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Wpg Free Press: Study says no firm estimate on costs to raise a family a problem for government

March 8, 2017 — 

As the Winnipeg Free Press reports from the Canadian Press:

Ottawa doesn’t have a bead on just how much it costs to raise a child in Canada, says a new study, prompting some experts to wonder if politics and ideology are trumping evidence when it comes to making decisions on social policy.

The paper, sponsored by the anti-poverty group Campaign 2000, says governments need a better way of measuring cost to ensure family benefits and anti-poverty initiatives are of help to those who need it the most….

The cost of raising a child ranges from about $5,000 a year to more than $12,000, depending on which estimate one looks at and whether those estimates incorporate variables like child care, transportation, food and housing. Thanks to a lack of data and no clear consensus on how best to measure the cost, disputes about accuracy abound.

Such lack of certainty leaves a lot of leeway for political and ideological preferences to take over and drive policy changes, said Sid Frankel, an associate professor of social work at the University of Manitoba, and co-author of the study.

“Government and others speak a lot about evidence-based policy and here’s an essential area of evidence that has essentially been ignored.”

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