An Open Letter On Improving Access To Quality, Affordable Child Care

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November 17, 2016

Re. Improving access to quality, affordable child care

Dear Ministers McLean and Sabir,

It was with tremendous pride and appreciation that we watched your press release announcing a Pilot Program to provide $25/day child care in 18 non-profit child care centres across Alberta. Alongside Premier Notley and surrounded by proud Alberta families, you made history in our province yesterday.

Congratulations to you and your colleagues in reaching this momentous achievement!

At Vibrant Communities Calgary, we work with hundreds of community partners to address the root causes of poverty through systems and policy change. Rather than looking to alleviate the symptoms of poverty, we look upstream, to support and implement change that can prevent Calgarians from falling into poverty in the first place.  High quality early learning and child care yields fewer special education placements, higher graduation rates, reduced crime, higher future earnings and less reliance on social services.[1]  Additionally, as you so passionately stated in your announcement, access to quality and affordable early learning and child care is the essential for women who want to participate in the workforce; to build their financial and human assets, see a return on higher education and contribute to Alberta’s economic well-being.

We hope that in the implementation of this pilot program the Government commits to the highest standard of quality that meets the social, emotional, physical and sometimes cultural or spiritual, needs and well-being of children. We would like to take this opportunity to encourage the fulsome approach to accreditation and quality outlined in the Early Learning and Child Care Curriculum Framework for Alberta[2].  Furthermore, any program is only as good as those tasked to execute it.  Meaningful investment in the Early Learning and Child Care workforce across Alberta is critical and is an essential component in seeing the outcomes we trust the Government and the public hope to see in the introduction of this program.

In partnership with the Women’s Centre of Calgary, First 2000 Days Network and a Steering Committee of Early Learning and Child Care experts (including staff from each of your ministries) we have begun to investigate areas of opportunity for increasing access to quality, affordable Early Learning and Child Care at the municipal level. It has been a very fulfilling and challenging task, but one that we, and so many others are deeply committed to.  The impacts such an approach may have on working families, communities, poverty reduction and most importantly, children cannot be overstated and we are humbled to work alongside your government to advance this critical opportunity.

On behalf of my two young daughters, and all of Alberta’s littlest ones, thank you.

Sincerely,

Janet Eremenko, Community Facilitation & Engagement Specialist,

Vibrant Communities Calgary

[1] http://heckmanequation.org/content/resource/invest-early-childhood-development-reduce-deficits-strengthen-economy; http://www.heckmanequation.org/content/resource/letter-national-commission-fiscalresponsibility-and-reform ;

http://www.first2000days.org/assets/uploads/2014/06/First-2000-Days-Sources-Sheet1.pdf

[2] http://childcareframework.com/play-participation-and-possibilities/

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