The Plan is vital for our province and its children

Mary Dolan, The Citizen

Recently, Mary Dolan, community child care advocate and Kate Skye, director of Arcadian Early Learning Centre made a presentation to the Cowichan Community Health Network.

The purpose of their presentation was to inform the Network of the “Plan” for a publicly funded system of early care and learning in B.C. and to stress its connection to the basic “determinants of health” and how families and all of society will benefit from it’s implementation. The vision of the Health Network is that citizens of the Cowichan community enjoy good health. Dolan and Skye showed why this “Plan” would assist the Cowichan Health Network with their vision.

With the $10 per day child care plan in place, the stress for families will be reduced, health professionals are more likely to re-locate in the Valley, qualified early childhood educators will provide nurturing environments for healthy child development.

One of the thousands of supporters of the $10 a day “Plan” is UBC’s Paul Kershaw from the Human Early Learning Partnership who says it’s “time for working families to have a new deal.”

Included in the “Plan” is a longer maternity/paternity leave from one year to 18 months.

Kershaw said, “We need strong family policy for working families.” Currently, only 22 per cent of the children in B.C. who may need out-of-home care are likely to access a licenced child care space in B.C. So where do the 78 per cent in the Cowichan Valley find day care now?

Research is consistently showing the economic benefits of society investing in our young children is a $1-$7 return for every dollar invested. The Surrey and Burnaby Boards of Trade, have both endorsed the “Plan” and say that the present crisis in child care is not sustainable. It is costing “the business sector” in B.C. $600 million in workforce losses each year.

The coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC and the Early Childhood Educators of BC acknowledge and respect the First Nations communities as they work together on a strategic plan for their own children’s early care and learning.

The Health Network represents many diverse groups. Dolan and Skye appreciated the opportunity to speak to them about health and education as the right of every child and are confident that the Network will be instrumental in developing community awareness about this issue.

The community needs to know that the “Plan” will welcome all private and non-profit child care centres and family day cares who will meet the required criteria.