The importance of affordable child care
When it comes to child care, it boils down to how much freedom society is willing to grant you and those in your immediate network. The industry of child care reeks of the ever-present stench of classism and discrimination.
The rising cost of child care creates services only available to the elite and while there is concern over paying more, marginalized citizens are not even given the option of access. Across Alberta, families are paying anywhere between $700 a month for school-age care to $1,300 for childcare.
Quite often, society views child care as a privilege and convenience rather than a necessity and if people who need it cannot afford it, tough luck. But because of the changing of traditional family roles, women seeing an increase in employment rates, and divorce, there has been a continuous increase in child care demand over three decades.
Imagine running a home on one income as a single parent, with a deadbeat of an ex-spouse, and three children who are not old enough to stay home by themselves or babysit the others. You have to be there for them before and after school, make their meals, make time to spend with them, and in our money-driven society, work on top of all of your other responsibilities.
What exactly is this individual supposed to do if they cannot afford child care?
In a marriage, having children is a choice by both partners and they often become victims to the choices made by their parents. Unable to meet the increasing monetary expectations of child care, the parent is left with making a choice between food, shelter, clothing, and education, further making the child a victim of unfortunate circumstances.
Even relationships not ending in divorce can experience an issue with child care, especially if it is a single income household. In Alberta’s current economic climate, we have seen a significant loss of oil and gas jobs as well as an influx of minimum wage jobs filled due to the layoffs associated with the economy.
Working in the oil industry, if someone was lucky enough to keep their job, money is going to be tight. People think living off one income is not enough and suggest their partner finds a job, but do not understand all aspects involved with such a decision.
Say the mother was staying home and is asked to get a job to supplement the income. But when the mother is the one staying home, taking care of the kids and forced to get a job, who takes care of the kids?
Is minimum wage work enough to supplement the income other than covering the cost of child care? The inability to afford child care does not only affect immediate family either.
If someone has a child, and the cost of child care is too high for them to afford…who do they go to first? Usually, it ends up being family members or friends, who are willing to help out and lend a hand.
Our philosophy is to provide an environment inclusive of all children where parents can be certain their child cared for, making friends, and learning along the way for a fraction of the cost.
After examining a small part of the problems in child care, it becomes evident why affordable child care is not a privilege or convenience, but a necessity to the success of Canadian families.