Families are our future
Families with a future – educating and caring for children
Helping families thrive is very high up the Lower Saxony's state government's policy agenda. Families are the basis from which children develop and form the bedrock of our society.
Both parents and children require a family-friendly infrastructure to help them cope well in their day-to-day lives. This centres around high-quality, reliable childcare and education services. These provide a nurturing environment for children while enabling their mothers and fathers to go to work. Municipal authorities face the challenge of expanding the availability of child daycare services, with the focus on quality and meeting local needs.
With its "Families with a Future" programme, the state government is assisting them in this task and is, between 2007 and 2010, to provide an additional 100 million euros in state funding.
- An important goal is to safeguard care services for the under-threes by improving both the quality and quantity of daycare provision.
- We also want to see additional childcare available that is both reliable and flexible.
- Already existing services and facilities are to be better networked and improved in quality.
- Professionally provided early-childhood education and individual intervention, especially in the final, transitional, year before starting school, equips each child to adjust well when they move up to primary school and helps give all children a more or less equally sound platform for success. Here, too, the state administration supports schools and children's daycare facilities.
By promoting family-friendly infrastructure, Lower Saxony's government is strengthening its policy commitment to the youngest members of the community in terms of both family and education. Parents and children are welcome in our society – after all, children are the future!
Family-friendly ways of working
The competing demands made today on men and women juggling work and home responsibiities are often extreme, and the call for high flexibility and round-the-clock availability at work clashes with the need to make quality family time (enjoying shared meals and consistent rituals and routines) as well as opportunities for sport, play and relaxation. Parents' desire to invest time in children and in care obligations at home is often at odds with employers' demands.
The main thing parents want is to be able to flexibly share their workload with their partner, enabling them to do justice to both career and family as well as individual needs.
An important factor here is family-oriented ways of working which recognize that employees have families as well as jobs. With competition for skilled workers intensifying, it is those businesses which offer their employees good solutions enabling them to combine work and family life that are most likely to recruit the best talent. This is why government is joining forces with industry to come up with the most effective approaches and strategies.
Lower Saxony is helping people reconcile the demands of family and career with measures such as:
- promoting flexible working-hours models;
- funding various skills-upgrading projects; and
- the services offered by the Liaison Offices for Women and Business.