School age childcare gets short shrift as province ramps up daycare funding, advocates complain

The head of the School Age Care Directors Association says Alberta is taking some positive steps, but families with older children are being left out.

As Alberta tests $25 per day daycare, those with older children feel left out

Staci Brown, chair of the School Age Care Directors Association of Alberta, says more attention needs to be paid to the shortage of school age care spaces. (Jennifer Lee/CBC)

Advocates for school age childcare say those programs are being left out of important Alberta government funding opportunities.

Staci Brown, head of the School Age Care Directors Association — an advocacy group for programs that provide before- and after-school care to children ages five to 12 — says these groups don't get the same support from the province as daycares.

The Alberta government recently rolled out a $25-a-day pilot project for daycares, a plan that could create more than a thousand new childcare spots across the province.

"The government is making some wonderful steps forward, we just want to be included," said Brown.

"School age programs actually outnumber daycares now in Alberta and the spaces are just as short. And we could not apply."

James Davidson has been relying on before- and after-school care for his nine-year-old son while he looks to re-enter the workforce. (Jennifer Lee/CBC)

James Davidson, who lost his job during the downturn, sends his nine-year-old son to before- and after-school care.

He says he's relied on the child-care as he seeks full-time work while doing short contracts and picking up whatever odd jobs he can.

"I know that my son is well taken care of while I go off and try and secure new work," he said.

"But it is very much getting to the point that at some point I'm going to have to let this go, it's too expensive."

The province did not respond to an interview request from CBC News.