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BURNABY, British Columbia, October 17, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Preferential government funding for daycare centres discriminates against parents who choose other childcare options, and ignores clear polling data about what Canadian families really want for their kids, according to a British Columbia pro-family group.

The Kids First Parent Association of Canada pointed out this week that a solid majority of highly educated Canadians said that parental child care is best in a recent poll conducted by Abingdon Research for the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC).

The IMFC poll of 2,022 Canadians from across the country, titled “Canadian daycare desires, Part III,” found that regardless of income, gender or working arrangements, a large majority of Canadians (76%) believe a child is better off at home with a parent rather than with a “competent caregiver.”

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That poll found that 62% percent of parents with a post-graduate degree and 80 percent of those with some university said it is best for children under six to be cared for by a parent. Only 36 percent of post grads polled said they want public funds to go to daycare centres or to daycare in schools.

Overall 61 percent of those polled prefer funding options that provide support to families rather than to a daycare system. 

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“The poll demonstrates that there is no democratic mandate for our discriminatory child care funding regime,” said Kids First President, Helen Ward in a press release. “Government punishes parental child care. Politicians ignore children’s right to be cared for by their own parents as recognized by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.” 

Explaining Kids First’s concerns, Ward said, “We are told both parents must work full time and need daycare, but most children do not have both parents – or single parents – away 9-to-5 every weekday. Families are very diverse: preferentially subsidizing daycare is done at the expense of fair financial support for all families and children.” 

“This discrimination against parental child care is a primary cause of child poverty. It deprives families of real choice and public funds intended to help children. It coerces parents into more time at jobs and apart from kids, and pushes them into licenced daycare which the research repeatedly states is of ‘minimal to mediocre quality’ and inadequate to meet children’s developmental needs,” Ward said. 

Kids First notes that Statistics Canada reports fewer than 15 percent of Canadian children under 6 are in daycare centres.

This supports the IMFC poll data, which found that when parents are unable to be at home with their children, Canadians choose options that most closely replicate the home environment: either placing the child with a relative, or using neighborhood home daycare.

Daycare centre based care was the last choice of Canadians, the poll revealed. Only 11% of respondents in B.C. considered centre-based care a good alternative for parents who are unable to stay at home. Western Canada is the region that most strongly believes home care is best. 

On funding, the IMFC poll found Canadians take issue with the government funding of daycares instead of parents. 

When asked, “If government should spend money to look after children, how should they do so,” a total of 61% of Canadians said they believe funding should go directly to parents. This would be in the form of cash payments, a child tax deduction (available regardless of whether children are cared for in or out of the home), or reduced taxes to all Canadians. 

Only 12% believe the government should provide subsidies to child care centers to improve quality or create more spaces. A mere 10% would expand the public school system to include child care. 

”Kids First calls on government to fund families directly. Billions of dollars could be freed up for this by eliminating preferential treatment for non-parental care,” said Helen Ward. 

She stated that the Kids First Parent Association of Canada is preparing human rights challenges to government’s definitions of child care that specifically exclude parental child care in tax and child care funding legislation. 

For more information visit the Kids First Parent Association of Canada website

The report titled “Canadian Daycare Desires” can be found on the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada website here

Related: 

Poll finds attending university changes childcare preferences

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