Large families. Caltabiano: “Winning Italy’s third child challenge” | AgenSIR

The new president, with his wife Claudia, of Anfn, calls for a law with a series of proposals concerning the taxation, tariff policies, the ISEE, the pension system, policies relating to housing and work, elimination of many small injustices scattered in the various legislations, not only national, but also local

(Photo: Alfredo Caltabiano)

Alfredo And Claudia Caltabianomarried since 1988 and parents of six children – between births and in foster care -, are the new national presidents of theNational association of large families (Anfn). Alfredo is sixty years old, is Parmesan by adoption, has been a financial consultant for the third sector (now in exodus) and is part of the political observatory of Anfn. Caltabiano is president of the Regional Forum of Emilia Romagna Family Associations, councilor in the national board of the Forum, and member of the National Observatory on the family. Claudia is three years younger and is a teacher at a kindergarten. They were unanimously elected during the National Assembly, which took place in Marina di Ascea (Salerno), from 29 October to 1 November. In a difficult period for families like the current one with Alfredo Caltabiano we face the challenges and perspectives of this time.

(Photo: Alfredo Caltabiano)

After the election as national presidents of Anfn, he expressed his desire to spread the principle of the “Italy of the third child”: what does it mean?

The idea, which is actually a challenge that we would like our country to take up, is to move from the Italy of the only child, which characterizes our present, to the Italy of the third child, which looks to the future and the countless benefits that we could to have simply by putting families, in particular those who already have one or two children, in the conditions to reach at least the third child. How? Recognizing a “status” to families with three or more children that allows tax, economic, tariff, work, housing and so on. The cost would be very limited for the State, because currently families with three or more children are a small number, but it would allow a strong recovery in the birth rate in a short time, but also an important cultural message for the population.

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(Photo: Anfn)

First Covid, then the war in Ukraine, with high bills and rising inflation: what are the main problems of large families in Italy today?

We have been saying this for sixteen years: every year Istat certifies the gradual impoverishment of families with three and more children. And every year the percentage of poor large families increases systematically. In 2006, 3.8% of households with 5 or more members lived below relative poverty. In 2021 this percentage even reached 22.6%. And unfortunately for 2022 it is easy to foresee a further impoverishment, due precisely to the high bills and inflation.

All the initiatives taken to combat rising energy costs and rising prices almost never consider the family unit.

Taxation does not consider how many people live on taxed income. The single check has shown several limitations, which we have highlighted. Let’s not talk about the citizenship income, it seems tailor-made for singles. But the problems are not only of an economic nature, they are also related to the house, to reconciliation with work, but also organizational, for example with the overlapping of the various commitments relating to children (for sports activities, catechism, class councils, birthdays, etc.). However, large families are the ones that most of all are able to react in this context, because they demonstrate a high resilience. Even before Covid, they had the antibodies to react to new and unexpected situations, to find solutions; and with these antibodies they are reacting effectively to current external aversions, despite little support from the state.

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(Photo: Anfn)

Even before all these additional problems, as he confirmed, it was an established fact that in our country having more children means more poverty: what responses do you expect from the new government to meet the needs of large families?

It is our intention to put to the Government, starting with the Minister for the Family, Birth Rate and Equal Opportunities, Eugenia Roccella, the proposal for a specific law for large families that not only solves the age-old problem of their poverty, but also makes families with three and more children a “status” to win the challenge of Italy of the third child. In this desirable law we have a series of proposals concerning the taxation, tariff policies, the ISEE, the pension system, policies relating to housing and work, the elimination of many small injustices scattered in the various legislations, not only national, but also locals, who do not adequately consider the family unit, and so on. And we also hope for an electoral reform that begins to consider the recognition of the right to vote, now denied, to minors, through the delegation to parents with the “One child, one vote” mechanism.

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(Photo: Anfn)

You talked about the limits of the single check: is this still an insufficient answer?

The intention with which the single check was introduced was absolutely commendable: the first important tool to support the birth rate and simplification through the adoption of a single instrument to replace various other existing interventions. Our association, on the occasion of the three hearings on the single check in which we intervened (on 23 June 2016 at the Senate Budget Commission, on 8 October 2019 and on 13 October 2020 at the Social Affairs Commission of the Chamber), nevertheless right from the start, I reiterated the critical issues that then effectively characterized the single allowance: the application of the ISEE, the penalization for several large families, the reduction of the amount for adult children and the exclusion from the single allowance for children over the age of 21. Two further elements were added to this: the complication, rather than simplification, for the request for the single allowance, linked to the ISEE request; the inefficiency of the safeguard clause; the access difficulties for several families who have minors in foster care. The solution passes through the allocation of greater resources that go on the one hand to increase the universal part, in particular for families with three and more children, and a revision of the ISEE, which takes into account more family burdens and less the patrimonial component , especially the first house.

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(Photo: Anfn)

In an Italy afflicted for years by a heavy demographic winter, what contribution can large families offer and what can they teach us?

From a demographic point of view, families with three and more children compensate for the percentage of women who do not want or cannot have children, a percentage that has doubled in recent generations from 11% to 22%. Today, then, we rightly talk more and more about sustainability. And what is the most sustainable type of family? Precisely that of large families. From an environmental point of view, our families are the most sustainable for efficiency in the use of resources, energy saving, recycling, sharing mobility. There are hardly any leftovers in our homes, there is always someone who eats the last piece … So many things that Greta Thunberg says now, large families have always done so … From a social point of view,

they represent a training ground for life for children who learn sharing and relationships with others from an early age.

From an economic point of view, because effective economies of scale are applied.

What is the extra quid of a large family in today’s society?

The welcome and openness to life characterize our families.

Our homes are often a bustle of friends and friends of our children. Moreover, there are many minors in foster care who are welcomed in our nuclei. Our homes may not be in order, but they sure are full of life!

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(Photo: Anfn)

A brake on having more children certainly comes from the difficulties, especially for women, of reconciling work and family… What are you asking on this front?

Today access to part time is often not guaranteed, when instead in certain periods of the life of the parent (mother, but also father) it becomes essential to manage the numerous family commitments, we think, for example, to accompany the children to school and activities extracurricular, illnesses, shopping, unforeseen events that obviously in a large family are often multiplied.

Working parents must be given the flexibility to manage these activities.

Even the bureaucracy often gets in the way to complicate the life of families. A real simplification of the administrative machinery, with simple and immediate procedures for accessing the many questions and registrations concerning children and the family, would represent another great help for families. Furthermore, it would be useful for companies and public administrations to obtain the Family Audit certification, which qualifies an organization as attentive to the family-work reconciliation needs of its employees. Support for families and birth rates also passes through these tools.

Large families. Caltabiano: “Winning Italy’s third child challenge” | AgenSIR