A plan to mitigate crisis in child care
At the council meeting on November 13, a delegation was seeking council’s support for the $10/day plan that addresses early childhood education. Sharon Gregson spoke on behalf of the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC and the Early Childhood Educators of BC and referred to a community event a few weeks ago that made islanders aware of the crisis in child care. “We plan to address that crisis by providing government with a ready-made plan: the Community Plan for a Public System of Integrated Early Care and Learning,” Gregson said.
She explained that child care expenses have steadily gone up in the Metro Vancouver area. “Vancouver is setting a trend with high fees and it costs as much as $1900 a month for childcare on average. In a not for profit centre, the cost is approximately $1200.”
Child care services make it possible for parents to participate in the paid workforce or further education while their children thrive. But for many parents, it is not affordable and sometimes forces them to “go underground” to find childcare, Gregson explained. And on the other end of the spectrum are the wages of the early childhood educators. “It is shameful that we pay the caregivers of our young children $14 per hour,” she said, adding that she got that number from an advertisement on Craigslist.
“If you are seven years old in B.C., it doesn’t matter how much money your parents make, you are entitled to go to Grade 2. But if you are two years old, it matters a lot how much money parents make as it determines what care is available,” Gregson said.
Gregson explained that the solution is spelled out in a made in B.C. plan that envisions the cost of $10 a day for full-time and $7 a day part time childcare. Families with an annual income under $40,000 will have to pay no user fees. More information is available at http://www.cccabc.bc.ca/plan/ or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. The plan has found wide support in B.C., according to Gregson. She made it clear that although she was asking the Bowen Island municipal council for support, she knows that local governments alone won’t be able to solve the problem. “We need provincial support to implement the plan,” she said.
Councillor Darron Jennings said that his kids are both graduates of the Children Centre and he supports the plan. Councillor Duntz echoed the sentiment, “We are at a tipping point for day care and the damage to the parents and the kids will last for generations. It cannot become a luxury to have children,” he said. Council endorsed the $10 a day plan in principle.