London’s Brent Council is now offering a new “Flexible childcare” option to parents that allows kids to be dropped off at all hours of the day. This new 24-hour daycare is meant to help out parents who work irregular hours, even if those hours include overnights or weekends. The service, made up of a pool of childcare providers, has been met with some criticism because frankly, “24-hour childcare” makes it sound like parents are dumping kids off for days at a time, but in reality, according to The Guardian, “24-hour childcare isn’t the baby factory it sounds like; these are not nursery places, strip-lit municipal halls full of travel cots, where you drop off your bug-eyed, exhausted young at 3am so you can pull a cleaning shift that starts at 5am. These are childminder places, inexpensive (£5.33 an hour) and in a home environment.” On the flip-side, some, like psychotherapist and policy adviser Indra Adnan, say, “Politically, we’re always focused on the wrong thing. We’re always focused on how to free up women mainly, but also men, to work more. There are a lot of casualties to that. And I don’t even think it’s cost-effective… There’s one secret to a child growing up successfully. That child has to be the apple of one person’s eye. Children need general care, but they need specific care from somebody who cares about them… But this whole thing is a cycle of desperation, where we just see ourselves as workers, to drive an economy that isn’t rewarding us anyway.” Clearly, some parents ARE way too focused on work and material over family time, but not all parents are in the same boat. To me, Adnan’s words seem coined by someone with lots of HELP when it comes to kids. Not all parents have the same support. 24-hour childcare is a good idea for parents who may only be able to find work during off hours and an especially good idea for single parents or parents who lack family and friend support systems. Parents in the area can find out about 24-hour childcare through Brent’s Children and Families Information Service (CFIS).

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