While Parties campaign, Ottawa child care programs lose spaces; city needs provincial funds to plug holes in face of demand



    OTTAWA, Oct. 4 /CNW Telbec/ - Child care service providers said today
that the City of Ottawa has put them on notice that, without additional
provincial dollars, it can no longer plug the holes in Ottawa's child care
programs. Added to this, provincial funding shortfalls and income testing that
changes in how families qualify for child care subsidies are further reducing
families' abilities to access child care, a situation being ignored in the
current election campaign according to the group.
    "Restrictions on child care fee subsidies make it more difficult for low
and middle-income families to qualify for licensed home child care. We fear a
potential loss of 300 licensed home child care spaces next year if the
province does not begin to deal with funding gaps in child care programs,"
said Carole Gagne Ince, Executive Director/Directrice Generale, Canadian
Mothercraft of Ottawa-Carelton/L'Agence canadienne Mothercraft
d'Ottawa-Carleton. "Without substantial provincial investments, more programs
will begin to close their doors because of growing funding gaps. It is time
that the political parties woke up to these realities and addressed what they
will do for families to improve child care in this province."
    Speaking at a media conference called by child care service providers
across the city, Ince said that decades of provincial funding shortfalls and
increasing financial constraints at the municipal level has stretched the
fragile early learning and child care system to its breaking point.
    "The province recognizes the need for early identification of special
needs through various initiatives, however, the funding to match the increased
referrals has not kept up with demand," said Moira D'Aoust, Manager of
Children's Integration Support Services (CISS). "We have a long waiting list
for Children's Integration Support Services that are necessary if special
needs children are going to take part in early learning and child care
programs."
    D'Aoust also pointed out that income testing has further reduced
families' ability to access child care, because the costs families incur when
they have a child with special needs are not taken into consideration with the
income testing. "Income testing is adding to exclusion versus inclusion, and
creating a growing number of latchkey children," she said.
    Diane O'Neill, Executive Director of Aladin Child Care, says that funding
shortfalls and changes the province made in how families qualify for child
care subsidies are seeing more school age children losing their child care
space in Early Learning Child Care (ELCC), a sentiment echoed by Eleanor Heap,
President of Child Care Council.
    "ELCC across the city has reached the breaking point," stated Heap. "The
province must take immediate action to address decades old funding gaps. Our
child care programs cannot continue to maintain quality, feed the children and
keep our doors open without immediate and substantial infusion of provincial
dollars."




For further information:

For further information: Shellie Bird, President, Ontario Coalition for
Better Child Care (OCBCC), (613) 233-0228

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Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care

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