Education opportunities and welfare for all children require effective investments in families and in high quality education institutions. A new family policy should take on a child’s perspective and tie the children’s environments – families, education institutions and infrastructure – closely together.
The family is the primary environment children grow up in – regardless of the many forms that family might take. Together with high-quality educational facilities and social and living environments, the family plays a key role in providing all children with learning opportunities and the chance to participate in society and in life.
But today, children, mothers and fathers face new and greater challenges. Their daily activities and their lives together have changed in recent years – a situation for which policymakers have yet to develop appropriate responses. Our aim is to develop a family politics vision that focuses on welfare and education opportunities for all children.
A new child-centered policy
Creating a new child-centered family policy means:
- Taking children seriously as the ones who set the pace.
- Putting the focus on the child, checking each policymaking measure in terms of how it impacts children and their needs.
- Acknowledging the realities families now face.
- Establishing the political and legal framework needed to effectively combat child and family poverty.
- Supporting and strengthening families based on their individual needs.
- Increasing the number of high-quality educational institutions.
- Taking responsibility, together with parents, for how children grow up in society.
Ensure a socially inclusive minimum standard of living for all children
Children’s opportunities depend highly on the socio-economic standard of the families they grow up in. As research has shown, poverty is the main factor that places children at greatest risk when it comes to being deprived of educational opportunities and the chance for participation. Therefore, we are working on a new approach to provide children with a socially inclusive minimum standard of living. Such a concept must be based on studies of when social participation is possible in all its forms, and what childhood entails today . It is taking different – financial as well as societal – components into account, i.e.
- Allow time for care within the familiy
- Ensure financial security for all family members
- Provide access to high-quality educational institutions, to health care, to leisure time, to peers, as well as to culture.
- Enable constructive interaction between children, parents, and educational institutions
- Create need-based, individualised infrastructure and support
Based on this framework, a transparent policymaking objective must then be defined stating which living conditions should be made available to all children in society. This minimum standard of living must be ensured for each and every child.