Concerned mothers and community organizations came together to form a Task Force and ensure that mothers' voices are included in policy discussions about the lack of accessible, affordable, high-quality child care in Toronto. The Task Force held hearings and discussions across the city, and administered an online survey. The report, “I should have Applied Before I was Pregnant: How Child Care in Toronto Fails Mothers", was released at City Hall on Friday, June 17th. To read it, please click here.
"There seems to be a lot of talk about child care, but not a lot of that talk includes mothers. We work with thousands of women every year who are unable to do paid work or return to school because they can't find decent, affordable child care. We are thrilled to be supporting this initiative" said Sarah Blackstock, Director of Advocacy & Communications at the YWCA Toronto.
The report notes that the current child care systems falls short of mothers' needs in many ways.
“The current approach seems to cause parents a great deal of stress, as they are required to place their names on multiple lists — paying a fee to do so in some instances — and wait years to secure a space in a licensed municipal or non-profit child-care facility,” says the report.
The group, supported by more than two dozen non-profit agencies including the YWCA, Campaign 2000 and the Toronto Coalition for Better Child Care, is urging municipal, provincial and federal governments to build a comprehensive system of regulated, high-quality, affordable care.
“Mothers, as a group, still have primary responsibility for child care, yet their voices and concerns aren’t heard in debates on child care in Toronto,” said Alex Mandelis, coordinator of the group, launched on Mother’s Day this year.
About 80 per cent of survey respondents didn’t have a daycare subsidy. But those with subsidies said subsidy waiting lists aren’t coordinated with spaces, meaning they could get a subsidy and still be without a child-care spot. More than 18,000 Toronto children are waiting for subsidies.
About 68 per cent of Ontario mothers whose youngest child is under age 3 are in the workforce, while the percentage jumps to 79 per cent for those whose youngest child is under age 5. However, there are licensed child-care spaces for just 21 per cent of Toronto children under age 10, the report notes.
To read an excellent article on the report and project written by Toronto Star social justice reporter Lori Monsebraaten, please click here. An editorial in the Star entitled "Governments are failing families on child care" was published the next day. Click here to read it.
For more information on the Task Force, visit www.mothersforchildcare.ca or their facebook page by searching Mothers for Child Care.
The Toronto Star published an excellent article at the begining of the project entitled "Toronto mothers sick of inadequate child care launch task force". To read the article, click here.