Thursday, February 26, 2009

Here We Go Again

Well it's time. Time to go into work for 2 days to receive the Accreditation Visit for the daycare. The reason it irks me is that the govt inspection was just two weeks ago and they passed with flying colours, again, like they always have since the center opened in 1989. The only infractions ever received were for very minor things like a lightbulb being changed during center hours (apparently it is classed as maintenance work and therefore not to be done when it's open), and then another time for a lightbulb burning out (classed as improper lighting). So yeah - how do you change a bulb that blows during the day in order to avoid an improper lighting citation, when you can't change the bulb because it's maintenance? Hmmmm? Anyway the others were about parents not signing their kids in or out properly (but we can't stand by the book to make sure because then we are considered 'out of count' if we aren't sitting with our group of kids). Yeah, rules are Way Fun!

But my point is, we have had glowing reports from 99.9% of every inspection over the past 20 years. We also have observers come to do other types of inspections and we always pass those by far (not just the minimum). But for the past 3 or 4 years, in order to get the govt funding, we have to have MORE inspections by different people. A team of 2 called Validators (there are several teams) visit every center in Alberta. Can you imagine how much that costs? Wow. Anyway, they will come for 2 days and go over all our books (you know, the ones already inspected 2 weeks ago) and observe staff working with the kids (like 2 weeks ago for the licensing inspection), and interview parents (if they have time, cos you know, if your kid is at daycare, you probably have to go to WORK), interview staff (which the director already did when hired and periodically throughout every year), etc etc etc. It's actually unbelieveable. Not to mention the fact that the center has to pay out money for this inspection, on top of registration fees, because replacement staff have to be hired to cover the rest going in to be interviewed. I have to go in even though I am on maternity leave and have to choose to do it unpaid, or take pay and then jump through hoops to claim that legally in conjunction with my parental leave pay.

Yes it is important to make sure children are cared for properly. I'm not stupid lol. But I am listing all of this as an example of what happens when the govt gets too many fingers in the pie. Whether it's federal or provincial, it's more and more tax payer money going towards paying more and more inspectors, their gas mileage, their hotels, the papers printed out and sent to thousands of centers in Alberta, then finally the funding the centers actually receive (which is a buck or two per hour for each staff member as Wage Enhancement, and maybe a couple thousand a year for upgrading things, and up to $1000 for staff professional development). I understand that they want to make sure worthy centers get the cash, BUT what is the point of the inspection we had two weeks ago? Why do they have to be separate? Wouldn't it make more sense to have the same person do it?

No, apparently not. Why? Because this is a whole separate new wing that was born in 2005 or so. All new people throughout it, and kept separate from licensing. Can you see your dollars flying into their little nest? I can. Where I can't see it flying is into the centers it is supposed to be! Yes we get some, but how much more could be going directly to the centers for the benefit of the children and their parents, as well as staff? Instead, a hell of a lot of it is going to these Validators, their expenses, and all of the people sitting behind computer screens and going over the paper work we send in a few times a year. Millions of dollars are diverted there every year, with a trickle going to the centers. THIS is what happens when too much govt is used to 'make sure the money is going where it's supposed to'. They take a chunk of your tax dollars for themselves first. Perhaps if we got more of the funding, we could LOWER parent fees for a change and really help families out in these difficult times (which are only going to get worse for us soon). But nope, we can't. And instead we have to raise fees because of new regulations being put on us all the time that we are forced to comply with. Thanks for the funding! Woooo!

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