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November 22, 2012 Director Updates:
Peel's Early Learning & Child Care Service System

Dear Community Partner,

The Fall is always a wonderful time of recognition and celebration of the early learning and child care sector – for both those who dedicate their lives to offering high quality services as well as our youngest participants. This week we celebrated National Child Day and last month we paid tribute to our Child Care Workers and Early Childhood Educators.  On behalf of the Region of Peel, I wish to thank you and your staff for making a difference in the lives of Peel’s children and families every day!

I would also like to take this opportunity to provide you with an update on work underway to support provincial and local initiatives related to Peel’s early learning and child care (ELCC) system and on the November 15th meeting of the ELCC Task Force.

Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Task Force

On September 13, 2012 Regional Council supported the continuation of the ELCC Task Force to oversee the implementation of Council approved recommendations that will strengthen Peel’s early learning and child care system and help support its viability and long term sustainability. The ELCC Task Force reconvened on Nov. 15, 2012 to receive and discuss updates on the status of council approved recommendations, as well as three reports regarding:

  • New terms of reference for the ELCC Task Force
  • Options for increased fees for newly enrolled children in Region of Peel Learn.Play.Care Centres
  • The temporary use of Best Start reserves to fund the initial stages of the system reinvestment plans

All three reports were supported and will be presented to Regional Council for further consideration.

Additional One-Time Wage Subsidy

We are in the process of distributing $1.3 million in one-time wage subsidy funding to increase the wages of 356 ELCC staff by up to $3,925.  The funding has been allocated as $500,000 in one-time provincial funding and $800,000, which has been redirected from Region of Peel direct service delivery.

Supports for Children with Special Needs

Five special needs agencies have received $500,000 in provincial one-time funding to increase supports to children with special needs.  We have also begun to move forward on the development of a special needs strategy that will leverage our collective resources to optimize special needs services for children and families.  Initial discussions have been held with the five funded special needs agencies and Peel Early Learning Special Needs Advisory Committee (PELSNAC) with plans to establish a broader steering committee in the new year.

2012-2013 One-Time Child Care Capital Related Provincial Funding Allocation

Work is currently underway to move $1.3 million in provincial funding into the community to support requests for funding minor capital retrofits, capacity building funding and health and safety applications in child care. The majority of this funding is targeted to support non-profit child care centres to transform their services to meet the needs of younger age groups (0-3.8 years).  Both non-profit and commercial operators are eligible for the health and safety funding.

Early Years Forecast Data (now available for Children 0-12 years)

On October 1, 2012, you received detailed instructions on how to access and use the Peel Data Centre’s  Early Years Forecast data  for children 0-6 years.  We are pleased to advise that the page has been updated to include forecast data for children up to 12 years. The data estimates population growth and will be helpful for your future business planning needs.

2012 Child Care Survey re: Impact of Full-Day Kindergarten (FDK)

Earlier this week, our third annual child care survey was launched to measure the impacts on child care operators of children leaving child care for FDK. We encourage all child care operators to complete the survey as the results help us in our system planning work as well as in our advocacy with the Province for transitional support. 

Provincial Updates:  Modernizing Child Care, FDK, Schools First Capital Retrofit Policy

On November 8, 2012, the Ministry of Education released details of its Schools-First Child Care Capital Retrofit Policy, including school board allocations and child care space conversion targets for younger age groups. Allocations may be used over three years with a requirement that local plans be submitted by School Boards and Service Managers annually, in discussion with child care providers. A recently formed senior level planning partnership among school boards, large school based child care providers, and the Region of Peel as service manager, positions Peel well to move forward with this collaborative planning.

The province reports that full-day kindergarten implementation is on track and will be fully implemented by September 2014. With respect to the Modernizing Child Care in Ontario Discussion Paper, the Ministry of Education is currently reviewing advice and feedback received. We look forward to hearing the province’s recommendations in the coming months.

This continues to be an exciting time for the ELCC sector. We look forward to our continued work with our community and provincial partners that will help us achieve our collective vision of ensuring that “In Peel, all children will thrive”.  If you have any questions regarding this email, please do not hesitate to contact Gunta Jurevics-Lawson, Manager of Early Learning Services (905-791 7800 ext 3809 / gunta.jurevics-lawson@peelregion.ca) or myself at the coordinates below.

Sincerely,

Joan Kaczmarski
Director, Service System Management Division
Human Services Department
Region of Peel
10 Peel Centre Dr., Suite B, 5th Floor
Brampton, ON L6T OE3
905 791 7800 Ext: 7242
Fax: 905 861 9079
joan.kaczmarski@peelregion.ca

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