Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 14, 2005
COLF pushes for funding for stay-at-home parents
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
The Catholic Organization for Life and the Family (COLF) is asking the federal government to provide financial assistance for families who have a parent stay at home to raise children.
In a March 7 letter, Bishop Pierre Morissette, chair of COLF, applauded Social Development Minister Ken Dryden for the $5 billion commitment in the February federal budget towards a national child care program. But Morissette urged the minister to offer "real freedom of choice among childcare options for all Canadian parents."
Dryden has said the money committed to the program will not go to parents who wish to stay home with their children, but to regulated public and private daycare facilities. He has yet to come to an agreement with the provinces on how to distribute the money.
Morissette pointed out that under Catholic teaching, "parents are the first people responsible for their children's education and that they must be able to count on the state's support in this endeavour. For this reason, we would ask the government to put in place a series of fiscal and social measures in order to help those parents who wish to fulfill this mission themselves."
The bishop said that while seven out of 10 mothers with children under age six work outside the home, polls show that most would choose not to if financial pressure didn't force them.
Morissette noted Dryden's vision of quality, affordable childcare with an educational component would contribute to the social and intellectual development of children.
However, he said society must respond to children's emotional needs. This is a "primordial parent responsibility on which we do not place enough importance, especially during the first three years of a child's life, when the parent-child bond is formed."
"Given the Catholic Church's preferential option for the poor, your initiative provides an excellent opportunity to help our poorest families," Morissette wrote.
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