VIDEO: Fall River parents take their plight for childcare to province

Parent Karla DeYoung. (Dagley Media Photo)

HALIFAX/FALL RIVER: Approximately 10 parents with children under three at Fall River Child Care Centre took a trip to Halifax to visit the offices of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development on Nov. 8.

The parents were upset and outraged at the province’s decision to not issue a license to the centre to allow them to care for children under three. The process had started in May, but had been hitting roadblocks time and again with the province

According to owners Molly Rogers and Lindsay Awalt, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s decision to not issue any new licenses for the next six months, despite repeatedly telling them to not sign a funding termination agreement and forfeit any funding from the government, is the last straw for the business financially. If they were to sign the agreement, it would allow them to receive a license and operate with children from 18 months to 12 years.

But they were told not to sign that agreement and wait for a memo with more information on Oct. 15 about the Canada-wide plan. That memo came out and at the bottom states there will be no new licenses issued for six more months.

The parents went to the department’s offices hoping to speak with the minister or other department staff to make their case for why the centre’s license should be extended to allow them to care for their children, who are in the 18 months to three-years-old range. That is 85 per cent of the centres enrollment, and with that depleted it could mean they have to close their doors in a couple of weeks.

Many of the parents say feel left out in the cold by what the province has done to the business entrepreneurs, especially with the need for childcare in the Fall River community clear.

Here is video from the visit to the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development offices and interviews conducted outside of Fall River Child Care parents by Global Halifax and Matt Dagley of Dagley Media for The Laker News. Video edited by Dagley Media.

Our previous story on this issue can be found here.

In that story, parents said the biggest thing for them is some of them had been without childcare since June, even though they’re an essential worker.

“The government has done nothing to help me get child care. Now they’re shutting down my child care facility,” said Jennifer Hilchie. “I think the biggest message is that I’d rather have $40 a day childcare than $10 a day in 2026.”

Kayla Kearney, who’s son Ari attended Fall River Childcare Centre, was outraged at the predicament. She just recently started a permanent position at the IWK, and fears that may not be in jeopardy because of the province’s decision that eliminates the childcare centre from caring for her child who is under three.

“I’m not really sure how, whether or not, my work is going to continue to keep me knowing that I’m going to be off now to stay home with my child,” Kearney said.

In a phone interview on the morning of Nov. 8 in Fall River, Advanced Education Minister Brian Wong, who represents Waverley-Fall River-Beaver, said he’s been advocating for the Child Care Centre and has had several conversations in regard to their situation trying to find out what is happening.

“The bottom line for me that is that I see two entrepreneurs trying to run a business and I see parents that in need of child care. We desperately need child care in Fall River,” said Wong in a Nov. 8 interview. “It appears to me there was a lot of miscommunication that’s been going on. I’m right now trying to figure out where those communications have broken down.

“I’m doing everything I possibly can to keep this business open and to get child care for Fall River parents.”

In mid-October a memo was sent out to child care centre operators announcing that because the province had signed on to the Canada-Wide Early Early Learning Child Care Agreement, the province would be prioritizing the creation and operation of new spaces in not-for-profit and publicly funded childcare sector.

The Laker News’ freelance video journalist Matt Dagley was at the departments Brunswick Street offices on Nov. 8, where families waited almost four hours for someone to meet with them. No one did meet with the 10 or so parents and one owner.

In a statement to Global News Halifax, the department said, “This centre discussed opting out of the Canada-Wide system, which would mean families would not be eligible for $10 a day child care.

“There is currently a pause on new licensing to ensure that all parents and their children benefit in the future in our universal childcare system.”