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Province wraps up 'community conversations' in search for child-care fixes

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Advocacy group says low turnout shows size of the problem
Aalders, Celina
Publication Date: 
1 Nov 2023


The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has wrapped up a series of 12 "public engagement sessions" across the province, hearing from around 115 people as it seeks solutions to the child-care crisis.

But an official with one advocacy group said turnout at the events was surprisingly small, which points to the size of the problem.

"I wouldn't say that the low attendance is reflective of a lack of interest in child care, but rather the consequence of a lack of child care," said Kenya Thompson, a co-ordinator with Childcare Now Nova Scotia.


Although parents and caregivers were allowed to bring their children to the public sessions, which ran on weeknights throughout October from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Thompson said most families that are struggling with their child-care situation would likely be too exhausted and stressed to attend.

The "community conversations" were meant to be an opportunity for parents and primary caregivers who have, or hope to have children enrolled in child care programs, to share feedback and concerns about the current system.


Outside the Yarmouth session, Kayleigh Gildart, director of stakeholder transformation with the department, pointed CBC News to an online "thought exchange," where people could share their child-care concerns.

It received 1,122 submissions, most of which discuss the need for more available spaces, and better wages and training for early childhood educators.


Druhan said the department's goal "is to make sure that [they] have broad consultation and identify, sort of, specific needs that maybe don't always get reflected." 

There will be future opportunities for consultation for families in the Halifax area and across the province, she said, without providing details.