On June 1, 2015, the National University of Tres de Febrero (UNTREF) and Equidad para la Infancia América Latina/Equity for Children hosted a “Care and Local Environments: Stakeholders and Practices”, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Participants, including academics, policy makers and local practitioners, took a deep look at different dimensions of the relationship between care and local environments, particularly within a context of poverty and social vulnerability.
CONICET and University of Buenos Aires Researcher, Carla Zibecchi, reflected on community care spaces for children in vulnerable areas. Zibecchi emphasized the diversity and heterogeneity of these institutions and their strong ties with local communities. She stressed that the national government must work in conjunction with these organizations to ensure that community care centers and other officially recognized institutions, whether public or private, share similar educational curriculum and opportunities for all children.
Marisa Fournier, Researcher at the National University General Sarmiento in Buenos Aires, addressed the issue of insufficient government funding in early childhood education within a context of high vulnerability and how this affects community care workers and their organizations. Fournier argues that these organizations have to adapt to a “process of collectivization of care”, which links the rights of children with the rights of the women who care for them in community childcare organizations.
Finally, CONICET-FLACSO Researcher, Victoria Castilla, presented her gendered analysis on the transformation of masculinity as it relates to care. She discussed new manifestations of paternity in vulnerable sectors and highlighted the lack of childcare-related public policies that include men.
After the panelist presentations, an open discussion with the audience highlighted interesting issues. In particular, initiatives of “caring for caregivers” seem to improve the quality of care given to children. It is therefore crucial to develop policies that improve working conditions for those engaged in care work. Another contribution stressed the importance of also thinking of children as caregivers, both for others and for themselves, especially within a context of high vulnerability.
This colloquium was part of the seminar series, Perspectives on Childhood and Urban Social Issue: Care and Public Policies, co-organized by Equidad para la Infancia América Latina/Equity for Children and UNTREF with the goal of promoting an open discussion on issues of child care to move the public agenda forward.