children playing

What about day care? [CA]

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Letter to the Editor
LaGace, Sharon
Publication Date: 
20 Jan 2006

See text below.


The concern that prompted me to write this letter is: What happens to the Alberta Five-Point Investment Plan for early learning and child care if Mr. Harper is elected and dismantles the Liberal National Child Care Plan? I am assuming it will mean that the provinces will not get the money promised when they signed on to the National Child Care Plan.

What makes the federal Conservatives think that giving families $100 per month per pre-school child is giving a choice to all families. It may help "Stay at Home Parents" with the cost of a sports program or nursery school, and it may even help those middle-income parents who almost qualify for subsidized child care - but I believe it will hurt the 45 to 55 per cent of the children in regulated child care who access subsidies as well as many of those low-income families on waiting lists for child-care spaces if the provincial government has to cut funding to the Five-Point Investment Plan.

The Alberta Conservatives' Five-Point investment Plan has also set out $100 per month per pre-school child, which stay at home parents may apply for to use for pre school programs. They have raised the subsidy rates as well as raising the maximum income by 25 per cent to allow more families to qualify for higher subsidies. The other area that the national dollars have been allotted is the Provincial Child Care Accreditation Program. This program is in answer to the need for quality care and the need to pay child-care workers a wage that will encourage people to enter the field and take training.

High-income families do not need $100 per month to make choices for their children - they can afford to make any choice they wish.

Some middle-income families, low-income, and single-parent families who work or attend school will only be hurt by the Conservative plan. Full-time child care in Grande Prairie ranges from $500-$600 per child, per month (higher in other urban centres in the province).

Without the new additional subsidy, a single parent with one child, earning $1,200 per month (there are quite a few in lucrative Grande Prairie) could be required to pay $200 or more for child care each month - then pay rent, utilities, food, and transportation .

That's quite a juggling act with the cost of these items in Grande Prairie.

The $100 per month idea is a slap in the face to those who need child care as well as a slap in the face to the educated caring persons who provide the care.

Child care is one of the social programs that enables parents to work and contribute to the family and community. It also enables parents to choose to go back to school and eventually up their earning power and pay taxes that they didn't have to pay as low- income earners and students.

- reprinted from the Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune