Nfld. & Labrador

New strategy deals with daycare problem

Government hopes a new strategy will resolve the province's daycare problem by creating thousands of new spots for kids.
Provincial government plans to double the daycare budget by the end of a ten-year strategy, reports David Zelcer 1:57

The provincial government hopes a new strategy announced on Friday will resolve the province's daycare problem by creating thousands of new spots for children.

Charlene Johnson, the minister of child, youth and family services, announced the plan at the Clarenville Family Resource Centre.

She said the strategy should create 4,800 new registered daycare positions over the next 10 years.

This comes as good news to many parents with young children.

Alicia Norris said that there are not many options in Clarenville for child care.

"There's a big need for child care, especially outside of private babysitters or unlicensed child care in people's homes," Norris said.

Cynthia Coates considers herself lucky to have accommodations for her children.

"It's very tough - I'm fortunate that I have child care for my three children. However, friends of mine are struggling every day with looking for child care," Coates said.

Strategy coincides with cuts

The new plan was announced at a time when the provincial government is in talks about reducing spending and making cuts to the public service sector to minimize the deficit.

However, this strategy includes grants to open daycares and cap the fees, as well as bursaries for child care courses, which will make it easier to become a child care worker and open a daycare.

These new openings will double the daycare budget over the next decade.

Johnson said the government promised to work on the child care system in the last budget announcement.

"We're not eliminating all spending, we still have to spend money," Johnson said. "One of the areas we've made as a primary focus is in child care."

Government has increased daycare spaces by 66 per cent since 2003, and projects another 70 per cent on top of that by the end of the ten-year strategy.