Survey finds increased demand and decreased funding for Alberta's childcare system
Published Thursday, November 20, 2014 11:53AM MST Last Updated Thursday, November 20, 2014 6:50PM MST
Families in Alberta are increasingly likely to encounter waiting lists while attempting to secure a place for their children in a childcare centre, day home or after school program, and the demand for childcare is even greater in Calgary.
According to a survey of 212 childcare operators, conducted by Public Interest Alberta and released in conjunction with National Child Day, locating quality child care is a struggle for most Alberta families and increasingly difficult for low-income families or families of children with special needs.
Among the survey’s findings:
- 63% of responding childcare operations currently have a waiting list
- 71% of responding childcare operations in Calgary currently have a waiting list
- 74% of operations charge low-income families more than $200/month per child above the subsidy rate
- 32% of operations charge low-income families more than $300/month per child above the subsidy rate
- 63% of operations charge low-income families more than $300/month per child above the subsidy rate
“This new survey is very consistent with what we hear from parents here in Calgary every day,” said Sharon Reib, Executive Director of Churchill Park Family Care Society in Calgary. “Waitlists are long and there are not enough spaces to serve the needs of all the children including infants, preschoolers, school age and children with special needs.”
- 82% of respondents believe provincial funding for childcare is insufficient.
- 50% of childcare centres raised their fees in 2013 following the government’s elimination of the quality enhancement grant
- 52% of centres made program cuts after the quality enhancement grant was removed
Families of children with special needs or families with infants, may encounter obstacles in securing childcare as operators may not provide the services their children require.
- 33% of childcare operators in Alberta stated they do not accept infants
- 42% of childcare operators in Calgary stated they do not accept infants
- 62% of operators in Alberta do not provide care for children with complex special needs
- 74% of operators in Calgary do not provide care for children with complex special needs
“This survey reveals the impact on families of years of government underfunding of childcare,” says Public Interest Alberta’s Bill Moore-Kilgannon. “The Alberta government needs to develop a comprehensive approach to providing quality early childhood education and care to support young families, instead of relying on a market based approach for our children.”
Additional findings from the survey are available at Public Interest Alberta Childcare Survey