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No room: Halifax mom stuck without childcare despite placing $2,000 deposit

Click to play video: 'N.S. family without daycare spot a year after putting down deposit'
N.S. family without daycare spot a year after putting down deposit
WATCH: A Nova Scotia family is stuck looking for childcare after putting down a $2,300 deposit. The daycare told them they won’t be getting the spots for the twins that were secured almost a year ago. Zack Power reports. – Jul 20, 2023

A Halifax mom says a local daycare told her they no longer have available spaces for her two kids, nearly one year after she placed a $2,300 deposit to reserve a spot.

Kayleigh Fleet, a mother of two, said she submitted her deposit in November 2022 to ensure her twin children could attend the Kids & Company daycare in Halifax when she returned to work this August.

“They said, ‘You fill out the paperwork, send the money, and you’re good for August 1,’” she said.

“I did that, signed it, sent the money … and (they) don’t have any spots now.”

Fleet said she’s been on daycare waitlists since she was 20 weeks pregnant. Her children are now almost one year old.

After paying her deposit, she said she followed up with the organization in February and was told her spots were secured.

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“They said, ‘We have them together, we have two spots for you,” she said.

Fleet said she was told that she’d find out whether her kids would be attending the organization’s Halifax or Dartmouth location come the first week of June.

Kayleigh Fleet said she was expecting to hear which daycare site her children would be placed in June, not that they didn’t have a space. Zack Power

“First week of June came and went, didn’t hear anything,” she continued. “It wasn’t until the second week of June when I started contacting them and they told me that there are no spots.”

When asked about alternative solutions, Fleet said the options were limited.

“They told me … they’re going to hold my deposit and I’ll be on a waitlist until they can find something,” she said, adding that when she requested details about an estimated timeline, the organization said they didn’t know.

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Global News has reached out to Halifax’s Kids & Company centre but has yet to receive a comment.

“I have no childcare”

“Come Aug. 1, I have no more income, my EI’s out,” Fleet continued. “She wouldn’t tell me how many people are ahead of me, wouldn’t tell me how many spots there were.”

She said she’s turned down three other daycare facilities since putting down her deposit for Kids & Company because she was under the impression that she had a guaranteed spot.

“So, as of now, I have no child care,” she said, adding that she hasn’t experienced any success attempting to reserve spots at other daycares. She said that most daycares have waitlists that extend years, as some locations are currently without available spots until 2026.

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Fleet said she thought she “hit the jackpot” when she reserved a spot at Kids & Company, as the centre offers flexible hours that align with her work schedule.

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“Now it’s either I put my kids in a private unregulated centre in hopes that they have spots, or I don’t get an income,” she said.

Kenya Thompson, coordinator of Nova Scotia’s Child Care Now branch, a child care advocacy group, said these situations happen “too often” with for-profit spaces, adding that Kids & Company “dropped” other kids from their waitlist earlier this year.

“Child care is so important for parents and families,” she said. “When you don’t have it, that is a huge problem.”

Thompson said Nova Scotia should follow in Ontario’s footsteps, as the province banned child-care-related waitlist fees in 2016.

“Nova Scotia should follow suit on that, I think that’s critical as we move from a for-profit model to a not-for-profit system for child care across the province.”

“The train is off the tracks”

Nova Scotia’s NDP leader Claudia Chender said the underwhelming number of child care spaces opening throughout the province has created an “enormous crunch” for parents.

“We have a lot of people making choices on whether to work or not,” she said.

“The train is off the tracks, people cannot find childcare,” Chender continued. “We know of tons of women who put their name on the list before their children were born and still don’t have child care when they need to return to work.”

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“That’s a huge problem and one that this government needs to take more seriously.”

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Fleet said she remains hopeful that an opening will present itself within the next few weeks.

“It’s mind-boggling, I’m so frustrated,” she said. “I shouldn’t be this stressed over not having my bills paid because I can’t go back to work, I can’t do anything right now.”

If she isn’t capable of securing a daycare facility for her one-year-olds relatively soon, Fleet said she’ll be placed in an uncomfortable situation.

“I won’t have any income, my bills won’t get paid … we might have to defer mortgage payments,” she said.

“I’m just hopeful that something will come up.”

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– with files from Zack Power

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