I am writing as a concerned citizen and also as a concerned teacher.
A lot of funding is being cut by the government in the area of children and more particularly child care. As an Early Childhood Education (ECE) teacher, it has come to my attention while picking up and dropping off children at schools, that I notice more and more illegal home child-care situations. In order to obtain my certificate as an ECE, I have spent a minimum of two years at college, gone through a criminal records check and doctor examination. For someone to have a legal day care, municipal and provincial inspections must take place, as well as insurance to cover both the day care and the children, should anything happen. The illegal home day cares do not have any of this protection. If a child gets hurt or abused, who speaks for them?
How can parents go to work, thinking their child is cared for and protected, when none of these safeguards are in place. There are no safety inspections, food inspections, cleanliness inspections or qualified staff interviews. No criminal checks are done, or education in child care or handling of children take place.
I have observed a woman at the schools with three children in a single stroller, four more beside her and picking up more children after school. How can one person keep all these children safe even on the way home, much less watch them once home is reached? I saw one child decide to stray from her -- who does she then protect, the three babies in the stroller, the others walking by themselves or the one who decided to cross the street? I think parents need to look at this more closely because if anything would have happened to the children, I believe that not only the caregiver should be charged for providing unsafe care, but as well, each one of those parents for not caring enough for their child and leaving them in a very unsafe situation. I realize the illegal day cares charge less but they also offer less. If we cannot protect our children, who can?
Funding cuts to legal day cares, who can now give some funding breaks to parents' fees, will take place after June of this year. Will this bring on even more illegal day care situations?
Children are our nation's future.
When we are looking to buy a house, we make sure that the foundation is good and can last a long time to shelter our family as well as creating an environment around that house of green plants we fertilize and care for. We must do the same for our children by providing them with a safe environment, education and proper care in a legal situation that can let our minds be at rest during the times they must be left in another's care.
reprinted from The North Shore News.