What We Are
We are a registered society and a national charity with these objectives:
- to promote the optimal care and well being of children
- to encourage and develop a recognition of the importance of child care being provided within the home by a parent
What We Do and Why
We are a communications network of people working to better the lives of children and their families. Through our efforts we endeavour to raise the social status and support for the time devoted to caregiving and the anchor it provides to a healthy society.
We stand for child care choice with funding equity.
We know that every mother is a working mother.
We stand for the right & responsibility of parents to determine their children’s care without discrimination.
We know government has a complimentary responsibility to support and not to replace families in child-rearing. The responsibility of the state is to defend families and children from harm by other sectors
We stand for the right to informed consent in decision making: information relating to children’s care and development, work, and family must not mislead the public or politicians, especially when provided through tax-funded agencies.
We focus on examining legal, financial, social and political obstacles that deny parents reliable information and equality in their choices regarding the child-rearing style they believe is best for their family, be it care by a neighbour, friend, relative, babysitter, parent in a home-based office, tag-team parents, parent at home full-time, family day home, daycare or other.
Kids First Parent Association of Canada was started in 1987 in Calgary, Alberta, as Kids First Parent Association of Calgary and registered as a non-profit society in Alberta. In January 2020 the society’s registration was transferred to British Columbia.
Kids First has worked hard to provide data that exposes unfair discrimination against family-based care-giving of children and those (mostly mothers) who do it. Discrimination is widespread. It is found in legislation and policy concerning
- definitions of “child care” that exclude care by family/parents
- definitions of “work” that exclude care-work outside of the GDP sector
- funding for lobbying
- child care funding and subsidies
- unemployment insurance
- maternity benefits
- social assistance
- census data
- child and spousal support
- pensions, etc.
We have struggled to have the voice of the 90% of families that do not use daycare even heard by legislators.
We stand for the well-being of children and their families, parental choice in child care, and for equity in child care funding.
Executive members made presentations to government committees, met with politicians and established a national network. Demonstrations to raise public awareness, guest appearances on radio and at speaking engagements raised public profile of the equality movement. National petitions were held and ultimately there was a two pronged challenge launched in the Income Tax Court of Canada in 1993 (Boland). Fund-raising and hiring of expert witnesses for this court challenge paid off—the court did rule that there was a discrimination currently in the law.
Members of Kids First made complaints to the Human Rights Commission and to the Division for the Advancement of Women at the UN. The UN Conference at Beijing in 1995 rallied all member nations to value unpaid caregiving labour, and Canada signed the Platform for Action in that regard.
In 1999 the UN Working Group issued a statement that there was indeed a problem still, including legal systems discriminating, a high incidence of women and children in poverty and a lack of women in decision-making. Since then members of Kids First have met with the ministers of finance, status of women and with MPs working on behalf of children, from all parties.
Kids First networks with other parent support groups here and abroad. The movement to value caregiving labour has become a major force in sociological studies as well as a focus of the next big push in the struggle for women’s equality.
Since September 2001 Kids First has used primarily the internet to communicate and is exploring options for a legal challenge to discriminatory legislation and policies.
President – Helen Ward
Vice-President – S. Glavas
Treasurer – April Arthur
Directors – Sarah Godoy
Please click here to contact us about questions, concerns, etc…