City council was given a snapshot of what childcare looks like in Camrose by Margaret Holliston, chair of the Social Development Committee, at the Feb. 2 council meeting.
The committee had an opportunity to partner with University of Alberta – Augustana Community Service Learning student Heather Casselman, who invested 30 hours of research into childcare, an area that hadn’t received attention recently.
Childcare falls under provincial jurisdiction as far as legislation around licensing and funding, but it is delivered locally by businesses and not-for-profit groups and often supported by municipalities.
The aim of the research was to create an inventory of services available and get information from parents about the options they use.
There are six licensed care facilities in Camrose, including BRSD Learning Together, CDSS OSCAR out-of-school care, Camrose Children’s Centre Daycare, Camrose Family Day Homes, Kids Campus Daycare and First Steps Daycare.
These establishments were surveyed last October to find out how many spaces they have available and what sort of waiting lists they might have, but Holliston described space availability as “a moving target” because of all the part time and full time options.
“We noted from our numbers that fewer than 20 per cent of kids attend licenced care,” judging by 2011 census numbers for children aged 0 to 14 years, said Holliston. “I don’t think we’re in really a tough situation [for spaces], possibly because families have found ways to meet their needs through non-licenced [options].”
The committee did a parent survey that captured some of the creative ways parents organize childcare.
“We found it interesting that those summer day camps, including the ones offered by Community Services at the Aquatic Centre or the Chuck McLean Centre, are being used in the summer as a way to piece together meeting their childcare needs,” said Holliston, adding some parents have their kids going to the library after school. “The library is free, it’s not supervised, it’s not a child care program, but so far it seems to be working for those families without being too disruptive to the library.”
Costs for licenced establishments vary from a high of about $850 a month to a $6 hourly rate.
The province provides childcare subsidies for families with an annual income of $50,000 or less, but half of the surveyed Camrose families don’t qualify, as their income is too high, 22 per cent don’t qualify because they don’t use licensed care and 11 per cent were unaware of the subsidy.
“That $50,000 threshold is relatively low for a two income family, with two kids in care, paying about $600 or $700 a month per child, particularly before they’re in school. It may be that both parents need to work to make ends meet, and so they’re always trying to decide whether it’s worth it,” said Holliston. “We’re thinking that we may need to try to work with government to perhaps increase that threshold…One family said they were spending $10,000 a year. I hate to think of a family making $60,000 or $70,000 spending that kind of money when they can’t access that subsidy.”
Holliston reiterated that childcare is not the city’s responsibility, but suggested the city might review the threshold of its recreation access subsidy from $34,725, continue to support local services and remember that childcare services contribute to overall citizen satisfaction.
“It’s still an issue a little bit more for mothers and women and for workers who are predominantly women,” she said, noting the gender component.
Holliston’s presentation can be viewed online in the Feb. 2 regular council meeting agenda.
Source Article from http://www.camrosecanadian.com/2015/02/11/childcare-survey-results-shared
Childcare survey results shared
childcare – Yahoo News Search Results
childcare – Yahoo News Search Results