Child Care Funding Review Released

Department of Community Services

June 22, 2001 12:09 PM

A review of child care funding confirms the direction the
province is taking in early-childhood development. The report
recommends improving wages, training and accountability in the
child care sector.

“In May, we announced plans for improving wages and training in
order to help child care centres attract and keep dedicated,
qualified workers,” said Community Services Minister Peter
Christie. “This report will be helpful as we map out a strategy
for early childhood development over the next five years.”

The review looked at how government funds licensed child care
facilities and it made recommendations on improving the way
public funding is invested in child care. The review focused on
two main sources of funding for licensed child care -- operating
grants and child care subsidies for low-income families. The
review recommends a funding formula for the distribution of
grants.

The reviewer, Jane Beach, is a national child care expert. In
partnership with a local consulting firm, EDM Environmental
Design and Management Ltd., she held numerous meetings and
interviews with the child care sector. The key issue raised by
the sector was staff recruitment and retention -- a factor
impacted by salary levels.

The Government of Nova Scotia has been involved in child care
funding since 1971, when it introduced fee subsidies. There are
now 2,600 subsidized child care spaces.

Last year, the first portable spaces were introduced, meaning the
subsidy is attached to the child and can move with the child to
another licensed centre. The review recommends making all new
spaces portable, thereby providing more choice to parents.

The report, released today, recommends comprehensive reviews of
family child care and child care for children with special needs,
leading to a strategic plan for child care in Nova Scotia.

It also recommends developing a non-profit, community-based
infrastructure for child care. Another recommendation calls for
improving access to quality, regulated early childhood programs
and services by increasing their availability and affordability.

Comments regarding the Nova Scotia Child Care Funding Review can
be sent to: Child Care Funding Review, Department of Community
Services, PO Box 696, Halifax, N.S. B3H 2T7. The deadline for
submissions is July 31.

The Nova Scotia Round Table on Child Care -- a ministerial
advisory committee -- is expected to submit a formal response to
the report to the minister this summer. The Nova Scotia Child
Care Funding Review can be found at www.gov.ns.ca/coms.


This year the child care sector in Nova Scotia will see an
infusion of $6 million in new funding under the
federal/provincial/territorial Early Childhood Development
Agreement.

FOR BROADCAST USE

     A review of child-care funding confirms the direction

Nova Scotia is taking in early childhood development. The report

recommends improving wages, training and accountability in the

child-care sector.

     Community Services Minister Peter Christie notes that the

government announced plans in May for improving wages and

training to help attract and keep dedicated, quality workers. He

says this report will be helpful in mapping out the strategy for

early-childhood development over the next five years.

     The reviewer was Jane Beach, a national child-care expert.

     Among her recommendations are: developing a non-profit,

community-based infrastructure for child care; and making

quality, regulated, childhood services more accessible and more

affordable.

-30-


Contact: Jane Fitzgerald,
         Executive Director, Family and Children’s Services
         Community Services
         902-424-8256
         E-mail: fitzgeje@gov.ns.ca

         Steve Bone
         Community Services
         902-424-4326
         E:mail: bonesp@gov.ns.ca

         Robert Hannigan,
         Chair, Round Table on Child Care
         902-258-2328
         E-mail: hannira@ns.sympatico.ca


kjd         June 22, 2001      12:06 P.M.