Childcare Breaks My Heart

I’m  proud of the Region’s involvement in childcare. We have a large home daycare organization, daycares, and a subsidy system for poor people to get childcare. When the federal government cut the funds for childcare, we put in 1 million to keep things going.

Provincially, all day Junior and Senior Kindergarten will not only help get kids  prepared for learning but also help with childcare availability. Schools must have afterschool care on a cost recovery basis if parents want it.

Then just as I’m getting smug and my eyes are closed, along come parents with their stories to jerk me awake again.

At the church potluck, a couple with the cutest baby girl ever, told me how the mother may have to quit graduate school because as the sixth category of eligibility on the region’s subsidy list, they won’t get a space and won’t be able to afford daycare when she finishes her maternity leave. The husband is at Conestoga College.

Now as councillors we have been very proud of the fact that the Region hasn’t had a waiting list for subsidy. Recently, we had to institute one because the budget was hemorrhaging 100,000 dollars a month to top up the subsidy list. The province has changed the requirements to get subsidy, which is a good thing, but it has meant more people are eligible. Now there are 300 people on the new waiting list and that’s not counting the families that all along couldn’t even get on the subsidy list as all the other more urgent parents went ahead of them.

A father just wrote to me as well. He would like to use the Region’s home daycare program for after school programming for his 7-year-old twins and 9-year-old. For two hours after school. (Remember there are 300 on the waiting list) They were told that it is a three-year wait to get into the program at the daycare at their school. They sent a note to the grade 7 and 8 classes, they have put ads in the paper, asked around. NOTHING.  His wife has had to quit her job and their house is up for sale.

The after school programs? If they aren’t already full, the cost recovery is 30 dollars per child per day. No wonder there aren’t any new after school programs.

The least I can do is pledge that I will work on getting the Region to use some of the money we are getting for uploading of Ontario Works fees to the province to cover that 100,000.  Last night at the poverty forum, Tom Galloway and Jim Wideman said they would support that too.

The only ray of sunshine? The Cedarbrae breakfast program where I volunteer will still be having the free breakfasts for kids starting in October. No fee.

But as the title says, “Childcare Breaks My Heart”.  My mother had to work and had a hard time finding childcare for me. I had a hard time with childcare, finally founding the Waterloo Infant Toddler Daycare. Now the poster child for that daycare, my daughter, is pregnant and there is  little more childcare than 26 years ago. Quebec has 5 dollar a day childcare. Come on provincial and federal, after 50 years, it’s time!

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