Communicating During COVID-19

Canadian Child Care Federation hires Alberta Stakeholder and Communications Coordinator with a grant from ECF.

Krista Carter is the bridge that connects early learning childcare centres (ELCC) to stakeholders.

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced ELCCs to shut down, staff were laid off and children were left without quality care. While many organizations had clear instructions on how to handle the pandemic, ELCCs were left uncertain.

“We’re hoping to enhance the communication among the childcare sector and the various stakeholders among the sector,” says Carter, Alberta Stakeholder and Communications Coordinator for Canadian Child Care Federation (CCCF). “We’re also helping during the crisis to better understand what the challenges are, and help the organizations and operators develop constructive solutions.”

CCCF is Canada’s largest national service dedicated to quality childcare practices and services. The federation includes 20 provincial/ territorial organizations and aims to improve childcare and early learning in Canada.

The early learning childcare sector in Alberta was impacted greatly by COVID-19 when all centres were mandated to close. Alberta has many different organizations and associations working in different areas of childcare, which leaves the sector fragmented. Because of this, effective communication between all operators and stakeholders is difficult.

“It became really clear that we needed somebody that was able to address the needs of each of the groups and associations, and also get information to the minister on behalf of the sector,” says Nicki Dublenko, Vice-Chair of the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Alberta.

With a $32,000 grant from Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF), the CCCF hired a designated communications coordinator for Alberta.

The position is relatively new, but Carter has already handled press releases, letters to the minister, and communication with stakeholders. Information changes daily and it’s up to Carter to get those messages out in an effective way.

“Early learning and care centres provide an essential service in the best of times and this will be even more true as our community recovers from the pandemic,” says Craig Stumpf-Allen, ECF’s Director of Grants and Community Engagement. “Coordination is essential to helping the sector develop solutions to problems caused by the closures, ensuring the sector recovers quickly, and addressing the long term sustainability of the sector.”

ECF seeded the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund (RRF) on March 25 with $500,000 of its discretionary dollars. Since then, the RRF has exceeded a million dollars to allocate to Edmonton’s charitable organizations, thanks to contributions from donors and the wider community.

Thanks to ECF, the new position will allow an easy flow of communication between ELCC operators and stakeholders within the sector.

“I’m extremely grateful and appreciative for ECF and that the need for this kind of role was recognized, so thank you,” Carter says.

Learn more about ECF’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic here.