The Yukon Child Care Board has released its annual report for 2018 to 2020, detailing COVID-19 impacts and making a request for a larger budget to allow for more meetings and input.
“We have a really amazing, strong board of people. We all want to be more involved and more active on these issues and provide better advice to the Minister,” said chair Amy Ryder.
The board is mandated under the Yukon Child Care Act in order to make recommendations to the minister, advise on child care services and hear appeals on issues like licensing.
Ryder said they could be doing more, particularly in the area of outreach and communication between government and the child care industry. The Board currently doesn’t have an independent website, for example.
“We did submit a new proposed budget, based on a variety of things that would help us expand on our mandate. That’s currently under review,” Ryder said.
“Basically what we’re asking for is anything that would help support us in helping us reach our stakeholders better, communicating what we do more effectively, and just being able to provide more informed advice to the minister,” she said.
The Putting People First healthcare review details a new vision for many areas of Yukon’s healthcare system, including child care. All 72 of the recommendations were endorsed by the government, including increasing subsidies for child care, moving child care into the Department of Education and increasing training in early childhood development.
Finally, the federal government announced in a throne speech in September that national universal child care is on the way, although there have been few details on how and when it would be implemented.
Ryder said the board could play an important role in supporting those changes, but they are asking for additional resources to do so.
“We want to be a part of that discussion,” Ryder said.
The board is currently working on a detailed report on how COVID-19 impacted the child care industry.
This week’s annual report said that many businesses faced financial hardship and uncertainty, while language around keeping daycares and child care facilities open to allow other workers to continue essential services left educators feeling “feeling discouraged and under-appreciated.”
“In our view, not consulting with the YCCB during this time was a missed opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and insight of the child care industry in a period of crisis,” notes the report.
The annual report also calls on the government to modernize the Child Care Act, include First Nation culture and heritage into early learning and child care and to work harder to attract and retain early childhood educators to the territory.
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