The community around parents, and the support available to them, is hugely important to healthy child development. For families experiencing poverty and stress, raising children can be like sailing in rough waters. Just as we provide lighthouses and safe harbours, we can help parents with services like counselling, quality child care and financial support.
The best foundation any country can have is healthy, safe, well-educated children and young people who are confident in themselves and their future. But right now, children and young people are being harmed because we don’t give families stability and support when children need it most. We can and must do better for our children and young people.
If ‘we are in this together’, then it follows that close attention should be paid to the question of who is included in our understanding of ‘we’, because the assumptions embedded in that definition will inevitably dictate the subsequent choices about policy and resourcing.
Together - we can build back better.
One of the most remarkable features of 2020 has been the revelation that we have not lost that most fundamental of skills in liberal democracy: the ability to listen and to adapt to feedback. I watch in real time as changes are made to policies on advice from groups that would previously have been lined up on the other side of an ideological war. We will need this skill more than ever in the recovery phase.
When I left international development to work in the Australian community sector five years ago, I was struck by the differences. In rich economies there is data! There is money! And, while we love to whinge, there is a broadly competent government!
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