Putting children first
Our policies put the welfare of every child first – for the benefit of the present and future generations. We want children to grow up healthy and well cared for. This means giving children a safe, intact environment and healthy food. It means educating them in a way which empowers them to become independent and encourages their natural enjoyment of physical activity. Children should not just be present in an adult world; they should have the chance to shape their own environment. We believe that they should be able to make an active contribution, rather than simply having to cope with the effects of other people's decisions and failings.
We see children as people in their own right, with their own rights. Making child rights a reality is the priority in our policies, which are geared towards children's welfare. We aim to send out a clear signal and strengthen children's constitutional rights.
Education – early support, learning together
Every child should have equal chances of a good start in life. This is essential to avoid educational deprivation. So we want to support children from the earliest stage in life and invest far more in the requisite infrastructure. As an effective response to children's social exclusion, we want to drive forward the establishment of full-day non-denominational schools. These will create a different rhythm in schools, restructure the teaching process, and facilitate a holistic approach to learning.
Early childhood education is still not universally accessible, and yet good nurseries benefit everyone. So we want every child to have a right to full-day care and education from the first year of life. We also want to launch a campaign for quality that is worthy of the name. We need nationwide quality standards for childcare facilities, which must apply not only to education but also to the equipment available, group size and the provision of healthy meals.
We want families to be able to spend more time together. Our aim is a substantial expansion of family-centred services and facilities. In order to build parenting skills, for example, we are working for children's nurseries to be expanded into parent-child centres.
Family benefits for social justiceWe Greens want a fair society – and that means a society free from child poverty. The existing family benefits system is unjust and does not prevent child poverty. The state's current approach puts different values on children. Higher earners benefit from tax allowances, which make them better off overall than "average" recipients of child benefit. This massive injustice is exacerbated by the increase in tax allowances. Children on welfare do not benefit at all, and yet they are most in need of the state's support. Our proposal for a children's basic income aims to replace the old system of family benefits with a new and socially equitable model.