Before and After School Childcare: Can We Talk?

I have questions. They’ve been around for a while now, and answers don’t seem any closer, and no one is talking about this. So I had to say something. What is the deal with the lack of available before and after school care for elementary school-aged children in Winnipeg? How is it parents could have a spot at a school in their catchment and not be able to take the spot because there is NO ROOM for their child(ren) in the before and after program. Parents work. Kids go to school. How is this not being accounted for in 2019?

 

 

If you have had a child in Winnipeg in the past 15 years, you know the horrors of the daycare list. When I was pregnant I called The List and told them my due date. They said The List was LONG. Do you know when they called me to say a spot was available? He was 3.5 years old.

 

Anecdotally, I know at least 4 families affected by the LACK of before and after school childcare that it has made them re-think where they live (neighbourhood-wise) and where/how they WORK. (If you are a family affected by this, please email us at info@winnipegmom.ca or send a PM on our Facebook Page). This is unacceptable in 2019. According to StatsCan, more and more Canadian families with children are finding that two incomes are better than one, as an increasing number of women have opted to join the workforce.

The number of Canadian families with two employed parents has almost doubled in the last 40 years—from 1.0 million to 1.9 million families, from 1976 to 2015. Over that period, the proportion of families where just one parent earned a paycheque fell by more than half, dropping from 59% to 27%. In turn, the proportion of dual-income families has nearly doubled, from 36% to 69%.

While Canada’s parental leave benefits allow parents to be home during the first 18 months (at a reduced income, unless your employer pays a top-up; but tackling that topic is for another day) this still leaves parents scrambling as parents try to find childcare to get back into the workforce.

This is not made easier once the child(ren) enter school if suitable and available childcare is not offered at the child’s school. You know, the place where they already are for 6+ hours of the day and it would make sense to bring in ECE staff to manage a before-and-after program in a building made for these children and their needs already in mind.

Currently the amount of time and resources (and buses) spent shuffling children away from school could likely be offset by keeping them in the building.

In 2019, elementary schools should NOT be operating without before-and-after school childcare. Will every child need it? No. But should it be a part of the offerings to parents in the school their child is registered to attend? Absolutely.

This is workforce issue. Parents are having to re-arrange their workday to accommodate this lack of service. Although this affects mothers the most, there are fathers who are also seeing the negative effects of lack of before-and-after school childcare.

The number of stay-at-home mothers as a proportion of non-working mothers has declined over time. In 1976, more than 9 in 10 non-working mothers in a single-earner family were stay-at-home parents. The rest were either unemployed, students or permanently unable to work. In 2015, almost three-quarters of non-working mothers were stay-at-home moms, while one-quarter were either unemployed, students or unable to work.

Among families where the mother was the only earner, approximately one-third of the fathers were stay-at-home dads in 1976 (32%) and 2015 (35%), while about half were unemployed in 1976 (52%) and 2015 (49%).

Source: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-630-x/11-630-x2016007-eng.htm

This chart also demonstrates that as the number of SAHM is decreasing, the number of SAHD is increasing.

Yes, it takes a village to raise a family. But it shouldn’t take a network of parents and grandparents (if you’re really lucky!) to navigate a drop-off and pick-up system for our children  that clearly isn’t working. Every working parent knows the fear of forgetting it’s an early out day, or suddenly things change, weather, whatever and you are FREAKING OUT about how you are going to get to your child’s school in time for pick-up. This unacceptable. This is being done all wrong. Ask any parent and they will tell you there is much room for improvement in this system. The question is: How long are we going to take it from elected officials and administration that this is the best we get? As voters and taxpayers we are owed better answers.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Does before-and-after school care affect your choice of where you live, how you work (if you will work?! because this system could mean that many families don’t have other options for before and after care or support systems so instead, one parent has opted to be at home instead of in the workforce), and what school your child will attend?

 

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