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Region of Peel Correspondence

Feb. 11, 2011

Community Partners,

The implementation of full-day kindergarten (FDK) is changing the early learning and child care landscape throughout Ontario. The Region of Peel believes FDK is an important step in achieving an integrated Prenatal-to-12 Child and Family Service System. With nearly half of Peel’s four-and five-year-olds migrating to the school system by Sept. 2012, we are all faced with the need to re-evaluate the services we provide to children and families in the region.

The Region of Peel wears different hats. Not only are we Peel’s Consolidated Municipal Service Manager (CMSM), we also provide child care and parenting support services. As Peel’s CMSM, we have lead responsibility for working in partnership with our community to plan for an Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) service system that meets the needs of our families and children from prenatal-to-12 years of age.

The beginning of a new year is always a good opportunity to reflect on the past months, celebrate our successes and make note of the work still ahead to ensure optimal outcomes for all children and families.

…the past year in review

In partnership with Public Health, our school boards, and the wider community, the Region undertook several initiatives in the last 15 months to help us document the changing ELCC environment and its impact on service providers. These initiatives included:

  • Developed and distributed the Full-day Early Learning Cost Analysis Tool Kit to assist providers with assessing impacts and planning for the future
  • Hosted AECEO Forum examining the impact of FDK
  • Developed 2010-2011 Peel Child Care Service Plan
  • Distributed stabilization funding:
    • $137,400 in capital funding to 22 centres impacted by FDK
    • $418,000 for additional fee subsidy
  • Provided demographic and technical resource support to school boards and community partners on selection of FDL sites for years 1-3
  • Hosted Dr. Charles Pascal at a community meeting where we indicated our readiness to implement a ‘made-in-Peel’ vision of Best Start Child and Family Centres that builds on our strengths and is responsive to the needs of children and families
  • Sponsored Dr. Janette Pelletier’s announcement of her Peel Best Start Research and Evaluation findings, which demonstrate the positive impact of an integrated service delivery model on children, parents and early learning teams
  • Raised awareness and advocated on behalf of ELCC through Council reports, Ministerial letters and work with other CMSMs at provincial and municipal network tables
  • Provided regular updates on changes in ELCC/FDL at community partner network meetings/events and on the Region of Peel website

…surveying the impact of FDL on child care

In November, 2010, we conducted a pilot survey to assess the impact of FDL on 232 licensed child care providers in Peel. We are pleased to report that 58% of centres and 90% of home care agencies participated, which ensures the data is a good representation of what’s happening in Peel.

I want to thank everyone who took the time to complete the survey. The results provide important information for system planning as well as our collective advocacy efforts. For example, in recent discussions with the province, we were able to highlight the retention and hiring of Early Childhood Educators as one of the key findings from the survey. We encourage you to review the November 2010 pilot survey results on our website.

Shortly, Peel’s licensed child care providers will be receiving a second survey which will provide us with information on the kinds of resources and supports that would help providers respond to and plan for change, as well as recapture baseline information (August – December). The results of this survey will enable us to track the impact of change on providers and monitor the system through quarterly surveys as we move forth.

...looking ahead: transforming Peel’s services for children and families

The re-design of Peel’s early learning and child care system requires that we build on the strengths of our partnerships to develop and implement integrated services that meet the unique needs of our community. The task before us is nothing short of transformational. And, while there will be many challenges, it is also a very exciting time with many opportunities.

The initiatives described above are important elements of transforming our system, but it is only a start. We need to continue our work together to shape the future. Over the next few months, the Region of Peel will be:

  • Working with Peel Children & Youth Initiative/Success by Six to engage community partners in developing an integrated Prenatal-to-12 Child and Family Service System plan that both responds to emerging short-term needs and proactively addresses the longer term needs of our community.
  • Undertaking a review of the services we provide through our Children Services Operation’s division, including our 12 Learn.Play.Care. Child Care Centres. The outcome of the review will guide our response to the changes within the system. As part of our research, a number of our external partners will be invited to share their perspectives on the Region’s services for children and families.

Through communiqués like this and our website, we will provide you with more information as this system-wide planning process unfolds.

… farewell to a community leader and child care champion

In closing, we wish to pay tribute to the late Sylvia Leal, CEO of PLASP Child Care Services, who was a passionate champion for child care and children and families in Peel. Sylvia touched the lives everyone she met, and thousands more through her strong visionary leadership of PLASP.

Sylvia’s legacy challenges each of us to ensure that what’s best for children and families in Peel remains at the heart of everything we do. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Sylvia’s family, friends and staff. She will be deeply missed by all.

Revised: Friday March 11 2011

www.peelregion.ca

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