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Government Cuts To Childcare Funding May Mean Higher Fees For Families

 
 

LETHBRIDGE:  It's a system that childcare workers say is chronically underfunded, and more of the existing funding has just dried up.

 

In the provincial budget brought down earlier this month, funding was cut for childcare "Quality Enhancement grants". It amounted to $7600 for accredited childcare centres and $4000 for after school programs.  The Quality Enhancement Grant was put in place in 2003, not only to get programs through the accreditation process but to ensure that high quality continues for all children in childcare settings throughout Alberta. It will be eliminated April 1st.

 

Sherry Hunt, Chairperson for the Board of Directors at Children's House Child Care Society explains the money was available to any childcare agency that operated an accredited, enhanced program, "some of it was for safety standards that may have meant buying equipment but, a lot of this equipment is stuff that the children use - it's art supplies, craft supplies, it's learning things that need to be updated regularly - resources for our early education professionals. It's things that you have to invest in, on an on-going basis to keep our standards as high as we would like them."

 

"The cuts to grants to support accreditation standards are a giant step backwards as far as offering a quality affordable childcare system to Alberta families", says Hunt. she goes on to ask, "What are our priorities in Alberta? I mean, we spend so little on early education and care and yet it was in the top eight (priorities) in the Social Policy Framework that the province put out as priorities for Albertans." She calls it incongruous that the province isn't following through on what that policy framework told them to do.

 

According to Hunt, childcare standards in Canada are not that great. "I believe we're somewhere around 30 on the Organization for Economic Development (OECD) ratings - that's 30 out of about 34 countries for our standards in daycare, so there is real need for improvement".

 

Now that the Quality Enhancement Grant funding has been cut, it's anticipated families will have to pay higher fees in order for child care centres to maintain their high standards or some centres may do without needed equipment upgrades.



Posted on Monday, March 25, 2013 at 4/17/2014 3:17:51 PM
Source: Dori Modney (@Dori_Modney on Twitter) -- Country 95 News photo credi
 
 
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