The Centre has reached an exciting milestone as we delivered the 101st Child-Friendly Space in 2022. Read on to discover how the programme continues to deliver benefits for parents, children and factories alike and find out how you can get involved in our 2023 child-friendly spaces programme.
Initially piloted to support parent workers and their families at factories in China in 2015, the Child-Friendly Space (CFS) programme has grown to become one of The Centre’s flagship programmes, implemented at 101 factories (including a farm site) and supporting over 10,000 parent workers and their children.
The CFS programme establishes childcare facilities at factories and farms for children to learn, play and rest while their parents work. CFS typically run over during the summer when schools are closed but can also continue operating as after-school centres to provide year-round childcare support.
CFS not only allows parent workers to spend valuable time with their children but also create a safe space to prevent the risk of children being brought to production areas and hence, reduce major compliance risks including child labour risks. CFS also enables migrant parent workers and their children to spend valuable time together during the summer school holiday period, providing much needed childcare support for migrant workers as part of broader efforts to address left-behind children challenges which exist in different parts of the world.
Reaching our key CFS milestone in 2022
2022 was the 7th year of operation for the CFS programme and despite some of the ongoing challenges related to COVID-19, seven factories participated in Child-Friendly Spaces for the first time, benefitting approximately 171 children and helping 183 parent workers. You can view highlights from this year’s CFS program here.
Initially focused on helping Chinese factories to strengthen childcare facilities to benefit parent workers in China, the CFS program has continued to evolve to cover new sectors and regions. In 2021, The Centre piloted a farm-based CFS to provide childcare support to seasonal workers – including Syrian refugee workers – employed at rose gardens in Turkey. In 2023, The Centre will further expand CFS to Indonesia to support parent workers and families at rattan growing sites.
Delivering sustained benefits for business, workers, and families
CFS equips factories with hands-on knowledge and know-how experience to establish and operate effective child friendly spaces which meet the needs of their workforce. It helps factories to become more responsive to the needs of parent workers which brings significant improvements in worker retention rates and satisfaction levels.
CFS is designed to create long-term impact and equips factories with the skills they need to continue running CFS independently beyond the initial setup year. As of 2022, we are delighted to report that 72 participating factories have continued to run CFS themselves following initial setup support from The Centre.
This figure of 71% marks a significant achievement as initial setup support from buyers amount to around about ten to twelve thousand USD per factory, of which then are used to run the CFS as an integrated part of the factories’ standard business. In other words, a mere investment of twelve thousand USD translates into this long-term project that directly benefits hundreds of children and working parents.
Mini case study: CFS converts to an After School Centre (ASC) to offer year-round childcare
Over the years, more than 25 Child-Friendly Spaces (CFS) have gone on to become After School Centre (ASC) to provide year-round childcare support for workers. Here’s an example of a how a toy factory in China turned its CFS into an ASC, truly reflecting the long-lasting impact of the CFS programme.
A toy factory in Guangdong demonstrated its commitment of being a family-friendly employer as parents’ need for childcare service grew when schools and kindergartens were shut down due to COVID-19. The factory had initially opened a CFS to cater to parents’ childcare needs during the summer. Out of goodwill and the desire to support the workers during these trying times, the factory continued utilising the CFS as an ASC for migrant children from 4:00 -6:00 pm on weekdays and full days on Saturdays. This allowed the parents to work worry-free until they finish their shifts, and contributed to the children’s well-being and access to quality education after school.
The After School Centre at the toy factory
The little ones having fun with toys and group activities with the ASC teacher
Not only did the ASC offer much-needed support and relief to the parents, but it has also benefited the children themselves as well. According to an impact assessment by The Centre, 89% of parents reported that their children acquired new skills at the ASC, while 84% of parents got to spend more time with their children after they enrolled in the ASC.
“I feel less stressed after having my child attend the programme because I know that the ASC is safe for children and transportation is provided. My child told me that being at the ASC is more fun than being back at home,” one worker said.
“Last year my son was living back home and his grandparents took care of him. I used to worry about his health, and sometimes he was left home alone. After learning about the factory’s ASC programme, I decided to bring my son here to live with me,” a mother of a 6-year-old son told us at The Centre. “I believe bringing children with me is better for their psychological wellbeing and our relationship. The ASC relieved my stress on childcare, and it helped both me and my children,” the worker added.
Get involved in the 2023 CFS program
The Centre is working to pilot further CFS in Turkey, Bangladesh, Indonesia and other countries next year, and we will continue to support new factories in China to join the programme. As one worker said, having a CFS at one’s workplace was “a dream come true”. Before CFS was implemented in the factories, it was necessary for workers to quit their jobs during the summer just to take care of their children. Now, they can be at ease during the summer holidays to focus on both their work and family.
We want to bring more positive impacts to more parent workers and children through CFS. Speak to us to discuss how you and your suppliers can benefit from participating in next year’s CFS programme.
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