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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Child Well Being Study

UNICEF just released a report of "Child Well- Being in Rich Countries" It studied the circumstances of child poverty in the weathiest 21 countries. http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/13_02_07_nn_unicef.pdf

This is a very interesting read for anyone interested in child welfare and how our country compares with others. There is a chart near the beginning of the report which summarizes the countries in rank order and gives their ranking in each dimension studied:

Material well-being
Health and safety
Educational well-being
Family and peer relationship
Behaviour and risks
Subjective well-being

Canada ranks in about the middle of the group in most things. It is not a record to be proud of.
It the government had followed through on its promise over a decade ago to elliminate child poverty and bring in universal child day care our ranking could be much higher.

The top country is the Netherlands followed by the Nordic nations with their social democracies.

It is truly shocking that Britain and the United States are at the very bottom. The citizens of these countries ought to be ashamed. No doubt the British class system has something to do with its low standing.

I guess one could write a book on why the US has failed it's children so badly. For a country that declares its belief in family values and the "no children left behind"; it is lying to itself. Poverty, racism, conservative economics, family breakdown, the class based health system, free enterprise, even the religous notions that worldly material well-being is a sign of God's grace, the poor will will always be with us and the poor deserve to be poor, have their roll to play in the neglect of child well-being in the US. One can hope the issues raised in this report are part of the debate in the next election in that country.

I encourge all to read this report, if not in detail at least enough to look at the graphs.

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