Letter to the Editor – Licensed Child Care

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Dear Editor,

December Licensed Child Care Fee One-Time Payment

Whilst I fully appreciate the gesture made by The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville (The Counties) last week, to pay full day care costs for all children in Licensed Day care for December, 2021, I find it very insulting.

My husband and I had no choice but to put our daughter in unlicensed day care because, despite being on all the waiting lists possible for licensed care, there is a shortage of that in our area and we could not get her in. As a local constituent and taxpayer, it feels remarkably unfair that you will be paying those parents who were luckier than us to get a licensed place, and yet we will get nothing. Am I now paying for their childcare as well as my own, because that’s what it feels like! Surely, if they have all this funding available, it would make more sense to use it to fund more licensed childcare places and allow more parents to take advantage of those places?

I would also be interested to know how the Counties are going to be justifying the difference in the fees they are paying too. For example, if someone has an infant in the Montessori day care in Kemptville, their fees are $1,136.87 per month, whilst someone at MTJB their fees are $1060, and someone in a home day care will pay approximately $860. There are large differences in those numbers, and it doesn’t seem fair that children at different day cares will have very different amounts paid for them by the Counties! Surely it would be better to give a flat rate amount to each, per child in day care. This could then be extended to EVERY child within the municipality for parents to use as they need? With Christmas coming up, I am sure every family would be grateful!

They referenced the “significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on families in our community” in the letter from the Counties, but then seemed to forget all the other families in the community who could not get a licensed childcare place, and it begs the question, why? Are we not as important as other families? Are our children not seen as important? Maybe, Counties, you should consider the impact on every family in their community!

If this money is available from the province and the federal government, surely every child within the municipality should benefit from it, and not just those that are being singled out at licensed day care?

I am a hurt and angry parent. The Counties are insinuating my child is not as deserving as others, and that is quite simply unfair!

Having sent a similar letter to The Counties and Mayor Peckford, I was frustrated further by their lack of answers to my questions, but not surprised. I was, however, surprised that our Mayor was “not aware that there were significant waitlists in our area.” Surely, she should know this if the Counties are handing out money? Is she not on the council for the Counties? And whilst I appreciate that “the Counties doesn’t have the authority to provide non-licensed caregivers with subsidies, as the provincial funds are strictly for licensed facilities”, maybe their letter to parents shouldn’t have made it sound like this payment was to compensate for Covid hardships! Maybe the Counties should be honest, and say it’s allocated childcare money we haven’t already spent?

And, whilst the Counties’ response was not much better, I was informed, “We are continuously looking for every opportunity to support all families in our community.” Really? So, paying for a whole chunk of care for one part of the community is the way to do this, eh?

I was then directed to other financial supports available for childcare, which still doesn’t help, as these, again, are only available for licensed day care, which is the biggest bone of contention! It also simply assumes I need financial assistance, without trying to engage me to find out what my actual needs are!

My husband and I are extremely happy with our day care provider, and our daughter loves being in her care. She comes home happy and that, at the end of the day, is the most important thing! But really, United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, if you are genuinely interested in opportunities to support all families in your community, do better! Talk to all of us and ask us what we need rather than just offering a pat on the back to those in licensed childcare!

Yours,
Mrs Louise Gabell

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