New study: government run child-care increases negative outcomes for kids

Canada Political Map
Canada Political Map

I’ve complained before about Quebec, the most liberal and secular province in Canada. Well, one of the things that makes them so crappy is their policy of encouraging women to abandon their young children to strangers in government-run daycare. The government takes a whole lot of taxpayer money, often from traditional single-earner homes, and uses it to subsidize government-run child care. Well, now we have a brand new fresh study to show how wrong this policy has been.

Canada’s radically leftist CTV News reports on the study.


In a paper released Monday, a group of university researchers say that children exposed to the province’s child-care system were more likely to have higher crime rates, worse health and lower levels of life satisfaction as they have aged than their counterparts in other provinces who didn’t have access to the same type of system.

[…]In their paper made public Monday through the National Bureau of Economic Research, Kevin Milligan from the University of British Columbia, Michael Baker from the University of Toronto, and Jonathan Gruber from MIT in Cambridge, Mass., update work from 2008 to see if children in the Quebec care system kicked their troubling behaviours over time.

To do that, they analyzed four different data sets from Statistics Canada that touched on child outcomes, health and crime rates and scores from standardized tests that are connected to the national Council of Ministers of Education.

What the trio found instead was “striking evidence” that exposure to the program was associated with higher crime rates, with the effects most acutely seen in boys. Boys were more likely to have higher levels of hyperactivity and aggression, the researchers wrote, while girls showed declines in prosocial behaviour, which captures many altruistic activities like donating and volunteering. All of those behaviours fall under the heading of “non-cognitive” abilities, such as impulsiveness and emotional stability.

Exposure to the program was also associated with “worsened health and life satisfaction,” the study says.

There was no such lasting effects on math, science and reading abilities, the researchers write.

By the way, in case you are wondering – yes, that is the same Jonathan Gruber of MIT who was the architect of Obamacare. Surprising that he would be co-author on a study that dings big government.

Are these results unique to Canada? Let’s take a look at a recent study from the UK.

From the UK Telegraph.


Academics at Oxford University discovered that exposure to some forms of early education contributed to bad behaviour and could be linked to emotional problems.

[…]In the Oxford study, researchers recruited 991 families with children aged three months. Mothers had an average age of 30.

Researchers assessed children at the age of four through questionnaires about their behaviour and emotions completed by teachers and parents. They also observed care provided by mothers and observed non-parental care for at least 90 minutes for those children placed in formal childcare settings.

The report, published in the journal Child: Care, Health and Development, said that “children who spent more time in group care, mainly nursery care, were more likely to have behavioural problems, particularly hyperactivity”.

The study, led by Prof Alan Stein, of Oxford’s Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found that “spending more time in day care centres, over the total period was a predictor of total problem scores”.

“Children who spent more time in day care centres were more likely to be hyperactive,” it said. “Children receiving more care by childminders were more likely to have peer problems.”

The authors added: “The findings in relation to childminding suggest that it might be out of home care rather than group care that raises the risk of behavioural difficulties.”

Well, that’s only Canada and the UK. Maybe things are better in Sweden?

Here’s a second article from the National Post (one of Canada’s national newspapers) about Sweden’s government-run universal day care system.


True, parental leave in Sweden is a generous 16 months. There are no babies in daycare. But when parental leave ends, practically the reverse is true: A full 92% of all children aged 18 months to five years are in daycare. Parents pay only a symbolic amount for this; tax subsidies for daycare are $20,000 per child, annually. Swedish taxes are among the highest in the world, and the tax system was designed to make both parents seek employment in the work force.

[…]Then there are the questions about the social toll Sweden’s childcare system is taking. Sweden has offered a comprehensive daycare system since 1975; since the early ‘90s, negative outcomes for children and adolescents are on the rise in areas of health and behaviour. While direct causation has been difficult to prove, many Swedish health-care professionals point to the lack of parent involvement beyond the first 16 months as a primary contributing factor. Psychosomatic disorders and mild psychological problems are escalating among Swedish youth at a faster rate than in any of 11 comparable European countries. Such disorders have tripled among girls over the last 25 years. Education outcomes in Swedish schools have fallen from the top position 30 years ago, to merely average amongst OECD nations today. Behaviour problems in Swedish classrooms are among the worst in Europe.

Now this idea of government taking children away from families is very popular on the left, because they want children to be “equal”, and that means getting them away from their parents so that the government can raise them “equally”. You can even see Hillary Clinton pushing for it when she talks about “universal pre-K”. Well, maybe it’s time that someone showed her the studies. Not that she strikes me as someone who cares a lot about children, given her support for born-alive abortions and organ harvesting.

6 thoughts on “New study: government run child-care increases negative outcomes for kids”

  1. Why do people continually fall for the idea that children should all be raised alike in little child factories as if they were products to be produced via assembly line? They start in daycares, then preschools, then the school system. And the idea seems to be to run them through the system and produce little robots that all parrot the same nonsense they’ve been taught and all have the same views and skills. Maybe that’s the liberal idea of utopia where we will all finally be “equal.” But it sounds distinctly dystopian and mechanical to me. No thank you. My kids will not be produced by a system. They aren’t little robots. They’re people. Individuals. They will be raised, as children were designed to be, in a loving family led by the parents whose love produced them. That’s the right way to do it, and the studies consistently reinforce this.

    1. I think it’s this obsession with “equal” and mistrust of parents. Secular government types often lack a rational basis for morality, so they are suspicious of parents teaching their children traditional moral views. Think of how in Ontario the gay-friendly school curriculum was pushed on even private schools and homeschoolers. And the architect of this play was a convicted child pornographer and academic leftist. He thought that his view of children as sexual objects should be taught in schools, and the gay premier of Ontario agreed with him. Naturally, parents don’t want that for their kids. So how can the secular left get around this? Simple – by taking children away from their uptight religious parents all day and teaching them perversions, and then grading them on how well they accept perversion as normal. This is the worldview of the secular left.

  2. I think the universal childcare is also about getting women into the workforce, as the quotes in your article about Sweden seem to indicate. “Equality” in careers between men and women by “freeing” women from the burden of looking after their offspring.

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