Changing Child Care

Five Decades of Child Care Advocacy and Policy in Canada

Edited by Susan Prentice  

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Most parents of young children need child care services to help them work or study. Yet the licensed child care system has space for less than one in ten children and is generally unaffordable for most parents. Quality, accessibility and affordability vary wildly within and between provinces and territories. While Quebec has a 5-a-day child care system, the rest of the country leaves child care to the family and the market. When and why do governments implement progressive child care policies? The contributors in Changing Child Care address this and other questions, and examine the different child care systems Canadians have adopted.

The history of the five decades of mobilization and policy making in Canada is explored throughout this book. Unlike those who would claim that child care is primarily a private family matter, the authors argue that child care is better understood as a public responsibility and part of the public good.

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  • Introduction: Changing Child Care: Looking Back, Moving Forward (Susan Prentice)
  • “Playing together as Canadians”: Historical Lessons from the West End Creche (Wendy J. Atkin)
  • Family Policy, Child Care and Social Solidarity: The Case of Quebec (Jane Jenson)
  • From Social Movement to Marginalized Interest Groups: Advocating for Quality Child Care in Alberta, 1965-86 (Tom Langford)
  • Acting Locally: Community Activism in Edmonton, 1940-1970 (Sheila D. Campbell)
  • From Ideal to Pragmatic Politics: National Child Care Advocacy Groups in the 1980s and 1990s (Linda A. White)
  • Working with Parties: Success and Failure of Child Care Advocates in British Columbia and Ontario in the 1990s (Cheryl Collier)
  • Advocacy Ignored: Child Care Policy in Ontario in the 1990s (Vappu Tyyskä)
  • In the Absence of Policy: Moving Toward Inclusion of Children with Special Needs in Canada’s Child Care Centres (Sharon Hope Irwin and Donna S. Lero)
  • History, Lessons and a Case for Change in Child Care Advocacy (Judith A. Martin)
  • Federal Child Care Policy Development: From World War II to 2000 (Rebecca Kelley Scherer)
  • Bibliography


  • Susan Prentice

    University of Manitoba

    Susan Prentice is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Manitoba, where she specializes in family, gender and public policy. Her most recent book is Changing Childcare: Five Decades of Child Care Advocacy and Policy in Canada (2001, Fernwood Publishing) She is a long-time childcare advocate and works closely with community groups.

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