Government is Child Care Scrooge, says Rogers
The NDP Critic for Child, Youth and Family Services says the announced closure of a Clarenville child care centre is just the latest example of the urgent need for a co-ordinated approach to child care in the province. Gerry Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Centre) says this province’s piecemeal arrangement of private centres, family day care and non-profit centres is simply not working for the families who are scrambling to find care for the children.
“So many of our families get by with precarious situations. They’re on waiting lists, they pay $800 to $1000 per month per child, and they worry that their children are not getting the best early childhood learning opportunity,” Rogers said today.
“It has been proven. Quebec’s example shows that not only does a province-wide model of affordable child care frees up women to enter the workforce, but that half the money spent on it comes back in the form of taxes.
“This government has been at the helm almost 10 years and they are proposing to have their childcare plan fully implemented by 2022? This is simply not good enough for the families of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Newfoundland and Labrador ranked last among Canadian provinces in child care in a the Early Years Study of 2011. Sixty per cent of the 29,800 Newfoundland and Labrador children aged 0 to 5 have mothers in the work force, but there is licensed child care for only 19 per cent.
“Government is happy to make announcements about our so-called strong economy without addressing our social infrastructure needs. At this time of prosperity, we cannot afford NOT to provide reliable, safe, quality, accessible, publically funded childcare for our families,” said Rogers.
“This is not what prosperity looks like! Families are scrambling, employers are scrambling. The additional stress, lost days of work and everything else is preventable with a bit of courageous vision.”