Sundre daycare operator says program “is going to be of great benefit to parents”
SUNDRE – The new child care funding program recently announced by the provincial and federal governments will benefit families, according to a local child care operator.
Korie Graham, owner of the Mount Imagination Childcare Center – a private, for-profit, fully licensed child care center with four certified front-line staff – said the program was still in its infancy.
But based on information the provincial government has already announced to date, Graham said the program will be “a great thing for families.” On the price side, it will be very advantageous for parents.
Mount Imagination currently charges $ 8 an hour, which, depending on how long a child stays at the center, can range from $ 100 to $ 800 per month. Under the new program, she added that some parents are willing to pay much less.
“Right now our fees are so low that some parents could pay as little as $ 24 a month. That’s exactly what (the provincial government) came up with for the numbers and what our fees are, ”she said, adding that there will be a much better understanding of how it all works in the New Year. .
“It’s about figuring out how to rebalance that. “
Parents will be able to apply for the new grants starting in January, according to a provincial government press release. The rates are determined by the total family income, the age of the child, the child care program as well as the number of hours of monthly attendance of the child.
A family generating annual income of up to $ 119,999 will be eligible to receive 100% of the Grant for Licensed Residential Centers and Licensed Family Day Home Agencies. At the high end of the income spectrum, a family earning between $ 175,000 and $ 179,999 will be eligible to receive 40% of the grant.
“For example, a family earning $ 75,000 per year with a toddler attending a daycare program would be eligible for a full grant. If the current fee is $ 1,000 per month, the daycare program will receive $ 510 per month in operating grant and the family would be eligible for $ 266 per month. The remaining parental portion will be $ 224 per month or about $ 10 per day, ”part of the statement read.
“A family earning $ 130,000 per year with a baby attending a daycare program would be eligible for a partial subsidy. If the current fee is $ 1,200 per month, the program will receive $ 635 per month in operating grant and the family would be eligible for $ 226 per month in grant. The remaining parental portion is $ 339 per month or $ 15.60 per day.
Graham also praised the efforts of Rebecca Schulz, Alberta Minister of Children’s Services, to keep the area up to date through regular conference calls at town hall.
“She was amazing throughout the process and kept us informed,” Graham said. Albertan during a telephone interview, with the sound of children playing happily in the background.
“We have received figures on what they are going to give to parents,” she said, adding that while the program is a positive step forward, it still leaves a lot of room for improvement.
“Unfortunately, from my perspective, they did not include school-aged children. So that makes it a bit more difficult for these parents since their kids will be here less than the daycare kids, but will end up paying more, ”she said.
“As soon as they are enrolled in kindergarten, they get old,” she said, adding that parents in this situation will simply stay on existing grants.
“They hope to solve this problem. (Schulz) says it’s a step in the right direction, but not quite what everyone wants, ”she said.
“The consensus of many managers and operators was that we hoped to see more for our staff” in terms of increases and additions, she added.
“As good as it is for families, it’s also a little scary to think that sometimes we might not be able to have the best staff because the pay isn’t the highest.”
But Graham acknowledged and appeared grateful for the funding that will be allocated to help operators increase their wages and upgrade their skills.
“In fact, they are just unlocking funds that are used specifically to acquire qualified personnel or to support our personnel during the COVID period,” she said. “It was a pretty large amount of money that can be used for a number of things like bonuses for staff, or to bring in more qualified staff.”
It is funding that she plans to pay to her employees.
“Lucky for me, I have a great staff. So most of that money will go towards bonuses for them, ”she said, adding that a member of her staff had worked at the daycare since the center opened almost 13 years ago.
“So I’m pretty sure she deserves a nice bonus!” “
Mount Imagination has a capacity of 35 children, but does not reach that limit these days, especially since any cold symptom forces a child to stay home.
“Depending on whether everyone is healthy, we currently have an average of 25 to 30 children a day,” she said.