In early November, the UCP Government announced they were ending two child care subsidies in January 2020.
The first subsidy was the Kin Child Care Subsidy which was earmarked for families who had another family member caring for their children which covered $400 per month for children not yet attending school and $200 per month for children grades 1-6. The second subsidy was the Stay-at-Home parent subsidy that helped parents who attend school or work part-time cover the costs of preschool for $1,200 a year.
It is significant that both these subsidies were cut without consultation with the Albertans who use them and they were cut despite families recently receiving approval for the subsidies for the next year. Because of these cuts many families will be scrambling to find new child care arrangements or will have to cover the lost subsidy starting January. This scramble may be especially difficult for families with children in preschools that traditionally run from September to June. Some families may have to adapt by stopping their schooling or ending their part-time work. As well, the child care workers who provided care for these children may also be out of work as some families who no longer be able to fund these options.
The UCP is also cutting Alberta’s Parent Link Centers effective March 31, 2020. There are currently 59 centers in Alberta that provide parents and caregivers free resources and support. The centers focus on supporting families in early childhood development, parenting skills, mental health resources, and making sure caregivers are aware of the supports in their communities. These centers have serviced more than 107,000 Albertans each year.
Approximately 300 organizations and child related service providers also are seeing 450 grants cuts March 31, 2020. These cuts include the ones to the Parent Link Centers but also to home visitation services, family resources centers and other prevention programs that help parents and families and also try to help that children stay in their families rather than the Alberta foster system. Rebecca Schulz the UCP Children’s Services Minister, is planning on cutting these services by $12 million annually.
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The Fair Start campaign is reachable through the Alberta Federation of Labour at:
#300, 10408 124 Street NW
Edmonton, AB T5N 1R5