The Alberta government has a plan to make childcare accessible and affordable for families by reducing the average pay per day to $15 in 2023-24, with plans to bring it $10 per day by 2026.
This is making the urgency for parents to put their children into a daycare centre across the province more prominent and Strathmore is no different.
Owner of local daycare Next Kids inc. and Core Paula Beekman explained there is high demand for childcare and they are always full.
“We have to move kids up in age, we start at 12 months old but when they hit 19 months they will have to move to another room and that room might not have enough space. So, we have to hold kids back in certain areas and we are constantly full.”
Beekman says one of the waitlists they have is for after-school care and some parents are registering their kids for that when they hit one year old and sometimes even younger.
“Some parents are even registering their kids at five months old. I have a lady that hasn’t even had her baby yet contact me. She is pregnant right now.”
Golden Hills School Division (GHSD) is providing its own after-school programs Beekman mentioned so that means that Core and Next Kids will be diversifying their own after-school care because not as many kids will be coming to them specifically, “We are probably opening up close to thirty more spots.”
Beekman did emphasize that she understands people want to take advantage of the $10 a day daycare and it's probably one of the reasons that daycares are starting to fill up so quickly recently.
Beekman also mentioned that the government is also leaning towards non-profit daycares getting some money but it's hard to open a non-profit program.
“There is a lot of moving parts to a non-profit, there is also a new daycare coming to town as well, I think.”
There are no caps on daycare costs and even before the $10 a day, there was still an urgency to have room for children at a daycare or even for after-school programs.
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