PAID LEAVE & WELL BABY CARE
Babies and parents need time together. This time supports important bonding that is crucial to healthy development. Weak or insecure attachment has many ramifications, such as predicting high school dropout rates with 77% accuracy.
Yet under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), only 8 percent of mothers in the United States who give birth or adopt children and no statistically significant percentage of fathers are eligible to receive unpaid family leave.
An example of the stresses children and families experience with early entry into out-of-home care.
What We Know
- After birth or adoption there is little governmental support for well baby care. Children with incomplete well baby care are 60% more likely to visit an emergency department compared to children whose care is up-to-date.
- According to the Clearinghouse on International Developments in Child, Youth and Family Policies, the U.S. ranks 134th out of 164 countries in terms of guaranteed maternity and parental leave policies.
- To qualify for FMLA (non-paid) leave, parents must have at least one year of job tenure with their current employer. In addition, leave is limited to workers whose employers have at least 50 workers within 75 miles of the work location. FMLA leave covers both birth and adoptive parents, but if both parents work for the same employer, their total time allotment is limited to 12 weeks.
- In high- risk or chronically ill children, lack of well baby care increases the likelihood of preventable hospitalization.
- Preterm infants who survive birth are at greater risk of developing both short- and long-term health complications including cerebral palsy, sensorial and motor disabilities, respiratory illnesses and learning and behavioral disorders. Many of the debilitating effects of these health issues can be prevented with well baby care.
- Many European countries provide universal nurse home visitation services for all newborns and their families. By comparison, the U.S. provides home visitation services just to a fraction of those at-risk populations that qualify for services.
- Breast feeding is often halted as mothers move back into the work force early in the life of their child because of lack of paid leave. Compared to breastfed infants, formula-fed infants cost the healthcare system more money in their first-year of life due to their increased rate of illness and hospitalization. This costs the managed care system between $331 and $475 per each non-breastfed infant.
Assistance with breast-feeding to help mothers continue the practice is a common component of well baby home visiting services.
Hear about the complexities of paid family leave from parents and experts.