For Immediate Release - December 18th, 2023
(Vancouver, BC: Unceded Coast Salish Territories) Today, the Centre for Family Equity released a new research report that found a positive correlation between access to $10-a-day ChildCareBC Centres and improved health, well-being, and economic outcomes for low-income, lone mothers in BC. The report also found a significant shortfall in child care spaces with some communities and geographies more underserved than others.
“We know that the government’s rollout of $10-a-day child care has been a lifesaver for many families lucky enough to get a spot,” commented Viveca Ellis, the Centre for Family Equity’s executive director. “But our research shows the system is only half built and remains inadequate and inaccessible for many lone mother families.”
A Whole Life: The Impact of $10-a-Day Child Care on the Health and Socioeconomic Well-being of Low-Income Lone Mothers in BC is a groundbreaking study conducted in partnership with Dr. Lea Caragata, Director and Associate Professor, School of Social Work, University of British Columbia. The research and its findings were strengthened by a community-engaged approach led by peer researchers.
The research found that safe and affordable child care reduces parental stress and anxiety and enables lone mothers to attend medical appointments and overcome social isolation in their communities.
Research participants also reported that one of the largest barriers to securing quality employment is exclusion from the labour market due to the lack of affordable, quality, amd accessible child care. The child poverty rate in lone-parent families in BC is nearly six times higher than for children in two-parent families.
The report highlights significant challenges within the child care system including a lack of sufficient spaces, transparency in space allocation, fees, capacity for children with special needs, location and hours of operation, and high staff turnover.
This participatory research found that many lone parents worked in the gig economy, sometimes in addition to full-time work. Most research participants who were able to access a $10-a-day spot reported no longer working extra shifts or side jobs to pay for child care. Most participants who were unable to access a $10-a-day spot were still struggling to afford child care costs even while working a full-time job.
“As a poverty reduction strategy, safe, affordable, and accessible child care clearly works as study findings show improved employment and earnings for many participants, “ said Dr. Lea Caragata, lead investigator on the research project. “However, child care must be accompanied by labour market changes that support low-income lone mothers to obtain sustainable employment at a livable wage.”
The report makes 10 recommendations to the governments of BC and Canada including:
- Transition all interested existing programs to $10-a-day sites to create up to 50,000 fully publicly funded spaces and establish a cohesive child care system in BC.
- Prioritize the establishment of new $10-a-Day ChildCareBC Centres in BC’s child care ‘deserts’.
- Implement an equity-based approach to ensure marginalized, low-income families have access to $10-a-day spaces.
- Expand the capacity of $10-a-Day ChildCareBC centres to provide quality, accessible care for special needs children and introduce a wage grid for workers in the sector.
The Centre for Family Equity, formerly known as the Single Mothers’ Alliance, addresses family poverty in BC through research, policy recommendations, legal action, and targeted programs. Visit our website at: https://www.centreforequity.ca/ to access the full report and recommendations. The Centre for Family Equity extends gratitude to the peer researchers, principal investigator Lea Caragata, the low-income lone mother research participants who shared their experiences, and the Vancouver Foundation for their support for the research project.
View and download the full media release here.
For more information or interviews please contact:
Viveca Ellis, Executive Director, Centre for Family Equity
Dr. Lea Caragata, Director and Associate Professor, UBC School of Social Work