YWCA Canada Supports Full Day Kindergarten and the Community Child Care
Sector

Universal child care requires both, says nation's second largest provider

TORONTO, March 29 /CNW/ - YWCA Canada lauded the provincial government today for moving toward universal child care with the introduction of the full day Early Learning Program, but warned that measures are needed to ensure the stability of existing child care programs. The nation's second largest child care provider said attaining universal child care will require maintaining a strong community-based child care sector. The provincial government needs to ensure programs have the necessary supports to restructure and stabilize.

"YWCA Canada welcomes the introduction of full day kindergarten across Ontario over the next five years," says Paulette Senior, CEO. "Child care is a cornerstone of women's equality and of our advocacy. Without it, most women are not able to meet the needs of their children or participate fully in the economic, social, cultural and political life of their communities. But we also want to be sure this change doesn't have a catastrophic effect on existing child care programs."

Ontario's licensed child care system depends on the lower costs of caring for older children, like four and five year olds, offsetting higher costs of caring for toddlers and infants. As child care centres lose four and five year olds, their financial stability is threatened. If centres are forced to close, it will reduce spaces for infants and toddlers and options for parents.

"With the right supports in place, the implementation of full day kindergarten could potentially lead to expansion of child care spaces for infants and toddlers and reduce waiting lists," says Cathie Pead, CEO YWCA Hamilton. "But supports are key. Converting school age child care to suit younger children requires capital funding. Child care centres are looking at reduced revenue starting this fall."

"We want to be sure parents can still find quality, affordable child care for children under four. Without supports, smaller centres and programs won't survive," says Elizabeth Clarke, Executive Director of YWCA Kitchener-Waterloo which provides over 400 spaces. "Care for infants and toddlers could become very expensive and unaffordable for the parents who need it."

"The provincial government needs to include the community child care sector in the promise made last week in its 2010 budget to work with school boards and municipalities to enhance and maintain existing child care and other programs for young children, and to offer more support for low-income working parents," says Kim Decker, Executive Director of YWCA Cambridge. "Without attention to subsidies, and changes to the Day Nurseries Act, parents of pre-schoolers could be left in the cold."

"We're asking the government for a pro-active partnership with child care providers to develop amendments to Bill 242 and additional supports that ensure program stability," says Jim Bonk, CEO of Guelph YMCA-YWCA, which has over 600 child care spaces.

Ontario YWCAs suggest working with community providers should include discussions of:

    
        -  Additional innovative changes to regulations under the Day
           Nurseries Act for children under 6 that could provide program
           flexibility and protect child care quality standards.
        -  Stabilization funds for child care programs serving children under
           4 and subsidies needed by parents .
        -  Ensuring Bill 242 clearly permits school boards to partner with
           community providers for the delivery of extended day programs for
           children aged 6 to12.
        -  A consolidated funding mechanism for child care across the
           province.
    

About YWCA Canada:

YWCA Canada is the country's oldest and largest women's multi-service organization. With 33 Member Associations operating in more than 400 districts and communities across the country, our Turning Point Programs for Women(TM) - which address personal safety, economic security and well-being - reach out to 1 million women and girls in nine provinces and one territory. YWCA is the largest national provider of shelter to women, serving 25,000 women, children and teen girls including 6,000 fleeing domestic violence each year. We are the largest provider of literacy, life skills, employment and counselling programs in the country, and the second largest provider of childcare services. YWCA Canada is a member association of the World YWCA which unites 25 million women and girls worldwide and spans 125 countries. For more information about YWCA Canada and our Member Associations, visit www.ywcacanada.ca.

SOURCE YWCA Canada

For further information: For further information: or to set up an interview with: Paulette Senior, CEO, YWCA Canada, contact Laura Tilley: (416) 962-8881 ext. 233; Kim Decker, Executive Director, YWCA Cambridge: (519) 650-0800; Jim Bonk, CEO, Guelph YMCA-YWCA: (519) 824-5150 ext. 222; Cathie Pead, CEO, YWCA Hamilton: (905) 522-9922 ext.101; Elizabeth Clarke, Executive Director, YWCA Kitchener-Waterloo: (519) 576-8856 ext. 105; Tony Pacheco, CEO, National Capital Region YMCA-YWCA or Deidre Speers: (613) 237-1320 ext. 5042; Heather McGregor, Executive Director, YWCA Toronto, contact Sarah Blackstock: (416) 892-6845

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YWCA Canada

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