The immediate funding crisis means there are far less licensed child care spaces than there are children who need care. Facing this reality, many parents are forced to turn to unlicensed providers, who are not accountable for quality or safety standards. Far too many of these families don’t have the information they need to make informed child care choices.
As a result, the unthinkable can happen.
A CBC Marketplace survey looked at parents’ knowledge of their unlicensed providers. The results are surprising:
- Nearly one-quarter of respondents did not know whether their child’s caregiver has basic, critical skills such as first-aid and CPR training, police background checks and Early Childhood Educator credentials.
- Almost half did not know whether their provider held appropriate insurance. Another 25 per cent indicated that their provider was not insured.
- Worse still, nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) believed their provider was licensed, a highly unlikely result given how few licensed spaces actually exist.
All parents need to know what questions to ask their child care provider. The Marketplace story shares some important tips, as well as more details about the survey.
Ultimately, a system of high-quality, safe and accessible licensed child care is needed to meet the needs of all families.
See the stories at http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2013/02/22/marketplace-daycare-survey.html and http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2013/02/21/marketplace-unlicensed-daycare.html.
See the detailed survey results at http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/media/episodes/2012-2013/whoswatchingthekids/documents/daycare-survey.pdf
The Ontario Ministry of Education has released a new framework outlining its approach in 2013 to moving towards a system of quality early years care and services. Among its priorities, the Ministry intends to create an implementation approach for Best Start Child and Family Centres and to stabilize and transform the child care sector.
QELN welcomes the Ministry’s framework as a positive step forward.
We believe that Ontario urgently needs to transform and solidify the system, using a comprehensive range of flexible service and policy options. We are encouraged to see priority placed on programming standards, safety and quality improvement, licensing of more providers and leadership development for supervisors and early childhood educators. We especially believe in the importance of helping parents understand what makes up high-quality child care.
QELN also welcomes the government’s recent announcement of three-year stabilization funding. However, it’s only part of what’s needed. To be successful, stabilization and transformation will require substantially increased public funding and a long-term approach.
The government has stated its vision: “Ontario’s children and families are well supported by a system of responsive, high-quality, accessible, and increasingly integrated early years programs and services that contribute to healthy child development today and a stronger future tomorrow.” QELN looks forward to working with the Ontario government to make this vision a reality.
See the framework.
In June, the Ontario government released a paper entitled Modernizing Child Care in Ontario. This paper opens a discussion about the steps needed to modernize the child care sector.
This discussion is of particular importance in the era of full-day kindergarten. The transition of 4 and 5 year olds to the public education system has had a dramatic impact on the child care system. QELN believes that it is critically important for the government to focus its efforts on high-quality programs for children 3 years of age and under.
QELN has entered the discussion by providing a response to this paper. We appreciate the government’s commitment to addressing the challenges facing the sector. There is a real opportunity to provide a system of early learning and care that will support children and families and strengthen communities.
Among our recommendations are the establishment of an expert Minister’s Child Care Advisory Table and the modernization of the funding model, along with new base funding, to stabilize the sector and allow for future growth.
See the government’s discussion paper.
See the Ministry of Education announcement.
See QELN’s response and recommendations.