EDITORIAL: Parents, there is hope – maybe

Now that the welcome news has sunk in, a lot of Squamish parents are happy to hear that $10-a-day daycare could slowly become a reality.

But only one daycare in Squamish was chosen for the pilot project, so other families will need to wait years for $10-a-day spots – if it happens at all.

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The government is hoping that the small-scale project, where 50 daycares were selected from throughout B.C., will represent what would happen if all families were given the deep discount.

“We’re looking to provide feedback on what it will look like on a large scale – to shape the direction of the plan,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Children and Family Development told The Chief.

The current funding is available until March 2020, at which time it will be decided how and if the program should be extended.

There are a lot of uncertainties with what will happen in the future, and many parents who have their older children in daycare right now, won’t benefit from any changes.

With daycare easily costing $1,000-plus a month in Squamish (many spaces are more than this, particularly for infants and toddlers), a lot of parents, especially those with multiple kids, are eagerly waiting for help.

Often, daycare is more expensive than rent or mortgage payments. The fees can cause strain on a family, and it’s not unheard of for parents to go into debt or have to choose between putting healthy food on the table and paying the monthly fee. 

The cost is why some moms stay home with their kids even though they would like to work out of the house. They simply can’t afford to work.

While parents wait for the results of the pilot project, there is the Affordable Child Care benefit, which provides up to $1,250 per child a month for families with an annual income of $111,000 or less. But with an average household income of $110,838 in Squamish, a number of residents won’t be eligible.

Still, families using licensed childcare may also see savings through the Child Care Fee Reduction, which has helped to reduce the cost of almost 52,000 childcare spaces around the province. In this case, the daycare applies for the fee reduction, not the parents.

Then there is the problem with lack of childcare spots in Squamish.

The Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, which provides funding to create licensed spaces, is meant to accelerate the creation of 22,000 new spots in B.C. over the next three years.

It’s difficult to tell if the program is helping in Squamish, with daycares often having two-year long waitlists, especially for infants and toddlers.

But at least the government is trying to correct the problem, and hopefully the efforts will work.

So, parents, there could be hope –  it’s just going to take a while.

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