Wait lists are nothing new. We wait to consult a medical specialist, for the next ferry, and for the newest iPhone. Parents wait for child care spaces. Some mothers put their unborn baby on a day care waitlist, knowing the wait can be up to two years, and you might think, “That’s ridiculous!”
When parents have to wait for child care it impacts the whole family, including the household income. I could not find available care for my one-year-old, and the only waitlist was eight to 10 months. That meant delaying my return to work after maternity leave.
You know the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Sometimes casual child care is the best fit, or the only option parents have.
Sunshine Coast communities are our villages. Word-of-mouth in my “village” helped me find the quality care I needed a year and a half after I started looking. It was a local librarian who pointed me to a wonderful family daycare in Roberts Creek. Luckily, there was a space available, starting in September.
A huge stress was suddenly lifted from me, and my family. I could now accept proper teaching work. My career, our finances and perhaps most importantly, my own sense of self-worth, were all bolstered — simply due to two days a week of quality child care.
We enjoyed 10 months of loving, dependable care from our “daycare lady.” Her home and family have become a guiding element in my son’s life. Sadly, she closed her daycare this summer. I once again have to look for new options; I know I’m not alone, and infants are much harder to place than toddlers. One wait list has 20 children on it. Isn’t that ridiculous?
Many young families today have no one close by to rely on for child care. Could you, or someone you know, care for a child twice a week? This could make a huge difference to a struggling parent. We need more child care options on the Coast. What can you do to help?
Editor’s note: Bronwen is a member of the the Child Care Action Team (CCAT) who is working together with the Community Resource Centre’s Progress Plan for women’s economic well being. For more information, contact facilitator Hilary Griffiths at 604-740-2222. For a parents’ guide to selecting quality child care see: http://www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/childcare/parents.htm or contact the Child Care Resource and Referral program at 604-885-5657.