Vernon mom says childcare funding gap discriminatory to those with special needs

Daycare coverage gaps

A Vernon mom is sounding the alarm over B.C. childcare funding support gaps for children with extra needs.

Megan Nekrash has two sons in daycare, both of whom have extra support needs, and the family has received funding to help cover costs of childcare.

When Nekrash’s oldest son, Mason, first started attending daycare, some of the costs were covered by the Affordable Child Care Benefit. He requires one-to-one support, which was funded by the North Okanagan Neurological Association for seven hours daily during the work week.

Mason is now at a $10/day daycare, but both Nekrash and her husband work eight hour days, meaning they need to pay for more support than NONA is covering.

Now that their youngest child is entering daycare and will also need one-to-one support, the family is applying for the special needs supplement to cover most of the extra cost.

The gap in funding only affects coverage for families whose children require extra support and are in $10/day programs.

Nekrash says her youngest child's medical team wants him in daycare so he can live a normal a life, and so both Nekrash and her husband can work.

She says the cost is discriminatory towards children with extra needs.

Nekrash says she has called all the applicable organizations and was told that they cannot support the $10 a day program and the special needs supplement as it states the total combined amount of affordable child care benefit and the special needs supplement cannot exceed the child care fee.

"Even though my children are in a $10 a day daycare, their fees are not $10 a day. They are more, as they require more support."

The Ministry of Education and Childcare says children attending $10/day centres may be eligible for more support.

Extra supports could cover up to the full cost of daycare, but it’s dependant on individual parent eligibility and is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Parents are encouraged to reach out to the ministry to find out if they are eligible.

Nekrash says it's been frustrating to put her children in the "best daycare for them and their needs" and have to find a way to pay for extra costs that otherwise would have been covered.

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