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Regional council approves new process for child care funding

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Author: 
Martin, Ray
Publication Date: 
18 Sep 2014

 

EXCERPTS:

Regional council has approved a new approach to funding for licensed early learning and child care (ELCC) centres.

The region will distribute the base operating funding it receives from the province to ELCC operators, along with four incentive grants to support high quality operating standards.

In 2012, the province announced a change in policy direction for municipalities concerning the distribution of wage subsidy funding.

Municipalities were given the flexibility to develop a new approach to distribute this funding that is responsive to local needs.

Plans to implement that new approach must be in place by the end of the year.

The current wage subsidy funding envelope totals $8.8 million and is part of the annual base funding received from the province, but a regional report states: "This funding envelope is insufficient to provide funding to all programs in Waterloo Region, primarily as a result of new ELCC programs opening or existing operators expanding."

The approach approved this week is designed to allow regional staff to better predict demand and allocate fiscal resources in areas of greatest need.

In coming up with the new funding model, regional staff have, during the past 18 months, worked with ELCC operators, other municipalities and service providers to review potential funding approaches.

A working group made up of licensed non-profit and for profit ELCC operators and single-site and multi-site operators reviewed potential funding approaches and recommend one or two options for consideration by the whole ELCC community.

Consultations with all licensed ELCC programs were conducted in the fall 2013 and again last spring.

The model approved by regional councillors this past Wednesday (Sept. 17) will provide ELCC operators with incentive grants next year, based on:

• paying Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs) a minimum hourly rate of $15;

• the program is achieving required standards in Raising the Bar on Quality;

• 70 per cent of staff working with children are RECEs (as opposed to untrained staff);

• program scores 80 per cent or higher during the annual licensing review.

 

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Entered Date: 
24 Sep 2014
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