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Ryan Young's plight to find child care heard at St. John's forum

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CBC News
Publication Date: 
26 Jan 2015


A large crowd of parents and child-care operators, all with stories to tell, met in St. John's Saturday to discuss challenges they face in providing and finding child care.

Among the 150 people at the event, which was organized by Liberal education critic and St. John's North MHA Dale Kirby, was Ryan Young - a single father of three who had to quit his job because he couldn't afford child care.

Young said because of how much money he made at his job the year prior to becoming a full-time father, he didn't qualify for assisted child care.

At that point, he decided to go on social assistance to raise his children.
"I moved to St. John's with my children shortly after they came into my care in September of 2013, and was able to obtain work in here," Young said.

"I worked at that job for quite a while until the end of the school year when the kids would have been needing child care full-time."

He quickly realized finding and paying for child care was out of reach.

With the cheapest rates of care for his three children starting at $500-$600 per week, and a salary matching that, Young said he had no choice but to get help from the provincial government.

"I would basically have to be on assistance in order to receive help at that time."
Young said he has been in the work force since he was 15, and worked hard for his money.

It made his decision to be a stay-at-home father even more challenging.

"I was raised to be a hardworking man and beyond the financial part of it, being in the workforce, there are so many other benefits to people who do that as well," he told CBC's St. John's Morning Show.

"It was definitely a big decision to give that up, but at the end of the day we have to put our children's care first and that's what I had to do."

10-year plan not working

Young's story struck a cord with both single parents and two parent families that are in the lower incoming bracket.

He's asking other parents to come to him with their stories, so that they can present the issues to the provincial government.

"There were a lot of [early childhood educators] and operators at that meeting as well. I think it's very important that we don't forget their issue as well. I mean these ECEs are caring for our kids - it's a hard job - us as parents, we know it's a hard job," he said.
"They deserve quality pay, they deserve quality working conditions, and you know we definitely do not want our child care to become affordable at the cost of these ECEs and operators being able to afford that quality care, for sure."

Young said the provincial government's 10-year child care strategy isn't working, and it was evident at the meeting this weekend.

As for Young's future, he hopes to qualify for a full-time subsidy for child care and get back in to the workforce.