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Help with child care costs

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Province will spend 5 million more to create 400 new subsidized spaces, improve salaries for workers
Borden Colley, Sherri
Publication Date: 
13 Apr 2010

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Margaret Densmore was overcome with emotion Monday as Community
Services Minister Denise Peterson-Rafuse announced the province is
investing another $5 million to make child care more affordable for
hundreds of low-income families.

For the Dartmouth single mother and marketing student, the
funding means the $250-$300 monthly bill for her three-year-old son at
Nova Scotia Community College's Mawio'mi Child Care Centre in Dartmouth
will decrease.


The $5 million translates into 400 new child-care subsidies, a
new grant for child-care providers for staff salaries and benefits,
professional growth, general operating expenses and the elimination of
a fee for families, saving those with subsidies up to a dollar a day.

The 400 subsidies are available to qualifying families across
Nova Scotia, bringing the total number of subsidies created through the
early learning and child-care plan to 1,100.

"It makes a huge difference because the subsidy will allow
(families) to put their child or children into a daycare facility, and
sometimes that subsidy is a difference between them being able to do
that or not and it also is the difference between a mother or father
going to work or not," Peterson-Rafuse told reporters.

The president of the province's largest child-care workers union
said Monday's announcement of $5 million in additional money for child
care is welcome news because the sector has been so starved for
funding, but it also raises a number of questions.

"For starters, this continues the practice of giving public
money to private operators," said Danny Cavanagh, president of the Nova
Scotia branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, in a news

"They have announced 400 new subsidized spaces but those spaces
are still portable, which means they can be used in for-profit as well
as not-for-profit centres.

"While they have simplified the grants for child-care providers,
there is still no guarantee the money will actually be spent on wages
for early childhood educators."

CUPE members earn $12 an hour on average.

The union is calling on the government to establish a public
early learning and child-care system that is universally accessible and
affordable for working families.

-reprinted from the Chronicle Herald