Social Mobility, Life Chances, and the Early Years Presentation to IPPR Social Mobility and Life Chances Forum December 3, 2004 Jane Waldfogel Columbia University & CASE
Outline I. Why the early years? II. What outcomes? III. What we know from research IV. The current policy framework V. Where should we go from here?
I. Why the early years? “ If the race is already halfway run even before children begin school, then we clearly need to examine what happens in the earliest years.” (Esping-Andersen, 2004) “ Like it or not, the most important mental and behavioural patterns, once established, are difficult to change once children enter school.” (Heckman & Wax, 2004).
Multiple influences on development in the early years • Child endowment • Home environment • Preschool care and education
II. What outcomes? Social mobility Child well-being a. cognitive development b. social and emotional development c. health Social inclusion Poverty reduction Parental employment Parental choice Gender equity
III. What we know from research about pregnancy & first year: Parental leave • Parental leave is associated with better maternal and child health - lower maternal depression (Chatterji & Markowitz, 2004) - lower infant mortality; extending leave 10 weeks reduces post-neonatal mortality 4%, child mortality 3% (Ruhm, 2000; Tanaka, in press) - fewer low birth-weight babies (Tanaka, in press) - more breast-feeding (Berger, Hill, & Waldfogel, in press) - more use of preventive health care (Berger et al., in press). Unpaid leave does not have the same protective effects (Ruhm, 2000; Tanaka, in press).
What we know from research about first year: Employment & child care • Quality of care – in particular, sensitivity and responsiveness to the child – is crucial. • Maternal employment in the first year, particularly if early and full-time, is associated with poorer cognitive development and more behaviour problems, for some children • Effects vary by type and quality of child care, the quality of parental care, and family income. For example, in ALSPAC, if mothers worked FT in first 18 months, children had better outcomes if they were in formal (paid) care than if they were in informal (unpaid) care. (Brooks-Gunn, Han, & Waldfogel, 2002; Gregg, Washbrook, Propper, and Burgess, in press; Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000; Smolensky & Gootman, 2003.)
What we know from research about children age 1 & 2 A. Cognitive & behavioural outcomes • Quality matters (Blau, 2001; Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000; Smolensky & Gootman, 2003; Vandell & Wolfe, 2000). • No adverse effects of maternal employment on cognitive development, but may be effects on behaviour problems if children are in poor quality child care for long hours (Brooks-Gunn, Han, & Waldfogel, 2002; NICHD Early Child Care Research Network (ECCRN), 2003). • High-quality child care produces cognitive gains, with no adverse effects on behaviours and indeed gains on some long-run outcomes (Carneiro and Heckman, 2003; Currie, 2002; Karoly et al., 1998; Waldfogel, 2002). Largest gains were made by the most disadvantaged: IHDP boosted IQ at 3 by 20 pts for children of < high-school, 10 for high school grads, and 0 for college grads. • Centre programs also boost maternal education, employment, & earnings. Abecedarian raised earnings by $3,750 per year (Masse & Barnett, 2004).
What we know from research about children age 1 and 2 B. Health outcomes • Children in group child care have more illnesses (Meyers, Rosenbaum, Ruhm, & Waldfogel, 2004). • Safety is also a concern, particularly in low-quality care, but rates of injury and abuse lower in child care than in children’s own homes (Currie & Hotz, in press; Waldfogel, in progress). • Child care may be protective (Love et al., 2002).
What we know from research about children age 3 to 5 A. Cognitive & behavioural outcomes • No adverse effects of maternal employment on cognitive development; may be effects on behaviours if children are in poor quality care long hours(Brooks-Gunn et al., 2002; NICHD ECCRN, 2003). • High-quality preschool programs produce substantial cognitive gains, particularly for disadvantaged(Currie, 2002; Karoly et al., 1998; Waldfogel, 2002), and reduce later problems such as crime(Carneiro and Heckman, 2003). • Programs may also boost mothers’ education, employment, & earnings.
What we know from research about children age 3 to 5 B. Health outcomes • Effects of maternal employment on child health depend on income (Morris et al., 2001). • Maternal employment may lead to increased risk of child obesity(Anderson, Butcher, & Levine, 2003; Ruhm, 2003). • Some adverse effects of group child care on child health, and some concerns about safety, particularly in low-quality care (Meyers et al., 2004). • But, child care may also be protective, reducing physical discipline and domestic violence (Magnuson & Waldfogel, in press).
What we know from research about children age 3 to 5: ECLS-K results • Preschool raises school readiness and lowers retention, with particularly large effects for pre-K. Children who attended pre-K score better in reading (effect size .16 at entry) and are 25% less likely to be retained. • Effects are larger, and longer-lasting, for disadvantaged children (children with less-educated parents, families speaking a language other than English, or families on low incomes or welfare). • Effects are larger for children who attended more hours of pre-K. • But, longer hours in preschool also associated with more behaviour problems, although not for children who attended pre-K and K in same school. (Magnuson, Meyers, Ruhm, & Waldfogel, 2004; Magnuson, Ruhm, & Waldfogel, 2004).
What we know from research about children age 3 to 5: EPPE results • Children who attend preschool enter school at a cognitive advantage (effect sizes .30 to .45) (Charts E.3-E5). The longer children had been in pre-school, the greater the advantage – effect sizes for pre-reading, early number, and language range from .38 to .63 for those attending 2-3 years, or >3 years (Chart 4.1). Children who began pre-school at 2 were ahead of children who began at 3, and maintained that gain at school entry. But this was not true for the small number of children who began before 2. • Children who attend pre-school also enter school with better social and behavioural development, except on dimension of antisocial or worried (effect size .10). This effect was concentrated among children who began pre-school earliest (at 2 or below) or had attended local authority day care. (Sammons, Sylva, Melhuish, Siraj-Blatchford, Taggart, & Elliot, 2002, 2003).
What we know from research about children age 3 to 5: EPPE results • Children at risk of SEN, children for whom English is an additional language, and children from some ethnic minority groups gained the most from preschool. • Quality & effectiveness of care is uneven. Centres that integrated care and education and nursery schools were particularly effective, as were programs with more highly qualified staff. • There may be composition effects – e.g. children made more progress in pre-reading if attending centres with more children from highly educated families. • The impact of child, family, and home environment factors is weaker at school entry than at 3 for some cognitive outcomes (pre-reading, early numbers) (Table 2.2), although not for social & behavioural outcomes.
What we know from research about parenting programs • Programs are very diverse and evidence on their effectiveness is mixed (Brooks-Gunn & Markman, in press; Desfarges, 2003; Gomby et al., 1999; Harker & Kendall, 2003; Karoly et al., 1998; Magnuson, 2004; Neuman and Dickinson, 2003; Sweet and Appelbaum, 2004). • Little evidence that parenting programs improve school readiness, with the exception of high-quality early literacy programs in U.S. (Whitehurst et al., 1994, 1998, 1999) and U.K (Evangelou & Sylva, 2003). • Little evidence that parenting programs improve social or emotional outcomes, with the exception of high-quality programs for families with children with severe behaviour problems (Webster-Stratton, 1998; Webster-Stratton & Taylor, 2001; Webster-Stratton et al., 2001). • Parenting programs do have health benefits. For instance, high-quality home visiting programs beginning in pregnancy and continuing post-birth reduce risk of maltreatment (Karoly et al., 1998).
IV. Current policy framework: Parental leave • UK now offers 12 months of job-protected leave to new mothers, but only 6 months are paid. • Mothers tend to take as much leave as they can. • Lower-income mothers tend to return when paid leave ends; higher-income mothers tend to return later, when job-protected leave ends. (Burgess et al., 2002; Hudson, Lissenburgh, and Sahin-Dikmen, 2004; estimates from Millennium Cohort Survey).
Current policy framework: Parental leave • Statutory paternity leave (2 weeks, flat rate) was introduced in April 2003. Prior to that, only about half of new fathers worked for firms that offered paternity or parental leave. • A high share of these fathers – over 80% – make use of leave. Fathers also use other types of leave (sick leave, annual leave, etc.). • Overall, 75% of new dads take some leave. Fathers are more likely to take leave if the child is a first-born, and if they have higher incomes. (Estimates from Millennium Cohort Survey)
Current policy framework: Parental leave • UK has parental leave (introduced in 1999) that allows parents to take up to 13 weeks unpaid leave sometime between birth of child and child’s 5th birthday (18 weeks, available up to 18th birthday if child is disabled). But awareness and use of this leave is low (Hudson et al., 2004). • Since April 2003, parents of young children (or children with disabilities) have the right to request part-time or flexible hours. There is high awareness and take-up of this policy (Camp, 2004; Maternity Alliance, 2004; Work Foundation, 2004).
Current policy framework: Care & education for under 3s • Many initiatives to improve access and quality of care, particularly for disadvantaged – National Child Care Strategy, Sure Start, Early Excellence Centres, Neighbourhood Nurseries, Children’s Centres. • But places are not guaranteed, as they are for 3s and 4s, although there is a pilot for disadvantaged 2-year olds. • We know little about quality of care for young children. Provision is diverse, and often informal - Under 1s: 37% in care or education (30% informal, 7% formal). - Under 2s: 78% in care or education (36% informal only, 29% a mix, and 13% formal only). (Figures for under 1s from Millennium Cohort Survey; figures for under 2s from Woodland, Miller, and Tipping, 2002).
Current policy framework: Care and education for under 3s • Care is expensive: - full-time care for a child under 2 averages £134/week for nursery and £120/week for childminder) - parents bear a large share of the costs (about 75%). (Figures from Daycare Trust, 2004)
Current policy framework: Care & education for 3 to 5s A. Participation • A publicly funded nursery place is now guaranteed for all 3 and 4 year olds. • Participation rates are very high – with 96% of 3 or 4 year olds attending during the prior week. • But rates are lower for children of manual workers (93%), low-income families (93%), and ethnic minorities (90%), and these children attend different types of care (nursery classes, rather than playgroups or pre-schools) although less so than formerly (Fitzgerald et al., 2002; Stewart, in press).
Current policy framework: Care & education for 3 to 5s B. Parents’ Views • About half say there are not enough nursery education places in their local area, or not enough information provided to help parents choose. • Only 15% say their child is not getting the right amount of education (compared to 23% in 1997 and 19% in 2001). • Overall, a quarter said cost restricted how much nursery education their child received (30% of those with incomes below £10,000 vs. 23% of those with incomes of £30,000 or more). • Among those not using care at all, about half would have liked to (11% said cost was a factor; 45% could not find a place or their child was too young). • Among those not using care 5 days a week, 28% said this was because they could not afford more care. (NCSR, 5th and 6th Surveys)
Current policy framework: Parenting support • Parenting support is provided through several large-scale government programs, in particular, Sure Start (National Evaluation of Sure Start, 2004; Stewart, in press). • There are also numerous programs in the voluntary sector (e.g. Home Start). • But nearly half of parents say they don’t know where to go for support in their area (Harker & Kendall, 2003).
V. Where should we go from here? A. Extend parental leave 1) Extend paid leave to the end of first year of life, so lower-income families can take advantage of it, and make it available to the mother or father. (An additional 26 weeks, at flat rate, £100/wk, pro-rated if part-time). 2) Consider extending job-protected leave beyond the first year, and with some financial support for low-income families. (An additional 26 or 52 weeks, paid at flat rate, £60/wk, pro-rated if part-time). 3) Monitor April 2003 initiatives giving parents the right to request part-time/flexible hours, and giving dads paternity leave rights, and strengthen if necessary.
A1. Extending paid leave to 12 months: Costs & benefits Costs • Additional 6 months pay to mothers (or fathers) on leave • Possible negative effects on hiring or pay for women overall • Possible negative effects on mothers’ careers • Possible negative effects on gender equity in home or labour market Benefits • Improved child health – extending paid leave from 6 to 12 months is estimated to reduce infant mortality by 6.8% and post-neonatal mortality by 10.5% (Gregg & Waldfogel, in press; Tanaka, in press) • Improved cognitive and social/emotional development • Longer breast-feeding • Improved maternal and child health • Main impact on children of low-income working mothers • What parents want • Savings in child care costs
Where should we go from here? B. Improve care & education for under 3s 1a) More flexible benefits for parents, to give them a better set of choices in the first 2 to 3 years – e.g. early childhood benefits (cash grants of £50-70/wk that families can use for parental care or child care or a mixture of the two; may be universal or limited to low-income families) 1b) Continued support for initiatives to improve access to care and quality of care, particularly centre-based care starting at age 2, beginning with the most disadvantaged 2) Further research on the quality of care young children are in currently
B1a. Early childhood benefits: Costs & benefits Costs • Cost of cash grants • Could induce more mothers to stay home, thus hurting efforts to promote employment and gender equity • Could undermine efforts to expand child care Benefits • Gives parents a choice between parental care, non-parental care, or a mix of the two (Waldfogel, 2001) • Could yield savings in child care costs • Could boost incomes for families with young children, relieving financial hardship and leading to improved outcomes (Duncan & Magnuson, 2003)
B1b. Centre-based care for [at-risk]2 year-olds: Costs & benefits Costs • Cost of high-quality centre-based care • If other children don’t use care, could be segregated or stigmatized • Could undermine support for other forms of care, which parents might prefer Benefits • Cognitive gains for children at greatest risk of school failure (Currie, 2002; Karoly et al., 1998; Waldfogel, 2002). • Employment effects for mothers (Karoly et al., 1998; Waldfogel, 2002). • Other benefits for children/families (e.g. reductions in spanking, domestic violence)? • Provision could also be used by other children, if space available
Where should we go from here? C. Develop more integrated system of high-quality care & education for 3 to 5s 1) Raise preschool quality – through tighter standards or direct provision – with the goal of providing a high-quality place for each child, at least half-time 2) Build easier and more generous system of subsidies for “wrap-around” and out-of-school care for low-income families 3) Foster greater integration of nursery/school and wrap-around/out-of-school care
C. More integrated system of good-quality care & education for 3 to 5s Costs • More money for salaries for directors and teachers • More money for subsidies, for the lowest-income • More money for staff to coordinate provision Benefits • Gains in cognitive development • Gains in social/emotional development • Gains in maternal employment
Where should we go from here?D. More effective parenting support • Top priority here is studies to evaluate the impact of carefully designed interventions on desired child outcomes. Early literacy programs such as PEEP would be good candidates. • Children’s Centres should be involved so that model interventions can be rolled out quickly if they prove effective.
VI. Conclusions • Early years policies must address multiple outcomes: - Social mobility - Child well-being - Social inclusion - Poverty reduction - Parental employment - Parental choice - Gender equity • The bottom line message from research is that quality matters. Policies should aim to support parents in providing good–quality care themselves, and in arranging good-quality child care.
Conclusions Key next steps in early years policy: - Extend paid parental leave to 12 months - Offer a more flexible package of supports to families with children under age 2 or 3 - Provide high-quality centre-based care to 2 year olds, starting with the most disadvantaged - Provide a more integrated system of high-quality care and education for 3 to 5 year olds