The Fair Start Model 

Rising inequality and accelerating climate change are affecting more children than ever before. It’s time to think differently about having kids and every child’s right to a fair start in life.

Derived from dozens of published articles, and consistent with the leading thinking on human rights-based family planning, Having Kids has developed the child-centered Fair Start family planning model. The Fair Start Model promotes smaller, sustainable, and more equitable families so that we can all invest more in each child, right from the start. It is designed to take advantage of trends like falling fertility rates and delayed parenthood, and to balance five fundamental and widely shared values that together comprise the best conception of freedom and the foundation of human rights and democracy.


More simply:

Communities ensure that parents have the resources to plan families and guarantee that all kids have the resources they need for a fair start in life.

Each of us delays having kids until we are ready to be good parents, and have small and sustainable families that put less demand on our shared resources and our world.

It’s simple: Fair Start family planning means smaller families sharing resources to invest more in every child. For some, the closest analog for this new model would be responsible family planning incentives. But Fair Start resources are actually entitlements held by future children, and funded through non-traditional means. Those opposed to remodeling favor our current system of unsustainable families, unearned privileges, and undemocratic influence, over giving kids a fair start in life.

What the Fair Start Model Does

The Fair Start model addresses the biggest problems affecting kids such as poverty, inequality, and neglect. The model breaks down the barrier between family planning and child welfare, aligning need with resource. The model links 1) where and when children enter the world, with 2) the provision of what those kids need for a fair start in life. In making that link the model has the greatest impact on child welfare, equality, animals and the environment – exponentially more impact than downstream approaches. In so doing the model corrects for cognitive dissonances that prevent us from seeing that how we plan families, more than any other one thing, determines the quality of life on Earth. By focusing our attention on future children the model temporalizes our thinking, allows us to plan ahead, requires us to cooperate, and thereby helps ensure the best outcomes. What’s a good analogy? In many ways our remodeling of family planning looks like the revision of the norms, in the late 20th Century, around using seat belts. Small improvements can lead to massive benefits.

Fair Start family planning is the most effective way to simultaneously:

protect children, promote equality and democracy, and preserve

healthy planet.


The proven impacts are 10 to 20 times higher than traditional downstream attempts to protect kids, animals, and the environment.

Building Freedom Through Human Rights-Based Family Planning 

The model shifts the focus of family planning from a narrow focus on just the parents to a broader one that includes the interests of the future child, the parents, and the community. This embodies the inclusivity of human rights and democracy. The model moves us away from a sense of parenting as an isolated activity to a proactive and cooperative system that expands our capacity for care-giving beyond our own bloodline. The model is all about making family planning a community effort that is deliberately inclusive – deliberately including future children into the community, oriented around the shared ideal of equality. Families having kids in isolation from the community ensures that inequality, as well as social and ecological degradation, continues. That way of planning our families has undone much of the progress the child welfare, environmental/animal, and human rights and democracy movements tried to make in the past few decades – just look at the numbers.

But by working together as parents and communities, we can build resilient, cooperative, and conscientious populations, that are approaching the United Nations low variant projections, and that can thrive in challenging future environments. That’s the Fair Start model. Fundamental change means changing who we are, and will be, through better family planning. Nothing else comes close. 

Because of its fundamental nature the Fair Start model creates true freedom: The freedom that comes with being given real opportunities in life, the freedom of living in functional communities where you can have confidence in the people around you, the freedom of smaller and autonomous democracies where you have a role in creating the rules under which you live, the freedom of nature, and the safe and healthy environment that comes with it. This all begins with children’s right to a fair start in life. It is the lexically primary human right, the right that most makes us who we are, and it overrides all conflicting interests. Fair Start family planning moves the world from demographic and economic transition to a human rights-based, qualitative, equitable and democratic transition.

The relatively few people in the world who have power, both in business and government, push against this freedom because their power lies in exploiting the large and vulnerable populations poor family planning creates. If you value child welfare, equality, nature, or democracy – and the freedom they represent – you will push back.

Its time to truly empower people – right from the start. Read here for more detail.

Learn more: 

Why Wait to Have Kids

Why Have A Small Family

Why Work Together


Adopt the model

Families today are starting to live the Fair Start model. 

If you share these values, join the movement. By adopting the Fair Start model you show your commitment to providing a better life for your children and all future generations. TAKE THE PLEDGE

Share This