Dr Christine Puckering is on a Winston Churchill Fellowship Tour, looking at how babies at social risk are identified early, even in pregnancy, and what services are put in place to promote a secure attachment between mother and child and father and child.
Christine is going to provide regular blogs on her tour of Netherlands, Iceland, Norway & Finland.
Exploring what makes children grow up so happy in the Netherlands brings in new questions. Unlike Norway, parental leave is very limited three months after delivery for the mother and a measly two days for fathers though this is about to rise to five!
Seventy five percent of Dutch mothers however opt to work part time after having a child and this is a rising trend for fathers too. Child care is considered expensive by parents, but is subsidised on a sliding scale according to income. The rate of subsidy changes from year to year depending on the national budget but is now expected to rise sharply for second and subsequent children, as the economy revives and the government tries to tempt women back to work.
Recent changes in strategy and legislation also mean that all early childhood and child protection services are now managed at a local level. The aim is to involve families more in the decisions made about their children and to activate local resources but only time will tell if this makes things better or not!
Lovely to have the weekend “off”, except of course for profound thoughts. The apple cake and the icecream are probably a danger to health!