Fathers and nurseries – Social trends

Posted on: June 19, 2009

A couple of interesting facts reported during the week with implications for planning in family legal and property teams:

Fathers

The number of full time fathers in Britain who stay at home and look after their children has increased from 192,000 in April 2008 to 342,000 today – an 80% increase in little over a year. New research also confirms that three quarters of mothers see nothing wrong in men looking after children full time.

Families need fathers (www.fnf.org.uk) fact sheets show that between 150,000 and 200,000 parental couples separate each year and that of 12m children in the UK, 25% suffered separation. 93% of residential parents are female and 89% of non resident parents are male.

The UK census report that between 1991 and 2001 the number of married couples with dependent children fell from 73% to 60% and the number of cohabitating couples with dependent children rose by 102%. The number of children living with lone parents is 23%, a rise from 22% in 1998.

The parenting statistics from US sites www.dadsworld.com indicates the awful impact of fatherless kids.

Nurseries

Another report indicated that two thirds of all pre-school children spend at least part of their week in nurseries. This has more than trebled over the past three decades. This is despite warnings about the potential effects on children’s behaviour in childcare.

64% of all three and four year olds were enrolled in early years education according to the Office for National Statistics – compared to 21% in 1971.

Last month the ONS estimated that 62% of mothers of children under five who are married or cohabitating have a job. 6m children, just over half, live in a home where every adult goes to work. 1.8 m children live in “workless household”. 48% of children of single women have a mother who does not work.

Various studies show that children who spend long hours in childcare can become more aggressive than other youngsters and that they may fall behind in some areas at school.

There are now 3,273 state run nursery schools (five times the 723 in 1971). £10 billion has been placed in the Government’s Sure Start network aimed at helping the poorest children.

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