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Mom puts son on daycare waitlist while pregnant. She’s still waiting 1 year later

Click to play video: 'N.S. mother says son has been on childcare waitlist since before birth'
N.S. mother says son has been on childcare waitlist since before birth
WATCH: Nova Scotia mother says son has been on a waitlist since before he was born. – Jan 18, 2024

A mother of two in Nova Scotia says the province has a child care problem amid lengthy delays in accessing care.

Her 10-month-old son has been on a waitlist since before he was born.

“If there’s one thing that is adding majorly to parents’ stress, exhaustion, and mental load right now, it’s the child care crisis,” says Adrienne Buckland.

She started planning for child care when she was just three months pregnant. Buckland put her son on waitlists, including with the daycare her toddler currently attends.

“The earliest he might get in is this coming September, so that’s two years,” she says. “That’s two years in a daycare where I have priority. The situation for folks is dire.”

Adrienne Buckland is the mother of two young children. She’s worried about the demand for childcare in Nova Scotia. Skye Bryden-Blom/Global News

She knew to prepare early after noticing the strong demand for spaces with her toddler who was born in 2021.

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“I did put him on a bunch of waitlists, shortly after he was born,” Buckland explains. “Luckily, we did end up getting a spot for him, which was super last minute — so it was amazing that it worked out.”

She says there are simply not enough spaces available.

“It’s been really hard for me to figure out,” Buckland says. “Can I go back to work and when can I go back to work? Am I going to have to change my schedule? Am I going to have to figure something out so I can have more flexible hours?”

But Buckland acknowledges she is fortunate because she has a strong network to support her and a dual-income household.

‘Parents are desperate now,’ Buckland says of 9,500 childcare spaces pledge

“We’re absolutely not the worst story here,” she says. “I am lucky that I have some privilege. We can swing private for one child. It will be tight for sure, but we can do it.”

After scouring social media and reaching out to friends, families, and colleagues, she’s now in the stages of securing a spot with a private provider — but that means two separate drop-offs for her kids.

“Again, we’re lucky that we have vehicles,” she says. “It’s going to be hard but we’ll make it work. If I didn’t have a vehicle, and if I was only relying on public transport, I would not be able to do this.”

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On Wednesday, officials with the province said it is on track to meet its commitment under an agreement with the federal government to deliver $10-a-day childcare by March 2026.

It will also introduce 9,500 spaces.

“That’s several years away still,” Buckland says. “People need the help now. Parents are desperate now.”

Click to play video: 'N.S. to meet 206 targets for daycare under federal funding deal: officials'
N.S. to meet 206 targets for daycare under federal funding deal: officials

Meanwhile, private daycare operator Joe Kinsman says that number falls short and won’t provide universal coverage. He and his wife own Becky’s Daycare in Waverly.

“I think it’s just important for young parents who are looking for childcare to understand that this system was never built to provide care to every child,” he says. “It was based on a coverage rate of 59 per cent.”

He wants to see the government create more private spaces to alleviate strain on the system.

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“Historically, what has happened within the childcare world in Nova Scotia is when the province needed an accelerated effort to create more spaces, they also partnered with private operators,” Kinsman says.

“The Canada-wide agreement doesn’t exclude private operators. I mean, it’s right in the wording of the agreement between Ottawa and Nova Scotia, but what it does do is give preference to not-for-profit.”

As for Buckland, she says she’ll continue to call for change.

“My situation is not the worst, but when I can speak up I will because this is important and things need to change for parents,” she says.

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