What’s the Fair Start Movement and How it Leads Us Towards a Better Future: An Interview with Carter Dillard

Since he is engaged in three fronts - human rights, animal rights, and environmental rights, Dillard shares his perspective on how they all come together and build a gigantic puzzle. 

Carter Dillard, Policy Director and Board of Directors of the Fair Start Movement– a convergence of social, eco, and reproductive justice to ensure every child a fair start in life, speaks exclusively to Youth Time and elaborates more on the inspiration behind this idea and how it is going so far. 

The movement calls us to stop counting people and start making people count. 

It suggests we move wealth from the top of the economic pyramid and into incentivizing better family planning and smaller and more fair families. Redirecting that wealth is how to do the best, and the only way to make people truly free.

In this piece, Dillard also explains the role of young people in this movement, and how they can contribute to the cause. 

Carter Dillard
Carter Dillard

Read on for an inspirational journey and how we can all learn from it.


The Importance of Better Family Planning

The movement is simple; he believes.

“We help the world move from family planning policies that isolate parents to ones that prioritise collective planning around giving every child an Eco social Fair Start in life.”

In short, this means;

  • ensuring parental readiness
  • distributing power, wealth, and resources to level the playing field for all kids, and 
  • promoting a universal ethic of smaller families.

According to him, we can do all of this through better family planning incentives/entitlements.

If you visit the Fair Start’s Movement website, you will see its mission, and Dillard elaborates for us how it is achieved. 

“There are dozens of ways to move from parent-focused to child-centric planning models, but one simple way is to tell a brief story about how we got to parent-focused planning and isolated families.”

He further reminds us that in the middle of the Twentieth Century world leaders developed the isolation model as a way of evading their collective obligations.

“Especially for the wealthy – to invest more in each child and ensure equal opportunities in life for all. Instead, they went for population growth to make money, in violation of multiple human rights.” 

“All the crises we face today, from the climate crisis to massive inequity, fundamentally flow from this move.” he adds. 

But, what can be the solution to this?

“Change to a universal child-centric model that treats an Eco social Fair Start to life as the first and overriding human right, and take the wealth the isolation model created and put in the hands of a few at the top.”

He also believes that part of the solution is using it to fund family planning incentives and/or entitlements to transition.

As his book shows, he recalls, this is the only move consistent with human rights, and it’s doable.

“The wealthy have that money because they denied children an Eco social Fair Start in life. It was a power grab.”

But we can grab it back, Dillard gives us hope.

“The Movement also includes young people and their contribution to advance Fair Start efforts at the state, federal, and global level.”


Youth Building a More Sustainable World

He also shares his opinion on youth’s role in building a more sustainable world today.

“I think they can recognise that there is something deeply wrong with a family planning model focused on parental desire rather than child need, and help reverse it via demanding the Fair Start incentives/entitlements I mention above as a matter of right. In short, we take that right to build the equitable and sustainable families that will comprise a better future.”

Since he is engaged in three fronts – human rights, animal rights, and environmental rights, Dillard shares his perspective on how they all come together and build a gigantic puzzle. 

“The most just and effective way to satisfy all three areas of rights is via Fair Start family reforms, or 1) ensuring parental readiness, 2) distributing power, wealth, and resources to level the playing field for all kids, and 3) promoting a universal ethic of smaller families. Doing that creates an alignment of values.”

Conclusively, he highlights; god-like founders did not make our nations up in the past. They are constantly being constituted by people as we create and care for them. 

“If we do not start that process fairly, at Fair Start, we always come from an unjust place. We can do better.”


About Dillard:

Carter began his career as an Honours Program appointee to the U.S. Department of Justice and later served as a legal adviser to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in the national security law division. He wrote his thesis reformulating the right to have children under Jeremy Waldron, his extensive academic work on family planning has been published by Yale, Duke, and North-western Universities, as well as in peer-reviewed pieces, and he has served on the Steering Committee of the Population Ethics and Policy Research Project and was a Visiting Scholar at the Uehiro Center, both at the University of Oxford. He has taught at several law schools in the U.S., served as a peer reviewer for the journal Bioethics, and most recently managed an animal protection strategic impact litigation program, with annual resources of over five million dollars.


Pictures: Carter Dillard, Fair Start Movement

If you liked this interview, check out another article from Grese.

The Success Story of Youth Activism in Brazil: COLETI.VU Initiative and Its Important Impact


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