The daycare disconnect

Billie Carroll, Roberts Creek; Toronto Star

As a grandparent of twin girls I was glad to see the Star giving attention to the chaotic child care situation, which leaves working parents scrambling on a day-to-day basis. I am visiting from B.C., where the chaos has different elements, but is no less dysfunctional.

The girls are in school full time now, but for four years, with both parents working, I, and the other set of grandparents became the fallback child care system. We had half-day pre-school for the twins three days a week, but how can either parent leave work to pick them up halfway through the day? Full-time child care in our area costs more than $1200 per child per month … if you get your child on the two-year waiting list.

The girls’ mom was trained as an early childhood educator. She is aware of the benefits of good quality child care; but was faced with the choice of working for low wages in an unregulated centre where she could not afford to send her own children, or working for higher pay in another field and at least getting them part-time care. So, that’s where the rest of the family became the default child care system.

We do deserve better; our kids deserve better. It’s time for a truly universal child care program across the country. Thanks for keeping this important issue in the forefront.