Media releases | March 25, 2013

ScissorsEDMONTON—Childcare advocates across the province were shocked and upset to hear from the Minister of Human Services, Dave Hancock, that the Quality Enhancement Grant that has been in place since 2003, will be eliminated effective April 1st. The grant was worth $7500 for all accredited childcare centres and day home agencies and $4000 for all accredited before and after school programs.“Cutting funding for this important grant makes no sense given that the childcare budget got a small increase and that there are no other proposed changes to how childcare is funded in this province,” says Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “Alberta already provides among the lowest amount of funding for childcare compared to other provinces and this cut completely contradicts the commitment to make childcare one of the top priorities of the new Social Policy Framework.”“The Quality Enhancement Grant was put in place eight years ago not only to get programs through the accreditation process but to ensure that high quality continues for all children in childcare settings throughout Alberta,” says Sue MacLean, Director, Oliver Centre.“If the Ministry's priority is truly increased support in child care, as stated in the recent provincial budget, I ask the question, why are accredited high quality programs being hit with the loss of the quality enhancement grant which will directly impact the children and families served by childcare?"“Now that the Quality Enhancement Grant funding has been cut we will have to ask our families to pay higher fees in order to maintain our high standards and vision for the future,” says Kristy Thomas, Director, McKernan Childcare Centre. “The government is saying that they are ‘ensuring Albertans have access to quality & affordable childcare’ but unfortunately for our program that will not be a reality if these cuts continue to occur.”“The cuts to grants to support accreditation standards are a giant step backwards as far as offering a quality affordable childcare system to Alberta families,” says Sherry Hunt, Chairperson of the Children's House Child Care Society in Lethbridge. “The provincial budget has failed to show that citizens under 6 are valued by the Alberta government.”“It is already very hard to find a space we can afford in a quality childcare centre in Calgary, so this cut is only going to result in increased costs for families or lower quality,” says Julie Hrdlicka, a mother of two and Calgary Outreach Co-ordinator for Public Interest Alberta. “It is hard to take Premier Redford's recent comments seriously that 'we are standing on the side of families who elected us to lead' when they are cutting funding to quality childcare”.-30-Media Contacts:Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Direction, PIA (Provincial & Edmonton) (780) 993-3736Julie Hrdlicka, PIA Calgary Outreach Co-ordinator, (Calgary) (403) 650-0803Sherry Hunt, Chairperson, Children's House Child Care Society (Lethbridge) (403) 317-3397