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It’s a pretty boring opening sentence: “The government of Newfoundland and Labrador through the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services is fulfilling another commitment of the 10-Year Child Care Strategy, Caring For Our Future: Provincial Strategy for Quality, Sufficient and Affordable Child Care in Newfoundland and Labrador, with a review of the Child Care Services Act and Regulations.”

But those first 53 words aside, it’s an important topic: the provincial government wants to talk to people to find a way to improve child care in this province.

They want to review the structure behind the current system, with public involvement through written submissions. The government’s even offering up a discussion guide at www.gov.nl.ca/cyfs and the opportunity to file submissions either electronically or by mail.

So why get involved?

Obviously, there are issues that should be addressed in the child care system, as well as groundwork to be laid for future improvements, and the simple fact is that if no one registers an opinion, the government may simply assume that everyone is clearly satisfied with the status quo.

If you don’t think that can happen, stop and think about how the government suggested that the scarcity of presenters at hearings on the accesss to information act meant that the public was perfectly happy with the kinds of changes later introduced with Bill 29. Silence is assumed to be assent.

Sure, having cabinet ministers quoted as saying things like, “As a government, we view discussion and dialogue with stakeholders an important and valuable exercise. … A rich and diverse cross-section of opinions and views leads to the development of sound and strong strategies, programs and services. I encourage all citizens to contribute and participate in this important process” doesn’t exactly rev up excitement for the process.

Overall, this particular announcement is a particularly stultifying example of bureaucrat-o-speak. (See for yourself here: http://www.releases.gov.nl.ca/releases/2013/cyfs/0603n03.htm)

The purpose, though, is a good one.

And remember this: you can’t complain about your voice not being heard if you’re too busy or too apathetic to even speak in the first place. Sitting on the sidelines my be easier and more comfortable — but you end up simply being part of the problems that result.

You’re being asked for your advice: why not give it?

After all, children themselves are unlikely to provide much input, even though they are the ones most affected by decisions about child care.

It is also all part of a much larger question about how we treat those in need in our province.

If we can’t look after those among us who need the most help — the young for one, but the elderly and the otherwise-incapacitated as well — what kind of society are we, really?

Organizations: Department of Child, Youth and Family Services, Affordable Child Care Child Care Services

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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  • crista
    June 06, 2013 - 17:53

    Here are reasons about what you wrote in your article and your comments????The Declaration of a Childs Rights.And if any one that has got concerns and that are interested, you should get to read about and under stand the rights of a child and the responsibility of the Government and not only just the Government in society.It explains families and not only just families and you have to be very educated to under stand these rights and the reasons that go with these rights and self supporting and false impressions of the lives in the economic system????

  • Ron Tizzard
    June 05, 2013 - 10:07

    Colin, by all accedptable standards, I am a fairly well educated academically individual, ...as it happens, in the area of Social work. Your, surprsing sarcasm aside, I've read your comment several times, and am still unable to figure out what exactly your 'point' is! I accept that you are well educated, but, too frequently your comments confuse your comments. Why not do a re-take, if not for any other reason, than to CLARIFY your point...remain on point would help. It's a very important piece of work... A review of Child Care Services Act and Regulations. Cudos to government on this one.

  • Ron Tizzards
    June 05, 2013 - 08:48

    Colin, I am a fairly well educated individual, by social standards i.e. three degrees, in the realm of social socience. I read your comments several times....and, I am still not sure what you are suggesting. Stupid me perhaps, but, would you like to clarify? That said, I always appreciate your motives...and, perhaps, I would join you in your direction, in this instance..

  • Colin Burke
    June 04, 2013 - 10:23

    "Child care system" is what's wrong with the child care system. Systems don't even have children. What children need are parents who know why they ought to have had children if the first place, which is not "to contribute to society," but rather to be the families who in fact are society and so ought to be as self-supporting as some think society itself is now. That our society now supports itself is a false impression: The economic system by which it "lives," wherein all maintain tenuously their continued existence by selling nonessentials instead of growing or making directly what people directly need, is like a forest where all the trees keep from falling only by leaning against others.