Skip to:

UNICEF: Only 15 countries worldwide have three essential national policies that support families with young children

FSPH's WORLD Policy Analysis Center contributed analysis in a new UNICEF report that says around 85 million children under five live in 32 countries that do not offer families two years of free pre-primary education; paid breastfeeding breaks for new mothers for the first six months; and adequate paid parental leave.

Share: 
Date: 
Thursday, September 21, 2017

UNICEF PRESS RELEASE

Only 15 countries worldwide have three essential national policies that support families with young children - UNICEF

New report says around 85 million children under five live in 32 countries that do not offer families two years of free pre-primary education; paid breastfeeding breaks for new mothers for the first six months; and adequate paid parental leave

 
© UNICEF/UN044581/Kim
November, 2016 UNICEF visit to perinatal centre in Aktau to assess quality of medical care provided in order to provide further expertise in improving mother and child care at the hospital. Aktau city, Mangystau oblast, Kazakhstan
 

NEW YORK, 21 September 2017 – Only 15 countries worldwide have three basic national policies that help guarantee the time and resources parents need to support their young children’s healthy brain development, UNICEF said today in a new report. Worse, 32 countries – home to one in eight of the world’s children under five – have none of these policies in place.

 

According to the report, Early Moments Matter for Every Child, two years of free pre-primary education, paid breastfeeding breaks during the first six months of a child’s life, and six months of paid maternity leave as well as four weeks of paid paternity leave help lay a critical foundation for optimal early childhood development. These policies help parents better protect their children and provide them with better nutrition, play and early learning experiences in the crucial first years of life when the brain grows at a rate never to be repeated.

 

The report notes that Cuba, France, Portugal, Russia and Sweden are among the countries that guarantee all three policies. However, 85 million children under five are growing up in 32 countries without any of the three critical policies in place. Surprisingly, 40 per cent of these children live in just two countries – Bangladesh and the United States.

 

READ UNICEF'S PRESS RELEASE