In response to the letter from Neil Matheson regarding Council’s support for the $10/day Child Care Plan for B.C.:
Cranbrook’s City Council is appropriately responding to the growing child care dilemma facing families with young children in the community. Fees are too high for many working families, quality licensed spaces are too few, and early childhood educators usually don’t earn a living wage. Child care is not an issue of the political right or left — it is an issue about children’s healthy development, their families and the social and economic health of the community.
In School District 5 there are 24 per cent of five-year-olds who arrive for kindergarten already vulnerable on one or more of the early developmental indicators as measured by their kindergarten teacher and tabulated by researchers at UBC. We can do better for our youngest citizens because vulnerable children come from families at every socio-economic level.
It’s important to support families to make the choices that are right for them. Some families will choose to have a parent stay out of the workforce, others will not or cannot. And in fact the majority of mothers with young children are in the workforce. The $10/day Child Care Plan when implemented will move children out of unregulated, potentially unsafe care and into quality, licensed care where educators are well trained and compensated — the same standards we have for older children when they start school. Families would have good choices that don’t exist now.
Yes, indeed raising children is the most important responsibility. As we all say, children are our greatest resource, so families should be supported in that child-rearing role at the same time as we ensure Cranbrook residents can participate in the local economy and that businesses thrive. The economic evidence is that access to quality child care is good for the economy and public investment into child care pays for itself.
Collectively we invest in public education, health care, libraries and community centres to give everyone equal access. Child care needs to be one of those services that is quality, affordable and accessible.
Often City Council is closer than senior levels of government to the daily experience of residents in the community and as such Councillors have a responsibility to speak up on issues that impact the community – child care is one of those issues right across the province.