Plan for subsidised childcare is inherently unfair and unjust

Press Release from the Iona Institute

Plan for subsidised childcare is inherently unfair and unjust

State must support choices of all parents not just day-care

September 16, 2016–  Reports that the State is considering a “radical new plan for subsidising childcare” are extremely concerning because if the State goes down this path, then it will be unjustly and unfairly favouring parents who use day-care over those who don’t and who don’t want to. Instead the various choices parents make about how best to look after their young children should be equally supported as far as is possible.

Commenting on the reported plan, David Quinn of The Iona Institute said: “If the Government goes down the path of heavily subsidising day-care that would be unfair and unjust towards the very many parents who don’t use day-care and often don’t want to use day-care. The State must be neutral between day-care and other child-minding options.”

He continued: “A CSO study from 2009 found that 80 percent of pre-school age children don’t use any kind of day-care. Most of those who are not placed in day-care are looked after by a parent or another family member.

“An opinion poll conducted by Amarach Research in 2013 on behalf of The Iona Institute found that only 17 percent of the public say day-care as the best option for children under 5 years. Half said the preferred option is to be after during the day by a parent at home and a quarter think the preferred option is to be looked after by another family member such as a grandparent.

“Taking these figures together, it should be obvious that subsidizing child-care at the expense of other option is emphatically not the way to do. Instead there should be a direct payment to all parents of young children, means-tested if need be, so that parents can then subsidise the choice that suits them best.”


Notes to editors

  1. The Iona Institute is a Christian advocacy group and research body.