July 18th, 2023
Families struggling under Houston’s broken child care promises
Halifax – Families across Nova Scotia are struggling under the Houston government’s child care plan. Conservatives promised parents 1500 new spots by the end of 2022, but Tim Houston has only opened 28 net new spaces province-wide during the two years he’s been in charge.
“We hear from people every week about the stress they’re under trying to find child care for their children,” said Suzy Hansen, NDP Education and Early Childhood Development spokesperson. “The Premier and his Minister of Education make lots of promises but when it comes down to it, very few new spots have actually opened, and many have closed for good. They have to do more to help operators grow and keep their doors open, and help parents find the affordable child care they need, in their community.”
Almost half of all young children in Nova Scotia live in child care deserts, communities where there’s only enough child care for fewer than one-third of the children in the area. Theresa Hudson has been dealing with this additional stress, looking for child care for her son as she’s set to return to work in September.
“I think the way this has all been handled has created more problems than it solved,” Hudson said. “We know people need child care and it should be affordable but with a lack of early childhood educators, centres closing, and more and more young families moving to our communities, people are really stuck trying to figure out child care on top of everything else.”
For Jessie Harlow and her husband, it was only at the very last minute that they found child care for their 3-year-old and 18-month-old at the start of June.
“We were really down to the wire and weren’t sure if we were going to be able to find somewhere that would work for what we needed,” said Harlow. “In the nick of time, we were able to find a great option for our young children, but it shouldn’t be this hard. We need to make sure that families have the child care they need and that the operators and ECEs providing that care are valued for the important work they do.”
Since the summer of 2021, the Halifax Regional Municipality has lost 144 child care spaces in centres and family home providers.