Daycare-You Are The Voice For Your Children

Daycare

Daycare is not something Mrs.CBB and I are worried about at the moment but for those of you that are parents that might be a different story. You don’t really read up about kids when you don’t have kids, well at least I don’t unless it’s something that is brought to my attention. I tend to thrive on “How To” articles and DIY projects that I need to get done around the house because I enjoy learning about these topics.

This post mostly comes after friends of our divulged how much they were paying out for their 1 year old child to go to a licensed daycare. They also told us how they struggled to find a spot and weren’t sure if they were going to be able to get their child into the daycare as they were put on a waiting list. I asked what other options they had and the first one was to bring their child to family. They chose the daycare for the day-to-day interaction so their child had the opportunity to interact with other children. Luckily for them a spot opened up.

Are parents really in the dark though about who’s looking after their kids?Apparently so, according to CBC Marketplace who conducted a survey of 1000 Canadians 18 years of age or older that had a child under the age of 13. The survey was conducted in order to provide information for their “daycare information in Canada” episode which aired this past Friday.

According to the survey, just 20% of children are finding spots in Canada in a licensed daycare. Non-licensed day cares have one rule and that is they are only allowed 5 children. Does it matter to you if the home is safe? Do you care who comes and goes? Do you care if the house is clean or if they are smoking around the kids in the home? Do you care where your kids sleep? Do you care if your childcare provider has safety training? I’m hoping most parents by now if you are reading this are saying “of course we care“. Even if your child is in an unlicensed facility making sure you have answers to your questions is imperative. I’m sure some parents believe that getting into a licensed daycare won’t be that difficult when it comes time to head back to work. It shouldn’t be and it’s a shame waiting lists are so long.

Childcare researcher Martha Friendly who appears in the episode said it best when she  says “it’s different when you are taking care of other people’s children”. I agree it’s a big responsibility some are willing to take on. Not all non-licensed home-based daycares or daycare centres are illegal (have more than 5 children) but the reality is they are not getting inspected by the government like all other licensed daycares where inspectors come in and go over a list of requirements. According to the show, daycare home inspectors will come into licensed daycares and check over the entire place from top to bottom.

Some requirements in a licensed day care 
  1. Credentials
  2. Schedules
  3. Health and safety of the environment ie: baby gates on all stair access and smoke detectors that work.
  4. First Aid/CPR

All licensed facilities require providers to have a police background check…. 66% of the parents surveyed said no they did not have a police check done or they didn’t knowYou won’t get these inspections in unlicensed daycares and according to the survey most parents did not know if the child care provider had first aid or CPR. 

The one unlicensed day care provider in the program didn’t even know what the proper number was to call for an emergency a number she said, “991”A simple error, maybe but it’s not like she was nervous to be on camera, they were undercover. She didn’t even have any safety training which she didn’t feel necessary because she’s been watching kids for years. Oh and nap time consisted of sleeping in a dungeon like room likely with cob webs, dust and who knows what else (it was hard to tell)  in a so-called area (basement) of the home with no windows or outdoor access. You should be shaking your head in disbelief because clearly this is the kind of care that is going on in some home daycares in Ontario because they “can” get away with it. 

How Much is Daycare in Ontario?

Good question but you can pay as little as $25 a day + for unlicensed or up to $45 per day or more in a licensed day care.I made a few phone calls and simply read online ads in the area. Your best bet is to call around, research the facilities and visit these places. The friend of ours I spoke of above pays $1100 a month in a licensed day care facility for their child which I was in awe about. This is what sparked my question the other day on Facebook for my fans. I wanted to know what parents pay for daycare in their area.

I thought $1100 was outrageous but not any longer after watching this timely episode. Some of the fans on my Facebook page say they paid $30 per day or $150 per week with reference to not getting penalized for school holidays like a licensed daycare centre would. Other moms felt it wasn’t worth it for them to return to work given their tax bracket and other factors so they are stay at home moms many of whom go on to homeschool their children.

According to the show, “over 757 complaints were made reporting unlicensed daycares in the past 3 years for having too many kids”. I bet, it’s a lucrative business when you can stuff 10 kids in a home raking in thousands of dollars a month and in some cases it’s all cash under the table, so no taxes are being paid. Did you ask all the right questions when you were searching for your child care provider? One woman in the episode went as far as to say she was licensed when she was not and had only 8 kids when in fact she had many more. Don’t believe everything you hear, I don’t care how nice they are.

Mrs.CBB has a friend who has her Early Childhood Education (ECE), First aid, CPR and the parents loved her and with good reason, she was good at what she did, she played by the rules. She ran a licensed daycare while she was home caring for her own child. She went on to become a teacher in Ontario and no longer does home daycare. Are parents as worried that their own family members might not have ECE, First Aid or CPR like we require in licensed facilities? A question you can only answer yourself. 

Should You Wait To Have Kids When You Can Afford Them?

Kids cost a lot of money that’s no secret and some individuals simply don’t ever want to have children and that’s OK too. Sure I’ve heard if we wait until we can afford them we will never have them. The answer to this is really up to the individuals as no one can make this decision but them because they know their own situation better than anyone else. I don’t think there is any right or wrong answer.

When I was growing up I don’t really recall any of my friends having their moms go to work. We didn’t live the kind of lifestyle that we do today where we have to have it all, it was a minimalist type of living because it was more important for moms to stay home and give that one on one care to the kids in the early years where it is so important. Times have changed now though where both parents have to head out to work in order to pay the mortgage, rent, bills, school tuition etc but there are many people who do stay home with the kids. Why are some not able to stay home and others can? It all depends on lifestyle, debt, career choice and likely a bunch of other personal factors but that’s up to the parents to decide.

  1. Can I be a stay at home mom/dad for my children?
  2. Am I able to qualify for childcare subsidy in Ontario?
  3. How will I pay for my child to go to a daycare?

People are struggling to pay the bills living pay to pay as costs are rising especially all around us even when it comes to having kids. One mom blew me away with the figures she provided for us for her 3 kids over the long haul. She sounds pretty excited though to see the payments coming down as time passes but I’m sure every penny was worth it for her kids.

We pay $110 a week for 2-3 days for our Senior Kindergarten child to attend daycare, $40-$60/week for before and after school for our 5 yr old and $50/week for before/after school for our 7 yr old. Around $840/month. In Sept, we’ll be down to $400/month for both! So far, we have spent around $80,000.00. Yikes!

Parents clearly need more licensed daycare facilities in Ontario and the provincial government needs to get moving to help create more licensed facilities. Until then parents will continue to scramble trying to figure out who is going to watch their kids and pray they make the right decisions.

Peekaboo, I Can See My Child In This Licensed Child Car Centre

I wanted to do some research on different daycare centres in the Greater Toronto Area and surrounding cities and came across this facility which I found interesting enough to talk about it today.

Peekaboo Child Care with centres in and around the GTA allows you to watch your children via Video Over the Internet (VOI) for a monthly fee of course. Once registered with Peekaboo the parent receives a parent handbook that has many questions answered for the parent as well as policies and procedures. They also get a bi-annual progress report and parent-teacher interviews. It’s nice to read that the facility has many common questions that parents ask already answered so they can simply read to find out what they want to know.

Although we don’t have any children I certainly learned plenty from watching this program and know when the time comes we’ll be doing our daycare homework so we can get the highest of quality care and be the voice for our children.

You can read the full marketplace story here and if you have time watch the episode on the television, it’s worth it.

Should there be a standardized set of rules and requirements for all daycares in Canada?

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Mr. CBB
I’m from the UK and now a recent permanent resident in Canada. I bought my first house at the age of 21 after University then my second at the age of 24. I’ve always been fascinated with personal finance, savings, learning to make money and watch it grow while combating debts along the way. Canadian Budget Binder is a place where I get to share my experiences with personal finance and learn about yours along the way. I hope you stick around and check me out on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest where I am active on all social media sites. Cheers, Mr.CBB
Mr. CBB
Mr. CBB

Comments

  1. Daycare can be crazy expensive and it sill amazes me the number of unlicensed care centers there are out there. We had our daughter in one for maybe six months, but she was with a close family friend that was licensed and very cheap since she’s a good friend. That said, we hope to not have to put them in daycare for a variety of reasons.

  2. Good article. My wife and I looked around for a long time to find a daycare. It is expensive, but saving money on my child’s safety is not really an option. There are many home day cares around here and I didn’t like any of them.

  3. Thanks for the nod! ;)

    When I was growing up, my mom took care of me and my sisters. I’m not sure if I would want to place my child (if I ever had any!) in a daycare unless I was 100% sure about the facility. I think more regulations are definitely needed. There’s been some scary stories about daycares in BC taking on 2-3x the number of children that they are allowed to take on and even a story or two about children being “misplaced” (but later found).

  4. Mandy @ MoneyMasterMom says:

    Its a hard choice for moms (and some dads too) about whether or not to return to work after a baby. Screening day cares is a tough process. I recommend asking friends for referrals, and to always trust your instincts. They don’t call it Mothers Intuition for nothing!

    • I agree that also helps… did you get a chance to watch that episode of Marketplace? One parent outside was arguing with Erica for conducting the investigation saying the owners were good people. They went on to tape him moving kids from daycare to daycare with no car seats. The parents involved were shocked but went on to say they trust them. So how good is a referral if some parents are in the dark? What they think is happening might not actually be. It’s a tough call, I agree with you Mandy.

  5. I think one reason that so few parents use a licensed day care over an unlicensed one is because many instances of “unlicensed day care” are just friends or family. My buddy uses his retired next door neighbor to watch his three kids while he and his wife work. My father-in-law watches the grandkids when my brother-in-law and his girlfriend’s schedules overlap. And my mother watched about a dozen kids over the years with no more qualification than raising 3 kids herself.

    • Same here when I was growing up it was my mum or my aunt etc as family was always around especially my grandmother. Cost is always a big factor but also it depends on what the parents want like in our friends case.

  6. I know from co-workers that daycare can cost upwards of $1000 a month here in Vancouver, and sometimes it’s actually cheaper to stay at home with your kid than to go back to work and put them in daycare. I’m several years away from having to think about this myself but it sure does worry me since I know I’ll want to go back to work after I give birth, but it’s so frickin’ expensive to have kids too!

    • When the one mom told me she spend upwards of $80k for her kids over the years for daycare and before and after school care it really puts things into perspective for us. Lots to think about that’s for sure.

  7. Great article here. We chose to have my wife stay home because we could not think of anything more important. Also, daycare and other expenses with my wife working basically wiped any potential income, so it was a no brainer. We don’t have much margin in our budget, are EXTREMELY thrifty, but would have it no other way. The lifesyle we live to allow her to stay home is worth it EVERY SINGL DAY. Thanks for the comprehensive write up here, it’s really something everyone should think about BEFORE having kids :)

  8. I really would hate it for my kids to have to spend all that time with someone else let alone have someone else “raising” my children too I would much rather make do with alot less things like cable, cell phone etc just to say at home with the kids let alone sink all that money into care for them…. #CBB

  9. We made the decision a long time ago to live on one income so my wife could stay at home with the kids, at least until they were both at school. Sometimes we have to tighten the belt but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Childcare would eat up so much of any second wage, it just doesn’t seem worth it for us.

  10. My husband and I worked very hard before we had children. We both worked rotating shift work in a the same factory.By the time our daughter was born, we were within 2 years of paying off our house we built.We worked opposite shifts, so using conventional daycare didn’t really work for us.We used friends and their teenage daughters for babysitters. I quit work when my daughter was 16 months old. Back then we only had 15 weeks of maternity leave.When my EI ran out, the house was paid.

    We went on to have 2 more children.I worked in my brother’s convenience store p/t around my husband’s schedule until my second child was born.Then a year later we had our third child.
    We sold this house and bought a larger one.Took out another mortgage. I provided childcare in our home for neighbours.I claimed it on my income tax. I didn’t make a lot of money, but it was the same as if I was paying childcare and had gone back to work.

    Whenever possible, I think people should pay down their bills where they can be managed by one income, before you start your family. The family allowance payment each month more than makes up for the added cost of a child. Kids do not cost a lot. We bought a new crib and carseat. After that we went to yardsales etc for clothes. I used cloth diapers. (the flat ones where you actually fold them yourself) If there items you want, make a list and maybe you will get them for Xmas or a baby shower.

    I felt guilty at first not contributing to the family income, but many times the you can contribute more by staying home. I’d be surprised if you look back at this time and say you wished you put the kids in daycare and went back to work. The difference in money, for regular wage earners, just isn’t there.You’d be better off working around your partner’s schedule parttime, if you wanted to work.

  11. Christine Weadick says:

    My daughter is an ECE, she works in a daycare and has to have first aid training including infant CPR. They have to re-certify every year. They are inspected on a regular basis. There are cameras on site recording everything. If there is an incident they look over the tapes from these cameras. She had worked herself up to program supervisor so if the director is not on site she is in charge.They have regulations for all age groups and the adult/child ratio depends on the age of the child. She is also a single mom to our grandson. He’s in a home based licensed daycare, not the daycare his Mom works at. He loves it there and right now he is the oldest of 3-4 kids there. He starts JK in Sept as he will be turning 4 in Sept. Qiunn and Cloe will miss him. Daycare workers do not get paid a great deal, so his daycare is subsidized for the most part. If you want to see the regulations that daycares are to operate under you can look it up online from the provincial governments website. Or you can purchase your own copy of the Daycare Act for around $20.00. It was $19.95 when I got our daughter a copy for school back when she was in college.

  12. One of the beauties of living in a small town is knowing the people who run the day care centers. We used a licensed day care run by someone I knew well and had no problems. One problem we do find here is there is only one licensed day care that takes children under 1 year of age, so you have to use a private sitter up until then. We were lucky to have a wonderful sitter who only had my daughter and her son, but many people have to use unlicensed people because there is no other choice. I would always observe, check references, and ask lots of questions. I don’t think all unlicensed places are bad. You just have to be careful about finding the right one.

    • That’s just it not all are bad but it’s the bad one’s who are ruining it. I just don’t know what I would do with myself if I was a daycare dad and something happened to these other kids in MY home and I wasn’t qualified, had CPR, FIrst Aid, Smoke detectors, gates, and watchful eye… there’s so much for parents to think about. Kudos to all of you.

  13. Great post! Up until our move to Alberta last month, our kids were at a Peekaboo and it was great. Now in Alberta, the shortage of licensed centres is even worse and I dread looking for daycare. I will definitely watch the Marketplace episode.

    • Hi Kelly,
      When you watch this episode you will be in AWE, literally!! Undercover shots, are unreal, and the parents of the kids at the one place who were transporting them with no car seats, said, they trusted them…. AFTER they found out about the undercover finds. That’s what a shortage does, put parents in a bind and they turn a blind eye, it’s human life for crying out loud.

  14. We really lucked in without situation. It’s a lady who lives in our neighborhood who happens to he a teacher but decided to stay home after her youngest was born. Her husband is a well known principal at one of the high schools and she has CPR/criminal background. Friends of ours are paying 600/month to have their kid in daycare 2 days/week. I’ll be paying this for 4 days/week. My sister is an ECE so I have a great resource when needed. If only I could afford to have her be our childcare provider full time.

  15. Great post, Mr. CBB. For us, me staying home was the best option, as we feared the quote that “its’ different when you’re taking care of other people’s children.” The woman who didn’t even know the right emergency number? That’s terrifying! That being said, one parent staying home isn’t always the best choice for everyone, but for us, we have such peace of mind knowing that the kids are being watched by the ones who love them the most. :-)

  16. While the rules vary from state to state here, we have always used an unlicensed daycare. The cost are much less expensive. However, we also did a thorough inspection of the house, called references, asked about firearms/visitors/etc. We love our daycare lady, and I don’t think that our children could get any better care than what they get now. It is like they have another grandma:)

    I agree with you, it is the parent’s responsibility at the end of the day to make sure that their child is safe.

    • Yes, as long as you do your due diligence as a parent and you are all happy that is fine. In the marketplace episode one family did the same and lost their child when the caregiver took the children on an outing without parent permission to a home with another day care, 30 kids in total which was illegal. No one noticed when their son fell in the pool. Rules and regulations, this is what some parents are fighting for and why.

  17. kathryn says:

    It’s really great that so many families are opting to be more frugal and have one parent stay home with the children.This is much more important than any material possession or vacation (which they won’t remember anyways) you can buy.
    If more families did this, it would open up a lot more jobs.An extra benefit :)

    • Hi Kathryn,
      This is how it was for me growing up and many of my mates. Our mothers stay at home and the fathers go to work, same goes with all my relatives except for a couple that are professionals with designations and it doesn’t make sense for them to quit their jobs. Other than that, mum was always home but now times have changed, I guess…. I still know plenty of moms that stay home in the UK. I don’t know what to say.

  18. Great post you have here Mr. CBB. As parents we always want to do what’s best for our kids and try to provide everything for them that is why both parents sometimes have to work and putting the kid on a daycare center. I guess when this has to happen, you just have to choose the right center. Ask friends, read reviews, visit a couple of centers to ensure you are making the right choice.

  19. Parents are definitely the voice of their children. They decide what’s best and what’s not, they are the ones who make the decisions. They definitely know what to do and what not to do.

  20. When it’s time to get back to work, deciding on what to the with the kids becomes a major concern that has to be properly tackled. With the variety of options available, it is just hard to decide which one will fit their needs.

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