The best way to deal with the East Kootenay`s childcare crisis is a new plan for funding.
This from the coordinator of Cranbrook`s Early Years Centre, after the Federal budget included $7 billion over ten years for daycare and early learning programs.
Natalie Rudrum says public funding would address the financial strain parents face in booking childcare.
“That amount of dollars over that course of years is just a drop in the bucket for what really needs to happen. If its bits and pieces here and there, its only going to benefit certain families,” Rudrum says. “A plan that has been pushed is the ten dollars a day childcare plan. It would basically make it publicly funded, like libraries and schools, so it would be affordable for families and accessible for everyone.”
The new budget also includes the option of increasing parental leave to 18 months.
Rudrum says while the increase gives parents more time with children, it doesn`t address the long waitlist that`s built up for available daycare spaces.
“That’s not solving our long waitlist for families that are trying to get their child into childcare,” Rudrum says. “Even if you take up that 18 month maternity benefit, you are still having your child on a waitlist.”
Rudrum adds expenses are also a factor for parents.
If new mothers choose to increase their time away from work, they would have to make do with lower Employment Insurance benefits and less available cash.
– Cranbrook’s Early Years Coordinator Natalie Rudrum, on extending paternal leave to 18 months
– Cranbrook’s Early Years Coordinator Natalie Rudrum, on newly announced funding for childcare
– Jeff Johnson