N.S. mom who went on day care wait lists while pregnant is still waiting. Her daughter’s now a toddler

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Nova Scotia parent concerned about day care waitlists
A Nova Scotia mother is expressing concerns around waitlists for child care in the province. She says her youngest daughter is currently on 10 lists, and warns families can’t wait until 2026 for more spaces. Skye Bryden-Blom reports – Apr 19, 2024

When Sarah Hoban was five months pregnant with her youngest child, she placed her name on several wait lists for daycare.

Now, her daughter is nearly 18 months old and the family is still waiting. In fact, they’re on 10 different wait lists.

Sarah Hoban says her youngest daughter is currently on 10 day care waitlists, and warns families can’t wait until 2026 for more spaces. Skye Bryden-Blom / Global News

“I’ve been on eight waitlists since I was five months pregnant,” said Hoban, who has three children.

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“I just went on two more outside of the district I would prefer to be in, just to hopefully get something.”

Although Hoban checks in with care providers often, she says there hasn’t been any movement.

Her parents are retired and have been helping out so she can work.

She says living on one income isn’t feasible for many families right now amid the climbing cost of living.

“I call every month to some daycares, I email, and it’s all the same answer,” she said. “‘There’s no space available, our waitlists are full. It’s about 200 plus parents that are currently on our waitlists ahead of you. It’s going to be at least another year or two,’ they say.”

Sarah Hoban is a mother of three and says she has been on a desperate search for childcare for her youngest. Courtesy: Sarah Hoban

Federal Budget 2024 offers childcare support

This week, the federal government unveiled Budget 2024 with support to help provinces reach $10 a day childcare in 2026.

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It includes more than $1 billion in low-cost loans and grants to help create more spaces. It also offers student loan forgiveness to early childhood graduates who choose to work in rural communities.

Childcare Now Nova Scotia, an advocacy group, calls it a pivotal step towards the $10 care.

“The federal government has the leverage to demand quick action and results in provinces and territories, so parents should absolutely pay attention to these kinds of federal announcements,” said the group’s coordinator, Kenya Thompson. “Where is the money going? What is it towards? Ultimately, it will help to reduce those waitlists.”

Nova Scotia’s education minister, Becky Druhan, says the province remains on track to create 9,500 spaces and reach $10 a day by March 2026.

“I’m very pleased to share that, we had a really successful quarter with the addition of 662 spaces last quarter,” said Druhan. “We’re now over 4,500 spaces created as a result of this work.”

But for Hoban, the progress does not offer immediate relief.

“2026 is not soon enough,” she said. “We need it now!”

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