Provincial Hansard – Budget estimates on child care

Afternoon Sitting – EXCERPTS

Clare Trevena

…. I know that the government keeps talking about child care subsidies, but child care subsidies don’t create the spaces that are needed, the spaces that are desperately wanted and that should be part of our social infrastructure.

Decent wages for early childhood educators would create those spaces. You pay enough to employ people so that people stay at work, come back to the profession, continue to work. You create the spaces because for every early childhood educator that’s working, you have either four or eight children who have a place in a child care centre….

This would be a stimulus. This would be a worthwhile use of a deficit — to invest in child care. Because if you start investing in child care, you’re investing in business and investing in the future….

The B.C. Chamber of Commerce has asked for it. The B.C. board of trade has asked for it. They’re all advocating child care. ….

It would have helped the parents. It would have helped businesses. It would have helped nurses, people in retail, ferry workers. It would have helped across the board. It’s an investment in our economy today, and it’s an investment in our future. Child care provides not only assistance to families today, but it is creating a nurturing environment for our citizens of tomorrow, the people who will be responsible for our province in the years to come.

Meanwhile we do have parents who are tearing their hair out because of the government’s inaction on all-day kindergarten, who are now still looking for child care. Other parents who have children in the school system now are very fearful because they read between the lines of this budget.

They know that it’s going to mean cuts. It’s going to mean cuts in education, which is already overstretched because of the per-pupil funding formula. Even by increasing the amount per pupil, it’s not going to balance the inequities in our small communities.

Linda Reid

Supporting safe, affordable child care is a priority for this government. …knowing that their little ones are well cared for. ….

….Of course, the story is not just about the number of spaces, but it is about how child care has changed in the last few years…. Child care has no one-size-fits-all solution. … we’ve taken measures to increase choice and flexibility.

…. We have also created more than 1,000 spaces in family child care settings, ….You think about that, particularly around special needs youngsters.

Oftentimes you’re going to have, as an example, a youngster with Down syndrome. That family may believe and it may well be in that child’s best interests to be in a setting of five or seven children, rather than in a setting of 20 or 24 or 16 children. … family choice is something we take into consideration ….

…co-located integrated service that make wonderful sense for communities. … joint ventures with the Ministry of Education to put more than 500 new licensed spaces in public and independent schools during the ’08-09 school year

…. Here in British Columbia we are guided by five principles that convey our vision for child care….

The first is accessibility: increasing the number of child care spaces ….

The second is quality: to create safe, stimulating environments that support the emotional, social, cognitive and physical skills ….

The third principle is human resource development: supporting recruitment and retention of high-quality care providers and supporting their professional development opportunities.

… Co-locating services benefits families and builds on the ideas that community takes many forms …

The fifth principle, and one that is top of mind in these times of fiscal restraint, is sustainability. ….