Universal daycare? Hardly
I’d like to address the $10 per day childcare program. The entire system needs an overhaul, not just the price.
The daycare system, as it stands now, caters to two-parent families where the adults work 9 to 5. Many of these parents can now work from home — or have been working from home since the beginning of the pandemic — and yet these will be the only people benefiting from this childcare program.
Daycares do not accommodate single-parent homes, nor do they accommodate shift workers, both of whom are quickly becoming the majority of the workforce. These workers are also those, might I add, who have been deemed essential and who have been major contributors in keeping the country up and running, particularly since the pandemic began.
We can’t access these daycare programs, though. Daycares open at 7:30 a.m. for the most part and close at 6 p.m. But health-care workers have to be at work at 7 a.m. and don’t get done work until 7 p.m. Daycares are not an option at this point — $10 per day or otherwise. Instead, shift workers send their children to dayhomes, which may or may not be certified in childcare, and very likely do not issue receipts; therefore, they can’t get the tax breaks that go to the privileged daycare clients.
The federal government recently gave out an increased tax credit for children under seven years old. It was my understanding this was to help with daycare costs, and yet of the 12 people I know who receive it, not not one of them pays for daycare.
My son is seven and cannot stay on his own. I am a health-care worker who works some half days, mixed with 12-hour shifts. I work at the IWK and cannot find support for my seven-year-old so I can keep my job.
I do not support the daycares in their complaints regarding universal daycare, nor can I pretend anything about the government’s plan is going to enable me to have quality childcare for my son and allow me to maintain my job.
In short, it is my carefully considered opinion that the entire childcare system needs a complete overhaul. The childcare providers and the government both need to take a look at who needs childcare and what kind is needed.
Stop catering to the “happily ever after” two-parent 9-to-5 white-collar workers. Try to think instead of a single mother, shift-working, health-care support worker, juggling three or more childcare providers as she figures out how to pay them all, while keeping her child safe and nurturing him to become a productive, taxpaying member of society.
Christina M. Pypher, Dartmouth
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