A Walk in Other’s Shoes is returning to this year’s Week of Action Against Poverty. This challenge is being undertaken by individuals in the community who have interests within the health field. Participants have been asked to attempt to stay within a social assistance benefits’ budget. A single person on Ontario Works would receive $337 monthly for all of their personal needs and $384 for all of their shelter costs. Because participants cannot replicate the housing conditions realistically, shelter costs are not included within this challenge. For the five day challenge, participants will have $11 daily to cover all food and drink, entertainment, some personal supplies and transportation costs. Each day, every participant will be given a challenge card which will reveal an unexpected challenge to be completed before the end of the day.

A Walk in Other’s Shoes is not a competitive challenge. It is a challenge that raises awareness of the hurdles that people living on social assistance face daily. As we within our community develop our own understanding, we can begin to reduce the barriers that they encounter and ultimately increase opportunities for increased prosperity for all. The challenge takes place February 10th-14th, 2018.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Daycare Difficulties

My challenge card of the day:

“You have been offered a job.  You need to find daycare for your 14-month old child starting next week.  She is not potty trained.  What are your options?”

My first thought, "I've got this".  I’ve got a 3 year that is still in daycare.  From our experience local options can be divided into two categories:
  1. Licensed daycare - I believe unsubsidized rates are around $64 per day from 12-18 months
  2. Home daycare - rates vary, from my experience $35-45 per day

We have experienced both home daycare and licensed daycare - we have had amazing experiences with both.

My challenge card did not provide any additional information regarding the type of job, wage, hours, etc.  I’m going to go with minimum wage, full time employment, meaning I will need full time daycare.  (Disclaimer:  I understand this is not always - or maybe even usually - the scenario but the options could be endless with regards to hours, wage, etc so let’s go with this for now.). 

Walking through the options:

  1. From my understanding there is only one licensed daycare in town that takes children aged 12-18 months, and even if I could afford the $64 per day, which I cannot on minimum wage, today is Saturday and I need care for Monday morning!  Option number 1 = out.  (With more time I would likely apply for a subsized spot, but I am not sure on the availability, eligibility, etc).
  2. Home daycare - I posted on the local Home Daycare Facebook group - this seemed to get people talking -some great replies.  One shared idea outlined trading daycare between families as needed and even for skills / services (ex. esthetic services if that was your speciality).  Another offered home daycare at a rate lower than I had heard of before - $30 per day.

Crunching the numbers: $14 per hour for an 8 hour day = $112 (before deductions).  $30 per day is taking at approximately 30% of my daily income - OUCH!

Needless to say, the "I've got this" thought quickly faded ...

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