Members of the Yukon Child Care Association feel a need to provide some insight for the public and the Yukon Party by clarifying some of the rhetoric coming from Health Minister Doug Graham during question period in recent weeks.
Child care and child development are much more than politics imply. The government has the budget numbers along with how much goes into programs and some sort of one-dimensional job description.
The majority of programs in Whitehorse and the Yukon provide quality programming without deserved recognition and without appropriate remuneration. People in labour jobs for local construction companies make twice of those who work in child care, never mind the living wages made in other sectors that keep our economy healthy.
In particular reference to the Nov. 3 Hansard record of the legislature: Politicians don’t understand what the Child Development Centre (CDC) does in its part-time programming we do every day, from first thing in the morning until we close at dinner time every day of the week, every week of the year.
Our two-year Early Childhood Development training and years of experience ensure that we assess every child in order to provide them with programming that suits their developmental needs. Children in our programs enjoy activities designed for the opportunity to reach their full potential whether they’re labeled special needs or not.
Often it is us who refer families to the CDC for further family-specific support and intervention. We work with the CDC to carry out Individual Program Plans (IPPs) devised using a team approach. In addition to working with the CDC, child-care programs have children in their care with IPPs who do not attend the CDC; for example, one of our members has seven children in her program with IPPs and not one of them attend the Child Development Centre.
Children in our programs develop the foundation needed for successful education and life that include but are not limited to problem solving, social skills, basic literacy, numeracy skills and social confidence because they have been set up for success. Parents are able to go to work and support our economy because they know their children are being cared for and nurtured in an environment that is the next best thing to home.
In addition to hiding behind the Child Development Centre, the Yukon Party government also avoids the child-care issue by using its time in the legislature to highlight the Rotary Club’s Imagination Library (!?) – please save your breath.
A few further points for clarification, referencing the Oct. 30 Hansard record of the legislature:
* Mr. Graham has not met with the chair of the Yukon Child Care Association as he reported.
* There has been no increase in the amount of money available to us, as he reported.
* Programs that are able to pay a living wage include First Nation programs that support their programs by covering rent, maintenance and janitorial services. As well, programs that remunerate their staff are those who do not have to pay rent or a heating bill. Mr. Graham, wage fluctuations are unrelated to a program being “for profit” or “not for profit.”
Chair, Yukon Child Care Association