The Freundel Stuart administration is considering asking parents to pay more for child care services at Government-operated day nurseries across the island.
The Child Care Board, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, has sent letters to parents and guardians informing them of the plan and requesting information that would determine their ability to pay.
But at least one parent is unhappy over the kind of information being sought, describing the request as “horrendous” and “intrusive.”
“I want you to share with the public the horrendous request that the Child Care Board and the Ministry of Finance asked of the parents/guardians of children at Government-operated day nurseries. I am aware that the fees are low ($20 a week). If they want to increase it, I believe that will not be a problem to most people, but the information they are asking for is personal and very intrusive. I don’t see how getting a person’s job letter and pay slip will assist them in reviewing the fees,” complained Le Roi P.D. Greenidge.
Greenidge added: “This is a ridiculous request and the Child Care Board needs to retract these letters. This issue has parents/guardians very upset.”
However, Director of the Child Care Board, Joan Crawford, told Barbados TODAY this afternoon that if this was how Greenidge felt, he should have said it to her and not run to the press.
“All they [parents] need to do is tell me that. We are doing a review in order to sort out the salaries, so all I am asking for. . . we want to do a means test to apply in each case. I am just trying to get the information. If they do not want to give me the information, just let me know that. So I am surprised they went to you [this newspaper],” Crawford said.
She insisted there was nothing controversial about what the board was requesting, adding that it was only seeking to sort out the various salary ranges of the parents and guardians in the context of the proposed hike in fees.
The director contended that the board and the Ministry of Finance would have to make a determination in the cases of those parents who did not want to provide the required information.
The letter dated April 14, a copy of which has been obtained by Barbados TODAY, stated: “Please be informed that the Child Care Board in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs is in the process of conducting a review of the fees currently being paid by parents and guardians of children attending the Government-operated day nurseries.”
“In order to complete this review, the Child Care Board is kindly requesting that you submit a job letter outlining your occupation/post and the salary/wage paid to you. This information should reach the Director, Child Care Board, Fred Edghill Building, Cheapside, St Michael, no later than May 8, 2015.
“The Child Care Board thanks you for your co-operation in this matter as we work together for the development of this nation’s children,” concluded the correspondence signed by Joan Crawford, Director.