01/21/2010

How extended day care and parent fees are expected to roll out.
On January 13, 2010, Assistant Deputy Minister, Jim Grieve, sent a memo to the Directors of Education providing guidelines on program, staffing and supervision as well as parent fee considerations for the extended day care component under the Early Learning Program.

In September 2010, approximately 35,000 four and five year olds will move into full day learning under the government’s Early Learning Program. An important aspect of this program is providing extended day care for these children before and after school. The program is available to interested families on a voluntary basis.

The memorandum provides direction for school boards on hours that extended care should be made available as well as the calculation of parent fees. Parents are expected to access extended care from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.  Parent fees, according to the memo, will cost approximately $20.00 per day.

School boards will have authority over the extended day program and costs are expected to be covered by parent fees. What this means to municipalities is that municipal funding will no longer be required for this age group within the municipal child care system.

The memo also addresses the issue of administration of fee subsidies. Currently, this is a municipal responsibility. AMO recognizes that implementing the government’s plan will take a period of transition. AMO will work with the Province to make the most of this opportunity and to ensure that municipalities will not be responsible for additional costs to the child care system.

AMO is encouraged that the Early Learning Program may, over time, and if properly implemented, take steps to alleviate pressures in an already overburdened child care system. However, with the disappearance of almost $64 million in federal child care funding as of March 31, 2010, a gap will exist and municipal governments should not be put in a position of having to eliminate child care spaces with the elimination of these funds. AMO believes the federal government must fix this problem.

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