A new survey, released by the Alberta Government, has invited parents to share their thoughts on what defines high-quality childcare and the services they expect from childcare operators through an online survey. The survey is open to all parents until Feb. 11.
According to Inclusion Alberta, some parents are benefiting from subsidies and are satisfied with the childcare their child with an intellectual disability is accessing, while some are not. “Whether you have had positive experiences with accessing childcare or faced barriers that prevented you from accessing any childcare, this is an opportunity to make government aware of what supports families of children with intellectual disabilities need from the early learning and childcare system.”
“With the implementation of the Accessible, Affordable, Inclusive Childcare in the federal and provincial agreements around $10-a-day daycare, the childcare system is undergoing a major transformation. As it looks to scale-up availability and affordability, they’re seeking inputs from families about what they hope to see in a childcare system,” says Trish Bowman, Inclusion Alberta chief executive officer.
As an organization, Bowman adds, Inclusion Alberta advocates on behalf of children and adults with intellectual disabilities. “We think it’s an opportunity for families that have children with disabilities to provide a voice, in terms of what does inclusive childcare mean to them and what would they hope to see in a system equally responsive and accessible to parents, if their child happens to have a disability.”
It’s an opportunity for parents to provide input into the development of a more publicly funded childcare system in Alberta, Bowman notes.
Bowman hopes the survey information will be utilized to examine what the themes and priorities are and how will the government use this information to develop and expand inclusive childcare across the province. “Build in, hopefully, regulatory and developmental opportunities for providers to ensure they have the ability to be inclusive of children with disabilities in their childcare centres.”
“That it will influence their thinking around what kind of supports do childcare providers need, what kind of benchmarks should we be looking for and ensuring children with disabilities are being served and what are the mechanisms to support families and childcare providers to make that possible,” Bowman adds.
Every year, Bowman says, Inclusion Alberta hears from families who have children with disabilities who have some real difficulty finding access to childcare, “and this is not new.”
“I am sure it’s not unique to this population. I am sure other groups equally have challenges with access to childcare, but we really hope this is an opportunity to develop a truly inclusive system for children with intellectual or developmental disabilities.”
For more information and to take part in the survey visit inclusionalberta.org.