Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina (PCANC) applauds Governor Roy Cooper for signing Executive Order No. 95. Studies show paid family leave is a critical public and business policy that can prevent child abuse and neglect and save the lives of children during an especially vulnerable time period, the early years of life:
- A 2015 study found that the State of California had a significant decrease in abusive head trauma admissions for children under age 2 when their parents had paid family leave, compared to seven states that did not have paid family leave policies.
- In March of 2019, the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University released a study with a recommendation that North Carolina consider a Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (PFLI) program. Among other benefits, the study concluded that 26 infant lives in North Carolina would be saved per year under a PFLI proposal that simulates a statewide 12-week paid leave model with 80 percent wage replacement. Saving 26 infant lives would reduce the North Carolina infant mortality rate to 7.1 per 1,000, from its current 7.3 per 1,000, among the worst in the nation.
Concrete supports to families in times of need, particularly economic supports, are a proven protective factor for children. When parents are not stressed about putting food on the table, paying their rent, or the many expenses of parenthood, it is less likely that abuse and neglect will occur. We know that too many mothers in North Carolina are returning to work after giving birth as soon as two weeks post-partum. This policy will give moms time to bond with their babies, time to heal physically from giving birth, and, for new moms, time to adjust to a new (and sometimes overwhelming) role – all without significant financial stress.
The science is clear that the early weeks of life are critical to parent-child attachment and the creation of nurturing, responsive relationships that babies need to build a strong foundation for life-long brain development, learning, and good health. We know that many fathers across our state want to be able to establish that all-important bonding role with their newborns. This policy will give dads protected and paid time and space to do so.
Sharon Hirsch, President and CEO of PCANC, who recently published an Op-Ed on the importance of paid leave as a preventive measure, commented: ‘North Carolina’s future prosperity requires the healthy development of our children. North Carolina will lead in innovation, resiliency, and economic development when we invest in building strong families and strong communities. Paid parental leave is one of many prevention investments that North Carolina can make as a state. Paid leave is good prevention, good public policy, good business, and good medicine.’
PCANC is part of the Think Babies ™ NC Coalition which is designed to ensure that North Carolina’s young children, ages 0-3, and their families benefit from effective public policies, programs and funding that promote a solid foundation for healthy beginnings, supported families, and quality early care and learning experiences. Among the coalition’s policy priorities is adoption of paid leave for more working families across the state. PCANC looks forward to continuing to work with members of the Think Babies ™ NC Coalition as well as across all sectors to build safe, stable, nurturing environments and a more prosperous future for North Carolina.”
Read the Fact Sheet for Executive Order Number 95 issued by NC Governor Roy Cooper’s Office.