fertility rate in Norway is 1.8. Japan with a fertility rate of 1.3 gives more paid time home with a baby. Singapore with a birth rate of 0.78 gives a $15,000 grant per child and discourages apartment builders from creating too many single bedroom apartments. Russia vows to increase birth rate over 5 years by 30%. One year money, cars and a refrigerator were offered as prizes to any woman who gave birth June 12, the national day of Russia, and 9 months before that, Sept 12 was named Day of Conception. Romania gives a tax penalty to anyone male or female over age 25 who is childless, and makes it illegal to have an abortion unless the woman is over 45 and already has 5 children.

2015- Australia – the  Skills Quality Authority looks at childcare standards and examines only third party care and formal training there. It ignores care in the home by parents as part of the category of childcare

2015- 70 countries now offer parental leave days for dads but few of them outside of Europe make this paid leave. In Norway over 90% of fathers take at least 6 weeks paid leave.

2015 – Canada – New perks are developed for paid workers, perks that unpaid caregivers  do not receive. Mediacorp Canada Inc. Surveys top employers finding what is offered lately for career-life balance and worker happiness.  Air Georgian Ltd. gives reduced air fares to employees and Rocky Mountaineer gives staff discounted rail passes. Workers’ kids get a scholarship program at Polycello.  Gevity Consulting Inc tops up maternity and parental leave to 100% of salary while Sealweld Corp gives it up to 95% of salary fo 17 weeks. Netmail Inc has an employee lounge with video games and pool table. Birchcliff Energy Ltd and Fidus Systems inc have an onsite fitness facility.  Big Viking Games Inc has an on site full service kitchen and cafeteria.

2015- Japan –  83.5% of major corporations have policies for career-life balance. 14.7% allow telework. Maijji Yasuda Life Insurance Company lets 60% of its 2000  employees at head office to telework.

2015-  Australia – 30% of one year olds and 45% of children aged 2-3 years are in daycare for a long day , referred to as long daycare. 30% of four year olds are in long daycare and 13-15% of kids aged 5-9 were in 3rd party care outside school hours. The Australian Institute of Family Studies finds that formal early childhood education use peaks at ages 4-5 years when 93% of children are there. However parental use of it before age one year is only 16% and for 2-3 year olds is only 58%.

2015- Canada-  the  Childcare Resource and Research Unit, which studies nonparental care, finds that 30% of childcare spaces operate for profit

2015 US – Global Workplace Analytics finds that  since 2005 the numbers of those regularly working from home has gone up 103% . 3.7 million employees or 2.5% of the paid workforce now work from home. It finds that teleworkers are more likely to still be able to work when sick, have high productivity rates. 95 % of employers report improvements in employee retention.  IBM cut its real estate costs by $50 million when it permitted telework and work from home. 

2015- UK – one in four children still lives in poverty, being 3.5 million children. One in three single parents who are deemed unemployed officially are actually caring for a disabled child. Fewer than one in ten carers gets the carer’s allowance. One in four low income mothers skip meals to feed their children.

2015 US -a Pew Research study finds that the number of at-home dads in 1989 at 1.1 million increased in 2010 to 2.2 million and is now 2 million.

2015-  US -Professor Nancy Fraser of the New School in “Fortunes of Feminism” argues reproduction is a productive activity in the economy. She says that pressuring all women to climb the corporate ladder offloads care work and housework to low waged workers and gives those roles no dignity.

2015- US – Some feminist writers are noticing that leaning in to prioritize the paid career does not always satisfy women and that it may be necessary to take time away from the paid job occasionally to prioritize family when they are young. Lawyer Anne-Marie Slaughter writes “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All’

2015 Statistics Canada’s survey of families and living arrangements from 2011 finds that lone mother families  are 13% of all census families and lone father families are 3.5%.  4.1 million women were part of couples living with children. Of those 88% were in traditional families and 12% were mothers or stepmothers in stepfamilies. 99% of couples were in opposite sex relationships and 0.7% were in same -sex relationships. Among married couples, 38% had one child at home, 43% had two children and 19% had three or more children at home. Among common law couples 46% had one child at home, 39% had two children and 16% had three or more children.

2015 -Canada –  tax rates shift due to the recent federal election. Those earning $44,700-$89,401, will pay 20.5% tax not 22% tax earlier on individual income. However the ability to split some income with a spouse for those with children will be eliminated

2015-  Canada – ThinkHQ Public Affairs surveyed Albertans about unpaid caregiving of the elderly and found that 69% of such caregivers  help with shopping and errands. 60%  provide companionship or supervision.14% give personal assistance and help with dressing, bathing and toileting.  44% help with laundry, household chores and cleaning.  39% help with doctor visits and medical management

2015 – Canada – The new Liberal government promises 12 months leave for new mothers who have met EI criteria of enough paid work the preceding year. Other new mothers do not get the benefit.2015 -in the UK one third of managers at a law firm tell the press that they rpefer to hire men over women who may get pregnant.

2015 – European Union – 11 EU member nations offer 20 weeks maternity benefits. 14 nations enable 6 weeks home with the baby. 15 nations give the mother 10% of her salary during the leave. Mouvement Mondial des Meres and COFACE argue for these benefits to be expanded.

2015- UNESCO sets a goal of reducing mortality of  mothers giving birth. Maternal mortality has declined by 45% in Tanzania and Ethiopia with attention the child-bearing role.

2015- US Democratic party candidates for president advocate national paid maternity leave. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bernie Sanders only disagree about whether to fund it through a universal tax.  Republican candidate Marco Rubio also favors paid leave but financed through business tax credit for businesses who give such leave.

2015- The Czech Republic gives a baby bonus of 670Usd for each first child born to women with low income who are citizens or permanent residents

2015- Singapore gives incentives to households with two children totaling $166,000. For a third or subsequent child it gives an additional $8,000 baby bonus and $20,000 parenthood tax rebate

2015- Canada -Ontario sets up a child benefit system adjusted to household income. Amounts vary from $111.33 to $47 per child. Those who use daycare receive benefits on top of this.

2015-  Canada -Dr. Elliott Barker urges use of Roots of Empathy and Program H curriculum used in over 20 countries to help men see themselves as caregivers.

2015- Russia gives a baby bonus for second and following children indexed to inflation. It has to be spent however on education, housing, health care or mother’s pension.

2015-Caanada – In 2007 Alberta removed restrictions on the size of daycares and in 2015 there is a proposal to have 348 children in a 36,000 square foot centre in Calgary, all under age 6

2016 – US -The University of Michigan Medical School  finds that the unpaid labor of those providing care of the disabled elderly is not adequately valued. Dr. Claier Ankuda looked at 5200 people aged 55 or older who had at least one disability and still lived at home. The study finds that 67% of men and 45% of women had no caregiving help at all even though they had trouble preparing meals, getting dressed,  toileting or managing medications alone.Family members were the most common caregivers

2016 -Canada – a EKOS survey of 4217 Canadians, most over 55, finds that there is an ‘army of unpaid caregivers’..  60% feel that they deserve government financial assistance if they incur financial loss, scale down or change paid work because of care roles. Over 3 million Canadians provide d 1.5 billion hours of home support and community care in 2007. In 2011 the number of unpaid caregivers was about 5.3 million and the Conference Board of Canada estimates that with an aging population the need will increase.

2016-  Canada  – About 3/4 of a  million people suffer from dementia and the cost is felt by the health care system but also by families.  70% of caregivers are women according to a Senate committee study on social affairs.  The Senate is asking that government have a public awareness campaign, invest $30 million to create a national organization, and expand employment insurance and compassionate care benefits for caregivers and dementia sufferers.

2016 – Canada – Alberta launches a provincial daycare system as a pilot project with subsidies to new daycare centres, maintaining a maximum fee to parents of $25 a day. Paige MacPherson of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says a daycare system has high costs including salaries of unionized workers.  MacPherson finds that subsidized daycare spaces are often used by affluent families.

2016 – Canada -The province of Quebec has had a daycare system since 1997.  It cost  parents $5 a day and was for four year olds, while five year olds were often sent to full day kindergarten. The program expanded to  5-12 year olds before and after school in 1998 and to those aged 0-4 in 2000.  In subsequent years fees to parents increased. The Institute for Research on Public Policy found that only 27% of government regulated daycare centres in Quebec got a ‘good’ rating hwile 61% were rated  of minimum quality and 12% were rated as poor.
 

2016 – Canada- From 1982 until 2011 the number of young adults ages 20-29 living in the parental home went up from 27% to 42%. As young adults have growing student debt and with high cost of housing, many stay in the parental home or move back there. Those who returned have been dubbed ‘baby boomerangs’ .David Stillman, who wrote “The M Factor: How the Millenial Generation is Rocking the Workplace” says young people who pay a small rent save money and also provide the parents with some money. 

2016 – Canada -The Macdonald Royal Commission suggested such a guaranteed minimal basic income  plan  30 years ago and Finland, Switzerland, Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and the federal government are now  considering it.The Swiss just voted against a plan to provide $2560 a month for every man, woman and one quarter of that for every  child. It turned out the plan would cost a lot to administer, another 25% of the GDP. Finland is considering paying $1200 a month. The Macdonald Commission would have paid $312 per adult per month or $9000 per family of four a year.

2016 UK – Childwise finds that children aged 5-16 spend 3 hours daily online and 2.1 hours watching TV . Teens aged 15-16 rarely watch live TV but 3/4 of them watch shows on demand or via Youtube. One third of teens aged 15-16 have no favorite TV shows but may spend up to 5 hours a day online. 67% of British children now own a tablet such as an iPad

2016  US – Market Research find that the self improvement industry is worth $9.9 billion and expected to grow to $13.2  billion by 2022. It includes sales of self-help audio books, apps, personal coaching services, motivational speakers.

2016 – US – The ‘skip-generation family’ is  increasing with grandparents the principal caregivers of children. The Pew Research Centre says nearly 10% of children are in such a family. Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Carol Burnett, Willie Nelson, Oprah Winfrey Maya Angelou were raised in such families.

2016 – Canada -There are two programs for parental benefits in Canada. The federal one operates through the employment insurance plan. The government of Quebec has opted out of the federal plan and created its own provincial plan since 2006. The federal plan offers up to  55% of earnings, the Quebec plan up to 75% of earnings. To qualify the federal plan requires 17 weeks of paid work the preceding year while the Quebec plan requires $2000 of previous year earnings. Both plans are for 50 weeks. Neither funds parents at home the previous year.

2016  US -In 2010 researchers at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology set out to measure broader factors than GDP. One alternative was  a Social Progress Index,  using 3 categories of basic human needs, foundations of wellbeing and opportunity. Among nations meeting basic human needs including access to food, quality electricity and high rates of childhood education at the top of the list were Denmark, Japan, Sweden and Iceland. For tolerance and inclusion of all people across the income range, Iceland, Canada, Australia, Sweden and Denmark scored well. Japan and Saudi Arabia scored less well.

2016 – Canada – The Canadian Association of Retired Persons finds that 25% of Canadians are informal caregivers, and that  2 million provide care 20  or more hours a week. 6 million of these caregivers care for a senior,54% of caregivers are female and 44% of them are ages 45-64. Light caregiving involves running errands, transporting, cooking meals, grocery shopping for up to 3 hours total a week. 

2016 Canada -Compassionate care benefit through employment insurance provides benefits for up to six weeks at maximum $514 a week.  However few caregivers can access those benefits because they must also have done over 599 paid work hours in the last 53 weeks, and must have experienced a 40% decrease in regular earnings from paid work. The family member they are caring for has to be gravely ill.

2016  US – Melinda Gates, wife of Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, has written about unpaid labor of women, pointing out that in their own home it was important to ensure that family members helped clean up after a meal and did not leave the woman to do it alone –  “no one leaves the kitchen until mom does”. She notes that globally women spend about twice as much time on unpaid roles as do men.. -getting family not just maternity ‘leave’ policies after a child is born

2016 – Canada -The new Liberal government will provide up to $6400 per child under age 6 and $5400 for children aged 6-17 years but reduced based on household income. It provides additional funding for those children in daycare.

2017 – Canada  A version of guaranteed annual income was tried in Manitoba in the 1970s and was called Mincome. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne in 2017 will do a 3 year pilot project of such a plan in 3 Ontario cities – Hamilton, Lindsay and Thunder Bay.  Former Senator Hugh Segal has been in favor of the move saying that current helps to those in poverty are not adequate or efficiently administered.  The new system called the Ontario Basic Income Pilot (OCIP) provides $17,000 per year per person with low income. Itprovides 24,000 a year to couples with low income ($12,000 per individual)

$23,000 a year to persons with disabilities. Participants will be able to augment income by paid work but will have their benefits reduced by 50 cents for each dollar earned.

Advocates of a guaranteed annual income have included US Senator Bernie Sanders, civil rights champion Martin Luther King and economist Milton Friedman.  Eight jurisdictions now are experimenting with it including Finland, the Netherlands, California, Uganda and Kenya.  The

2017 Canada- Laura Funk of EvidentNetwork  says that in 2012 8 million Canadians provided care to 2.2 million Canadians in their own homes.  The 2009 estimate of the value of family care was over $25 billion but the position is unpaid

2017 – Canada – The 2016 census looking at family, household and marital status found that  the percent of households of couples with children was 26.5%, down from 31.5% in 2001 In 1951 1.8% of Canadians aged 15 and over lived alone. In 2016 13.9% of  Canadians lived alone. In the US the percent of one person households is 28.2%. In the UK it is 28.5%, in France 33.8%, in Japan 34.5%, in Sweden 36.2%, in Norway 40%, in Germany 41.4% This  data has implications for marriage rate, birth rate, and population regeneration.

2017 US – Dr. Steve  Cole of UCLA studies loneliness finding the chronically lonely have a higher than normal risk of heart disease, advanced cancer and strokes and are more likely to develop neurogenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.  He finds that life expectancy for the chronically lonely is also reduced.

2017 Canada-  Statistics Canada studies changes in parental participation in ‘domestics tasks and care’ of children 1986-2015. Paid employment of mothers is up from 36% to 47%.  For fathers it is down from 69% to 64%. Household responsibilities are more shared but still not equally. 93% of mothers in both 1986 and 2015 did household work while 76% of fathers, up from 51% did household work.

-fathers preparing meals went up from 29% to 59%. Mothers preparing meals went down from 86% to 81%.

2017  – China -for 30 years had a one child policy to limit population but in 2013  relaxed the rules to allow couples to have two children if either parent was an only child. In 2016 the limit  overall was increased to two children. This year a study of population by Cai Fang of The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences found that the low birth rate is slowing the nation’s paid workforce.  Cai Fang notes disappearance of surplus labor, wages going up, inflation occurring  and competitiveness internationally declining. This phenomenon has been called the Lewis Turning Point.  Birth rate in China is currently 1.1.

2017  Europe – On the International Day of the Rights of the Child, Make Mothers Matter  urges governments to change the laws in 25 nations where mothers cannot pass their nationality on to their children.

2017 Japan -fewer than one million births were recorded in 2016, the lowest number in modern history according to Geopolitical Monitor.  The country has tried to reverse this birth dearth by instituting both maternal and paternal leave, at about 60% of salary.

2017 – South Korea – In  2016 the number of marriages hit its lowest since 1977. In 1970 there were 295.3 marriages per 1000 people and last year there were 5.5 per 1000 people. To encourage marriage some universities offer courses that teach about dating, sex, love, an d relationships, At one such university in Seoul students who enrol have to date 3 classmates a month each. 

2017 UK –  MP Karen Buck commissions a report about childcare and its results given  through the 4Children Charity indicate that more than a third of children aged 11-16 years go to an empty home after school many days a week.  This untended care situation has raised concerns. Anne Longfield of 4Children Charity says that children unmonitored are at risk of isolation, boredom and may be tempted to commit crime

2017 Canada -Many paid employees of childcare centres have unionized and are now  trying to ensure their pay for their work is optimal.  CUPE national spokesperson Jim Morrison announces that childcare workers at one centre have voted in favor of strike action . The 26 members of CUPE 4232 want wage improvements and job security. In Ontario child care workers at Kids and Company also voted to strike.They are members of CUPE 4823 and  want a collective agreement with ‘fair wage and benefits’,workplace health and safety and job security. 

2017 UK – Government Accountability Office examines the financial situation of women on retirement.  Care roles often have long lasting financial penalty Women have less retirement income than men. Women’s median social security benefit is 70% of that of men. Women’s pension are about half of men’s.. Women in their paid work history have had more paid labor force interruptions, and more often were employed for pay part-time than were men. Women tend to live longer than men so statistically run higher lifetime risks of becoming disabled or needing long term care.

2017 Europe -A Eurostat study finds that many families are prioriting time with children. The per cent of children under age 3 in the care of a parent was 46.1% of all children under age 3, with rates of 80% in Bulgaria, 73% I Slovakia, 63% in Finland, 62% in Latvia, 60% in Germany, 58% in Austria, 57% in Hungary, 49% in Italy, 47% in Norway, 45% in Sweden, 43% in Spain, 41% in the UK.  The numbers were between 30-40% in France,  Greece, Belgium. Switzerland.

2017 UK – Invesco Perpetual estimates the cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 has at 150,000 pounds and to age 21 at 180,000 pounds. Philippa Gee, a financial adviser says  to prospective parents “Having children will cost you more than you can possibly imagine”, comparing it to buying a house.  Maternity benefits are only given to mothers who were at paid work for at least six months up till their 25th week of pregnancy. Maternity benefits can last 33 weeks (the limit used to be 20). The amount is 112.75 pounds per week (it used to be 108.85) . Paternity leave for dads with paid labor have maximum duration of 2 weeks at 112.85 pounds  per week. There are universal

child tax benefits, tax free, for anyone taking care of a child under age 16, or under age 19 if in full-time education. This benefit is given regardless of income or savings. The benefits are 18.10 per week or 941.20 pounds per year. Though taking care of a child at home is not additionally assisted, daycare is. The Daycare Trust says costs 152 pounds per week  (608 per month) for a full-time daycare spot for a child under age two. However vouchers and agreements with employers will provide assistance for up to 243 pounds per month so the state and the employer help pay

2017 UK –The Government’s Child Trust Fund provides a 250 pound voucher from government, up to 500 pounds for those on low income. Family and friends are allowed to contribute to the fund up to 1200 pounds per year and the state will make more payments when the child is aged seven.  The Children’s Manual estimates that if families put in 100 pounds a month for 18 years the fund would be 37,000 pounds, enough to put the child  through university.  However the plan only applies to children who are under five currently and does function to enable the wealthy more than the poor to access post secondary.

2018 -Carers Hong Kong is established to promote recognition of the contribution of carers.

2018 UK Dr. Gillian Lockwood of IVI Midland in the UK has noticed a shift in reasons women freeze their eggs. At first the technology was used for women who were going to undergo radiation or chemotherapy. Now however many women are freezing their eggs just to ensure that they can one day have a baby, whether or not they have a partner at that time. This type of ‘social freezing’ has however some hurdles.  It is costly. Often women in their 20s cannot afford it. In the UK it costs about $8,400 for one cycle of stimulation and then an annual storage fee is between $335-$670.  

2018 -Canada  The auditor general of the North West Territories finds that on average foster care children are moved 12 times to new homes, and one child was moved 20 times. In 88% of the cases social workers failed to visit the children in care every two months. There are large caseloads and staff turnover is about 25% per year.

2018  Canada – Cindy Blackstock of the Caring Society notes that if a native child is born in poverty, authorities are fast to whisk it away as if it is at risk.  If the  parent has a health problem the state is quick  to take the child and currently 52.5% of all children under age 14  in foster care are indigenous, even though they are only 7.7% of the population of children. First Nations children are 12 times more likely to be removed from their families and graduate at half the rate of non-indigenous children. She says that taking children from their parents is traumatic, but so is taking them from their language and cultural roots and social contacts. 

2018 US -The website tiphero.com recently focused on the role of grandparents. It says that grandparents help kids know their lineage and history  and kids learn how aging happens and how to deal with it.  Grandparents who sometimes spend time with their grandkids tend to live longer  and be happier too.  But the article also pointed out that grandparents often offer “a shoulder to cry on or some sage advice”  This can be offered to grandkids or to the adult offspring learning to be parents. 

2018 – US _ the Giving Pledge was a pledge inaugurated in  2010 by Bill and Melinda Gates to get the world’s billionaires to commit to sharing half their money. 154 of the world’s billionaires signed on. The commitment is to contribute to causes for poverty alleviation, refugee relief, global health, women’s and girls’ empowerment,  criminal justice reform, environmental sustainability, education

2018 Canada – Helen Ward of Kids First Parent Association finds there is a surplus of licensed daycare spaces, a high vacancy rate in British Columbia, contrary to claims that there is a shortage.  The BC government is pledging $33 million in additional spending to build 3800 new spaces in daycare centres.  However the Ministry of Children and Family Development data shows that utilization rates of licensed daycare space have a 30.9% vacancy rate.  Ward found that school age daycare has highest vacancy rates from 41.5% in North Fraser SDA to 68.6% in the Kootenays

2018 . Canada – According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, over 402,000 Canadians over age 65 have some form of dementia. 61% of them, 270,000 people, still live in the community not in institutional settings, so this means that many Canadians Unpaid caregivers of seniors with dementia spend on average 26 hours per week providing care, up from 17 hours for seniors without dementia.

2018 -The Canada Child Benefit is based on family income. Under the former Harper government there were universal benefits not based on income, and other benefits based on income. However the Trudeau government got rid of the universal benefit. The benefit as in 2018-19 it will be at maximum $6406 per child under age 6 ($17.55 a day)  and $5481 for children 7-18. ($15.01 a day)  This  maximum is received only by those with a household income under $30,450. 

2018 -Canada – Wanda Morris of the Canadian Association for Retired Persons cites a 2009 study in which it is estimated that 8 million Canadian Caregivers save the health care system about $26 billion a year.  She notes that when people have to take time from paid work to provide care of a family member, there is often a loss of salary as well as the new cost of medical supplies.  The current Canada Caregiver Credit, a non- refundable tax credit only helps those with recent paid income while  caregivers who ‘shoulder the largest burden’ and who full time provide care, cannot claim this credit. Morris suggests making this credit refundable and trthat allowances be paid to caregivers, as is done in the UK, Australia, Nova Scotia and several Nordic countries ($100 a week in Nova Scotia, $112 a week in Britain, $61 a week in Australia).

2018 – Canada -In Alberta there has been an increase in emergency department visits for anxiety disorders among 15 to 19 year olds. Female rates were 1.9 times higher than that of males but both rates are nearly double what they were in 2004. Health Minister Sarah Hoffman has announced a $5 million provincial grant to increase mental health supports in schools as a result.

2018 China -At Hangzhou Number 11 High School in eastern China three cameras in positions above the classroom blackboard. The ‘smart eye’ technology focuses on the facial expressions of students and assesses if they are concentrating on the lesson or daydreaming, and what mood they are in. If a student seems distracted a computer sends a message to the teacher. According to the Daily Telegraph in London, human rights groups already are concerned that the cameras will be used to track citizens and dissent.  (not only does this pose

2018 -Canada -The Canadian Federation of University Students says there is a student loan crisis. University students on graduation have an average debt of $16,727 while college grads have an average debt of $10,172.  loans.

2018 US -Dr. Orfeu Buxton of Penn State has released results of a study of 1040 mothers and their  children’s sleep habits at ages 6 and 9 years. Researchers found that the paid work schedule of the mother has an effect on children’s sleep.  When mothers had inflexible work schedules kids got less sleep.  When the work schedule had more flexibility, kids slept more.  The researchers suggest that employers should create policies to give employees more flexibility

2018 US- Dr. Lee Gettler of the University of Notre Dame, has looked at hormone levels of new fathers, to see if there is any link to their nurturing of babies later. The study collected saliva samples of 180  fathers who held their babies about an hour after birth and then examined the level of care the fathers were providing to the infants in their first four months of life. The study found that if dads’ testosterone was lower on the second day of the baby’s life, those fathers were more involved in the care of the child.  The study also found that dads whose cortisol levels were high when they held the baby were also more involved in care of the baby later. Though cortisol is a stress hormone, it is speculated by the researchers that since babies require a lot of care, elevated cortisol shows that a person is orienting themselves to be vigilant to tend the baby.

2018 US -Recent estimates of revenue from the video game industry in 2017 were $108 billion a year, which is double what the international film industry generates. The Grand Theft auto series  runs fourth in the line-up of most popular video games – Mario, Pokemon by Nintendo, and Tetris.  Dr. C. Shawn Green of the University of Wisconsin finds that playing a lot of video games changes the brain itself. On the positive side playing the games may increase math skills, quick decision making, hand-eye coordination, dexterity and multitasking. However it has also been linked to obesity, numbness to violence, increase in aggression, insomnia, back pain, social isolation and lower academic performance.

2018  UK- Some companies provide a bonus to employees and a few households understand this as a bonus to the support system in the background- the at-home spouse. Polly Phillips in the London Daily Telegraph says she does not have a paid job but she is busy  at home cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing, tidying and tending their child. She points out that without her work in the home, someone else would have to be paid so she does not feel guilty about getting a ‘wife bonus’. She says  without her support, her husband’s career success would not be possible. 

2018  US- Researcher Jill Gilkerson of the LENA Foundation in Boulder, Colorado has headed up a team to study 5000 minutes of transcribed recordings of 943 children in the Denver area. The children were ages 2 months to 4 years and they were recorded talking with their parents and others, at this young age and then in follow ups at ages 9 and 14 years. Tests of their language skills, cognitive abilities, working memory and reasoning were made. The results are now in.  Researchers found that toddlers with  parents who spend lots of time listening to and chatting with the children are more likely to have better language skills and higher IQs decades later, compared to youngsters not as chatted with

2018 – Canada- It became legal to sell vaping products containing nicotine. Juul vape stick was launched in Canada, using nicotine salts that give a fast nicotine hit. British American Tobacco launched its version, Vype, that also has nicotine salts, this time in fruit flavors. Vaping uses a nonburning product but the fact that it burns without smoke and does not leave butts may be deceptive about its safety. In December some high schools were dealing with vaping in their washrooms and teachers were confiscating vape sticks in class. Health Canada launches ads to warn youth of the dangers of nicotine addiction

2018 – Carers Hong Kong is established to advocate for caregivers.

2019 – Canada.  Economists Michael Baker, Jonathan Gruber and Kevin Milligan find  that in daycare children do not have better education outcomes than those outside 3rd party care and that there are some negative effects of large group care of the young – links to later higher crime rates, less robust health. Economists Michael J. Kottelenberg and Steven F. Lehrer confirm particularly poor results among boys who spent long hours in daycare.

2019 – Canada – The Canadian Pediatric Society encouraged ‘positive parenting’, focusing on encouragement, empathy, and less on punishment. Dr. Andrea Feller says “Parents are a child’s first, best and most important teacher” and that parenting is one thing parents can do in a complex world to make better outcomes.   The pediatric society says that key to raising a healthy child is having a consistent caregiver.  They urge parents to hug kids, have a ‘time in’ to sit and talk about feelings

2019 Canada – Those who work with children are often paid less than those who work with adults. A study of average salaries reveals that a swim coach earns about $39,305 a year but a swim instructor for children earns $22,793 a year. A nurse in acute care earns $30.17 an hour while a pediatric nurse earns $26.35 an hour. In  some jurisdictions an elementary school teacher earns $53,279 a year while a secondary school teacher earns $58,640 a year

2019 US – Dr. Vanessa Jensen of Cleveland Clinic Children’s has released results of a study of 374 grandparents and 356 adult grandchildren from years 1985- 2004 asking the effect of time spent together on childhood. The study found that when the grandparent-grandchild relationship is strong there is less depression on both sides.  Watching and learning from others adds to a child’s emotional intelligence and is a trait that is sometimes more important  than is a child’s IQ in predicting later life well-being.  Grandparents involved in the lives of their grandchildren tend to live longer, and the mental activity required to provide care of grandchildren keeps their brains active.

2019 Europe  – Parents who send the child to school sometimes send a lunch.  In France school lunches can be purchased  but their costs are heavily subsidized. In England all children are entitled to a free hot meal at lunch but can also bring their boxed lunch if they prefer. In Italy however some parents were concerned when their schools banned  lunches brought from home. One parent told the press that if she had to buy the school lunch it would cost her more than her monthly salary. She said the school lunch was not what her kids wanted to eat.  Italy’s Supreme Court ruled that schools should be able to decide on their own if packed lunches will be allowed.  The Court ruled that bringing a packed lunch is a ‘possible violation of the principles of equality and non discrimination based on economic circumstance’

2019 -Canada-  Ritalin or methylphenidate is a commonly prescribed treatment for ADHD. It is a powerful drug that affects the brain and central nervous system and  has potential side effects of dizziness, nausea, weight loss, stomach pain, insomnia. The University of British Columbia. Therapeutic Initiatives found that the rate of 6-12 year olds on such medication was 2.4% of all kids that age in 2000 but more recently is 4.1%

2019 Canada -The National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth examines separation anxiety disorder which  is characterized by fear of being alone or without the individual to whom the child is emotionally bonded, usually the parent. Children with such anxiety may have tantrums,  headaches, stomach aches, sleep disturbances, nausea, vomiting and problems concentrating. In earlier times this fear of separation was treated as a normal and even a good impulse where very young children realize who loves them and want to be near that protector. This mood has now been labelled a mental health disorder

2019- Canada – Angus Reid  Institute has released results of a study of caregiving in Canada and found that for the first time ever  there are more seniors than children in Canada. The number over 65 now exceeds the  number 14 and under. 26% of those over age 30 provide some care of another person and 33% expect to do so in the future

28% of those in their 40s and 50 are caregivers and 40% expect to be in the future

2019 Scotland.  Maria Lyons of Scotland is concerned that a recent treasury committee aimed to ‘examine the role high quality accessible, flexible and affordable childcare can play in supporting labor productivity”.  She felt that the title of the enquiry itself was problematic saying the focus should be meeting needs of children and families, not labor productivity. She says government should enable mothers to choose whether or not to have paid work, saying an ‘army of mothers or fathers or grandparents’ is often willing to provide care of children at a fraction of the cost of a formal care settings and wants that option also valued

2019 UK -the Centre for Social Care Reform advocates for public input into social policy.  It has endorsed the Reclaim Social Care campaign that seeks changes in the treatment of the disabled. It maintains that adults with disabilities have fundamental rights, and that the government should set up a senior ministry to focus on disability rights. The group says that ‘too many resources are locked into services that people ‘don’t want and don’t need” and is not happy that so many people are in institutional care services far from home where they can’t maintain meaningful relationships with family. It wants resources moved away from service providers and into the hands of the disabled and their families to decide their own care style.  It wants to end the commodification of care and to enable families to be in control.

2019 US -TheCensus Bureau reports that there are 2.6 million ‘grandfamilies’ in that country, households where the primary caregiver of the children is a grandparent not a parent. The cause of parental absence varies – death, illness, incarceration, drug use. 

2019 Canada  -The Health Quality Council of Alberta studies  unpaid caregiving of seniors finding that 10% of Albertans provide at least 10 hours of unpaid care to a senior each week. The caregiver is often a spouse or adult child of the person needing care. The care can be medical, practical like housekeeping and transportation, personal like feeding and bathing or even emotional.  The advantage of such care is that it saves the healthcare system $3 billion a year. 

2019 Canada  – In 2014 the Retired Teachers of Ontario set up a Chair in Geriatric Medicine at the University of Toronto. In view of the rising numbers of seniors (by 2025 it is estimated that 25% of Canadians will be over 65), the RTO sought ways to address this new demographic.  Dr. Paula Rochon, studies the effect of medications on seniors, and the use of multiple medications that may make seniors vulnerable to adverse events. She observed an unnecessary use of anti-psychotic drugs linked to side effects that then are treated as a new medical condition that itself needs treatment. This ‘prescribing cascade’ concerns her and she urges clinicians to think more carefully about their prescribing habits.  Dr. Rochon also draws attention to loneliness of seniors, their strong desire to remain in their own homes as long as possible.

2019 US – Dr. Katherine Nelson-Coffey of University of the South finds that parents generally report greater well-being than do non parents, and fathers report greater well-being in the role than do mothers. 

2019 UK – Professor Tarani Chandola of the University of Manchester found that comparing women in full time paid jobs, those who are mothers of two or more kids have 40% higher stress than women with no kids. The UK is doing a Household Longitudinal Survey and has looked at 6000 workers’ blood pressure, cholesterol and level of stress related hormones. Chandola found that working from  home actually does not always help if the demands at home are still there and stress goes up.  The research found that flex time at the paid job for instance hours of 10 to 6 not 9 to five also did not reduce stress.  High levels of chronic stress could lead to hypertension, heart disease and earlier mortality.

2019 – US -The Salary Wizard is a way to calculate reasonable annual salary. The job description is entered and the comparable pay rates of people who do those roles is compared. In such a calculation, the role of a mother taking care of kids has some aspects of cook, cleaner, teacher and some aspects of coach, psychologist, event planner, plumber, janitor. If those features are added in the pay rate of a mother at home in 2016, given a 96 hour work week, could be $143,000.

2019 Canada. -The government of Quebec sets up a ministry of unpaid caregiving. The government of Manitoba recently passed the Caregiver Recognition Act. It wants support for them to ‘achieve greater economic well-being and sustainability’.

2019 – Europe- Make Mothers Matter, Graduate Women International, Widows for Peace through Democracy, World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations, Afro European Medical Research Network and the Federation of American Women’s Club Overseas sign a written submission to the UN Commission on the Status of Women.  The statement makes the case that when unpaid and paid work are both counted, women ‘work more than men’, yet women’s traditional roles are so devalued that in the end women are the majority of the world’s poor.  The statement endorses cash transfers for mothers, noting that  when women have money they typically spend it on food, healthcare and education for children.  The International Labour Organization found that globally women perform 76.2% of the unpaid care work. They note that women are the ‘first caregivers’ of dependent family members,

2019 US .Generations United estimates that about 2.5 million US children are being raised full time by grandparents, in parent-absent homes.  One non-profit health care group. Statistics Canada reported in 2011 that 72,000 grandparents aged 45 and older live with their grandchildren in ‘skip-generation’ families.

2019 Sweden – Government has set up a program so that senior couples can remain together when one of them has high care needs.. Torsten Stavdal who had a stroke and his wife Nancy who is well, were able to get a small apartment in a long term care home in Orebro Sweden, specially designed for couples. The Social Services Act of 2012 says that elderly couples who have lived together for an extended period of time can continue to live together even if only one of them needs supportive housing.

2019 Singapore – The fertility rate currently among Singaporean -Chinese women is 0.98, well below the replacement rate of 2.2,  while for Malay women it is 1.9. In Singapore in 1980 30% of citizens aged 30-34 were not married and in 2019 that number is 33%. In 1984 the Social Development network to address the low birth rate gave grants to 13 approved dating services.  There are large housing grants available for married couples with children.

2019 Canada -Pierre Fortin of the Univeriste of Quebec at Montreal found that since  the Quebec province-wide daycare system started, 75% of mothers with children five years and under now have paid work. He says that the Quebec system which in 1996 charged parents $5 a day, in 2003 raised that fee to $7, then in 2014 raised it to a sliding scale of $7.55 to $20.70 per day based on family income. Catherine Haeck of the University of Quebec at Montreal found in 2015 that the universal daycare plan in her province gave no improvement in school readiness measured by the PPVT.  Her research found that for low income families, daycare may even have had ‘negative impacts’ on school readiness.

2019 Canada – Karen Isaac of the BC Aboriginal Care Society says having one single type of childcare program ‘is not the answer for every community’. Elders have said that they want to run the childcare system their way in their areas to “empower Indigenous people according to their laws” and to lead to the “revitalization of Indigenous languages and the strengthening of Indigenous cultures” Jean-Luc Racine of the commission nationale des parents francophones is concerned about the language of the daycare, to make sure that in his area it is in French /Sharon Irwin of the National Centre for early childhood Inclusion wants to make sure the disabled and those with special needs are not left out of the discussion.

2019 Sweden -Jonas Himmelstrand studies  the childcare system..  The government in 2006 found that mental health among Swedish 15 year olds had declined from 1986 – 2002, faster than in eleven comparable European countries. Though the paid employment of Swedish women is now among the highest in the western world, school results for 15 year olds in math, science and reading have declined. Results were above the OECD average in 2000 but were in 2012 well below the OECD average./Sweden also by the PISA and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study had high degrees of disorder in classrooms including tardiness, truancy, bad language and disorderly behavior.

2019 US – Stephanie Ervin in Evonomics magazine studies two types of guaranteed income. One is UBG  – universal basic jobs and the other is UBI- universal basic income

UBJ is based on the idea that paid work brings value, dignity and enables the worker to support the family. UBI theorizes that to help people survive, is entitled to a piece of the national wealth.   Ervin makes  a third proposal – to pay women “for the work they already do”.  She said UBJ or UBI are not as necessary as valuing those who are home with children until they enter full time school. Ervin says science supports the importance of breastfeeding, of mother-child bonding and says that in the US about five million women choose to be home to raise their children and that those women should be paid. She says women tend to make good economic choices when they do

2019 – Canada -Employment and Social Development Canada, hosted a national conference on early learning and care of children and invited nearly exclusively advocates for one care style- 3rd party care of children. On the guest list were

longtime proponents of daycare  and representatives of labor unions for daycare workers.

2019 – UK – The legal ability of the state to take the child from the parent has recently been questioned. The option of supporting the mother better rather than separating her from the child has been suggested in an open letter to authorities in Bristol, Hackney, Newham and Thurrock. Predictive analytic systems were developed, for ‘child protection’ to seize children based on certain parameters. Legal Action for Women has issued a expressed their concern that this tool will ‘enable further discriminatory profiling’ by agencies. Data on 377,000 people has been collected, which may include school attendance, and housing records, police records on ‘antisocial behavior’ and domestic violence. Since 1985 the rates of children taken into state care have skyrocketed in the UK.  20% of children  are now referred to children’s services, up to 50% in poor areas, and adoptions are at their highest rate ever, with 90% of adoptions being without parental consent. Cuts to legal aid for single mothers, victims of violence and immigrant or disabled women have led to  harder times than ever if they are fighting in court to keep their children.   Legal Action says that separation causes significant harm to children and lifelong trauma. They note that it costs 56,000 pounds a year to have a child in state care with no parallel help to keep a child at home.  They say that such children are being denied what the law entitles them to under Section 17 of the 1989 Children Act. 

2019 Canada – The Quebec government changes funding for daycare. Now parents with an income of $78,320 or less will not have to pay extra for daycare. In 2010 parents with an income of $108,530 will not have to pay this extra fee and in 2022 no parents will have to pay the extra fee. Parents at home get no parallel financial support.

2019 European Union –  The Directive on Work-Life Balance aims to enable parents and others with care responsibilities to better balance their ‘work and family’ lives. It was first proposed at the European Commission in 2017 and has been two years in the making. Its provisions include more parental and paternity benefits but conditional on paid work history of the parent.

2019 – US – The Harvard University Center on the Developing Child finds that every child who thrives has had at least ‘one stable and committed relationship with a supporting adult’. Traditionally that stable constant presence was the mother but nowadays it can also be the dad, or the grandparent or a nanny. Karen Orser of Big Brothers Big Sisters Calgary says “The single best way to help a young person build resilience “, is to have a caring relationship.   

2019 Denmark -Women’s earnings fall by 30% after they have a baby and the gap remains from then on between what men earn and what women earn over all. In Germany, the UK and the US even when there is no explicit discrimination, economists have found that ‘gendered preferences’ result in the same income gap. Patrick Brown of Princeton University argues that a subsidy to parents who are at home could affirm the choices of how to balance paid work and care responsibilities.

2019 – US – In  2017 Senator Patty Murray wanted 3rd party childcare to be a federal ‘entitlement”.  The US subsidizes 3rd party care for $26 billion a year. It provides tax deductions for childcare expenses, employer provisions of childcare and it indirectly funds the Head Start Program, the Child Care Development Block Grant and the Child Care Development Fund. It has no parallel help to parents at home.  Patrick Brown, at Princeton University recommends that the US embark on a direct subsidy to parents, a monthly cheque or voucher  not just an annual tax credit.  Russ Whitehurst suggests a universal child care allowance through individual savings accounts, neutral to the way the family chooses to spend it for type of childcare.  Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam suggested a pension credit for parents at home, modelled on veterans’ benefits.

2019 – France .  Jean Debouzy.mayor of Montereau became concerned that the school in his small village was threatened with closure. Debouzy says “a village without children is a village that dies” and he promoted childbirth with a suggestion- free Viagra pills to couples between ages 18 and 40 and birth bonuses.

2019 China’s Press and Publication Administration is changing the laws about video games in an attempt to reduce online gaming addictions. The new rules ban those under age 18 from playing games online between 10 PM and 8 AM and restrict playing online games for that age group to a total of 90 minutes a day or up to 3 hours weekends or on public holidays. The rules forbid those under age 8 from playing any online games that require payment and restrict online gaming for pay for those 8-16 years old to spending a maximum $37 a month- 200 yuan

2019  Canada  – 22,000 students are home schooled, being 0.5% of all students. In the US there are two million children or 3.4% of all students who are home schooled, but in some Nordic countries home schooling is illegal. In the US the Supreme Court has defended the fundamental right of a parent to direct the education of the child.

2019 – US  – The American Family Act is introduced by Senator Bennet to give more recognition to caregiving.  Andrew Yang who is running for president says that care work must be redefined. He says his wife, who is home with their sons, , ‘is working harder than I am” and he is dismayed that  the ‘market values her work at zero” He wants that definition of work changed. Several Democratic candidates are suggesting payment go to parents at home. Presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders want a Social Security Credit to be given to people who take time away from paid work to provide care of the family.  Sanders says that the 43 million unpaid family caregivers in American deserve compensation for their work. 

2019  Europe – Maternity benefits vary widely globally.They extend nearly 60 weeks in Bulgaria, about 41 in Greece, 38 in Britain, 18 in New Zealand, about 14 in Sweden and 12 in Mexico but zero in the US.  In the US the President ‘s Commission on the Status of Women recommended paid maternity leave or ‘comparable insurance benefits’ to women workers back in 1963 but the US, along with Papua New Guinea remains a nation without such benefits. In the 2016 US election, both presidential candidates publicly expressed support for paid parental leave and the latest budget has a proposal for 6 weeks of such leave but it is not yet in place. Some US states are acting on their own. Eight states now give paid family leave and a few more are considering doing so.  California offers 6-8 weeks of paid family leave.

2019 – Europe – Some countries give  a birth bonus .Australia allotted $5437 per child in 2012, but reduced this to $2056 in 2013. Czech Republic gives 670 USD for low income firstborns. France gives 944 euros. Italy gives 960 for the poor and 1920 for the very poor. Lithuania allots 405 euros, Luxembourg allots 1740 euros, Russia gives USD 9000 to second and subsequent children. Singapore allots money for the second child

2019 -Norway -ADF International intervenes in several court cases where they feel that parental rights are being violated and that the child protection agency has caused ‘long-term damage’ to families. In 2008 a 3 week old child was taken from his mother. She had requested support but the state ruled she lacked parenting abilities and put the child in foster care. A Romanian origin Pentecostal family was raising 5 children. Amidst allegations of corporal punishment, a practice which is illegal in Norway, their children were apprehended. Alliance to Defend Freedom International suspected that there was another reason for the removal of the children, a state decision that the family was ‘indoctrinating’ the children in certain Christian beliefs.  Protests were made on behalf of the family and government returned the children to their parents, who then took them out of Norway.  The family filed a case with the European Court of Human Rights under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, alleging that the right to private and family life was denied them.

2019 Canada- Rotating teachers’ strikes in Ontario leave parents scrambling for other arrangements for care of their children.  Parents with paid work outside the home seek emergency daycares or set up care arrangements among neighbors. The Government of Ontario agrees to help with costs..  A childcare credit gives parents between $25 and $60 per day during the strike.  Children 6 years old and under get the most money of all –  $60 a day, if they would normally have attended a daycare closed during the strike. Children who do not regularly use daycare are excluded from the benefit.

2020 –  Canada -Moses Znaimer of Zoomer Magazine for seniors reports that by the end of June 2020, 8453 Canadians had died of Covid 19 and nearly 82% of those were residents of long term care homes. Funding for seniors ‘ care is devoted 90% to nursing homes and only 10% to home care. However in Denmark most of the money goes to home care and only a fraction to nursing homes.  In Denmark the death rate from covid at nursing homes has been very low

2020 Australia – Carers SE is South Australia’s association for 250,000 unpaid carers.  Western Australia has a care group that recognizes 230,000 family caregivers. Their studies estimate that carers provide 1.9 billion hours of unpaid care per year in Australia.

2020 -Carers Denmark has 750,000 carers and seeks to raise the profile of a role where there is heavy pressure by government for women to be in paid work.

2020 -Carers Sweden holds a national carer conference annually and attracts over 800 attendees.  It is a partner in the Swedish Family Care Competence Centre.

2020 –  Canada – The Ontario Caregiver Organization tallies 3.3 million people who provide care to a family member or friend. The Canadian Home Care Association seeks to designate the first Tuesday in April as National Carers Day to recognize the importance of the ‘invisible unpaid work provided  by parents and caregivers’.

2020  Europe – Euro Carers seeks to be the voice for informal carers in Europe, and unites caregiving organizations with government researchers and research institutes. It seeks to ‘ensure that care is valued and unpaid care is recognized as central in the sustainability of health and long term care systems’.  They believe in the right to choose to be a carer,  the right to choose the extent of commitment to the care role, and the right to have government respect that decision. They want the EU to ensure social inclusion of caregivers.

2020 – South Africa – 1.5 billion children were forced out of schools globally during the covid pandemic Some did not close or did so only briefly. South Africa opened some oschools on June 8 and nearly 800 had instances of covid 19 soon after. Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte says he may not let children return to school until a vaccine is found.. In Israel an outbreak at one secondary school resulted in over 150 infections among pupils and staff

2020 – UK – Carers Trust is a charity promoting recognition of those who care for someone ill, frail, disabled or with mental health or addiction problems. The organization supports carers in the home.

2020 US  -The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that between 2000 and 2007 the suicide rate for 10-24 year olds was stable but from 2007-2017 it went up 56%. In 2019 the Pew Research Center reports in a survey of teens that 70% identified anxiety and depression as major problems among their peers.

2020 Canada  – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces  plans to create a national daycare system, increasing funding by 2028 to $870 million a year. The plan includes $420 million for grants and bursaries to train staff, a  $4 million a year child-care secretariat  to guide the daycare operations and a  $3 million a year for a child-care secretariat specifically for indigenous children/ Scotiabank estimates the plan will cost $11.5 billion per year.

2020 Stats Canada reports that though 52.1% of all Canadians  had bought their first home when they were 25-34 years old, millenials did not feel close to that dream.

2020 US The  General Survey, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development survey and the World Mental Health Composite International Diagnostic Interview look at parameters beyond GDP to measure societal wellbeing.    The goal of ‘human flourishing’ is added including family, religious community and engagement with the arts.  One study finds that those who attend religious services regularly tend to live longer, have lower rates of depression or suicide. A key factor noted is the sense of community support.

2020 Canada  – The government of Manitoba had the idea of sending out a ‘birth alert’ to Child and Family Services if an ‘high risk mother’ was about to give birth.  Families minister Heather Stefanson says the practice will be discontinued. admitting that it was preventing pregnant moms from seeking help to set up birthing plans.  In the years the policy was in place, about 10,000 children were put into state care and  newborn apprehensions happened almost daily.  About 90% of children in care in Manitoba are Indigenous. Now government will try to keep mother and child together and help the mother connect with community groups to help her  Granny’s House will provide temporary culturally familiar respite care and an Indigenous doula may be available through Southern First Nations network of care. 

2020 US – Studies in Maryland, Washington DC and Pennsylvania  find that pregnant women are twice as likely as nonpregnant women to be victims of violence or homicide

2020 Finland – Numbers of homeless are rising throughout Europe, except in one country, Finland. In 2018 France doubled the emergency accommodation it provided to the homeless to 146,000 spaces. In Spain the number of homeless shelters rose 20.5% between 2014 and 2016. The number of homeless has doubled in the Netherlands in ten years and in Ireland the number of shelters has tripled.  In 2008 Finland however embarked on a plan to not first provide shelters, soup kitchens or counselling,  detox centres or more policing. It prioritized permanent  ‘housing first’. Flats were provided for the chronically homeless with contracts signed under their own names. People were encouraged to get part time jobs to pay some of the costs but were also able to access government financial help. Finland built over 7000 units of subsidized housing in 2017 alone, which is more than through all of England that has ten times the population. It hired social workers and required great respect for the tenants so a social worker could not just barge in. Some American and Canadian cities beging experimenting with the housing first model, finding that it cuts costs for police, jails, shelters and health care.  The government in Finland estimates that it saves 15,000 euros a year on each homeless person it houses.

2020 Statistics Canada reports that 7.8 million people aged 15 and over provide care to a family member or friend with a long term health condition and that such unpaid care reduces the social costs associated with more formal health care service and institutionalization. 84% of caregivers ran errands, shopped, attended medical appointments. 64% cleaned the house or prepared meals for the care receiver

13% of those surveyed were elderly themselves, and caregivers of their spouse.

70% reported they got help from friends and other family members. Some were able to access paid help  through government programs and tax credits.  68% of caregivers who felt the system could be improved wished they got more financial support, tax credits or government assistance. 


2020 -Statistics Canada studies care receivers. In 2018 about 3 million people in Canada got care at home to cope with a health condition, disability or problems with aging. This care is sometimes provided by a paid caregiver but most often it is unpaid. 89% of those surveyed said they got care from a family member or friend .50% got some care from a paid professional. 11% said their only care was from a paid professional. Paid care was on average two hours a week.  Unpaid care was  7  hours a week

2020  China – In the 1970s officials became concerned about overcrowding and high birth rate. Between 1980 and 2016 China began an official one-child policy for all urban couples, with only occasional exceptions for rural families to have two children.  Eventually the birth rate dropped so low presented itself that in 2016 China’s Communist Party began promoting two child families.  In a recent 70th anniversary parade of the People’s Republic of China, a float showed a model family of two parents and two daughters.  The two child rule is itself strictly enforced . A school teacher became pregnant with a third child and government documents show she was urged 3 times to ‘take measures to correct” i.e. terminate- her third pregnancy.  When she gave birth, she and her husband, a police officer were both fired from their jobs, as violating a civil service rule to not exceed birth quotas. Another couple, both scientists. found that there is a fine for a 3rd child of $42,000 US. There are now about 150 million one-child families in China and reports of tens of millions of abortions and sterilizations many of them involuntary.  Many couples chose sex-selective abortions during those years, favoring male over female children. There are now 30 million fewer women then men in China.

2020 France – The aging of the population and longer life spans make it hard to fund pensions. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announces plans to discourage seeking pensions young. The minimum legal retirement age will be 62 but there will be financial incentives to stay at the paid job till age 64 or longer.Many unions object and teachers, national railway workers, airport ground staff stage walkouts and rolling strikes.

2020 Europe -In an international webinar on caregiving Dr. Nancy Folbre, economist U of Massachusetts says that investing in children is a national parallel to saving for a retirement plan.  Dr. Rutger Hoekstra, economist in The  Netherlands outlines ways to assess GDP that would incorporate household, volunteer and other unpaid roles. Amanda Janoo tells of her UN experience of the third world valuing time with family not just rushing and earning.

2020 Canada . BC homemaker Ruth Alsemgeest writes an open letter to the Prime Minister endorsing a guaranteed basic income. Alsemgeest sees it not just as an improvement on welfare but as recognition of actual work. Alsemgeest was home to raise her two children, did volunteer work for 15 years in public school classrooms and libraries and was foster mother to over 20 children when their parents were not able to take care of them.  She provided care for six years to her aging mother after that lady suffered a severe stroke.  A guaranteed basic income she argues would be  very appropriate to recognize such work.


 2020 Latin America The Economist magazine studies birthing policies. 4% of mothers were given forced sterilization or contraception after childbirth, 10% had C-sections that they had not given consent to,  5% wee denied painkillers and 17% said they had received treatment without consent. In 2016, 24% of Mexican woman reported they had been subject to abuse when they gave birth In 2007 Venezuela declared obstetric violence a criminal offence. Bolivia and Panama passed similar laws

2020 Australia- The Bureau of Statistics estimates that carers save the federal government over $30 billion a year. In 2015 carers provided $13.2 billion worth of free mental health support to friends and family members. This ‘hidden workforce’ was estimated to be the equivalent of 173,000 full time mental health support workers.

2020 -China –  the National Bureau of Statistics finds that with an aging population the demands for eldercare have increased. China has no organized caregiver association and family members provide most of the care.  In a nation  that heavily promotes paid work, the pressures on family to also provide care have been recognized as a challenge by a China Medical University study  finding stress related to finances, health and self-esteem along with disrupted schedule.  It was estimated by Xinhua, the official Chinese media, that 10 million people in China need eldercare.

2020 -Australia Carers SE is South Australia’s association for 250,000 unpaid carers.  Western Australia has a care group that recognizes 230,000 family caregivers. Their studies estimate that carers provide 1.9 billion hours of unpaid care per year in Australia.

2020 – Carers Finland has 70 local associations uniting those who provide care of a loved one who is elderly, chronically ill, disabled, or dying.  The Act on Support for Informal Care sets criteria where some financial support is available. The assoication estimates that over one million Finns provide some level of family care and that 350,000 are primary caregivers. However under 50,000  get financial support for the role.

2020  Italy. With an aging population the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies recognizes the family as a primary caregiver of the elderly.

2020-Taiwan reports that the majority of its seniors get family base care and only one third of those needing long term care are in nursing homes.  600,000 family caregivers spend on average 13.5 hours a day caregiving.  Women are regarded in that country as ‘natural caregivers’.

2020-Ukraine -The Institute of Gerontology found that most older adults rely on their spouses or other relatives to provide care.  10% had set up an agreement to get caregiving by relatives in exchange for inheritance of property when they died.

2020 Canada -Nearly 80% of Covid19 related deaths have happened in seniors’ care facilities. The Conference Board of Canada in 2017 projected that by 2035 we will need nearly 200,000 more beds there, up from the 255,000 in 2017. Low wages for caregivers make it so that workers often go to two jobs, and live in cramped housing themselves, increasing the risk of their getting an infection or transmitting it.  In Alberta the Translating Research in Elder Care team found that up to 30% of staff were working at more than one job. Most care aides in urban areas are immigrant women, older, with little education and low seniority in staff rank. They provide 90% of the care but are often not aware of their own rights.


2020 – Canada. – Statistics Canada reports that only 3% of parents who do not use daycare say they can’t find one.  A Cardus study found many vacancies at childcare centers – so what the public wants is not just daycare The School of Public Policy in Saskatchewan found in 2015 that parents ‘are strongly oriented towards a home and family approach’ in childcare for preschoolers. In 2005 economists Michael Baker, Jonathan Gruber and Kevin Milligan found  that children in daycare often have high levels of anxiety and hyperactivity. In 2011 economists Pierre Lefebvre, Philip Merrrigan and Francis Roy- Desoriers found that learning outcomes among children in Quebec daycare were not superior  to outcomes for children outside daycare, and there were no extra positive effects for children’s cognitive development. In 2019 economists Baker, Gruber and Milligan did a follow up study finding that some negative affects and non-cognitive outcomes in daycare persist to the school years.

2020 Canada – Cardus studies care of children, finding that about 46% of children under age 6 are in parental care. Among those not in parental care, 45.6% use daycare centres or preschool 33.6% get care from  a relative other than the parent, 15.5% attend a family childcare home, 13.3% attend a before or after school program and 5.5% get care by  a nonrelative in the child’s home . Statistics Canada reported  in 2019 that 42% of children under age 6 in BC are in parental care. In BC childcare operating funding is not equal between childcare centres.   For a child under aged 3 years in licensed group care, the fund provides $12.00 for over four hours of care but in a licensed family childcare setting only $3.70.  Cardus argues that what is needed is a flexible federal family policy that allows for differences in parental preference.  “We argue for funding neutrality, equitably supporting families in a flexible manner.”

2020-  global- During the pandemic the paid economy suffers huge shutdowns as travel and public contact is restricted. Many offices move to work from home for employees while only essential services still operate in on site operation – grocery stores, pharmacies. Businesses struggle to stay afloat, many have to shut down permanently. Some move to online ordering, curbside pickup and contactless home delivery.  Travel is restricted, taxis, buses, trains and airplanes suffer huge loss of customers and many borders are closed to international travellers from countries with high rates of infection.  Enrolment surges for online courses that can be done from home. Some workers enjoy the work at home experience and its flexibility so much that they decide to continue this lifestyle if possible several days a week or permanently if possible even when the pandemic ends.  Some large businesses decide to move more permanently to the work at home option for a lot of staff, noticing the lower costs of operating offices or commutes. Other workers miss the camaraderie of water cooler chats and experience their own sense of loneliness when doing their paid work from home.

2020 global- During the pandemic many professions that cannot work from home suffer. Construction companies, plumbers, massage therapists, hairdressers suffer huge losses while professions that can work from home adapt. Many conferences and international consultations among doctors, lawyers, politicians, engineers are cancelled while other meetings move online. Webinars and virtual meetings replace in person contact. This phenomenon creates a surge in business for online platforms like Zoom, and for cellphone apps that allow real time audio and video.  Patients are able to consult doctors for some medical conditions, over the telephone and by video conference though any required physical exams or treatments like injections may be delayed.

2020 global- During the pandemic  income loss is so huge that most governments provide emergency funding to individuals and businesses. This budget upheaval puts many nations into deficit for billions of dollars and as the pandemic continues, creates its own crisis as legislators worry about how to eventually get out of debt.

2020 global- During the pandemic hospitals are stretched to their limit with influx of very sick patients with covid 19. The demand for ventilators and intensive care beds requires set up of makeshift field hospitals in parking lots and community centres and the virus makes more problematic the care of other patients. Surgeries are delayed, medical appointments cancelled and patients are shuffled to other wards and other buildings to accommodate the covid patients. Funeral homes are pushed to the limit and death rates become so high many people feel the numbers are like in wartime.

2020- global -During the pandemic observers note a shift in what is perceived now as essential service and what people really depend on to stay well. Front line health care workers, nurses, doctors, ambulance attendances, pharmacists now are highly celebrated socially for the risks they take to treat patients.  Grocery stores which provide essential food set up shields and barriers, take credit card only and try to protect staff from infection as they provide essential service to the public. Garbage truck operators are newly appreciated as are those who deliver the mail and packages.

2020 global – During the pandemic the unpaid care sector becomes a more visible anchor to the nations as childcare centres, schools and  post- secondary institutions close for extended periods or move to online classes. The role of the at -home parent becomes a common experience for men and women. Families have more time together and sales of traditional board games and toys surge. Camping, hiking, bicycling and other low risk activities for public contact become popular and interest surges in crafts, baking, binge TV watching and video games.

2020 global – During the pandemic large public gatherings are banned, indoors or outdoors and churches and synagogues that normally are a venue for comfort are unable to meet or have vastly reduced attendance limits. Weddings and funerals are postponed or held in restricted numbers, sometimes with a limit of ten in attendance.Many churches move to online operation, creating a surge in availability of hearing religious service from one’s own home. Grandparents express longing and frustration as they are unable to have in person visits with grandchildren even with new babies born over the course of the year.  Many people buy pets to help ease the loneliness and there is such a surge of ‘covid puppies’ that it is difficult for dog breeders to keep up with the demand.

2020 global  During the pandemic many outlets for leisure and the ‘life’ side of the career-family balance are restricted. Celebrations like parades, entertainment like concerts, sports events, festivals, theme park visits are curtailed or cancelled. Museums are closed in many places and though some variations are made available through virtual online visits, concerts with orchestra members performing from their own homes, or hockey games held in a covid-bubble of isolation, without audience and filmed, these substitutions for the real thing create sadness for many people at what is missing. The world notices how much of life happiness is not just from paid work.

2020 global – During the pandemic the funding of caregiving comes under scrutiny as the highest rates of infection in many countries occur in seniors’ nursing homes.  This age group proves to be the most vulnerable to severe outcomes for the virus and overcrowding in such facilities becomes a scandal not earlier noticed. New attention is given to the wishes of seniors to age in place, in their own homes and many families take their senior relatives out of the nursing homes to return for a time to live with family, less exposed to the virus.

2020 global – During the pandemic with personal contact severely restricted and public contact legislated in many areas to social distancing of 2 metres, wearing face masks and using hand sanitizers, the nature of social interaction changes.  People express frustration that they can no longer shake hands or hug each other, can not even see each other’s faces well in public. The touch of a hand is missed and the reassurance of a kiss.  Large family gatherings are banned and traditional holiday meals and celebrations are not possible. In some jurisdictions people who do gather in large numbers for backyard barbecues or hockey games are fined.  This shift creates sadness and loneliness so profound that there are surges in calls to distress centres.  Families are unable to do in person visits to loved ones in seniors’ residences, hospitals or even with the dying. The rates of street drug use soar and there is an epidemic of deaths from opioids. Homeless shelters experience changes in operation since infection rates there surge and many of the homeless choose to live outdoors in informal camps with less contact. Infection rates in schools, hospitals and even jails surge where contact is close and eating and washroom facilities are often shared.  Caregiving itself comes under scrutiny for what is the safest and most humane way to provide it and large group care is seen as problematic. The value of home-based and traditional care and the value of family and friends are noticed for the anchor they have always been to wellbeing.

2020  global – During the pandemic discussions abound about how to help the economy recover when it is over.  Though caregiving has been noted as the vital part of an economy  that it has always been, there are those who want a return to the focus on getting everyone back to paid work, to have income again, and to reduce high levels of government debt. This push towards large group care of the young, sick, handicapped, and frail elderly so that workers can do their paid work, however may create the same situations that put those who receive care at highest risk.  Other options to value caregiving in the home are suggested along with tax changes to permit families to meet paid work and care obligations with more options.

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