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MANN: What is the real cost of $10-a-day daycare?

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$10-a-day daycare is something that entered my radar a few months ago — maybe even before then.

As someone who is familiar with the costs associated with childcare, the concept sounded amazing to me.

Imagine only having to pay $10 a day instead of upwards of $50. For many people, it could be life changing.

Several daycares around B.C have been selected to participate in a prototype project, lasting 18 months. Approximately 1,800 children will be a part of the project.

I can imagine those families involved will definitely be feeling a little extra cheer this Christmas.

And I have to admit, when I first heard about the prototype, I was jealous. I thought to myself, 'What an awesome break.’

For me, that money saved would have been beyond appreciated — not necessarily deserved (I’m realistic), but appreciated.

But then I started to ask the questions that seem pop up when something too good to be true comes along.

What are the REAL costs.

It's easy to focus on all the good stuff — most obvious is the monetary freedom.

There is no doubt saving that kind of money on childcare would help out many families — in particular (but not limited to), the single moms and dads who are trying to make it work on one income.

And, I can assume with more daycares popping up around the province (because even the most dedicated stay at home parent would probably give in to the idea, even on a part time basis), more daycare facilities would need to be built.

That would lead to more construction jobs, and more early childhood educator positions.

And, with all the extra pocket money from both having affordable daycare AND a job, more money would be pumped back into the economy.

So far, it’s hard not to be on board.

Then, there are of course the benefits of exposing your child to a daycare setting — socialization with other kids, interaction with other adults and a regular schedule.

But it’s all debatable of course, and no two daycares are the same.

And it is hard not to think about what is wrong with, or rather questionable about $10-a-day daycare.

Where is the money coming from to pay the facilities?

Just because the fee is lowered considerably, the daycares have to be compensated, and I highly doubt they take peanuts as payment.

So it comes down to the pocket book of the provincial government?

Also, would such a low price for daycare be problematic to the family unit?

If a day at daycare was cheaper than driving your kids to the park and sharing a hot chocolate, would you just save the gas money?

And would that money saved really help keep families out of debt, or help them go further down that path?

There are too many unknowns right now, and although the idea sounds promising, I need to do some more research.

I’m not totally sold on $10-a-day-daycare, but I can’t say I would say no if I was offered a spot.

— Becky is a 30-something, red haired, mother of two, trying to navigate this life as best she can. She enjoys talking to people and discovering their stories. Still trying to balance her personal and professional life, she juggles work and play. In her spare time Becky can be found visiting with friends, spending time with her family and saving time by reading while walking.

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