Amanda Burnett, Penticton resident and mother of two, shows the Facebook page Waitlisted Project BC. She is using the page to share stories from parents in the province who are struggling to find affordable childcare. (Jordyn Thomson - Western News)

Amanda Burnett, Penticton resident and mother of two, shows the Facebook page Waitlisted Project BC. She is using the page to share stories from parents in the province who are struggling to find affordable childcare. (Jordyn Thomson - Western News)

B.C. mom starts support group to amplify voices of families facing daycare shortage

Amanda Burnett, founder of Waitlisted Project BC, shares parents’ stories about childcare struggles

In the face of what some are calling a crisis, one Penticton resident is sharing the stories of families struggling to find affordable childcare.

READ MORE: $10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Waitlisted Project BC is a Facebook page dedicated to giving a voice to parents who have been unable to find affordable childcare, and the struggles this has led to. Amanda Burnett, a Penticton resident and mother of two, started the page when she experienced this issue firsthand.

Burnett is currently on maternity leave and said instead of spending the time celebrating all of her daughter’s firsts, she has been exhausting all of her options trying to ensure she will have a daycare placement by the time she must return to work in November.

“It wasn’t that bad when we put our son on the waitlist of the daycare he attends now. We heard about it when it was being built so we put him on it pretty much right away, so a few months before I was scheduled to return to work they said they had a spot for him in September,” said Burnett. “I wasn’t going back to work until November, but we had to start paying for the spot then. You lose it if you don’t pay for it.”

READ MORE: Spots filling fast for new Penticton daycare facility

She said because kids return to school in September, that is typically when daycare spots will open up as kids move into the next age group of care. When her daughter was born, she knew there was a shortage of daycare spots available in the area and acted quickly to try and get her into the same daycare her son already attends.

“I was told that my then four month old daughter was 75th on the waitlist out of 77 for the daycare that my son already goes to,” said Burnett. “When they said that to me, I was shocked. Just to clarify, I asked if that means her chances of getting in were low. And they told me they had already filled the eight spots they could take in the fall, and after that we were 75th on the waitlist.

“So they would need to go through 74 other people before they would get to me, and my son already goes there. So we were left feeling like ‘What are we supposed to do next?’”

READ MORE: 53 B.C. daycares move to $10-a-day pilot

This is when she decided to take her frustrations to her local city council and MLA, but found that little support was offered. In 2017, the Ministry of Children and Family Development announced 3,806 newly licensed childcare spaces would become available over the next two years. In 2018, the B.C. NDP government initiated a pilot program to introduce a universal childcare plan, which modeled the cost at $200 per month per child.

Throughout 2018, dozens of daycares moved to the $10-a-day pilot model thanks to government funding. This program, however, was not specifically addressed in the 2019 budget though the Finance Ministry announced an additional $9 million for childcare in the province, on top of the $1 billion over three years that was announced in the 2018 budget.

Burnett has added her daughter to multiple other waitlists in the area, and is still waiting to hear back, but explained that like other families, they have specific requirements when it comes to finding a daycare.

“My husband and I both work downtown, and we have just one vehicle and that’s all we can afford and that’s all we really want,” said Burnett. “So we had these daycares that could take us, but they’re on the other side of town. Then you have daycares that start at 9 a.m. but we start work at 8:30 a.m.”

READ MORE: Mom concerned about multiple biting incidents at PIB daycare

She knew that she couldn’t be the only parent in the area struggling with this same issue and began reaching out to parents on Facebook, seeing if anyone would be willing to open up about their problems with finding childcare and the solutions they’ve had to turn to. She couldn’t believe the circumstances some parents had been forced into as a result.

“One woman told me that when her daughter was three months old, she started putting her on daycare waitlists in Penticton and Summerland. She went back to work when she was 12 months old, but they couldn’t get her into care until she was 15 months old,” said Burnett.

“Which means for three months, she was working nights and her husband was working days, and she was working on three hours of sleep because she had to be awake when her daughter was awake.

“So she’d work all night, come home and be up all day with her kid, goes to sleep for three hours and wakes up to do it all over again.”

WATCH: B.C. to create 3,800 childcare spaces within two years (Dec. 4, 2017)

After she had collected a number of stories to bring to her city council and MLA, she decided to share them, with permission, to social media to take the conversation one step further. This is when she created the Waitlisted Project BC Facebook page, which already has dozens of followers and stories in just a short while.

Burnett argues that childcare in the province is being treated as a supply and demand model, but if other systems, like education, were “left up to the market to decide, it would be complete chaos.” She said one way to alleviate the daycare shortage is to provide early childhood educators with a fair wage increase for the work they are doing.

Burnett said this system takes away a parent’s right to choose whether they want to work or if they’ll stay home with their child, as often parents will quit their jobs to care for their family if no childcare option becomes available.

For more information about Waitlisted Project BC, or to share your story, visit its Facebook page.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
JordynThomson 
Send Jordyn Thomson an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Professor Nancy Sandy of Williams Lake First Nation, seen here travelling on the land in Tahltan territory, is heading up the new Indigenous Law and Justice Institute at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont. (Patricia Squires photo)
WLFN professor named director of Lakehead University’s Idigenous law, justice institute

A lawyer, Nancy Sandy is also a former chief of Williams Lake First Nation

Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)
MLA’s CORNER: Mining month in B.C.

Mining Month 2021 gives us the opportunity to learn more about how the industry is changing

Williams Lake Farmers’ Market manager Barb Scharf said Friday, May 7, she was glad to have everyone back for another season. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Farmers’ market season underway in Williams Lake

The Friday market goes from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Lake City Secondary School Grade 7 Outdoor Education students Geordi Wonnacott (from left), Brody Brook, James Wilker, Ali Calabrese and Kaitlyn Brown explore a burned area at the top end of the trails at Bull Mountain Ski Area last year as part of the Williams Lake Cross Country Ski Club’s ski school program. (Martin Kruus photo)
Ski school glides to successful year at Bull Mountain

Avah Akeson, also in grade seven, said that just having the opportunity to ski was really fun

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Dr. Steve Beerman, of Nanaimo, shows off his Dr. David Bishop Gold Medal, awarded for distinguished medical service. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Most Read