State of the World's Mothers 2009, Investing in the Early by Charles F. MacCormack

By Charles F. MacCormack

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S. performed below the average of every OECD country except Turkey and Mexico in science literacy. 101 • Korea has gone from well behind to significantly ahead of the United States in high school attainment in just a few generations. 103 • United States 32 | State of the World’s Mothers 2009 Early CHILDHOOD Development Report Card* How wealthy countries measure up on suggested minimum standards for ECD Number of benchmarks achieved 2008 Parental leave of 1 year at 50% of salary A national plan with priority for disadvantaged children Subsidized and regulated child care services for 25% of children under 3 Subsidized and accredited early education services for 80% of 4-yearolds 80% of all child care staff trained 50% of staff in accredited early education services tertiary educated with relevant qualifications Minimum staff-tochildren ratio of 1:15 in preschool education 1% of GDP spent on early childhood services Child poverty rate less than 10% Nearuniversal outreach of essential child health services Percentage of children aged 3-4 enrolled in preschool‡ 2006 ★ ★ 84 Best in Class Sweden 10 Iceland 9 Denmark 8 Finland 8 France 8 Norway 8 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 94 94 ★ 44 112 ★ 89 ★ 125 "A" for (Average) Effort Belgium (Flanders) 6 Portugal 4 Republic of Korea 4 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Mexico 3 ★ Spain 3 Switzerland 3 United States 3 Australia 2 Canada 1 Ireland 1 Hungary 6 New Zealand 6 Slovenia 6 Austria 5 Netherlands 5 United Kingdom** 5 Germany 4 Italy 4 Japan 4 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 82 91 ★ ★ ★ 75 68 ★ 37 90 97 ★ 105 ★ 83 72 ★ ★ ★ 24 Falling Behind Total benchmarks met ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 6 19 13 * Report Card adapted from UNICEF: The Child Care Transition, Innocenti Report Card 8.

At this rate, every mother in Niger is likely to suffer the loss of a child. The data collected for the Mothers’ Index document the tremendous gaps between rich and poor countries and the urgent need to accelerate progress in the health and wellbeing of mothers and their children. The data also highlight the regional dimension of this tragedy. Three of the bottom 10 countries are Arab States and the remaining seven are in sub-Saharan Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa also accounts for 16 of the 20 lowest-ranking countries.

Children who have experienced trauma may suffer from disrupted sleep, increased alertness, bed-wetting, profound sadness, frequent worry, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, withdrawal, regression and/or increased aggression. Parents often need guidance to understand better what their infants and young children are going through. Some parents are frightened themselves and need support and confidencebuilding in order to settle down and learn how to understand their children’s behavior, listen to their children, sooth and reassure their children, and help them heal.

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