As parents, we have plenty of reasons for ensuring that our children have everything they need to “Thrive by Five”. However, there is only so much that we can do as individual families for our children. We rely on various levels of government to ensure our children have access to quality child care and programming through family centres, recreation facilities, and public libraries.
Canada offers the Canada Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit to help parents, but our government still hasn’t adopted a national child care policy which would ensure quality, accessibility, and affordability for all families. Each province and municipality provides for children and their families in different ways, usually through several different ministries, and navigating the various systems when our children need support is often challenging.
Questions to help you “Vote for kids”
Are you ready to advocate for child care in Canada?
The First 2000 Days Network has developed an integrated approach to Early Childhood Development and invites you to participate in “Voting for kids”.
As municipal, provincial, and federal elections occur in your part of Canada, you have the opportunity to ask candidates about their position on national child care to help you in determining how you will cast your vote.”
You might want to ask:
• What is your party’s plan to invest in Early Childhood Development?
• How will your party support children in their early years to improve their school readiness?
• How does your party plan to address and improve mental health amongst children and their primary caregivers?
• What is your party’s plan to end child poverty?
Why these questions are important
To underscore the importance of these questions and the child care issue in Canada, the First 2000 Days Network provides these stats:
- If children haven’t developed a vocabulary of 5000 words when they start kindergarten, they are less likely to meet grade-level reading by Grade 3 — a strong determinant for completing high school.
- A mere 1% increase in the high school completion rate across Canada would save $7.7 billion in social assistance, costs of crime, and lost earnings.
- In Canada, only 13% of children aged 3 to 4 years get enough daily exercise. Physical activity improves their cognition, brain function, and mental health.
- When families struggle in poverty, child development suffers. Poverty causes high parental and family stress due to unstable housing, unsafe communities, unemployment, and chronic scarcity.
- A comprehensive approach to early childhood development would help to address each of these factors and conditions.
For more information, statistics, tips, and downloadable Q-cards check out the First 2000 Days Network new website.
In the next election in your area, commit to “Voting for Kids”!