Letter: child care concerns

Letter: child care concerns

Vernon daycare owner urging change

Editor,

I have sent a letter to Minister Chen in regards to the changes that are coming for child care across our province.

As a business owner, I have several concerns which I am hoping will be addressed by the Honourable Minister Chen.

Dear Minister Chen,

First off, thank you for the information sessions through ECEBC. I am very excited that the province is eager to work with ECEs across the province, in every sector.

I am a private “family” daycare. However, according to my license, my facility is classified as Group Care.

I opened my centre in October 2017, at great cost. In order to open I had to take out a loan. I applied for a funding grant, but my application was rejected. So, I took out a loan to start my business.

Many centres in the private sector are in this position. We do not qualify for government funding, so we take out loans. Why do I mention this? Because the cost of the items I purchase in my centre are no different then those purchased by the Non-Profit sector. Yet, the amount I would receive is much less. I would like to point out that many non- profit centres can apply for other grant money to offset their costs, whereas small business cannot do this. The other area that non-profits can benefit from is community/business donations – private sector cannot.

Also, there isn’t any funding for families using preschool. This should be rectified as soon as possible. Why? There are low income families who use preschool as a learning experience. A preschool setting allows children to have social interaction, allows for families to have an additional choice if they need an outlet for their child but cannot afford full day care.

I understand there are many factors that are taken into consideration when making a long term plan to serve many children/families in our province. However, the scales are not balanced here – and they should be. A child in a small practice should be benefited the same as the non-profit sector. We are should not be a two-tiered system. Universal child care should be the same for every child in whatever setting their parents chose for them.

I fully want to work with my provincial government – however, I feel I am not being given the opportunity to voice my concerns or have the contract reviewed before I sign into this. In business, we are taught do not go into anything without having it reviewed by an attorney and your accountant. This is basic business practice to keep both parties safe and to ensure that a business can thrive and succeed.

I ask you, if you were a small business owner, would you sign into this? I think that it would give you great pause and you would have the same concerns so many in the private sector are now facing.

I urge you to go back and look at this plan from a small business perspective. Make some significant changes. Allow more time for us to better understand what we are facing long term.

I look forward to working with the government for positive change for families needing child care in our province.

Kathleen Gmeinweser

Vernon, B.C.