BRAMPTON, ON. (Jan. 20, 2012) Ė After three years of evaluating the effects of full-day kindergarten and Peelís early learning and child care system, a staff report from the Human Services department will be going forward to Regional Council on Thursday, Jan. 26. The report recommends changes to child care services arising from the phase-in of province-wide, full-day kindergarten in schools and the growing needs of Peel families.
In January 2011, the Region of Peel launched a review of its contributions to the early learning and child care system, including the operation of 12 Learn.Play.Care. Child Care Centres in Brampton and Mississauga. The report going to Council recommends closure of the centres by September 2012 and redirection of $13.6 million to provide: 975 child care subsidies for families; increased supports for children who have special needs and other service priorities; and increasing wage subsidy funding for child care centres. The Regionally-operated centres represent 12 out of 445 licensed centres in Peel, accounting for 756 of over 25,000 licensed child care spaces in the community.
Regional Council will be asked to consider a number of factors driving the report recommendations:
- Half of the children in Region of Peel child care centres will either start Grade One or be eligible for full-day kindergarten in September 2012.
- The daily cost to provide care at Peelís Learn.Play.Care. centres is $83 per child compared to an average of $40 at other licensed child care programs in Peel.
- The plan would increase the number of children that receive subsidies. There is not enough funding to provide child care subsidy for all of the families that need it. There are 4,000 children on the Regionís child care subsidy waitlist, and it is growing.
- More than 200 children with special needs are waiting for supports from community service providers, and 142 are waiting for fee subsidy and/or access to special needs supports. The plan would increase supports for children with special needs.
- Many child care providers have empty spaces available for children, but families in Peel need child care subsidy to use them.
As part of the review, Peel consulted with 420 stakeholders including child care providers, community partners, parents and Regional employees. A key theme of these consultations was that the Region must play a stronger role in supporting early learning and child care across Peel, including advocating for more funding. The review also considers demographic trends, operational data and financial information.
Staff also recommend providing a range of supports to assist families affected by any closures, including helping them to find alternate licensed child care, providing support for children with special needs in their new child care arrangements and delivery of specialized programs through community partners. Parents receiving child care subsidy would continue to do so if their children move to other licensed child care providers in Peel.
Regional managers met yesterday with child care centre staff that could be potentially affected by Councilís decision. Staff were advised of the reportís recommendations and discussed supports if there were closures.
Parents of children attending Region of Peel child care centres received a letter today, advising them of the report and the supports that would be provided to maintain child care services for their children if Regional Council adopts the recommendations.
The Regional Municipality of Peel was incorporated in 1974 on the principle that certain community and infrastructure services are most cost-effectively administered over a larger geographic area. The Region of Peel serves more than one million residents in the Cities of Mississauga and Brampton and the Town of Caledon. For more information on the Region of Peel, please call 905-791-7800, or visit peelregion.ca