What would you do with $926 a month?

Photo: Lay Down & Look Up, Jason L. Parks

That’s the average amount of money parents spend for each child they have in child care according to the Rethink Calculator.

We asked parents to tell us how child care affected them in their work, community, or family life.  The good news is many wrote passionately about the high quality child care they receive.  The bad news is that the expense of child care is crushing on families.

Many confirmed that child care was far more expensive than their housing costs and they have to watch every penny.  Many families forgo saving for their children’s future or their own retirement.  Participants reported struggling to pay their student debt, let alone plan for their children’s post-secondary education.  As one participant put it—“a big ugly fail on the part of the $100 per month that the government provided as a band aid to a much bigger issue.”

Quality child care allows both parents to work; it gives children social and emotional group experiences that are valuable.  Parents report that child care staff are an important information resource for child development.  As one parent put it, “we have come to feel that the staff and centre are part of our family life and the children are blessed to be part of such a supportive community of care”.

Aside from costs, access to quality child care is a challenge for parents.  Wait lists are long and for those needing accommodation for extended work hours or shift work many barriers exist.

Tell us what child care has meant for your life and explore what a program similar to Quebec might mean for your family.  Share the calculator with your friends and colleagues!  http://rethinkchildcare.ca/calculator/