The recent $10 childcare promise laid out by the Federal Government will have a major impact on people who use North Hastings Children’s Services (NHCS) childcare.
Jessica Anderson, Executive Director with NHCS says the organization was very happy to hear the announcement, and it will support a lot of families. The main issue before was that subsidies didn’t support many working families with dual income, as the income needed to apply is very low. Anderson predicts two-thirds of families had to pay the full cost of their childcare services. That meant that someone with an infant and a preschooler would expect to pay $2,000 in childcare a month. As families would have to weigh the costs of staying home with the kids or paying the high price of childcare, many workers, mainly women, would be kept out of the workforce. Even though NHCS keeps child care costs as low as they can, they still can only do so much as a not-for-profit childcare provider. This funding, Anderson says, will help families get better access to childcare.
However, Anderson thinks it’s too early to measure the full impact of what the funding program would mean. In Carlow/Mayo and Hasting Highlands Townships, NHCS says childcare locations would need to be brought to them to give full coverage to North Hastings. Anderson wants to see funding for infrastructure as well, as these new locations would be expensive. As full details of the child care plan have not yet been released, Anderson can’t see if there is money allocated for furniture or equipment. If that funding is not there, NHCS will expect to see only a small expansion of their services, with their new facility able to cover the Greater Bancroft Area. Anderson hopes that there will be more funding for early childhood educators as well, as they are always in demand and NHCS could always use more.
Anderson feels that this funding and subsidized care will be a great boost not just for children, but for the economy as well. Having quality child care early in life sets children up for success in their adult years. Economically, she says that for every dollar put into childcare, as much as three dollars is put back into the local economy, with both parents now able to earn a living. Anderson also hopes it will help bring young families to the community.