Working together for a community based, non-profit child care system that is
CCCABC supports the development of a comprehensive, accessible and affordable non-profit child care system in BC and across Canada.
Non-profit child care, also called not-for-profit child care, is child care that exists solely to provide a service to the community.
Non-profit child care is a public service – just like education and health care. It is in the public interest, must be publicly funded and publicly accountable in its governance, and community based in its service delivery.
In BC, non-profit child care services are delivered by incorporated non-profit societies, municipal governments, First Nations, and publicly funded institutions e.g., hospitals, universities, colleges.
A growing body of research confirms that the quality of care that children receive during their early years affects them throughout their lives. High quality child care positively influences children’s health and learning while poor quality care can do harm.
High quality licensed child care features:
- High adult to child ratios
- Stable, consistent caregiving
- Small group sizes
- Staff who are well trained in early childhood development and school age care
- Monitored health, safety and physical environments
- Decent wages and working conditions
- Unionized workplaces
All of these characteristics depend on and rely on adequate and stable funding.
Today, quality child care is unaffordable for the majority of BC families who need it. When quality child care is affordable, parents choose it. When it is not affordable, parents have no choice but to use any care they can afford.
BC’s current user fee system leads to two-tiered child care. Child care programs serving affluent communities can collect higher than average fees and have larger budgets to support quality. Child care services in low income communities must set lower fees and with reduced revenues, the very children who could most benefit from access to enriched experiences are least likely to receive them.
All children, regardless of their abilities or their families’ income level, geographic location or employment status, are entitled to access quality child care and early childhood experiences, programs and services.
Currently, access to child care is not equitable across BC communities or socio-economic classes. Barriers to access particularly affect rural families, aboriginal families, shift workers or families whose children require extra supports.
Provincial Child Care Community Consultations Summary
(see page 3, Accessibility)
Given the importance of the early years and the demonstrated economic benefits to society of investing in quality child care, it is time to move from a user-pay system to a publicly funded child care system.
Despite the high numbers of mothers in Canada’s workforce, Canada is still one of the few highly developed industrialized countries in the world that does not have a publicly funded child care system and comprehensive family policies.
In a publicly funded system, child care is treated as a public good, rather than a commodity. Governments directly fund a range of child care and early childhood programs that are community-based and community-delivered.
In a publicly funded, community-based system, child care services have higher levels of accountability. They are accountable for using public funds to enhance quality, to treat child care workers with respect, and to ensure services are affordable and accessible. They are accountable to the communities and families they serve to promote healthy growth and development of each child.