Cost of care for children can exceed university tuition

Daycare prices in Metro Vancouver have risen so high that the cost of four years of early-childhood care can exceed that of a four-year university degree. A typical family in Vancouver with a child in full-time care from the end of parental leave to the beginning of kindergarten can expect to pay somewhere in the neighbourhood of $50,000 for child care. By contrast, a four-year undergraduate arts degree at the University of B.C. costs about $31,000, including tuition, student fees and books.


To Stop Violence, Start at Home

Article courtesy:

THE pattern is striking. Men who are eventually arrested for violent acts often began wi th attacks against their girlfriends and wives. In many cases, the charges of domestic violence were not taken seriously or were dismissed.

Before Tamerlan Tsarnaev was suspected of carrying out the bombing of the Boston Marathon, he was arrested for beating his girlfriend. When Man Haron Monis held 17 people hostage at a Lindt Chocolate cafe in Sydney, he had already been charged as an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife. Before George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin to death in Florida, his ex-girlfriend accused him of physically assaulting her. He faced no charges, but has been arrested twice for alleged domestic violence since 2013.

A recent study found that more than half of the 110 mass shootings in the United States between January 2009 and July 2014 included the murder of a current or former spouse, an intimate partner or a family member.Everytown for Gun Safety, the group that released the study, found a “noteworthy connection between mass-shooting incidents and domestic or family violence.”

This connection is not limited to mass shootings. An analysis of the criminal justice history of hundreds of thousands of offenders in Washington State suggests that a felony domestic violence conviction is the single greatest predictor of future violent crime among men.

With so much at stake, responding to violence against women should be a top priority for everyone. Research tells us that violence is a learned behavior.

Boys who grow up in homes with abuse and domestic violence are nearly four times more likely to perpetrate domestic violence than those who grow up in homes without it. Because violence in the home tends to be a child’s first experience of it and is often defended as either inevitable or trivial, it becomes the root and justifier of all violence.

Men who commit violence rehearse and perfect it against their families first. Women and children are target practice, and the home is the training ground for these men’s later actions.

By intervening early and stopping violence in the home, we ensure the safety of the women and children who are the first victims. We can also take steps to make it harder for perpetrators to go on to commit additional crimes, whether inside or outside the home. We could, for instance, decide that anyone who committed domestic violence could not buy or own a gun. Yet in 35 states, those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes and those subject to restraining orders can buy and carry guns. Closing these and other gaps in federal and state laws on domestic violence will save women’s lives, and by extension, many more.

And yet keeping guns out of the hands of domestic violence perpetrators is only a small part of the solution. Preventing assaults at home from happening in the first place is the key to ensuring the safety of our communities and the security of our nation.

And while some consider that problem simply too big to tackle, the truth is that we know where to look for solutions. In their landmark study published in the American Political Science Review in 2012, Mala Htun and S. Laurel Weldon looked at 70 countries over four decades to examine the most effective way to reduce violence against women. They found that the mobilization of strong, independent feminist movements was a more important force in reducing violence against women than the economic wealth of a nation, the representation of women in government or the presence of progressive political parties. Strong and thriving feminist movements help to shape public and government agendas and create the political will to address violence against women.

As activists, we see this every day. The hundreds of feminist organizations that work on this issue around this country are the best chance we have of ending the epidemic of private violence, and therefore the epidemic of public violence.

There are many small grass-roots groups that go after private and public violence at their common root. Among them are A Long Walk Home(founded by one of us), which uses art to empower young people to end violence against girls and women; A Call to Men, which mobilizes men to stand up to violence by other boys and men; and Tewa Women United, which unites indigenous women to heal and transform their communities.

Safe and democratic families are the key to ensuring safe and democratic communities. Until women are safe in the home, none of us will be safe outside the home.

My Brother Was The Last Person You’d Picture With A Needle In His Arm




Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the upcoming book “Generation Rx: A Story of Dope, Death, And America’s Opiate Crisis” by Erin Marie Daly, a former legal journalist.
Daly’s 20-year-old brother died of a heroin overdose after getting hooked on painkillers. To research her book, she talked to others whose loved ones died after moving from prescription pills to heroin.

Erin Marie Daly and her brother, Pat
Erin Marie Daly and her brother, Pat

George, a funeral home director in Brockton, Massachusetts, watched as the formaldehyde pulsed its way into the body lying before him on the porcelain embalming table. It was a task that was normally just part of a day’s work, but today, George was overwhelmed by emotion. He slid down to the floor, sobbing, and gripped the hand of the body on the table, willing it to come back to life.

The hand belonged to his 22-year-old son, Lance.

The night before, just after the Boston Red Sox lost to the New York Yankees, George had climbed the stairs to Lance’s bedroom in the home that also houses George’s funeral business. Lance was kneeling on the floor against a chair, with his head slumped forward onto his chest. It looked like he was praying. But he was stiff and unnaturally still. A needle lay by his feet. Heroin had stopped his heart.

It was a twisted ending for the son of a funeral director, but unfortunately, it was hardly surprising. Like many young adults in the working- class Boston suburb, Lance’s heroin addiction began when he became hooked on the powerful prescription painkiller OxyContin. An opioid medication originally developed to treat patients suffering from debilitating pain, the drug has become popular among local kids who crush the pills and snort, smoke, or even inject them for a heroin-like high. When the pills become too expensive, they are increasingly turning to heroin itself.

George, for his part, had seen dozens of such cases come across his embalming table in recent years—the sons and daughters of good parents who thought heroin was something only “junkies” did. And even though he was well aware of Lance’s years-long struggle with opiate addiction—at one especially exasperated moment, telling his son that he was saving a casket for him—a junkie’s death wasn’t what he had in mind for Lance.

Despite years of addiction and lies and close calls, he never thought it would be his son.

I met George in the summer of 2010 after reading about his story in a newspaper. I had traveled across the country from California with a story of my own: my youngest brother, Pat, was also addicted to OxyContin and died of a heroin overdose in February 2009, six months shy of his twenty-first birthday. I was seeking answers as a sister and as a journalist. Shortly after Pat’s death, I had started researching prescription painkiller addiction, and had started blogging about my findings. Privately, I also began researching my brother’s life, trying to piece together his downfall in an effort to understand where he went wrong.

Pat was my baby. I was ten years old when he was born, and he was the perfect addition to the pretend scenarios for which I had already bossily recruited my other younger brother and sister. And as babies are, he was incontrovertibly lovable.

Yet as much as I loved my brother, I could not understand his obsession with OxyContin. Nor did I know that it had put him straight on the path to heroin. I learned of the extent of his struggle too late. Also too late, I learned about the disease of addiction, and about the particular insidiousness of narcotic painkillers, all of which provide a heroin-like high when abused: not just OxyContin, but Vicodin, Opana, Darvocet, Fentanyl, Percocet, Dilaudid, Lortab, and Roxicodone, to name just a few (central nervous system depressants like Xanax, Ativan, Valium and Klonopin are also often abused due to their tranquilizing properties).

I learned that Pat wasn’t a special case; that kids just like him, all over the country, were falling victim to these pills: in 2010, 3,000 young adults ages 18 to 25 died of prescription drug overdoses—eight deaths per day.

Like Pat, many ended up turning to heroin after their pills became too expensive or scarce; in 2011, 4.2 million Americans aged 12 or older reported using heroin at least once in their lives, and nearly half of young IV heroin users reported that they abused prescription opioids first. Like these kids, my brother was the last person you’d picture with a needle in his arm, and yet they were all dying as junkies. I wanted to understand why this was happening, so I quit my job as a legal journalist and began traveling around the country in the hopes that chronicling the experiences of other families affected by the trend would offer some answers.

George was one of the first people I encountered. He told me the story about embalming his son as we sat in the receiving room of his funeral home, surrounded by the proverbial mementos of death: prayer cards, dried floral arrangements, a casket stuffed with billowy waves of satin. He choked up as he talked about Lance, and I choked up too, unable to maintain my reporter’s distance. It was my brother’s story all over again.

Credit: Copyright © 2014 by Erin Marie Daly from Generation Rx: A Story of Dope, Death, and America’s Opiate Crisis.

Read more: