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Child care funds drying up [CA-BC]

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Georgia Straight
Publication Date: 
17 May 2007

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When activist moms gathered for a Mother Day's rally organized by Grassroots Women, they came asking for more than just chocolates and flowers. With their children in tow at East Vancouver's Grandview Park, they demanded a universal child-care system in the face of funding cuts by the federal and provincial governments.


According to the Coalition of Child Care Advocates, the B.C. Liberal government is slashing up to $40 million for child-care services between April and October this year.

CCCA chair Susan Harney told the Georgia Straight that by July 1, subsidies for preschool children in licensed group and family-based child-care services will be reduced by 27 percent.

"Right now, programs get $14 a day as a top-up for kids under three years old," Harney cited as an example. "They are cutting that to $10. Programs are now going to have charge parents an additional $4."

Harney also said that by October 1, funding for resource, referral, and training programs will be reduced by 77 percent.


Paul Kershaw is an assistant professor at the UBC&em;based Human Early Learning Partnership, an institute dedicated to early child-development research. Kershaw told the Straight that with higher fees, low- and moderate-income families would drop out of licensed child-care services, and the vacated spaces would be taken over by higher-income families.

"When fees go up, the nature of who is served by our child-care services changes," Kershaw said. "So the cuts kind of pit higher-income versus lower-income families in an awkward way in neighbourhoods and potentially bring in people who don't live in the neighbourhood&em;higher-income families&em;to take advantage of services available in the boundaries of lower-income neighbourhoods."

When the Straight reached Minister of State for Child Care Linda Reid on May 11, she said she had just come back from a groundbreaking ceremony for a new child-care facility in Richmond.

Reid said it was the federal Conservative government that actually cut the funds by cancelling the child-care agreements it had with the provinces as of March 31. She said this meant a loss of $455 million for B.C. over a three-year period.

"The province didn't reduce their funding," Reid said. "The federal government took back their dollar. Everything that the province funded in the past we continue to fund."


A Human Early Learning Partnership Web site fact sheet states that starting in 2002, the provincial government instituted a series of cuts that eventually reduced its child-care funding by $50 million annually.

The CCCA has partnered with the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union for a campaign that will involve community dialogues across B.C. from May 11 to 25.

- reprinted from the Georgia Straight