I am becoming more and more disillusioned with my career as the years tick by. Working in childcare and being able to have my own children with me there has been fantastic. I love helping other families feel relaxed about where their children are when they are at work, and at the same time being able to spend more time with my own kids. What more could a parent ask for? Especially during all the years when I was a single parent.
But now, govt regulations have gotten in the way. For the past 15 years, we have had 'school aged' children over the summer as well as our preschoolers. We were always allowed to have up to 3 school aged kids as long as we didnt go over our license capacity of 21. It really helped parents who had a younger sibling in care but could also bring their 8 year old along. It helped families and the siblings loved hanging out together. That's what my job is, isn't it? Helping families and children? But no- we found out yesterday that we are no longer allowed to have school aged children in our care unless we hold a separate license for it, or have a 'license variation' in place. It is our fault for not noticing that change in the reams of mundane paperwork we receive all the time. This change happened when I was on maternity leave so I had no idea.
Anyway it was MY daughter, 8 years old, who was at the center yesterday when the provincial inspector showed up. She said that she is coming back today to make sure my daughter is not there. Wow. What a shock. We have one other school ager but she is on holiday with her family this week. I had to call them to tell them that I was sorry but they could not bring their daughter for the remainder of the summer. And guess what - one parent is going to have to take the week off work because of it. How is that helping families?
Yes you could blame us for this last minute mixup, but let's look at the whole picture here. If our center has been deemed safe to look after children from 19 months and up, why is it not good enough for looking after the 8 year old daughter of a staff member, and the 7 year old sister of one of our preschoolers? this kind of thing just drives me crazy.
Back when the province decided to honor parents' requests for aid with fees for after school care, they also decided to tag on some extra regulations for more control of that sector. Are you surprised? I'm not. but I had no idea they would go so far as to require an extra license payment from any center who wished to HELP A FAMILY by enrolling their school ager for 2 months. It is ridiculous. Now I am stuck because I do not have anyone who can take my daughter next week and her older brothers starts football so she can't even stay home with him all day, summer camps were long ago filled but outrageously expensive and only 4 hours a day anyway.... so what now? Because some paper pusher in Edmonton does not have a piece of paper stating we have a 'license' for 'out of school care', we can no longer have my 8 year old child in the center. Yet, we have a license to care for 19 months to 6 years old... and have been perfectly capable of having a few school agers in the past, every single year, for over a decade. What's up with that? It's not like it's a safety concern. It's not like we are out of ratio, in fact we always have more staff than we need even if we are completely full with all 21 kids.
So here we are, under so many rules and regulations it does NOT help families in the way they should be helped. What if a parent came to us last minute with their 7 yr old and begged us to take them along with their 2 year old? We would have to say NO unless we had a piece of paper hanging on the wall that says so. It just does not make sense to me. Icould end up having to lose a week's pay as well andleave my center in a right mess because there is no one to cover my shift - and that wouldmean SIX other parents would have tobe told they cannot bring their preschoolers because we are short a staff member. I am not supposed to leave an 8 year old at home alone, yet I cannot bring her to work when I could every other year, and another family is now in the mire as well. Gee that's just grrrrrrrrrrrrrreat.