The Family Friendly Spaces scheme creates factory-based childcare facilities that enable workers to spend more time with their children.
China has a huge ‘LBC’ issue, which stands for Left Behind Children. ICTI wants to ensure that the children of workers involved in toy production are fully considered by suppliers and consumers and that they see their parents working in a toy factory as a positive thing.
Carmel Giblin, CEO and president of the ICTI Ethical Toy Program, told Toy World: “In China, where most toys are produced, there are an estimated 61m Left Behind Children; it’s a massive problem. Their parents are domestic migrants, who have moved from rural areas to find work while their children remain in the care of grandparents or other relatives. LBC is most acute in China, largely because of a historical Government system called Hukou. This system dictated that a person had to be educated and seek healthcare only within their own province; you couldn’t travel to another and expect to go to school or be treated for a medical condition.”
In 2016, the Ethical Toy Program began to understand the positive impact that improved contact with their children would have on the workforce. Parents often only manage to return home once a year, usually at Chinese New Year, and spoke of guilt from being separated from their children, and their concerns that they weren’t having a positive impact on their lives. The Ethical Toy Program saw an opportunity to address this, and so the Family Friendly Spaces initiative was born.
Working with CCRCSR, the Chinese affiliate of Save the Children, ICTI launched Family Friendly Spaces in 2016, providing a safe environment for the children to play, access learning opportunities, develop social skills, and spend time with their parents. The spaces enable migrant parent workers and their children to spend valuable time together during the summer school holiday period.
The Family Friendly Spaces programme is accessible to any size of company, from one-man-bands to global giants, which can all play a part in helping kids have a happy childhood and families to stay together.
To read the full interview, to find out how the scheme benefits parents, children and factories, and hear the expansion plans for 2020, click here.