There has been a lot of interest, emotion and activity since the BC government announced a plan to move toward universal child care. I have written a post about it for ECEs here. And I also wrote an additional post relating to “opting in” and wages that received many comments and shares. To assist people in tracking everything, I put together this post which has a listing of current information and resources related to the plan.
Over the last week or so I have received a huge amount of feedback, comments and messages about all that’s happening related to child care in BC. And increasingly, I have been involved in an extensive amount of communication, collaboration and information coordination with colleagues around the province related to what this new plan means for everyone who cares about child care.
Quite honestly, there is NO way to describe the level of unrest, distrust, confusion and frustration that I am hearing from across the province. In my 30+ years in the field I have never, ever seen anything like this.
And that says a lot — considering the vast majority of people I am hearing from actually support the concept of universal child care — they quite simply don’t support certain key elements of this plan, how the BC government has been moving forward to implement it or how key ECE organizations have been interacting with the field.
This week, the BC government are hosting a series of conference calls for child care operators to participate in related to the new Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative. Information related to these calls have been sent out directly to each of the programs that are eligible to participate.
More and more questions have been coming up about what this new child care plan means, the changes to funding and how the child care fee reductions will work.
In recent days I have had a number of comments and questions submitted to me related to all of this. Below are just a few examples of what I have received. I am sharing all items with permission. In some cases, I have made minor edits for grammar, spelling etc.
Please note, these questions and comments are NOT being shared to create fear or to cause rumours or speculation — rather I am simply hoping to demonstrate the reality of what people in the field are truly worried about, wondering or trying to better understand right now. And to reinforce the fact that ALL of our voices matter.
From my own interactions on social media over the last week I can tell you that what follows below is quite simply the tip of the iceberg. And while the government may have shared information about many things related to this plan — clearly it has not been enough and the timing related to implementation of everything has simply been too much too fast.
Maybe this week more information will be shared that will help to ease concerns and answer questions more fully.
Questions About the New BC Child Care Plan
These are just some of the questions recently received from people and programs across BC about the new plan. And while YOU might know the answer to some of what is here — the truth is that lots of people don’t know the answers to a great many things. For that reason it is important that we keep talking, asking and attempting to understand.
I have many drop ins and part times sharing spots, how will this effect them? How will a 10% increase is the CCOF balance out to how much I lower my fees.
How does the government decide what a fair rate increase is…based on the daycare’s submitted rates, or based on an average of daycare rates in their community?
Why there needs to be a “control” over what fees we charge? ! What is the overall benefit for me as a daycare owner if I reduce my fees ?! Parents can be subsidies more or less directly (similar to current subsidy program) no need to “force” daycare to reduce fees.
Will this new CCOF funding cover for wages increase?
How will wages get paid under the opt in plan?
How will gov’t generate MORE ECE workers quickly and what are they doing to bring ones that left, back into the field?
Our Center is closed for Christmas break and we have a week vacation on March and one on August, will the CCOF be paying those months in full?
I would like to know why are multi-age daycare (family) CCOF is significantly lower than the group daycare? I still employ two ECE staff with a 1-4 radio, our children and families receive high quality service and attention and I could be receiving rent with a lot less work.
Why couldn’t this be done with more time, why did the advertising came before the new CCOF agreement? This puts daycare providers in a difficult situation as we can’t answer questions as we can make decisions until we have the agreement.
Why are parents of children attending In Home Multi Age programs receiving less funding than those that have children in Group childcare? Though I presume that decision was made based upon how CCOF funding works, I am an ECE and provide stellar developmental opportunities and an incredible learning space for the children in my care. My parents took the time to seek out educated, professional care, but wanted a more home like (vs. school like) environment and so now they are being penalized. How is this fair for my parents considering I have the same education as an ECE working in a group centre and my fees are on par with a group centre, because I value my education and time?
What is the government’s intention in creating spaces for childcare before there are enough qualified ECEs to govern them? How will the shortfall of qualified ECEs be addressed when the disparity becomes even more acute?
Who did the government consult with to ensure that this was a plan that would meet the needs of children, parents and caregivers? Were representatives from all areas of childcare involved in this process (e.g. LNR, IHMA, GMA, Group, etc.)? If not every sector and/or parent group was represented, why not?
How will the fee reduction payments be delivered so that centres receive them in a timely fashion to meet other monetary obligations? Is there consideration for a lagging system (e.g. enrolment and then a month later the parent receives the fee on their next invoice after the centre has received it?)
How will vacations and statutory holidays be addressed in the reduction fee?
If I had announced a fee increase to my parents prior to the reduction fee announcement, but the increase is not to implemented until after April 1st (to give my parents time to plan appropriately), will I still be approved?
Is the government willing to rework this plan so that it better suits the longterm viability of quality childcare (e.g. allocating funding differently, distribution of fee reduction directly to parents rather than through the centres, etc.)
As a multi age daycare with …..all part time, how will I determine the fee reductions – is there a spread sheet being created that will depict the amounts based on the days attended?
Our monthly fees for under 3s are currently less than $1250 – how will this affect my contract with Govt?
Is the Government ultimately trying to phase out FCC and in home multi age childcare? – BIG question.
Is the Govt encouraging FCC and MA in home daycares pay $25 per hour for ECE staff? If so, we need to raise our fees to cover this!
When will the Govt funds be paid to daycare providers?
Why is the Govt making this Fee Reduction available to everyone – should it not be to those who need it most?
Most of my children are 3-5 years and part time – with all this paper work involved – they might be getting $20 per month.
Every daycare unique and their programs differ – some offer snacks, transport to schools, field trips, swimming, skating etc. Spaces are different , leases vary in price depending on location – how can we be locked in at the same rate if we are all different.
Can we opt out mid way of the program?
Is the CCOF going to be eliminated to those who Opt Out?
I have concerns going forward. I am about to remortgage my home in order to purchase the building we currently rent in so that we expand our school age program .
If you would like to submit questions you can do so here. I may share more questions in a future post.
Overall Comments & Feedback
These just some of the comments recently received from people and programs across BC.
Daycare providers and owners are already maxed out with all the paperwork for Licensing required and running a business. The added paper work is going to be significant to everyone who opts in.
I pay my ECE a living wage as I value her skills and want her to retain her – however, a colleague pays her ECE $15 – same set up, multi age, concerned that we are all unique and some daycares pay staff more than others based on what they can afford, depending on program. Worried that if my rates capped – I won’t be able to offer her increase annually.
Too many unique programs in childcare – we cannot all be lumped into one category. Obviously FCC with one provider, might charge less fees than MA with 2 ECE staff and larger centre with 5+ staff. How can one program cover all the daycares that have so many different overheads and programs – we are not all the same and neither should we be. Parents do want choice and not everyone wants a large centre.
The CCOF should be increased to help us pay our staff the $25 per hour
After listening to a webinar today from childcare providers in all facets of care I’m terrified to move forward in expansion with so much uncertainty in our field.
I am furious that the school districts are putting an ECE in every kindy classroom. I cannot compete with paying them $28/hr, pension and union. We will lose our ECE’s.
I saw a post where someone explained it as, the gov’t is going to force centres to run as not for profit.
Any time a plan comes together quickly and with little time to decide, it’s usually not a good plan for the “little guy.”
As an ECE that chose to be in this field because I am very passionate about working with children, I am very concerned about the wage. I started out at $12 an hour over 5 years ago, and now being the lead teacher running a preschool program, I am only making $16. To earn more wages I would have to travel a further distance which would eat up the couple dollar difference in gas and time alone. I have stuck with the field because I know I’m good at my job, and it makes me happy. The reality is that I don’t think I can afford to stay in the field when the cost of living has skyrocketed.
Yes, thank you to all the people like yourself that are doing what you are doing to fight for what is right for everyone. People like yourself, actually doing something about it, wanting to hear from me, makes me feel supported. Thank you!!
If the government put a base rate on ECE’s that the minimum wage was $18/hr to start. Anyone not making that wage, the employee applies to have the government contribute to the wage top up, instead of coming out of parent’s pockets. Then all the finer details could be worked out about how to increase wages, who and how to qualify for higher wages. It shouldn’t be just based on education levels, experience and quality of work should be equal. At least with this wage, ECE’s would be more willing to wait, and not leave the field, creating more problems.
Parents always want to pay less (understandable). Yet running a safe and stimulating facility is costly. I worry that applying for government funding will be time consuming and not the easiest thing to achieve. My job is already time consuming. I am up until midnight most nights cleaning my facility, organizing the next days activities, meal prepping, and keeping my books. I don’t get paid for any of that.
They need to make a plan to make a career in child care look more prestigious. I think that is another reason why people graduating high school may not be choosing to study early childhood education.
So — there are LOTS of questions. And a great many concerns. I am so glad that so many people and programs are speaking out, asking questions and sharing their concerns.
Please don’t stop. It’s SO important that we continue.
And remember — this entire situation is about the future of child care in British Columbia. And it’s essential that everyone and every program is part of that conversation.
After all, we are all in child care together.
PS – Don’t forget – To assist people in tracking everything, I put together this post which has a listing of current information and resources related to the plan.