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  • Author or Editor: Shirley Dex x
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From birth to nine months
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This book documents the early lives of almost 19,000 children born in the UK at the start of the 21st century, and their families. It is the first time that analysis of data from the hugely important Millennium Cohort Study, a longitudinal study following the progress of the children and their families, has been drawn together in a single volume. The unrivalled data is examined here to address important policy and scientific issues. The book is also the first in a series of publications that will report on the children’s lives at different stages of their development.

The fascinating range of findings presented here is strengthened by comparison with data on earlier generations. This has enabled the authors to assess the impact of a wide range of policies on the life courses of a new generation, including policies on child health, parenting, childcare and social exclusion.

Babies of the new millennium (title tbc) is the product of an exciting collaboration from experts across a wide range of health and social science fields. The result is a unique and authoritative analysis of family life and early childhood in the UK that cuts across old disciplinary boundaries. It is essential reading for academics, students and researchers in the health and social sciences. It will also be a useful resource for policy makers and practitioners who are interested in childhood, child development, child poverty, child health, childcare and family policy.

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This chapter presents some concluding remarks. In what has been an unprecedented time in the UK for family policy initiatives and developments, the new large-scale longitudinal survey of babies that was launched in the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) of 18,819 babies has provided an interesting opportunity for analysis. This book has given people the chance to start to dip into the richness of this new survey, explore its potential, compare its findings with earlier generations and provide some benchmarks for the future with this new generation of children who have started out life in this era of new UK family policy. This chapter presents some final thoughts about policy questions such as babies under different family structures and parenting regimes; fathers’ involvement in childcare; child poverty; working mothers; parental employment; babies’ health and development, and social capital.

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Since the early 1980s, massive changes have occurred in the contractual status of the industry workforce of British television. Estimates in the early 1990s suggested that sixty per cent of the workforce in British television were self-employed freelance or self-employed owners of small independent production companies. Since the 1970s, there has been a large growth in self-employment in Britain. Both women and men have seen an increase in this type of contractual working arrangement, although men have a larger number in this type of working arrangement than women. This chapter offers new insights into gender inequality over time as it is reflected in this growing form of employment status in the British economy. It explores the in- and out-of-work experiences of self-employed workers in television production in Britain in the 1990s. The chapter uses the data provided by the Television Industry Tracking Study (ITS), and examines some of the dynamic elements of employment experiences. The rest of the chapter summarises the research on self-employment based on cross-sectional data. The chapter then presents more details on the context of the changing structure of the television industry. It also discusses the models for employment continuity and the findings from modelling these elements of employment continuity of women and men working in the television industry.

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This chapter considers diversity arising from the parent's varied employment hours and care combinations, which is called family economies for both couples and lone parents. It also deals with diversity linked to ethnicity and diversity linked to partnership status as these are important policy issues. It examines the detailed employment trajectories that MCS mothers followed over these five early years and their correlates with mothers' characteristics and use of childcare. It also documents mothers' working arrangements and the relationship of these to their work-life balance. It weighs all analyses that follow using a product of the original sampling weights and an allowance for attrition.

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The first five years

This book documents the first five years of life of the children of the influential Millennium Cohort Study, which is tracking almost 19,000 babies born in 2000 and 2001 in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This book is the second in a series of books which will report on the findings from the data and follows on from Children of the 21st century: From birth to nine months (The Policy Press, 2005). It takes an extended look at the children's lives and development as they grow and begin formal education, and the implications for family policy, and service planning in health and social services.

The chapters in this book are written by experts across a wide range of social science and health fields and form a unique look at the early lives of children that cuts across disciplinary boundaries. It is essential reading for academics, students and researchers in these fields. It will also be of relevance to policy makers and practitioners with an interest in children's early years, family life, child development, child poverty, childcare and education and health care.

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This chapter introduces the UK Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) which is the fourth of a set of world-renowned national cohort studies in Britain, each following a group of individuals drawn from the population at large from the time of their birth and onwards through later life. It contains the origins and objectives of the study, along with the results of its first survey. It notes that the first of these nationally representative cohort studies, the MRC's National Study of Health and Development, follows people born in 1946, followed by the 1958 cohort National Child Development Study (NCDS), and later by the British Cohort Study of 1970 (BCS 70), which are following members into mid-life, complete with records of their childhood, education, health, employment, and family formation. It further notes that each cohort study forms a resource for a wide range of research into many social and medical areas.

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This chapter picks out some themes that have emerged from the different aspects of the children's lives covered in the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). It draws together a few implications for the future. It notes that the threads running through this volume and this study tell of diversity, mobility, and intergenerational transmission. It explains that the diversity of the points from which the MCS children have started out in life include inequality in their family origins, while variation and inequality are beginning to emerge in the development paths of the children themselves. It further explains that on mobility, the longitudinal data permits a view of the fluidity of the families' situation over the first five years in family composition, poverty, parental employment, location, and childcare. It notes that the study also provides an important building block to assess secular change in intergenerational social mobility, and detailed evidence on the various routes through which parents transmit well-being and also social advantage to their children.

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Fathers’ contributions to childcare have increased, but are still far outweighed by mothers’ contributions. Increased paid work among mothers has also necessitated increased childcare outside the immediate family. This chapter focuses on paid work and childcare while mothers are employed, as elements of family life, at the dawn of the 21st century. The chapter describes first the employment status of parents at the point where their baby was aged 9–10 months, and then the childcare they arranged while they were employed. Finally, it examines indicators of mothers’ and fathers’ work-life balance.

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This chapter introduces the main topics covered by this book. The initiation of a new cohort study of approximately 18,800 UK babies born in the Millennium provides the opportunity to reflect on the circumstances of children in Britain at the start of a new century. This book focuses on the information collected in the new Millennium Cohort Study of these babies covering the period from pregnancy through to nine months old. However, it also offers a perspective from earlier generations in selected respects, to show how circumstances and experiences differ. The book focuses on particular aspects of starting out on life in the 21st century; these include pregnancy experiences; birth experiences; child health; growth and development; parents’ health; household structure; socioeconomic circumstances of parents; employment and education of mothers and fathers; childcare arrangements; household income and attitudes to parenting and employment.

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Probably one of the single most important elements of a child’s origins that affect their development and subsequent life chances is the family’s economic circumstances. This chapter reviews the socioeconomic human capital of parents of Millennium Cohort babies and considers families’ financial resources. It examines the extent of families living in poverty at the start of the cohort child’s life and the family characteristics associated with living in poverty are described. Measuring poverty involves discussing how to assess poverty using income and relative poverty measures available in the data. The chapter also includes an examination of how families feel their financial circumstances changed over the time of having this birth. Finally, it considers the contribution to family resources and relationships of wider kin, in the form of grandparents who are part of babies’ social, relationship and financial capitals at the start of their lives.

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