Report card gives Manitoba child care system a failing grade
WINNIPEG -- A report card released Wednesday by Manitoba Child Care Coalition, on the state of child care in the province found the system is failing children.
“Manitoba’s child care system is under severe strain,” said coalition member Molly McCracken at a news conference in the Manitoba Legislature.
The non-profit organization, made up of advocates, parents and child care workers, are advocating for universal child care. They say child care fees are too high and wages are too low for early childhood educators.
M.J. Farrow, the executive director of the East-Kildonan Stars of Promise, said the day care she runs is barely scraping by because turnover is so high.
“It’s in crisis. I’ve lost four, five, maybe six really good employees.”
Stars of Promise is a non-profit day care that serves 64 children, half of those spaces are subsidized.
Farrow said she is struggling to pay her employees because she relies on a grant that hasn’t increased in three years, while rent keeps rising.
“I have at least four (staff members) who are working second jobs. There is huge burnout.”
She said it’s difficult to keep employees because they can make more money working in retail.
“One of our step members works at a grocery store and makes $14 an hour and $12 an hour here.”
Farrow said she has been forced to hold fundraisers just to pay wages and keep the day care afloat.
“There is a devaluing of the work of early childhood education workers by our government, a field predominately populated by women. This is a gendered policy with consequences overwhelmingly shouldered by women in this province,” said Manitoba Child Care Coalition member Brianne Goertzen,
In a statement, the Families Minister Heather Stefanson, said "We know that the child care system we inherited has not been working for Manitoba families. That is why we have launched a review of the early learning and child care funding model. We are also investing significantly in new child care spaces."
Stefanson said more than $177 million in financial assistance and grants have been budgeted for early learning and child care.